Tackling 6 of the biggest concerns for tradespeople

 

Customer payments

It comes as no surprise that getting paid on time, or at all, is a top concern for 64% of tradespeople. You can put measures in place to help streamline your payment procedure to avoid any late or missed payments.

For example, if you haven’t already, it’s time to consider taking on a remote card payment machine, such as Sum Up, to allow you to take payments on the go. After a job is completed and the customer is happy with the finished product, you can take invoice payment on site. Most of these payment machines will also coincide with accounting software too, such as Quickbooks and Xero.

Ensure you set clear payment due dates with your customers, stated in writing or on your invoice given. In the case of persistent late payments, it is worthwhile looking into late payment penalties.

If your customer doesn’t pay their invoice on time, you have a statutory right to claim interest from them, under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act.

Securing the next job

In tough economic climate and a competitive market, it’s natural for tradespeople to worry about securing that next job.

The most powerful tool to expanding your customer base has and will always be word of mouth. References from previous customers online and friends and family recommendations are just two ways to ask your customers to spread the word on your services.

If you still find that business is slow to pick up, then consider expanding the services you offer or expanding your reach. If you currently operate in a 10-mile radius of your home, could you expand it to a 20-mile radius reach?

Expanding the services you offer is an option that some tradespeople could look into. If you’re an electrician and aren’t working with smart home installations and that is something customers are requesting, maybe it’s time you looked into it to check the requirements and if this is an avenue for your business.

Extensive, wired in smart home installations can sometimes prove too complex for the average homeowner and are beyond the realm of a simple home hub plug in. If you have a string of customers seeking out this type of complex installations, it may be time to look into a course which specialises in such extensive work.

Ultimately, the amount of services you offer will benefit you in future as it means you can expand your customer reach. But remember to not spread yourself too thin, and choose services that are an extension to your core offerings.

Remember, it’s important to always remain professional with customers and to represent yourself well, as happy customers will always be happy to leave reviews on your business.

Customer reviews

First hand customer reviews are essential for any business growth. To encourage reviews, you could send a link for your customers to leave a review on your website or review hosting site. Google can act as a great review hosting platform for your customers, and it has the added benefit that these reviews will show up on search results for your business and on your Google business page.

If you receive a bad review along the way, remember to handle them as politely and professionally as possible. If it is your business, it’s natural to take it personally but you must be able to take into account the customer side before replying appropriately. In most cases, it helps to reach out and speak with the customer over the phone to talk through any issues and see if you can find a solution.

Completing necessary paperwork

You should remember to allocate time during your week to ensure that you are completing paperwork and quotes for customers in a timely manner. Don’t let the quotes mount up for you to tackle all at once, as you may forget some important bits discussed with the customer.

After visiting a customer’s home for a quote, start work on the quote towards the end of the day if you can. Take notes during quotation too, to ensure you are remembering everything.

Social media profile

In this digital day and age, a social media presence can add huge weight to your business. By creating a social media profile, you can expand your business, networking with other tradespeople and also allow customers to find you and see a portfolio of your work online.

You can join communities online, share before and after photos and videos of your installation and connect with others by sharing content and leaving comments. All of these things help with expanding your customer reach, but on a national scale instead of local.

Building up your social media presence can take time, but you can take small steps by sparing just 10 minutes of your day to give job updates and share your experiences.

Taking time off due to illness or injury

Having to take time off is a worry for any self-employed individual, should you fall ill or have an injury. You need to check what cover you have in place to protect you from loss of earnings while you are out of work. Before taking the plunge and buying the first insurance you see, it’s best to check to see if you have mortgage protection insurance in place already.

Income protection insurance is the most common type of insurance that will cover you if you have to take an unexpected leave of absence from your business. Covering a percentage of your income or essential payments such as your mortgage, this type of insurance is available in both short term and long term. Short term is suitable for short fixed amounts of time, up to a year, and therefore most applicable to illness or injury.  However, it is important that you check for any exclusions set within your insurance.

Freelancers and self-employed workers are also recommended to apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

So if you haven’t got any income protection or sick pay insurance for you, then it is time to look into which type of insurance cover is most suitable for you.

Want to continue reading? Take a look at our blog on customer and tradespeople’s pet peeves!

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