There comes a time in most tradies’ lives when the next step is to start your own business. Being your own boss gives you the freedom to determine what hours you work, what projects you take on and how much you’re paid. Being the captain of your ship comes with many great advantages, but it also comes with more responsibility.
We know you’re on the road a lot, which probably means your van doubles as tools storage and an office. People love to call you when you’ve got one hand down a drain or when you’re in the middle of rewiring a power board, so you’re forever scribbling notes on any piece of paper you can find. But even though you’re used to the grind of manual labour, when it comes to your admin, that way of doing things wastes a lot of time.
Just because you’re a one-man-band doesn’t mean you can’t successfully build and run an efficient trades business, in fact, it’s probably even more important that you do. The key is using technology like job management software to optimise and simplify the way you run your business.
What is Tradify?
Tradify is a job management solution for small trade businesses – including sole traders. Whether you’re a builder, a plumber or an HVAC specialist, Tradify works to cut out the double-handling and streamlines job tracking. That includes everything from enquiries through to quotes and invoices – and all the other bits and bobs in between.
Tradify’s features explained
For most trades work, especially emergency jobs, the faster you can hit send on a professional-looking quote, the better chance you have of winning the job. With Tradify, it’s easy to create custom templates, pricelists, and kits that help you speed up the quoting process and ensure your quotes stand out from the crowd.
Quoting used to take sole trader, Mick Oates days at a time. He’d visit a site, then look up price lists for materials – which often resulted in him losing out on the work because his quote took too long. Tradify has changed all that.
“Tradify has saved me days and days of time. When a job comes up, I have those kits set up, so I don’t have to build quotes from scratch every time. All I need is a quantity, and I can do that quote in half an hour.”
Track every billable hour of your time
In Tradify, you can also track your time and allocate costs to a job as they happen. Then once you’ve finished, it only takes a matter of minutes to create and send an accurate invoice so you can get paid as quickly as possible.
Electrician John Bosilijevac mainly works for one contractor, so he tracks his hours in the system and then turns them quickly into an invoice.
“Even taking that into consideration, the savings I make in time are enormous. I can also look however far back I need to – it helps me remember!” says John. “I find Tradify incredibly easy and a great help.”
Tradify has partnered with Stripe to offer a secure online credit card payment option. When your customers receive their digital invoices, a “Pay Securely Now” button enables them to immediately make payment, and once the payment has been processed, you’ll be sent a receipt.
Automated follow-ups make things easy
Tradify’s automatic payment reminders will save you from doing manual follow-ups – and help you get paid faster. Once you’ve sent an invoice, customers will receive their first reminders three days before the invoice is due (if they haven’t paid already). From there, they’ll continue to receive automatic reminders until they’ve settled their bill in full.
Previously, it would take Lee Fisher three or four phone calls or emails over a couple of months to follow up on any late payments for his electrical work. The automated reminders have reduced his follow-up time by 25%.
“I had one client call me the other day and mention the payment reminders. His invoice had been outstanding for well over a month. I said, ‘I’m not being funny, but if you paid the bill, the reminders would stop.’"
X-Ray Vision gives you greater insight into quoting/invoicing customers
Quotes and invoices make up the backbone of your business, so it’s important to get them right. If you’re too slow to quote, you risk missing out on work. If you invoice late, you’ll find it harder to manage cash flow. Tradify’s x-ray vision feature lets you see whether your quotes and invoices have been delivered, if clients have opened them, and if they’ve accepted them.
Carpenter Pete Langford says Tradify has drastically reduced the number of hours he spends on his admin, giving him time to take on more work – or get out on his motorbike on the weekends.
“[X-ray vision has] cut my time spent on admin by approximately half and gives me a better idea of where my clients are at.”
I’m on the hunt for more work – how will Tradify help me?
Customers can direct enquiries to your business from several places – your website or email – and Tradify can easily manage all of them. The enquiries feature lets you import work orders, customer enquiries and any other form of work request into your Tradify account.
Having everything in one place will help you reduce your response times and keep communication with different clients organised. For Terry O’Sullivan, this function has put a stop to him losing track of his text and phone enquiries.
“If I get customers ringing me, I’ve saved a link on my phone, so I copy it and send it to them straight away. The enquiry stays unread until I do something about it.”
Syncs with the best accounting software
You can seamlessly integrate Tradify with either Xero, MYOB or QuickBooks Online, allowing you to push and reconcile invoices with just one click. You can also import customers and pricelists from Xero into Tradify and reconcile bills in your accounting system.
Health and Safety features
In the wake of COVID-19, the pressure has mounted on trades business owners to ensure a safe working environment while maintaining the cash flow they need to survive. Over the past couple of months, Tradify has released new features, like contact tracing reports, to help make health and safety protocols easy to implement – without affecting cash flow.
Get it done from your pocket
The right software should be easy to use from any device, whether you’re at home, moving between jobs or on a worksite. It should have all the features a one-man trades business needs to easily track jobs from enquiry through to quote and invoice – and everything in between.
“You’ll never drop the ball if the info goes into Tradify because it’s all in one central place. You’re not wandering around being disorganised and constantly fighting fires,” says Pete.
Getting your life back with Tradify
Fishing, surfing, time with the wife and kids, binge-watching 80s action films, reading, tinkering in the shed, building a microlite, playing sport, BBQs with your mates, running, racing on the track, racing on the Playstation, watching Game of Thrones...
Are you missing any of these things because you’re busy working on your trade business in the evenings and on weekends?
Tradespeople are time-poor people. Many are working 6-7 days a week trying to get ahead, and are spending every spare moment working on the books. Running a trade business isn’t just about being awesome at what you do – there’s all that other painful business admin you’ve got to manage.
Here are some simple things you can do to make your life easier and free up a bit of that time. Tradify can help you with many of these things. Below are five things you can do to get started.
Saying 'no' to rubbish jobs
You know the jobs I’m talking about – the ones where you drive for an hour just to make $20, the ones for the clients who sound totally bonkers, the ones you just know are going to be more trouble than they’re worth.
It’s tough to turn down work, especially if you need the cash, but by freeing up space in your schedule, you make time for bigger, better jobs.
Planning your driving
Our research shows that driving is one of the biggest hassles for tradespeople. You can cut down on this by planning your drives for the week in advance, and scheduling in jobs and trips to suppliers around the shortest distances.
If you’re driving with others in the car, and you’re using a job management app like Tradify, you may be able to get them to take over behind the wheel, while you send out a few quotes or invoices.
Getting your family involved
One of the biggest complaints we hear from tradespeople is that they don’t have enough time with their families. Depending on the age of your kids or your partner’s abilities, there may be ways to involve them in the business. This enables you to get stuff done faster, as well as spending time with your loved ones.
Your partner may be a whiz at getting through the quoting. Kids may be able to put your tools away in the evening, or help you manage your website.
Getting professional help
You don’t have to do it all. If there are aspects of your business that have you stuck, set aside some funds to get a professional to deal with them for you. Hire an accountant to manage the books. Get a part-time admin person to sort the jobs and answer the phone. Find a graphic designer to make the website.
Life’s too short to do things you’re not good at. Hire others to do it, instead.
Managing your business in the cloud
So much admin in your business comes from dealing with paperwork. Writing out quotes and invoices, finding all the receipts, sorting the accounts, chasing your staff for timesheets…
Getting all this into the cloud using Tradify means that you can streamline ALL these processes. Stuff that used to take hours now takes minutes. It’s a total game changer.