As a tradie wife, I could see that my husband was drowning in his business. Like so many others, he simply couldn’t do it all! So we made some decisions and I stepped into the business on a part time basis, which was fantastic, however I really didn’t know what I could do to assist. As most of us do, I started with the paperwork. Not willing to tackle the reconciliation, I would enter the data, create and send invoices and that was about it! I still had plenty of time on my hands, so went looking for more to do.
Here are 5 ideas that really helped the business move forward and stop my husband from working crazy hours!
1. Cashflow forecasting – Ok, so not sexy. In fact, in the beginning, it was down right horrible! Nevertheless I persisted, and over time, with the builders assistance, I could predict our income and outgoings for a 6 month period. This meant we could see the cash gaps BEFORE they became an issue! You’ll need help in the beginning as you learn how to predict the expected income and in time, you’ll be a pro, just like me!
2. Answering the phone – the BEST thing we ever did in business was take the phone away from the builder. We did give him another one for subbies and the team to reach him on when necessary, however it came with strict conditions on when and what they called for. The rest of the calls came to me. It meant I could filter who got to take his precious time away, and who didn’t. I can tell you, us wives tend to be more ruthless than many of our tradies!! Admittedly, I found it challenging in the beginning as I battled with impostor syndrome. But with vulnerability came great connections with others, who were more than willing to help me learn. You can do it too!
3. Scheduling – another game changer for our business. The builder, like many tradies, is a people pleaser and tended to swap and change depending on who was screaming loudest! After a few too many stuff ups, I took over the scheduling. Combined with the phone answering, this really allowed everyone (clients included) to have a clear map to work towards. Again it took me a while to understand how long a job might take, though having the builder be clear about the hours allowed during his quotes meant I could have all the information at my fingertips. It came with an extra bonus – we were able to work on our productivity, as the team knew how much time they had been allowed for a task, instead of them taking as much time as they wished!
4. Marketing – this was a rabbit hole I loved falling into. Marketing is fascinating, especially as you get to learn about the psychology of your clients through the process. There are heaps of free courses to help you find your feet in this area if you’ve never done it before. A large focus of the Tradiepreneur program is ensuring you are marketing the right way to the right people. Shout out if you need a hand!
5. Client contact – I was terrified of this in the beginning, again, doubting my knowledge. I wasted my worry. I think we forget that clients rarely have a clue what to expect and that you as a tradie wife have far more knowledge than they do around your trade. There were definitely times when I would have to refer back to the builder, and the clients were perfectly fine with me not knowing everything. Trust yourself ladies!
Honestly, I’ve only scratched the surface of what you can do in your trade business. It’s important for you to know that your trade business is just like running any other business and the skills you have are transferable.