Starting your own trade business can be a career milestone for any seasoned tradesmen. If you’re thinking of breaking out on your own, then chances are you’ve put in your hard yards with a handful of other employers, have learnt the ropes of your trade, and have perhaps even built yourself a strong personal reputation already. So what’s left to do before you start taking your own jobs?
Here are the key considerations that you’ll need to make when establishing your very own trade business.
Establish regulatory compliance
First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure that you go by the book when it comes to registering your business. This means attaining all the necessary licensing, investing in business insurance, and that your equipment, gear, and work premises all comply with industry codes.
With regards to business insurance, there may be a few policies that you’ll be weighing up. We highly recommend securing public liability insurance cover for your trades business, just to ensure you have the strongest possible chance of being covered in the event of injuries resulting from negligence or of a client’s goods or property becoming damaged in your care, amongst other instances where your business may be liable.
Once all of these boxes have been checked, business owners are also advised to establish processes for maintaining regulatory compliance. This involves scheduling testing and tagging of electrical equipment, as well as performing routine hazard and risk assessments across all your workspaces and work premises. Installing and maintaining safety signage and equipment in workspaces is also crucial here.
Set up workflow systems
Once you’ve laid a strong foundation with registering your business and other preliminary legwork, you’ll need to consider how to manage your company operations. Are you looking to use a website to gather leads and engage in contact with potential customers? Or would you prefer that people reach you via your company mobile? And what happens when your work capacity decreases due to a climbing client list and you’re no longer able to take phone inquiries as easily as you may have once been able to?
As you can see, setting up your workflow systems entails so much more than just building for ‘the now’. Forward-thinking business owners should also be factoring in just how their company growth is likely to impact their current operations, and take efforts to ensure that your highly-anticipated business growth comes at minimal costs.
A good model for developing a workflow system for trades businesses starts with developing a strong company website with plenty of business information and perhaps even an FAQ and online enquiry form for streamlining and even automating your business’ lead generation process. Alongside this, utilising digital payment services may even help you save time when it comes to creating and reviewing invoices and client payments.
Consider company branding and marketing
Speaking of fleshing out your company website, maintaining a strong digital presence for your business is undoubtedly essential in this digitising world. If prospective clients can’t find you online, then they’re likely to go with one of your more visible competitors.
But how do you go about ensuring that your company is well-represented on the world wide web? On top of having a conscientiously designed business website, you should also take efforts to list your company on Google Maps so that you’re both visible to a local audience, and that former customers can leave positive reviews. If you don’t have a fixed premises and may not be able to set up an address on Google Maps, you can still verify your business with Google and establish a service area to help bolster your visibility to local customers.
Strong company branding can also be a huge asset here, especially for tradesmen who are often on the road. Even something as simple as an eye-catching logo decal on a company car can help you grow your local customer base.
Invest in young talent to expand and connect
All tradesmen start off with an apprenticeship, so it’s common for trades businesses to establish training and other infrastructure for the purpose of taking on trainees and apprentices. Investing in young talent can help you easily grow your body of staff without having to allocate a great chunk of your financial resources towards full-time employee salaries. Yes, apprentices will still require salary and super contributions, but the costs to you are likely to be very minimal in comparison to an established trades professional.
Hiring apprentices or taking on trainees can also be a great way to help organically grow your business network and forge strong relationships with others in your field. Even if your apprentices don’t go on to work with you, they can still help build your business’ own reputation and perhaps even provide referrals down the road as well.
If you’re looking for other ways that you can grow your business network alongside expanding your body of staff, then we highly recommend attending trades shows and other industry events to help you connect with figures and corporations within and around your industry. Attending all trades shows and other local or community events where you may feasibly establish a company presence won’t just help you find potential clients, but can also see you taking advantage of opportunities for potential partnerships or even deals on equipment like tools or even business management software.
Rest assured, even if you don’t secure any new customers immediately, growing your industry network can only yield positive results in the long term as it enables you to put down roots in your industry and local market.
Setting up your own trades business can be a highly satisfying endeavour, to say the very least. But as is the case with any business development plan, this venture will require your full commitment and some preliminary financial investments, even after you’ve handled business registration, insurance coverage, and tax documentation.
Thankfully, with guides like this one and other sources of information provided by your local industry authorities, you will be able to take each challenge as it comes and find setting up your trades business to be as linear and straightforward as your own professional traineeship was.
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