Tradies run some of our busiest small businesses, but they don’t always get the greatest rap. Here are our top tips for tradies to create happy customers and a thriving business.
Word of mouth counts
A happy customer is one of your greatest assets as a business. Not only will they provide positive word of mouth, they are also a likely source of repeat business. Therefore, it’s important you capture any feedback from customers and apply any learnings. What did they like? How could you improve your service? Is there anything about your processes that you could change? Talk to your customers after you’ve completed a job or send them a quick questionnaire to see how you rated. If you have a Facebook page for your business, it’s very easy for customers to leave you feedback.
Stay up to date with current trends
If you work in the building industry, it’s important to stay up to date with what is on-trend. This will also help you identify growth areas for your business and assist you in understanding what customers may expect from a job. Keep an eye on industry websites such as Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) and check for the latest construction news to stay up to date.
Review your marketing strategy
How are you currently marketing your business and is it bringing in any results? How did your last ten customers hear about your business? Keep doing what works and scrap what isn’t. Check out what your competitors are doing and see how it might affect your business. Maybe they are working with a premium brand or have a great customer offer – what can you do to capitalise on this? Profile your customers. The better you understand your customer the better you will be able to target them. Adjust your marketing campaign to suit your ideal customer, whether that is via social media, direct mail or digital marketing. Do you have a website? If you don’t it’s time to take the plunge. More and more people turn to the internet to research and inform their purchasing decisions. Make sure you have a great digital presence to inform and educate your customers on what you do. Invest in some Google Adwords and keep your business Facebook page up to date.
Set up processes
Document your workflow. A system will help ensure your business is efficient. From when a new job comes in, to completing the work, scheduling your staff, making sure equipment is available, liaising with other tradies who are sub-contracting, to finishing the job and after-sales support. If it’s complicated then documenting the flow will help you pinpoint roadblocks to clear, or it could be useful to engage an efficiency expert to have an outside look at your business.
Use accounting software to keep everything up to date and compliant. The last thing you want is to worry about invoicing, tax payments and payroll. A good accounting system can help reduce the stress and admin burden.
Streamline your payment processes
Customers are more likely to pay on the spot once you’ve completed a job if you make it easy to do so. Mobile payment options are increasingly easy for small business to access. So why not make it easy for customers to pay you and for you to pay suppliers? There are now great mobile payment options for tradespeople that allow you to turn your phone and a card reader to accept payments on the go. EFTPOS also provides options for on-the-go and in-store payments, making the process even easier. Or you can set up Direct Debit to debit funds straight from your customers’ accounts, which is great if you are working on a large contract.
Don’t take on more than you can handle
Are you saying yes to everyone? Don’t take on more work than you can handle. When starting a new business, it’s tempting to accept every job that comes your way and then find yourself stretched to the limit. Try to avoid this situation by accurately scheduling your work and taking on extra staff if needed. Ensure you check your staff capabilities too. What are their skillsets? You may already have staff with extra talents and management skills that could assist on larger projects.
Have the right equipment for the job
Have the right vehicles and equipment. It’s important to check your vehicles and equipment are aligned to your business needs. Consider options such as buying new, second hand, or leasing. You can even hire if the need is short term, but make sure you factor these costs into your budget when pitching for a job.
To find more tips to help your business grow and flourish visit www.nab.com.au/business/small-business