Tired of being bogged down for hours managing paperwork and invoicing, former Northern Beaches plumber, Clinton Cowin, came up with an idea to streamline the job management and account keeping processes of his plumbing business using apps and his iPad.
After tinkering about with different apps, Cowin and partner David Robbins came up with ‘TradiePad’, a paperless solution for job management that allows tradies to basically run their office whilst on the road.
The idea has sparked a revolution in the tradie industry allowing 1000s of tradies to ditch conventional methods of invoicing, bookkeeping and project management to embrace cloud technology.
What started as a side business has become a full-time effort for Cowin, who now runs TradiePad as his day job.
Like many great ideas, TradiePad was born out of necessity. Cowin tells Kochie’s Business Builders (KBB) whilst working as a plumber he would spend long hours out on the job each day only to return home to insurmountable paperwork. But that all changed with TradiePad.
“We got our first iPad around six years ago and there was no one system that could solve all our problems, so we ended up pulling a bunch of apps together and building a platform that worked perfectly for our business.”
The self-described tech-nerd said by finding app-based solutions they were able to create a truly mobile office.
“By doing this we managed to get rid of all the paper that was in our business and drowning us in paperwork,” Cowin said. “So instead of sitting in front of the computer ‘til 10 o’clock at night, we were able to get all this administration done out on the field.”
Using the platform allowed Cowin to massively improve the efficiencies of his plumbing business.
“The profitability and professionalism of the business were dramatically improved and we had fantastic customer feedback. Customers were coming up to us and saying ‘I’ve never had a tradie work like this before…”
Cowin said the comments made him understand the platform he’d developed for his business had legs.
“I saw what we’d done in our business could help the entire industry and make other tradie business owners work more efficiently. So I broke away from plumbing and started TradiePad as a bit of a side project.”
Cowin’s side project now provides employment for a team of 15 people and has 100s of customers across Australia and New Zealand. The beauty of TradiePad is that it can provide a truly tailored solution for job and office management that feeds into the business’s accounting software.
“We’ve developed relationships with a number of software providers where we provide setup and training services for a range of job management, project management, and accounting systems. We help tradies set up their devices, emails, cloud systems and operational software that then integrates with their accounting software, like Xero. So the tradies can collect real-time information that is single entry and then it flows into wherever it needs to go. It allows them to be more efficient. They have information on their business they’ve never had before.”
Cowin suggests one of the best attributes of TradiePad is its ability to allow for mobile payments. With small businesses one of the worst hit when it comes to receiving late payments, a mobile payment service is a godsend.
“With TradiePad they can create an invoice on site and receive a payment on site. We’re all about finding the right solution for our clients and getting the technology to do the work for you.”
We spoke with Clinton whilst visiting Xerocon. To find out more about TradiePad visit tradiepad.com.au