Ready to hire someone to offload the endless admin? Here are our top tips!

Is the endless admin within your trade business weighing down on you and you’re ready to hire some help? In this episode Andy and Angela take you through their top tips, and the exact steps, to hiring administration roles within your trade business.

Ange
Well, hello everyone and welcome back to another episode of The Tradie Show, together in Trade Business.

Andy
Hey everyone!

Ange
So 2023 is truly underway. Can you believe it’s almost the end of January?

Andy
Not really. Though I do feel like I say that every month. I’m still wrapping my head around the fact that it’s already 2023.

Ange
Yeah, and you know what, I love nothing more than starting a new year fresh. It’s super motivating, and I’m sure you guys out there are already digging into the new year work and kicking some amazing goals.

Andy
Hell yeah. New Year, new you, baby.

Ange
Exactly. So we did a whole episode on kicking goals in the new year. So if your listeners missed that one because you were maybe sunning yourself on a beach somewhere, then you should go back and actually take a look. So this week I wanna change tact completely and instead help everyone listening get more done in a day by hiring office staff.

Andy
Yep. I love it. And it’s another comment that, uh, I hear quite often is I can’t keep up with the day-to-day stuff, and I’ve just got no time.

Ange
Right. We only have 24 hours in a day.

Andy
We do.

Ange
Yes. But the question is how do you use your time? And I don’t wanna get into working out how to analyze what you do so that you start spending time only on high return on investment tasks.

Andy
Although that’s important.

Ange
Yeah, it is. But what I do wanna talk about is hiring office staff specifically because you might be at a stage in business that you think you are ready to get some help. But you’re honestly asking yourself, so what do I do now and where do I start? Because there are lots of options.

Andy
Okay, hang on. To do that, I think we need to go back to the beginning and frame up the growth phases of a trade business. We need to share our startup scale up, sell up model, because I think this is so important in recognizing where your trade business currently is sitting. It will probably help with some of the decisions within your business in terms of your team, including this office role we’re gonna talk about today.

Ange
Okay. So let’s do it. And while we’re at it, I think we do a quick book review and shameless plug of our book by the same name. Start up, scale up, sell up.

Andy
Yeah, it’s a bit cheeky, but listen, if you haven’t read this book, Please do so. We are getting people comment about it and it really just makes you understand where your business is at the moment.

Ange
Correct. Every trade business fits into one of these growth phases. So which are you a startup, scale up or sell up?

Andy
There are practical insights and lessons for every trade business, regardless of your industry size or years in business. Lessons that we have personally experienced having owned and operated our own trade business for over 20 years before we sold it last year.

Ange
Yeah, there will be plenty of, that’s me comments to yourself whilst you read the book Word for word.

Andy
And the easiest way to read the book is to have us read it to you. You can find the free audiobook version by searching for Lifestyle Tradie audiobook, wherever you listen to your podcast from. Plus, we’ll also leave a link in the show notes.

Ange
Okay! Or if you want a physical copy to card around and read during perhaps your smoke-o so that you can highlight the important parts and doggy pages, and we can help you there too. We’ve actually got a limited time offer for you to kickstart the new year. So for this month, the month of January 2023, we’re giving away both of our books, the Startup Scale Up Sell Up, and the Tradie Wife: Why winging it isn’t working, and how breaking Old habits will help. We’re giving it away as a bundle for free. Delivered right to your door.

Andy
Woohoo. What an offer!

Ange
Absolutely. But we’re getting closer to the end of January, so you better jump on it really quicksmart. So to get your free hard copies, head to lifestyletradie.com.au/podcast-bundle and sign up for the offer. And of course, we’ll leave the link also in the show notes. So our book Startup Scale Up Sell Up is super relevant to today’s topic. Why? Because whatever phase you are in will determine who you are looking at hiring to handle admin tasks within your trade business. So, Andy, can you share with us when you first started Dr. Drip, you were like super fresh just starting out and obviously in what we call this startup phase. So who was your first hire?

Andy
You might think it was an apprentice to help me get the jobs done, but it was actually a bookkeeper, which we consider as more of an admin role. But I definitely recommend everyone out there that just starting out in business to get a bookkeeper immediately, and if you’re still what we consider a startup and don’t have one, to be quite frank, what are you doing?

Ange
Ouch.

Andy
Yeah. Seriously though you are a tradie and not a bookkeeper, I understand you think you’re trying to save money by doing it yourself, but let’s be honest, when do you actually do this type of work? It’s not your field.

Ange
Well, they would do it late at night after completing a full day of work.

Andy
Yeah. And they all have a whinge about that. And how are you feeling about doing it at night?

Ange
Uh, I’d say they’re tired and they’re over it. And all they wanna do is watch the telly.

Andy
Right. Or you wanna actually spend time with your kids, your partner. But reconciliation of receipts is calling.

Ange
Ooh. Sounds riveting.

