Trade businesses hampered by admin


16th February, 2022

Report: Trade business owners hampered by admin

Tradify‘s latest annual report reveals trade businesses are spending on average almost 19 hours per week on admin tasks.

Now in its third iteration, Tradify’s three-part Pulse Report details how trade business owners are feeling about the year ahead and what challenges they expect to face.

Based on a survey of more than 600 trade business owners across Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, the report also contains reflections on 2021, discussing challenges trade businesses faced and how the year has affected their business outlook, and confidence, going forward.

Business confidence: New Zealand cautious while Australia stays optimistic

The report includes some interesting results, especially when it comes to the outlook of trade businesses as they head into 2022.

New Zealand saw a massive decline in their positive future outlook, dropping from 53 percent from the last Tradify Pulse report, to just 28 percent in this year’s edition.

Australia, on the other hand, didn’t seem to have quite the same negative reaction to 2021, with 64 percent of trade businesses having a positive outlook as they head into 2022 compared to 66 percent last year, signalling sustained optimism in the face of the pandemic.

Throughout the report, there is a common optimism among Australian tradespeople, while Kiwis seem to be more sceptical of business conditions for the foreseeable future.

It’s clear the role COVID-19 has played in influencing these differing levels of business confidence is a big one, but the report also highlights other influences that could explain the difference.

The Pulse report dives deep into a number of issues that face tradespeople, ranging from tool theft to materials shortages and supply chain issues.

The findings and topics covered paint a clear picture of what the future of the trades industry looks like in Australia and New Zealand, and how tradespeople can mitigate risks and threats to their businesses in 2022.

Tradies need to reduce their admin time

Many tradies reported that they felt on top of their business admin, but Tradify’s data suggests that this might not be the case.

The average amount of time spent on business admin is alarmingly high (a massive 18.5 hours per week on average — too much time for busy tradespeople).

A likely cause of the high level of admin is the fact that 34 percent of tradies are still using pen and paper to get their admin done.

For trade business owners wanting to grow and ultimately get more control over their business, reducing admin time is a must.

If not done efficiently, admin can take up time that could be spent on the tools, landing new jobs, or with friends and family.

Quoting and invoicing were identified as the most time-consuming, difficult administrative tasks for tradespeople, demonstrating the need for greater uptake of digital, cloud-based solutions.

For example, using a job management app to get quotes and invoices out as soon as possible can not only save tradespeople time, it can also boost cashflow by helping them win more work and get paid faster.

More than a third of trade businesses aren’t actively promoting their services… at all

Trade businesses are riding the wave of domestic investment. Are they forgetting to promote themselves as they do so?

Our research found that 37 percent of tradespeople don’t promote their business in any way.

Of course, a significant number of those operators may simply not need to be promoting themselves, as they have enough work on as is.

COVID-19 border restrictions meant that many people have been spending money on home renovation and construction instead of travel.

This is great news for tradies, but this level of domestic investment won’t last forever, and we recommend business owners start thinking about how they can promote their business now so that they’re prepared for any slower times that could lie ahead.

Promoting your business gives tradespeople control over the kind of jobs and customers that they attract. With the rise of the internet and social media, and the ease with which anyone can promote their business, it’s never been easier to get the word out to the right people.

Current challenges: Building materials shortages and supply chain issues

Supply chain issues and the reduction in the availability of materials is a challenge for many ANZ tradespeople.

While for some industries this has been a non-issue as demand for materials isn’t extreme, for others, it has been a nightmare.

The Pulse report found that the building and construction industry has been hit the hardest by the issue, with builders complaining that they’re unable to plan and budget effectively with a lack of supply and rising materials prices.

Other key findings from the Tradify Pulse Report:

  • Nearly $500,000AUD worth of tools and materials were stolen from Pulse respondents in 2021
  • 61% of Australian and 60% of New Zealand trade business owners hired an extra staff member in 2021
  • 58% of Australian and 83% of New Zealand trade business owners are considering hiring in 2022

What should trade business owners do in 2022?

Tradify’s Pulse Report includes key recommendations for tradespeople who are looking to level up their business in 2022 and address some of the challenges they faced in 2021, including how to:

  • Get their business admin under control
  • Send quotes and invoices more quickly
  • Promote their business to win more work

The sooner trade businesses implement digital tools, the sooner they’ll see results.

As well as tidying up admin, job management software can help trade business owners assess which jobs will be the most beneficial and profitable to take on.

To see these recommendations in full and learn more about the rest of these findings, download the Pulse Report on the Tradify website, where you can also find out how to solve admin and common marketing problems by integrating Tradify and MYOB.