As we spend the next couple of days in the satisfied bliss of the annual post-Christmas turkey coma, it’s safe to say that this is the quietest, and most relaxing week most of us will have all year.
Though as tempting as it is to spend it with our feet up, binge-watching all those Only Fools & Horses Christmas specials for the twentieth time in a row, it pays to use this period of downtime to start planning for a successful 2018.
The good news is that we’re here to help.
Yes, your friends at Tradesman Saver have dusted off our crystal ball, dug out that Mystic Meg costume we used at Halloween, and taken a long, serious look at the coming year.
Here, we give you not only our construction industry predictions for 2018, but also our top tips on exactly what you’ll need to meet the challenges that lie ahead and make 2018 your best year yet.
Put a plan together to beat the post-Christmas slump
The weeks following the Christmas holiday see most folks padlocking their wallets shut to recover from the usual overspending, meaning work for the average tradesman can be a little thin on the ground.
But hey, far be it for us to dampen your festive spirit. There’s still plenty you can be doing to grow your business long-term and ensure a financially successful year.
If you don’t already have a queue of jobs stretching into the spring to take care of, now is the time to think about upping your marketing efforts and catching up on all those behind-the-scenes tasks which ultimately ensure that the stuff you’re really good at runs smoothly.
Be ready for new changes in building regulations
In the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, an interim report on building regulations and fire safety by Dame Judith Hackitt was published earlier this month and recommended significant changes to regulations across the industry.
We expect to see these coming into effect throughout 2018 and advise tradesmen to ensure they’re fully informed of new rules and regulations affecting their work.
Start making moves into housing to beat the Brexit blues
You don’t need us to tell you that the ongoing Brexit saga has brought about widespread uncertainty across the industry.
As a result of said uncertainty, 2017 has already seen a sharp decrease in the number of new commercial projects being given the go-ahead, and if all estimates are anything to go by, 2018 looks to be just as bleak for that sector of the market.
Yet that isn’t necessarily the deathblow for the industry as a whole.
The Financial Times reports that house building has already begun to pick up the slack, a trend we’re no doubt going to see continue throughout 2018.
Moving forward, expect more tradesmen beginning to work on housing projects to protect themselves against the damage caused by Brexit.
Sharpen up on security to prevent tool theft
Earlier this month, we reported on the worrying rise in tool theft. Whilst it might be easy to blame the time of year, the sad fact is that all indications point to the number of reported thefts rising even further in 2018.
With that in mind, now is the perfect time to start thinking about upping your security, taking out insurance for your tools, and doing all you can to protect your livelihood.
Keep an eye on skills & training initiatives for the next generation of tradesmen
By all accounts, 2018 looks to be a seriously challenging year for the construction industry, but it isn’t all doom and gloom.
Ending on a more positive note, we expect to see newly qualified tradesmen entering the workplace armed with more know-how and technical ability than in generations past.
In his Autumn 2017 budget, Chancellor Philip Hammond promised an investment in skills and training for the construction industry. Specialist programmes in house building and off-site construction are already in the works, and it’s worth paying attention to how these impact the way you recruit in the future.
After all, with the brightest and most talented tradesmen at your disposal, the coming year could well turn out to be your best one yet.
What are the biggest challenges and changes in the industry that you foresee happening in 2018? What are your top tips for ensuring success in the year ahead? Let us know in the comments below, or join in the discussion on Twitter or Facebook.