Productivity Trades & Services

Know Your Value as a Trades Business Part 1 – Crowbar vs Bentley

Written by Jon Dale

I saw a post on Carpenters Talk Group on Facebook the other day about a guy, Morgan, who dropped a crowbar off some scaffolding onto a Bentley – caused $55,000 worth of damage.

(I asked his permission to use this but it is a very clear example of why some trades businesses are better for the customers than others).

The gist of the story is that, despite taking appropriate care on the job, (and instructing the customer to move his expensive car) an accident still happened. Wasps made him jump, drop his crowbar, which does a miracle bounce, and damages the Bentley.

Bentleys being Bentleys, the car is $91,000 and the damage cost $55,000 to fix.

Luckily, Morgan had public liability insurance and the the repair costs of the car were covered by his policy.

What’s the lesson?

Well, it’s not about cock-ups and accidents, is it? They happen. No matter what precautions you take and how careful you are, they still happen and anyone who says “not to me” is a liar.

While it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that Morgan did well to protect himself, the real lesson here is about how the insurance protected the customer.

The customer hired a building business that did things properly:

  • They had the right insurance
  • They exercised due diligence

And, even though an accident happened, the car got fixed and it all went quite smoothly.

So let’s think about what might have happened if the client had selected a different builder. Perhaps, a cheaper one who didn’t do things properly, who didn’t have Public Liability insurance.

Where would the client be now?

  • He’d be in court, suing the builder, trying to get the car’s repairs costs paid for.
  • This car would probably still be damaged.
  • The job would probably not be finished because they would be fighting about the car.

Not fun. He might get his money. And he might not – the cheaper, uninsured building company might be found liable, might be able to pay, and might and if not, he might then start the process of winding them up and they might have £30,000 of assets.

Definitely, not a desirable outcome.

And this is what your clients are paying extra for – assuming you’re the kind of business that does things properly – and insurance is an example of that.

As I’ve said before – unless you educate them, your customers are likely to just assume that all builders are the same and will do a good job. They won’t think about this stuff.

It’s your job to tell them and to drive it home so they understand why you are different, and better and lower risk.

Your first job is to get yourself clear on that. Insurance is a nice clear example, but there are many ways your trade business is better than the cheaper competition.


Unwanted accidents happen all the time – and are most likely out of your control. Be smart like Morgan and take out a public liability insurance policy to protect yourself in the event it does. Compare quotes now.

“The opinions expressed by BizWitty Contributors are their own, not those of BizCover and should not be relied upon in place of appropriate professional advice. Please read our full disclaimer."

About the author

Jon Dale

Jon Dale, of Small Fish Business Coaching is a business coach for tradies - trades business owners wanting to grow their businesses. His articles will help you understand how to manage your marketing, sales, operational systems and the people of your business. His program is called the Tradies Toolbox because he hopes you can use it, like a tool, to make more money and build a business you're proud of.

There are a few ways you can explore whether working with Jon is right for you, right now:
1. You can watch these videos - subscribe here to get them emailed every week.
2. You can join the Tradies Business Toolshed Facebook Group and participate.
3. You can attend the next Tools Down Workshop - 2 days of Jon explaining the framework.
4. Or you can book a 10-minute filter call where you and Jon will both look at whether he can help.

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