Daniel Fitzpatrick, business coach at Next Level Tradie.
Making more profit in your tradie business is about so much more than working harder and doing more jobs. One simple and highly effective way to make your bank account happier is to control your jobs to ensure you are not losing out through leaks.
By making sure there are minimal leaks, you can become significantly more profitable.
Or at least ensure you’re making money on the jobs you are doing – because there’s no point being busy if there’s no money in the jobs!
But as anyone who’s ever run their own business can tell you, this stuff can get messy. Sometimes you need some clarity to help you on your way.
So first we’re going to get clear on how leaks happen. Then I’m going to show you what to focus on to make sure they don’t.
Effective waysEffective ways
Let’s get started
When you first go out on your own, you’re onsite almost all the time — you control the whole job from start to finish.
But as you begin taking on bigger jobs or multiple jobs at one time, the rules change. Your team doesn’t know all the aspects of the job, how long it should take, what’s next.
So they muddle through, waiting for guidance, or worse, they stop for extended smokos and wait for your next instruction.
All the details are in your head. So you try to make sure everything is done right by controlling everything yourself.
This doesn’t work so well. There are too many moving parts. You can’t be everywhere at once.
So hours start blowing out on jobs, your team starts making too many mistakes, not everything gets billed out, and you end up arguing about variations with clients.
These are symptoms you’ve lost control, affecting both your stress levels and your profit in a big way.
Thing is, you can’t be running a whole business all by yourself. It’s not smart. Or possible.
Even when you have a small team, if you are attempting to wear too many hats, profitability is going to suffer.
It’s dangerous to allow your business to rely too heavily on you.
As the saying goes, small leaks sink ships. As in, the cold hard cash you worked so hard for is slipping through your fingers, unseen.
Which can certainly lead to going broke — as we have seen with many bigger players.
And being that the captain goes down with the ship… well… I don’t want that to happen to you.
How to stop the leaks
First thing is, as the captain, you should spend most of your time at the helm directing the ship, not down in the engine room. Running a tight ship is the only way to control the job and stop profit leaks. you do this by putting solid systems in place. And training your crew to work the system. Every time. Whether you’re there or not.
KEY THINGS TO WATCH
Leaks due to hours blowing out on jobs
Make sure your team knows (before they start) how many hours you have allowed for the job. Give them this as a target so they’re not just plodding along. And track how they’re going, so they know if they’re winning.
Leaks due to variations
Make sure you get agreement with the client (in writing) on all variations — and record accurately, so there are no arguments over the bill.
Leaks due to billing (notbilling out all the hours, materials, etc on jobs)
Make sure everything is billed promptly and correctly. Like clockwork. So that nothing is forgotten (as it can be if you wait too long after the job). Even better if this process is delegated and happens automatically.
Leaks due to call backs
Minimise mistakes. Make sure you have checklists and procedures so the job is done right. Implement standards so everyone is accountable and knows what’s expected.
Leaks due to your staff taking too long on breaks
Make sure everyone knows what the rules are — and make sure they always know what’s next!
Leaks due to delays
Make sure (no matter how small the job is) that there is a project manager in charge of planning, who ensures the team goes into the job fully loaded, materials are onsite, checks jobsite is ready for you, etc. Plus, have a Plan B or other work lined up in case of unexpected delays.
Leaks due to supplies and materials
Make sure everything is recorded. Do regular stocktakes of vans and workshops. Check invoices to make sure everything is invoiced to you from your supplier at the correct rates and discounts. Then check against your quote to make sure everything is invoiced on to the client.
That’s it. You’re all set.
Assuming you’re pricing your jobs correctly in the first place, this is a highly effective way to make a lot more profit, without doing any more jobs. And it’s a lot less stressful, too. Minimising leaks is one thing. But what if you could next level your profits? Find out the five simple steps to make your tradie business grow financially and get more cash in the bank. Get your free guide here: www. nextleveltradie.co.nz/guide/.