How to balance a relationship and a trade business

Since owning your trade business, the phone has become a third wheel in this relationship. Thinking he was going to be completely present, focused on you was simply a pipe dream. There are always two sides to this story.

For you, MrTradie, you’re doing your best to financially support your family. You want her to be proud. You want her to love you’ve stepped up and taken responsibility. However, it’s come a commitment that is starting to suck the life out of you and out of your relationship.

Perhaps these demands are causing more damage than you realise. More damage than the money or extra work is worth.

What can both tradies and their partners do to ensure work doesn’t interfere with the needs of their relationship?

Here’s a few suggestions:

Seek to understand

Why is your partner so hard working or upset with your work habits? When you actually understand your partners feelings and motives you will be less quick to judge or complain.Often when you take a step back you may realise that it isn’t as bad as you thought, or you will recognise that it may be just a busy period.

Agree on the future

If you have an understanding of why you work so hard, what it’s all for, not just for you as a trade business owner, but for your partner, then the future will look so much brighter. You will be re-energised about your business and excited about your life together. You only have one life, so life it to the fullest. Together.

Switch off

This one is hard when you have the phones 24/7, but you can at least arrange someone to cover the phones for you when you have a special night out. It’s critically important for you, Mr.Tradie, to switch off your work-minded brain. You will both be more understanding of the busyness outside of these times because you know you’ll have your time together later.If you struggle to switch off as soon as you walk through the door, begin winding down on the drive home. You could do this by listening to music, a podcast or an audio book.

Keep the horizon exciting

By purchasing concert tickets, setting aside date nights and booking in holidays. The anticipation for positive and fun events gives you guys shared experiences to look forward to. This is one of those nights you’re going to need support from another trade business owner, or one of your own to share the burden of the phone.

Mix up your work schedule

If you and your partner are crossing like dark horses in the night due to conflicting schedules, then perhaps you’d consider shifting your day by an hour or so to ensure you have time together. You do work for yourself right!

Learn to say ‘no’

Although no one wants to give away work, if you have a good workload and your finances are strong, then consider turning down jobs that are of a low profit margin instead of working back late at night to fit them in (obviously after attempts to reschedule to another day).

Prioritise your partner (and your kids)

As soon as you walk through the door. It’s tempting after a long day to go straight to the fridge or head to couch to kick your feet up in front of the television. Before you do that, show that you care by walking in the house with a smile on your face and an interest in their day. Yes, look at her and talk. With complete presence (that doesn’t mean look at your messages on your phone from you mate while she is telling you about her day).

Change your focus

If you’re a partner of a busy tradie, invest in yourself, take up a hobby or create your own project in the time that your partner is working. When you have something to focus on, you won’t be focusing on their absence.

Separate work and home

Ensure your lounge room, bedroom and relaxation spaces are free from work-related mess. Tidy desk, tidy mind.


Excess tasks or after hours phones to free up extra time.

At the end of the day, nothing is worth more than the health of your relationship. Understanding your future path together is critical to a harmonious life. The work-life balance thing is a myth (yep, it’s true). It’s just like a see-saw; wherever you spend majority of your time, this side of the see-saw will flourish.

That said, it will be at the determinant of the other end of the see-saw. This is why seeking to understand each other is important so that you can stay connected between a busy work schedule and your relationship.

What’s next?

  1. Join our Kick-Ass Tradies Facebook Group, for access to trade business specific conversations, tips and resources, plus a like-minded community of tradies.
  2. Book a 15-minute Game Plan Call with Andy, owner of Dr. DRiP plumbing and co-founder of Lifestyle Tradie, to clarify your priorities and get clear action steps.