Is there such a thing as a “job for life”? You could be easily excused for thinking that, in 2019, there surely isn’t. However, your stance could change dramatically if you seriously consider becoming a tradesperson this year. Business Advice has hailed a trade as a “job for life”.
It’s true that, as a tradesperson, you could see your specialist skills very regularly called upon. Your career success could be even further elevated if you also follow the steps below.
Get the right qualification for your trade
With tradesmen – including plumbers, electricians and carpenters, to name just a very few – having skills that elude the average person, you can expect a steady stream of business. However, you mustn’t underestimate the value of picking up the right qualification in preparation for your job.
Fortunately, studying for that qualification doesn’t need to drain nearly as much of your money or time as a university degree would. Whereas the latter will cost roughly £9,000, an NVQ plumbing course will set you back only about £1,500 – and you can study while working.
Allocate your work hours thoughtfully
One of the biggest boons of being a tradesperson is that, in being your own boss, you can work the hours of your choice. You shouldn’t neglect to take advantage of this; after all, otherwise, the health of your work-life balance could be at stake.
Your control as a tradesman would also extend to which exact jobs you take on, which allows you to narrow your focus on the kind of work where you know you would especially excel.
Work hard to increase your already favourable pay
It bears repeated emphasis that you can handle responsibilities beyond the capabilities of many ordinary people. However, you shouldn’t just aim for the “bare minimum” when it comes to quality. After all, the better you get at your job, the better pay you can expect to receive as well.
As you do refine your prowess in your trade, you should make that improvement count by tapping effectively into the power of word of mouth – a point to which we will later return…
Choose an especially good place to be a tradesman
Have you ever dreamt of living in a specific part of the country? Good news: because tradespeople are widely in demand, you can probably easily mine a reliable run of revenue in that dream location.
However, you might also want to carefully consider which UK regions suffer from the largest shortages of tradespeople per capita. Business Advice has reported that the North East of England, for example, has just one tradesman for every 305 households. That compares to London’s noticeably healthier ratio of one tradesman for every 131 homes.
Recruit apprentices to spur growth
As more and more work heads your way, you could work with an apprentice to help yourself handle it. In this way, adding an apprentice can be about much more than passing your expertise onto a future generation of tradespeople – though that is, of course, very worthwhile.
Whether you are a sole trader or self-employed tradesman, taking an apprentice under your wing could help you to tackle specialities that were previously outside your remit.
Invest in suitable insurance to protect your business
Despite the supposed comfort of a tradesperson’s working life, you could still see yourself facing competition for lucrative work – especially if you work in a region relatively abundant in active tradespeople. Holding the right insurance could help you to stand out in this marketplace.
However, that insurance can prove far from merely a nice marketing tool; it could also financially protect you, your customers and your livelihood. Fortunately, insurance policies from Tradesman Saver come with various covers, including public liability insurance, as standard.
Try not to rely just on offline word of mouth
Word of mouth has long been responsible for fostering the corporate health of various trades. If you currently work as a tradesman, you might be encouraging this by distributing print advertising materials. However, we would urge you to seek online channels for your marketing, too.
That’s because, these days, customers often look online for recommendations. One survey mentioned by Bytestart.co.uk reported 92% of consumers judging a local company’s quality from online reviews, and 87% of people reading as many as ten reviews for the purpose of research.
Use social media to market yourself for free
If you are a relative newcomer to online marketing, it makes sense to dip your toes into the social media waters first. After all, social media is free to use.
Social media sites that can prove especially useful for tradespeople include Facebook – which, according to the previously mentioned survey, customers often use to screen local businesses. If you are targeting larger jobs, though, the more formal LinkedIn is an especially good place to be.
Register your company on a trusted online review site
While social media can be used for free, you probably shouldn’t entirely disregard the idea of spending a little money on membership of a trusted online review site. Popular websites in this category include Checkatrade, Which? Trusted Traders and Rated People.
However, be careful to heed which hurdles you would need to jump in order to secure membership of a site you are especially considering. Checkatrade, for example, subjects each of its applicants to a background check – and, if you fail to keep up your work’s quality, the site might opt to suspend you.
Aim to foster online reviews that are both positive and genuine
Naturally, getting positive reviews from customers starts with, quite simply, providing a high-quality service. Stay friendly, reliable and professional – right through to when, as you ought to do, politely ask customers to post online reviews of their experience with your company.
Keep the reviews authentic, too; customers could too easily sniff insincerity on a reviewer’s part. Thank customers who post positive reviews, and professionally and diplomatically handle negative feedback that makes its way onto the internet.