In a fast-moving business world, doing the same-old stuff is a recipe for disaster. In business, you have little choice but to evolve faster, and in a better way, than your competition.
Just like a boat in a rapidly moving river, you need to be paddling faster than the water to be able to direct your raft. You have to be faster than your competition to win.

Lesson from the tradies

According to trades website ServiceSeeking, WA plumbers are able to earn $87.67 an hour; meanwhile the average rate for all trades is $60.88 per hour which pips most bookkeepers to the post once you factor in scope creep.

Consumers will do a search for a tradesperson, some will ask for an hourly rate but most will be faced with a quote based on the job description. For example, for blocked drains, you may get a quote like this: ‘From $99’. It’s a fixed cost with an obvious variance factor built in – just like your home builder or renovator who will issue a fixed price contract with ‘variances’. Plumbing, home building and renovations can be highly complex jobs requiring an array of equipment. Indeed in the case of the plumber who is expert at blocked drains, chances are he will be equipped with sophisticated CCVT drain cameras and pipe locators, fitted with the latest in high pressure water jetting equipment and they will, most likely, even make a recording for you in the event that you need to provide proof to an insurance company or strata corporation – lots of scope to add on fees on value basis.

Raising the image

For sure the call to the plumber is usually made under emergency conditions but we, as consumers, also have choices and there are discount operators. None, however, will quote on an hourly rate basis because, as consumers, we want certainty. Once the plumber assesses the scope of the work he will quote for the variances (give or take).

Because of the intense competition amongst the trades, service providers have had to ‘lift their game’. They actively market their business both online and through word of mouth, sign contracts with suppliers to get gear and materials at better rates to reduce overheads and be fully connected by mobile and hand-held, POS payment devices. Many tradespeople continue to upskill themselves and their employees; trades business that do this will give themselves a competitive advantage in a market filled with enterprises with varying levels of service.

Your customers decide whether they buy more, buy again and recommend others to buy. So by identifying the measures that matter most to your customers and improving them you manage for success. Tradespeople offer essential services and are business-savvy enough to meet competitive changes by offering an array of services. One plumber servicing a leaking tap at your scribe’s house noted – after doing a quick inspection around the house – that several taps would need new washers and the like. A bit like Macca’s staff asking ‘Would you like French fries with that?’ The accounting and bookkeeping profession does have something to learn about selling a service.