Andy
And because you are so tired, it takes you two to three times as long why you procrastinate, looking at Facebook, Insta, TikTok, you name it, you do it.

Ange
Sounds like when mistakes happen.

Andy
Exactly. Not to mention that a bookkeeper actually loves the work and is twice as fast, plus they cost you less per hour than you working on the tools. Guess what? It’s an absolute no-brainer.

Ange
Right. So this is where we often see the trade business owner, typically the “he” , agrees to their life partner, the “she”, to start helping in the business. So being home, this is like a bit of a cliche, right? They’ve often given up their corporate jobs or whatever. They’re home now looking after a newborn baby. They put up their hand to say, I’m super happy to give you a hand and help. And it’s common for her to start doing the books or some admin tasks a few days a week. And although it’s great to have her involved, if finance is not her strength, I would still argue that you need a bookkeeper for the finance tasks and have your partner do other work to help you out.

Andy
Yep. And guess what? Working with your life partner comes with its own complications.

Ange
Sure does.

Andy
A conversation for another time.

Ange
Yeah. Look, another time is, we could talk about that forever.

Andy
Yes, we could.

Ange
So the startup phase may then after the bookkeeper. See, you employ your first tradesperson. And you know what? This could either be an apprentice or your qualified tradie.

Andy
Yeah, exactly. And it definitely depends on your industry and what kind of work you do. But you’ve either got a, after a bookkeeper hired an apprentice, or a full-time tradie and you’ve gotta decide which is best for your fit.

Ange
Yeah. So this is all about being, having guys on the tools to basically make money. But we actually covered this topic in a past podcast. It was called Your Next Hire Qualified Tradie or Apprentice. So if you wanna check that one out, I’ll actually add a link to the show notes. So it’s obvious to say that once you hire a trades person who’s working on the tools, then your time as an owner is perhaps freed up a little bit more to do more admin related stuff.

Andy
That’s right. It’s how I grew Dr. Drip, like I pretty much did it all. I held onto answering the phones, quoting the admin side of the business, while still working on the tools. I actively had to find more work so I was doing long days and also Saturday work. I was bursting at the seam. Then I would work out. Now is the time to employ a new trades person to take that load off me. You know, I’d give them five days of my work, which reduced me back to about two days on the tools and three days in the office. And this worked for me for quite a while and I did it over and over again.

Ange
Yeah, I agree. So, If we go back to this startup, scale up, sell up model and look at what happens now that you are reaching what I call the scale up phase, this is when you’re considering to hire maybe someone to take over this admin role because you know if you are a tradie and you’re still on the tools and you’ve got your bookkeeper, like we said, and they’re doing all those tasks, finance stuff, and now you’ve got a couple of tradies, either apprentices or qualified people to help you actually do the work. The admin side is getting heavy, so now you are thinking of taking someone on in this admin role to do things like answer the phones, respond to emails, manage the team, coordinate jobs, all that kind of stuff.

Andy
Yep. An increase in work means an increase of activity in the office, and perhaps it’s becoming just that bit too difficult for you to be on the tools and doing the backend work as well, just to keep the momentum of the business going.

Ange
Yeah. Look, historically when you look at the trade industry in general, we all think that employing someone in the office means having a physical space to cater for a full-time employee.

Andy
And when most trade business owners start from running their business from home, even on their dining table, this can be an impossible hurdle.

Ange
Yeah, it can. Well, that’s where things are a little bit different now, and that’s what we wanna talk about.

Andy
Totally.

Ange
There are actually heaps of options to employ someone to help do this office based task.

Andy
Yeah, it has been an absolutely massive change and I was reading an article just recently talking about research conducted where the majority of workers who are based in an office previously simply just aren’t that interested in going back to full-time in an office. They’re keen to be doing more of a hybrid style where they can split their time between the office and the home.

Ange
Yeah, that’s awesome. It means we can pretty much hire anyone, anywhere. So where do you start?

Andy
Well, great question. You have to first think about what tasks you want them to take over because this will dictate if you need them full-time or even part-time.

Ange
Well, it’s actually gonna help you work out the job description too, and even better get you off doing these tasks that you shouldn’t be doing because you cost way too much money per hour.

Andy
Yep, that is definitely true. Then we need to think about whether you need someone to come to an office and whether you can either cater for this or you can employ someone remotely, like a virtual assistant or a VA.

Ange
Yeah. So let’s talk part-time and full-time. So there are lots of first time stay-home moms that would literally kill for a part-time job that offers school hours. These guys are so overqualified, it’s ridiculous. But they simply just can’t keep a full-time job because of this phase of their life. But they could work from your office or from their own home if the work allowed it. You could seriously benefit big time from offering school hours in your ads.

Andy
And we’ve actually done that in the past and we’ve had some incredible people working for us in, um, in regards to that or you could look at a VA or virtual assistant, which is pretty much the same. They can either be local or local as within Australia or international. Like I know a lot of people are using the Philippines. You know the benefit here with both of these options is that they work remotely, so you don’t need to rent out an office or find space in your house, for a desk, it’s pretty easy.

