Get more trades and construction clients


31st August, 2018

5 tips for advisors to help attract trades-based clients

When it comes to winning new business, tradespeople can be great clients for accountants and bookkeepers. At least they should be anyway. That’s because the good majority of trade businesses are still stuck in the 20th Century when it comes to running their business.

Tradespeople often use a physical diary to take notes of each potential job, which they’ll eventually turn into a written quote. And if they don’t lose said quote, they’ll pop it in the post, hand deliver it, or jump on the phone and talk through it.

It’s worked for decades, if not centuries, and tradies aren’t in the habit of fixing things that ain’t broke. But there are signs of change.

A new generation of trade business owners don’t go anywhere without their phones. And that’s great news for business advisors as it reduces the need to sell them on the concept of job management software. They already know they need it.

According to recent research we conducted, there are over 300,000 trade and construction businesses in Australia and over 50,000 in New Zealand. That’s a fairly decent market size for a ‘niche’ industry. All of which begs the question: what are you waiting for?

If you’ve already started down the path of The Connected Practice, then plugging into this sector of business will open up a new revenue stream. But that doesn’t mean winning new trades-based clients will be as simple as flicking a switch.

That’s why we’ve put together some tips and ideas to make sure you hit the nail on the head.

1. Start from a place of understanding

You don’t need to know your Milwaukees from your Makitas (they’re power tool brands, FYI), but having a good knowledge of the trades sector will go a long way to signing on these type of clients.

Tradespeople are typically perceptive and will spot an outsider a mile away. So, brush up on your industry terminology, the ins and outs of tradies’ daily lives, and be genuine about your interest in them. Once you break into their circle, you’ll be the first port of call for any big decisions. Plus, you’ll be more likely to generate referrals from the activity.

Part of knowing tradespeople means knowing what their pain points are in business. For instance, many tradespeople think their business and the issues they face are unique. Truth is that there are several common issues all tradies face. By learning what these are and offering ways to overcome them, you’ll pick up clients by the truckload.

2. Take “no” for an answer

Sometimes the most obvious things are the best and possibly the most neglected when it comes to operating a forward-thinking practice.

Asking detailed questions about how potential client’s businesses operate could be the difference between getting a foot in the door or remaining locked out. But even if you’re unable to start the relationship, it can still be a positive learning experience.

The more scoping you do initially the more you’ll be able to determine which clients represent a good fit for you, and that is a learning you can continue to refine time after time.

3. Become a product expert

Whether it’s you, or your team members, the knowledge you have about software platforms (like MYOB and Tradify), the faster you can establish a mutually profitable relationship. Since you know the product, your client can come to you for advice, and pretty soon they’ll wonder how they managed to get by without you.

Just remember to choose the applications you develop expertise in carefully, because you need to make sure you have adequate and ongoing support from the software provider. You don’t want to become an ‘expert’ only to be left high and dry.

4. Package up your offering

Cloud accounting is already a given, but there are a number of other add-ons you can package up to offer trade clients a simple pricing plan. This allows trade clients to easily budget, as we know that cashflow is often a major issue for them. Expensive surprises are the last thing tradespeople want, so having the surety of a fixed price will make it much easier for you to sell in.

Package pricing also allows you to demonstrate how much value you can bring to their business as well. For instance, “You can add A, B and C, plus an allowance for X number phone calls per month – all for one reasonable monthly price”. To achieve this, accountants using MYOB practice solutions will need to take full advantage of MYOB Portal. But also keep in mind that tradespeople tend to prefer talking on the phone.

5. Lose the title, not the skills

You may be an accountant or bookkeeper, but those names are a little misleading in an industry that now spends more time of advisory and value-added services than simply collating and processing financial information.

Instead, try pitching yourself as a business advisor. That way you won’t have to convince tradespeople you’re so much more than just a ‘bean counter’.

Tradify is the #1 job management app for thousands of tradespeople. That’s because it’s the easiest to use, it’s an all-in-one tool, it’s designed specifically for the trades, and it cuts out the BS from their business.

So if you want to make inroads into becoming a big player in the trades and construction industry, we’d love to chat about working closely with us.

Find out more about the Tradify Partner Programme here.