Even if you’re an expert on the tools, there’s much more you need to know about starting and running a successful trade business. In addition to your trade skills, you will now have to acquire some business management know-how. So, we’ve rounded up five things you should ask yourself before officially starting off on your new tradie venture.
1. Where do I start?
All successful businesses start with a strong business plan, and your new trades business should be no exception. Your business plan should identify your goals, challenges, and the strategies you’ll use to overcome obstacles. It should also detail your expected costs versus potential revenue to forecast the profitability of your business. Then, it’s time to secure the financing you’ll need to open your doors. This will cover expenses associated with setting up your business and initial staff recruitment, training, and payroll costs. You might also use it to purchase any tools, equipment, machinery, and materials you need to get started.
2. What are my legal requirements?
The Australian government provides a business registration service that will help you cover all your general legal obligations, for example, applying for an Australian Business Number (ABN) and registering for the relevant taxes. However, tradies may also need to comply with other legislation depending on the particulars of their trade. The National Construction Code – which includes the Building and Plumbing Codes – sets out all your on-site legal obligations. You can register with the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) to receive a free copy of the code.
3. Which licences or permits do I need?
This will vary depending on the type of services you provide. However, most tradies do need to hold and maintain some qualifications and accreditations to do business in a trade sector. The licences and permits you’ll need also vary from state to state, but generally include building, plumbing, and electrical licences. You may also need high-risk work permits as well as waste disposal, chemical handling, and storage licences where relevant. Check out the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) to find the licences and permits that apply to you.
4. What about insurance?
If you have employees, you must hold workers compensation insurance. Additional public liability insurance may protect you against any damages a third-party suffers as a result of your business operations. You might also want to consider insuring your tools and equipment, business premises, and any vehicles or heavy machinery you operate. Professional indemnity insurance may also cover you against any financial losses that result from any mistakes or omissions in your work.
5. How do I manage my books?
A cloud-based accounting platform like Quickbooks Online puts everything you need to manage your books at your fingertips. You can sync the software to your bank accounts to automatically record your transactions and manage all your invoicing in one place. QuickBooks Online also keeps photo records of all your receipts and provides automated BAS summaries to save you money at tax time. It also features a range of other innovative time-saving features, such as Single Touch Payroll.