Crafting Success: The Tradie's Guide to Self-Employment

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Starting your own business is exciting and nerve-wracking, with so much to think about, plan, and put into motion. Here are some suggestions to help you hit the ground running and create long-term success.

Create a blueprint for your business

Having a vision and some guideposts in place is a smart move for anyone starting their own business. Going in blind without any ideas, goals or systems could lead to problems. These are some of the areas that you may want to cover:

  • Ensure your finances are in order – have a cash buffer on hand as there may be a delay before your first invoice is paid and check your credit history as you will want to set up trade accounts with some of your local wholesalers.
  • Understand your competition – think about how you can position your business to stand out from the crowd.
  • Set some goals and milestones – establish what you would like to see your business achieve and more importantly how you are going to achieve them.

Advertise and have great systems in place

Starting fresh is the perfect time to get your systems and processes dialled in. Automate where you can. The less time you spend on the computer or phone means more time doing income-producing work:

  • Marketing – you don’t have to be a marketing guru when it comes to getting the word out there. Sites like Instagram, Facebook and Google Business offer a quick and cost-effective way of advertising your services. You’ll also want to prioritise setting up a basic website in the form of a landing page. A local web and marketing expert will be able to help with these as well as a creating a logo and brand package. Once you’ve finished a contract or job, don’t be afraid to ask for Facebook and Google reviews.
  • Job tracking – from the moment you accept a job to receiving final payment, having a system which allows you to track the stages, time required, costs etc not only helps you stay on track, but can help when it comes to planning future jobs.
  • Booking system – you want to make it as easy as possible for customers to get in contact with you when they need your services. A booking service helps get your customers in touch with the click of a mouse.
  • Invoicing – implementing an invoicing system in place with reminders is vital to keeping the cash flowing in. There are many different types of programs and systems available.

Surround yourself with the right people.

To ensure long-term success, you’ll want the right people in your corner. These could include:

  • Accountant and business adviser – can help with setting up your company (in the early stages you may want to operate as a sole-trader), mapping a business plan, setting up a suitable accounting and invoicing system, and ensuring you stay on top of your tax.
  • Commercial insurance adviser – can assist with putting a comprehensive commercial insurance plan in place. At a minimum, this would include public liability, tool, and vehicle protection.
  • Financial adviser – can advise on your other insurance needs like key person income protection, permanent disability, and ACC Extra (to get you covered straight away and minimise hefty ACC levies). They can also provide advice in relation to your KiwiSaver (you’ll want to keep this ticking over if you’re looking to buy your first home) and obtaining lending for business or property needs.
  • Other trades business owners – build solid relationships with other reputable Tradies, where you can refer work to one another. Collaboration, quality workmanship, and prioritising the needs of your customer is a recipe for success.

Putting it all into practice

There are many moving parts to starting and growing your trades business, but you don’t have to do it alone. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – many people have already been in your shoes and are often more than happy to share their experiences, connect you with opportunities and help you get started.

A Finsol adviser can assist with the above or point you toward other trusted professionals to ensure you get the right advice and guide. Send us a few details here if you like to discuss your business needs. We don't charge fees and there's no obligation.

This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as financial advice. It is always recommended to consult with a qualified financial professional before making any financial decisions based on your individual circumstances.


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