A Tradesman Business is a great Business to start. It can be very profitable and fills the “solve a Problem” mantra of starting a business very nicely. A Tradesman business is a high cost of entry business in that it requires that you spend some time to become a tradesman, and then there is a large investment in Tools, vehicles and licensing fees. It is very difficult to build a successful Tradesman Business without being Certified and properly Licensed.
You can turn any Trade in to a business but the key is to have Certified Tradesmen. Usually this means that you or at least the people you hire need to have gone through the 4 year Apprenticeship program and have been certified as a Journeyman Tradesman. There are also a few trades that are only a 2 year Apprenticeship but most take 4 years to complete. The best news here is that not only will you have a set of Certified, Marketable skills but you will also have a set of tools to get you started.
If you are starting a Tradesman Business I recommend that the first employee you hire on your crew is a Journeyman Tradesman. With the second employee being an Apprentice. Even if you are a Journeyman Tradesman there will be lots for you to do without actually doing the work you contract to do. The old saying, “Working on Your Business instead of Working In Your Business “ is particularly true in a Tradesman Business.
If you want to start a Tradesman business because you like working in the trade, you will have to hire a Manager and or a Salesman and just do the work. The biggest challenge you are going to have is to be a tradesman and a salesman at the same time. One of the options with a trades business is to sub-contract to a larger company that does all of the sales work and most of the accounting paperwork for you.
When you start out it is possible to work out of your garage and keep you overhead low. Trades businesses don’t need a lot of space to start. All you need is your hand tools, a phone number and a way to get to your customers premises. After you get started and start making money, you will want to buy or lease a vehicle that is appropriate for you needs and put your name on it. Some of the best advertising you can buy is your name on the side of a truck.
This is also the time when you need to think about whether you want to be a shop based business, or a mobile service business. Both are excellent choices and some trades don’t work without being mobile. Some trades work better if you have a shop. You can also change or add on later as you build your business.
If you start a business that takes you to a customers premises, especially residential premises, you will want to start thinking about uniforms, or coveralls and ID badges. You will also want to have a system that allows you to let your customers know when you are coming. These little details go a long way to giving your customers a sense of security, and go a long way to helping you get referrals from your customers. Make sure to ask for referrals when you get paid at the end of the service call. And don’t forget to collect email addresses from your customers.
As you build your business you will find an increasing need for tools that you just don’t have. This problem is usually caused by being offered work that you never thought of doing or work that you don’t really want to do. There are actually 4 solutions to this problem;
1. If you want to add the new work to your product offering you can buy the new tools and hope you can get enough of that type of work to justify the purchase.
2. If you don’t think you will get enough of this type of work to justify the purchase you can rent the tools for the duration of the work.
3. You can sub-contract the work to a more qualified and properly equipped tradesman.
4. You can refuse the work.
When you start your Tradesman business you will also need to set up trade accounts with suppliers and of course you will want to have a Company Name, a Company Bank Account and a Company Phone Number. These few little details along with your personal tools of the trade can put you on the path of creating and building a fantastic business.
Some of the Categories of Tradesman Businesses you can start include;
• Electrical Trades
• Pipe Trades
• Vehicle Repair
• Heating and Air Conditioning
• Woodworking and Construction
When you start working on building your new business you will find that the work you can do is actually in 1 of 3 categories. The first category is service work where you get your customers by advertising in the community and responding to phone calls and maybe emails or texts. As long as you respond quickly and give excellent customer service this can be an excellent way to build your business.
The second category is the bid process. A customer will have a job to do and will put it out for tender. The customer will choose the successful vendor based on the criteria that is outlined in the bid documents. Most construction and long term service contracts are offered by the bid process and can be very lucrative.
To bid on a project you need to become a preferred vender and get on the bidders list. The best way to do that is to contact several larger potential Customers in your area and ask to get on their project bidders list. You will also want to register with you local construction association so you get notifications of projects as they are announced.
The third category and the best way to get work is to get referrals from satisfied and happy customers. The reason this is the best way to get work is because the referral doesn’t cost you anything, the proposals are less competitive and one referral usually leads to another. Some of the biggest construction projects and service contracts in the world are awarded without going to the bid process. This is a case of “Not What You Know But Who You Know”.
There are almost endless ways to start a Tradesman Business in any Community. Tradesman are problem solvers and all you have to do is look around to find a problem to solve. Or just ask your neighbors, everyone needs a Plumber, an Electrician or a Carpenter around their home or business.
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