Habitual routines – the “that’s the way we do things around here” mentality – is one of the most damaging thoughts you can have to your business.
I recently just finished building a new home and during this time I was able to speak with many other business owners in the tradie industry, from quoting to hiring and everything in between.
As someone who loves to see Australian tradies do well, I couldn’t help but ask them a range of questions around what account management tools they use, how they schedule their jobs and most importantly, how they determine how much profit is made on a job.
Yep, you guessed it, I got the shoulder shrug and, more shockingly, this answer, “as long as there’s money in the bank, I guess we’re making money”.
Inefficiency flags – what are they?
To say I was surprised at how outdated their systems and processes were would be a lie. I knew from the start that I was dealing with someone who needed to do this better and quicker. This prompted me to ask some simple questions about their quoting, invoicing and expense management process.
Sadly, many tradies don’t know of the solutions available to them in the market place to help run their business better. Many business professionals talk about the importance of efficiency, but let’s consider the landscaper, plumber, tiler or electrician, who is out on site all day working in sometimes the most extreme weather conditions, who then come home too exhausted to vast amounts of paperwork.
The most valuable tool tradies aren’t using…
Today, one of the most powerful tools a tradie now has is a smartphone. Knowing how to use it allows them to earn money and save huge portions of time. Here are some of the key apps tradies should check out:
ServiceM8, simPRO and Tradify
All three apps are useful for job scheduling, quoting, invoicing and on-the-spot payments. No need to wait until you get back to your office, as your staff can access the same services via an app on their phone.
Receipt Bank or Hubdoc
My tradie tiler pulled out a stack of receipts from his folder, so he could hand it to his bookkeeper. I showed him how easy it was to take a photo of these receipts, so his bookkeeper could easily code them, and as a bonus, he no longer needed to keep a copy!
QuickBooks Online or QuickBooks Self-Employed App (QBSE)
The QBSE mobile app comes with a vehicle mileage tracker, which makes it easy for tradies to claim their vehicle business running costs. This platform allows your staff to clock in and out, meaning managers will never have to chase another timesheet again. Knowledge about how your business is performing can all be done on the one device.
Where to from here?
Tradies need to start taking advantage of technology that business owners in other sectors are utilising. Tradies who I advise have incorporated a number of these tools into their business and the results are truly worth it. It lends you another level of control over your business and can and will ultimately allow you to see better financial results in 2019.