Which type of tradie are you?

As #tradies, we have lots in common. Our day starts when the sun comes up, we’re hardworking, we’ve got strong views on cars and sport, and we all have a soft spot for our families, despite our tough exteriors.

Mostly, tradies have lots in common in business, too. In our experience at Lifestyle Tradie, two things typically challenge tradies: systems and processes, and making money.

So, while tradies share similar traits and challenges, we’re not carbon cut-outs of each other. We’re all at different stages on our journey as trade business owners, defined by where we’d like to go right now.

Which type of tradie are you?

Stage 1. Starting up
Stage 2. Scaling up
Stage 3. Selling up

Stage 1. Starting up

You’re keen to start your own trade business; motivated to be your own boss and work in a way that suits your personal style. You’ve got heaps of energy and are prepared to do whatever it takes to be the best.

While most tradies start up a trade business with perfectly good intentions, what we find is, the wheels can fall off pretty quickly for one specific reason: the business model is wrong from the beginning.

In the speed to get to market, key steps are often skipped. The knock-on effect is this: many start-up tradies end up working all the time, going backwards financially and with less free time.

There’s no scope for ego in the start-up space.

Smart start-up tradies realise they’re not the first and they won’t be the last to travel this path. For example, one start-up we worked with turned over $1 million in just 18 months by setting up the right systems.

Stage 2. Scaling up

If you’re not growing, it feels like you’re standing still. While many tradies are self-described control freaks, making more money and getting off the tools are driving forces to scale up.

It seems like an obvious path. Hire more tradies, your partner steps in to tackle the admin, you take on more work – and bingo – Bob’s your uncle. The headaches will start to set in if you haven’t got structures in place.

When all of the important information is in your head and not in a shareable system, everyone will rely on you for every decision. It creates a bottleneck. Sometimes, you wish you’d stayed as a one-man show.

Scaling up is hard. Without the right systems, it’s impossible. Before the crazy-long hours kill your spirit, get some help. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel – systemising your business is our business.

Stage 3. Selling up

You’ve been in the trade game for a long time. Now, the dodgy back and daily hassles of running a business make it feel like Groundhog Day. Without any systems set up, selling up is basically out of the question.

Your exhaustion is wearing you down, even making you cranky with your tradies and family. If sorting out your systems is in the too-hard-basket think about this: where do you want to be in five years’ time?

Probably not where you are today.

Your business has always been your baby. The best thing you can do is give it wings to fly. This means creating systems to allow the business to run independently of you. In doing so, you’ll sell up for a better price.

And be free to do the things you love again.

In Australia, tradies make up 30 per cent of the workforce. That works out to be a big number! We can all learn from each other, whichever type of tradie we are and whichever stage of the journey we’re on.

     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.