Tricks of the Trade: Things you wish you’d known when you started work as a Tradesman

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So, here you are. A battle-hardened tradesman of many a tricky or tedious task – plus those many moments when your expertise took you to new heights of excellence – reflecting on the things you’ve learned the hard way.

Life as a tradesman is undoubtedly a process of lifelong learning, problem-solving and keeping an open mind and toolbox handy for everything a job throws at you. Here’s a little reminder of the simple things you wish you’d known when you started out.

Quick favours are anything but

You’ll most likely still receive plenty of these. After all, who doesn’t turn to their trusty tradesman chum whenever they encounter a problem at home? And we can do it all, right? But after years of explaining the severity of situations to family and friends, you’re less likely to anticipate popping in for a brew after work, resolving their problem and making it home in time for the news.

It doesn’t take long in the job to learn that most people fancy themselves as a tradesman at heart, and will almost never recognise that a household repair or alteration will take you much more time than they expect to complete.

Jobs are too big or small

In a similar vein, you’ll no doubt have been called out on numerous occasions to a ‘small job’, quickly identified as one mammoth of a multi-team task. For some reason, people never seem to enjoy being told that, either – especially when it comes to fixing a horrifically botched DIY job. And what about the others, who think they need work doing, but actually don’t require any at all?

Tradesmen don’t get to enjoy many journeys that come with a guaranteed end result, which is why patience, communication and integrity can become the most valuable tools we ever acquire.

The never-ending apprenticeship

Every committed tradesperson becomes an expert eventually, and most of us naturally develop new skills as we go. But how did ‘Jack of all Trades’ really claim his title? With technology and training in a constant state of change, every tradesman becomes accustomed to adapting their craft to the environment, in order to meet the growing expectations of their customers.

Repeated problem solving becomes par for the course in the life of a tradesman. Equating in practice to endless learning, perhaps this should be written into the specifications at the start of every apprenticeship.

…and the ceaseless paperwork

Whoever said ‘tax doesn’t have to be taxing?’ The people who can make it exactly that, it seems. As with anybody who is self-employed, the January rush to submit the tax return isn’t just mandatory, it’s demanding. Having to switch your skill-set from the practical to the numerical can make for one of the most stressful times of the year, both before and after the deadline.

This is one of the many reasons why it pays to get comprehensive public liability insurance. With legal advice, online legal services and tax and VAT investigations included as part of your cover, you can be sure that any legal problems you don’t know how to resolve yourself will be fully supported.

Allowing you to continue doing what you do best with enhanced peace of mind, such insurance leaves more mental capacity for learning the skills that will keep your business growing. You can get an online quote for your public liability cover in minutes, by using Tradesman Saver’s simple online proforma or calling us on 0800 121 8748.

Tradesman Saver also provides insurance for tradesmen covering a wide variety of professions. For further information, please see our Tradesman Insurance or Who We Cover pages.

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