HR & Staffing Productivity Trades & Services

Tradie Mistake 1 – Not Showing Up

Written by Jon Dale

It’s quite a common phenomenon – you (the customer) have a problem or a need for a trade, and you jump on Google or ask a friend and make a call or two – and only some of them show up.

I heard this story from a friend. She was doing a bathroom renovation and she needed a painter and a plumber. It was about $7000 of work altogether. She called a painter, he didn’t show up. She called a second painter, he showed up late but he got the work. 3 Plumbers failed to show up! Number 4 showed up and quoted and she gave him the work. Then he vanished into thin air. Didn’t answer phone calls, etc. So, she called another plumber who showed up, and quoted, and she gave him the job, and had a successful engagement. Interestingly, the other plumber came back from his 3-week holiday (the one who hadn’t bothered to tell her about) and had the nerve to be pissed off with her for hiring someone else.

What’s the lesson here?

There are three:

1. This is not not unusual.

It’s well known that it’s hard to get tradies to show up. So this means, if you can do it properly or you (or your people) show up when you say you will, you already have a significant advantage.

From my perspective (a business coach whose job is to help people make money), investing in the systems to make sure your business doesn’t do this is a worthwhile investment. You should do it. It’s (partly) how you’ll win.

2. Price vs risk.

One of the differences between the smaller guys, the one-man band and the slightly bigger structured and systematised trades businesses is exactly this — the small guy doesn’t have the systems, forgets or gets stuck on a job or whatever, and working with those small guys comes with frustrations.

That’s why the business that does invest, can charge more – and has to – because the service is better.

3. Those guys (or the businesses) that didn’t show up wasted their marketing money.

They spent money on Google Ads, a website, or an ad in the paper, or signage, or they built up a reputation and got referred, or whatever. They then wasted it by not showing up.

Don’t do that! If you work with a business coach, you can build systems that manage that. It’s part of how you grow successfully. You:

  • Use job management or project management tools and electronic diaries
  • Set rules and document things
  • Don’t juggle your mobile when you’re on a job

As you grow, you hire people to run these systems for you so they work no matter how busy you are.

This stuff is not hard. It takes a decision, and commitment, and some investment of effort, and probably less money than you think.

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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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