Tradies, tools down! It’s time to think business strategy for a minute. No matter how busy you are, competition in the industry is tough. If you don’t put in some effort now, you might not be the first choice when customers’ need a job done. The good news is, there are plenty of smart and affordable things you can do to get new work, boost your word-of-mouth referrals, and grow your business – here are some to try.
Up your digital efforts
Having a presence online is a must for any business these days, so if you don’t already have a professional, user-friendly website with well-written content, then start here. Not your area of expertise? It might be worth hiring a professional designer and copywriter to help you build one.
Got a business Facebook page? If not, it’s time to set one up – this social media channel is great for trades. If you do have one, are you active on it? Posting and commenting regularly will increase your visibility and help you attract and engage with new customers. Make sure your business is on local listings sites such as Google MyBusiness, Yellow Pages, and True local. Also try industry-specific directories like TradesLocator and Tradeplatform.
Automate your finances
Still working from a manual diary, issuing paper invoices to customers, or dealing with your income and expenses on an Excel spreadsheet? It’s time to get up-to-date and invest in accounting software that automates some of your financial administration. For example, QuickBooks Online puts your finances in your pocket, so you can spend less time on your books and more time on the tools.
What can it do? This handy app can scan and store your receipts, categorise your expenses, send e-invoices, and even track your mileage on the go. QuickBooks integrates with other useful apps for tradies, too, such as Square POS which allows you to take on-the-spot payments – sure to be a winner with customers.
While a lot of work for tradies already comes from word-of-mouth, offering a small incentive for referrals can generate even more. After every job, give your customer a business card or two, and ask them to pass it on to friends and family.
If you get a job as the result of their recommendation, tell them you’ll give them a discount next time they use your services. You could even offer an incentive to encourage happy customers to write a testimonial or review for your business – on your Facebook page or on Google. Try a $5 coffee or a Bunnings voucher.
Share your expertise
Whether you’re a sparky, plumber, builder, or carpenter, you wouldn’t be in business if you didn’t know your stuff. So, why not use this expertise to your advantage? Writing and posting blogs with useful tips and advice relevant to your trade is a great way to share your knowledge, drive traffic to your website, build trust, and become your community’s go-to tradie. You could even create YouTube videos of before and after, or to give practical demonstrations.
Offer a point of difference
What makes you different from other tradies? Why should a customer choose you above anyone else? Whether it’s your years of experience, the fact you offer 24/7 call out, or your friendly approachable manner, make sure you mention this in your marketing. Think about ways you can add value on the job. This could be texting to say what time you’ll arrive or offering on-the-spot quotes. Stay up-to-date with your industry and listen to customer feedback for ideas. While a job well done is the key to success when you’re a tradie, if you spend a little time to improve your marketing and systems, you can attract new customers and win more work.