Research finds tech-savvy tradies riding wave of business growth

New research by EY Sweeney and L.E.K reveal tradies that embrace digital technologies are seeing a boost in business. The study suggests both tradies and consumers are seeking a smarter way to communicate, leading to a digital revolution in the sector.

The research, commissioned by hipages, reveals the ‘on demand’ trade economy is set to help 250,000 Australian trade businesses* grow by freeing up their time from daily administration and helping them win more work. The sector is said to be worth $73 billion a year.

According to the research, an estimated 70 million paid residential jobs* were completed in the past year by Australian tradies, with an average of seven jobs completed in Australian households. The high demand for tradies means Increasingly Aussie consumers are experiencing difficulties in finding a tradie to complete their jobs, leading to a call for to optimise the way tradies work to provide an on-demand Uber-style service.

“Driven by millennials and younger Australians, innovative technologies are beginning to powerfully transform the way tradies and consumers conduct business. This research showed market demand for digital services that optimise their engagements for a better, smoother experience. Like the on-demand nature of food delivery and ride-sharing sectors, we’re seeing a similar movement in the tradie sector,” said David Vitek, co-founder and CEO of hipages.
 
“The residential trades sector is a significant economic driver in Australia, with this research indicating the emergence of a new On-Demand Tradie Economy set to hyper accelerate sector growth over the coming years,” said Vitek.

The study suggests one in four tradies are passing up on work as they are too busy with admin. Tradies surveyed spend an average of 14 hours a week on quoting and general admin. Nearly 70 per cent of tradies agree that technological assistance can free up work time, including assisting with schedule management and reducing travel time between jobs (60 per cent).

While word of mouth (WOM) has often been important to consumers when they consider hiring a tradie, conventional word of mouth is being replaced by online feedback. With this in mind many tradies suggested standardised online feedback would be welcomed in the sector.
 
“Word-of-mouth has always been the traditional form of sourcing a tradie, trusting recommendations from friends and family, but the process can be slow and limited. The same concept is now being adapted digitally to fasten the process, with online services such as hipages aggregating consumer recommendations, allowing tradies to build their online reputation,” said Vitek.


Similarly, tradies indicate that getting paid by customers and organising payroll and taxes are amongst their biggest sources of frustration. Almost seven in ten tradies agree that there are major administrative efficiencies to be gained through technology.
 
“With ‘getting paid’ deemed the most frustrating part of their working life, utilising a third-party website for this task is an appealing proposition. For tradies, the On-Demand Tradie Economy represents greater efficiencies across all facets of the working day, while eliminating their time spent seeking more work,” said Vitek.
 
There is little doubt trade services are in high demand, Vitek reports that a new job is posted on hipages every 26 seconds, suggesting tradies that haven’t taken up digital technology are truly missing out.

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Cec is the managing editor of KBB. She is a multimedia professional with over fifteen years experience as an editor on titles as diverse as SX, CULT, Better Pictures, Total Rock, MTV, fasterlouder, mynikonlife and Fantastic Living. She has spent the past four years working as a news journalist covering all the issues that matter in the political, health and LGBTIQ arena. She is the Head of Content at Pinstripe Media and a recent convert to the world of small business.

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