News, Tradie Business

Seven hard truths for tradies improving their businesses

Running a successful business is more than just being a wizard with tools. It’s about taking charge, and connecting with your customers.

Running a successful business is more than just being a wizard on the tools. It’s about stepping up, taking charge, and connecting with your customers in a way that makes you the only call they’ll ever consider making.

Feeling stuck in the daily grind of leak fixes and electrical faults, without seeing your business grow? This is a common trap for tradies.

“Your business is a direct reflection of your effort and attitude – if you’re not all in with your business, don’t expect anyone else to be either,” Founder of Fergus, Dan Pollard said.

“The only way you’re going to see any real change is if you quit making excuses, roll up your sleeves, and get down to the gritty work that’s needed. It’s time to make it count, dig deep, and do the hard yards that will push your business forward.”

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According to Fergus, here’s how you can make sure your customers have you on speed dial for every job:

1. Own your mess  

First off, stop the blame game. It’s not your team’s fault, nor your customer’s, that you’re not hitting your targets. Stop abdicating responsibility to other people – it’s not your employees’ fault or the customers’ fault that the business is struggling, it’s your business. Time to face the music and take charge of your own future.

2. Know your customer  

Not every customer is cut from the same cloth. Mrs. Wilson might like a bit of banter and a brew while you’re sorting her electrics, but Mr. Khan? He wants you in and out, problem solved without fuss. It’s on you to read the room. Adjust your approach based on your customer’s personality and preferences. Get it right and you’re the tradie they’ll call back every time.

3. A business is not a day job

If you think running a business is the same as your day on the tools, think again. Running a business is completely different to being an employee – when you’re starting out it’s like going through an apprenticeship all over again. There’s no overnight success here, even when you put in the work it will take around 18 months to see the results. To have a successful business you don’t need to be a jack-of-all-trades for all things business, but it’s imperative that you understand how it runs and take ultimate accountability.

4. Outsource your weaknesses

Every hour you spend bogged down on paperwork or tangled in admin is an hour you’re not making money. Give yourself permission to outsource the bits you’re not good at, like admin and invoices. Get someone who knows their stuff to handle the backstage, so you can focus on what you do best.

5. Nail it every time

You need to smash every job out of the park every single time. Consider offering a ‘loyalty discount’ for customers who hire you for multiple jobs, which is your way of saying, “I value your trust, and I’m here to stay.” Lock in that loyalty, make yourself indispensable, and watch as one-off jobs turn into a solid client base.

6. Listen, adapt, improve  

You think you know best? Think again. Your customers are your most valuable critics. Actively seek their feedback and use it to refine your operations. A business that listens is a business that grows.

7. Go digital  

Still juggling job sheets and customer details on paper? Welcome to the digital age, where job management software can streamline your workflow, keep you organised, and save you a ton of time and money. Pay for people who know what they’re doing and invest in technology that frees you to do what you do best.

“Being a successful tradie entrepreneur means being brutally honest with yourself, making tough decisions, and investing where it counts. It’s not about being liked; it’s about being respected and building a business that lasts,” Pollard said.

“Stop making excuses. Stop waiting for change to come knocking on your door. Be the change. Be the tradie who decided to take no prisoners, who built an empire because they were smart enough to play to their strengths and wise enough to get help where they needed it. Your business, your responsibility. Let’s get to work.”

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