Ange
They can be employed by you or you could engage them through a contractor. And again, so many options.

Andy
You might be saying to yourself, would that work for my trade business? Well, we had a team of VAs in the Philippines for our plumbing business to answer our overflow calls, to do after hours and graphic designs and marketing. And we still have a team there today. And you know what? They’re absolutely awesome. These guys are really affordable. Super loyal because they’re just so grateful to have a job like it’s very hard getting work over there for them.

Ange
And hang on a minute, before anyone gets up in arms about sending Aussie jobs overseas.

Andy
Yeah, I have heard it quite a few times. And obviously we’ve, we’ve had the business over there for a while, but the thing is, you know, Sometimes here in Australia, we just can’t get the work for the dollars and cents we need. It’s just so expensive and we’ve gotta run a business and look after ourselves sometimes.

Ange
So yeah, especially for the simple tasks.

Andy
I get it. If we could keep everything here in Australia all the time and that would be amazing, but dollars and cents wise, sometimes it’s just not feasible.

Ange
Oh. I think it’s important that people start thinking about their business a bit more globally. We’ve got so much reach.

Andy
And there’s a lot of things that we get our Filipino staff to do, and they’re absolutely so loyal, but they’re things that a lot of staff here just don’t wanna do these days.

Ange
Yeah. So valid. Plus to add on that, our team was so grateful and appreciative about being employed with us. We know culturally that their money goes back into this pool of the family and we had this huge impact, not just on them, but like the extension of their family, and I love that.

Andy
Yeah. They’re beautiful people and we treat them like family and it’s so good to have them a part of our team. But if I had to share a bit of a downside, there can be a bit of a language barrier and because of that, they do require closer management and training and they are obviously in different time zones, so they may not be working the same hours that you do here in Australia.

Ange
Sure.

Andy
And there are companies that assist you in hiring and international VA, and sometimes they’ve even got a physical location for them to go and work from, rather than them working from home.

Ange
Right, so then there are also local VAs. They can be hired through specific VA companies also, it’s really easy to do a quick Google search to find out who’s out there and perhaps what’s best for you.

Andy
Yeah. This option is great too because they are based in Australia. There are no language barriers and they can have a joke with your customers and they all understand each other.

Ange
And they’re all in the same time zone, depending on what state you’re both in.

Andy
Yep. But they do come at a higher cost than the international VAs, just because the wages over here in Australia are so much higher. And because you aren’t face-to-face with these guys, you can’t really build a relationship and foster an awesome culture like you could do if an admin was working from your own office.

Ange
Yeah, true. So if you’re wanting perhaps more control and that potential to build culture, And if you’re ready for the commitment, then you might consider hiring full-time or part-time team members. You know someone that you can manage and are responsible for, and someone that you can build a strong rapport with.

Andy
And they could be local or remote. It circles back to this part-time, full-time conversation. They do, of course, cost more money than a contracted VA. Plus, you need to keep up with giving them enough work to fill their day.

Ange
Yeah. Look, seeing we’ve done all of the above. Do you, Andy, have a personal preference?

Andy
Yeah, I mean, it really does depend on what the admin person is responsible for, like what tasks are they actually doing, and this would differ between a maintenance based business like ours versus a project based business, like a landscaper or a builder. But all in awe. I personally prefer to hire local team members because having someone treat the business like their own and working beside me every single day is definitely better. The communication is easier, it’s stronger and it’s far more productive, but if you don’t have a physical space for them to work in, remote is a great way to go as well.

Ange
Yeah, I agree. But there is a downside to hiring someone internally if that’s the way you wanna go. The first bit is you’re committed, right? You can’t just get rid of them whatever you want, plus you have to put in the work to hire them. You could use a recruiting company, but at the end of the day, you need to develop their job description, decide on a wage or salary. You need to build the job ad, you need to post it to job directories.

Andy
Yeah, I guess so. But you really have to do that regardless of your decision to employ someone in the office or if it’s remote.

Ange
You’re right, you’ve still gotta go through applications, conduct interviews, and whittle down the candidates.

Andy
But it’s worth it in the end, you’d be like, what the hell do I do with all my free time now? And the phone won’t be attached to your head every day of the week.

Ange
But that’s when we can finally focus on these higher return on investment tasks to take your business to the next level. You can actually work on the business, as we say, instead of working in it.

Andy
Yes, and this is a serious game changer. So if you think you’re ready to hire someone, then really consider the options and get it done.

Ange
Yes. Good luck and reach out if you need any help with this.

Andy
Definitely. If you need any help with hiring in your trade business, I’d love to jump on a free strategy session and talk you through it. All you need to do is head to lifestyletradie.com.au or click on the links in the show notes to book in a chat with me. Speak to you soon and we’ll see you then.

Ange
See you next week.

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