Why Every Tradie Needs a Business Coach


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As a tradie myself, I know and understand how demanding the job is. The long hours, constant hustle, and never-ending ups and downs are all part of running a trade business. But let me tell you, there’s a game-changer that’s been sweeping through the trade industry, and it’s called business coaching

In This Article

What do tradies get from business coaching?

In Australia, there were roughly 1.91 million recorded technicians and tradespeople as of August 2023. This shows how big of a chunk tradies are taking up in Australia’s workforce and economy. Because of the high number of tradies in Australia, the competition is fierce and brings tradies a unique set of challenges and opportunities day in and day out. This is why the role of a business coach is no longer considered a luxury but a necessity for trade businesses looking to flourish and survive the competitive market. 

Tradies, from electricians to plumbers and carpenters to builders, are slowly realising how a tradie business coach can transform how they do business, hence the rising popularity of tradie business coaches. This surge isn’t just about keeping up with trends; it’s about harnessing the potential for personal growth, business development, and gaining a competitive edge in a bustling market.

My Business Coaching Experience

Some years ago, I reached a dead end with my plumbing business. I was constantly drowning in paperwork, juggling calls and emails, and struggling to manage my team, while trying to deliver high-quality plumbing services to our clients. I was almost at my breaking point until a close friend of mine recommended I give business coaching a shot. I was skeptical at first. After all, what would a person in corporate attire know about plumbing? But it was this or closing the business, so I took the plunge! 

Taking the plunge was the best decision of my life! My business coach, let’s call him Jeremy, was a godsend. He didn’t just spout generic advice; he dug deep into the nitty-gritty of my operations, understood the unique challenges I faced as a tradie, and helped me craft a solid plan to streamline processes, improve team communication, and boost profitability. Just within months of my first consult with Jeremy, I felt the results of business coaching. My plumbing team was happier, my clients were more than satisfied, and I had more time and energy to focus on building the business and my family. 

Why is this story important? It sets the stage for exploring the undeniable benefits of business coaching for tradies.

Understanding The Role of a Business Coach for Tradies

If you’re a tradie like myself, you probably know that tradies wear one too many hats: skilled technician, customer service representative, project manager, marketing officer, accountant, and so much more. When you only have two hands, it’s almost impossible to juggle, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and forget about your long-term goals. This is where business coaching comes in and serves as your compass to help you navigate the jungle of running a successful trade business. 

Tradie Business Coach Defined

A business coach is a professional who partners with tradies like you and me to curate and enact effective business strategies for success and growth. Some of their tasks include: 

  • Identifying and resolving issues within your business
    Setting clear goals and targets to work towards
  • Tracking key performance metrics to promote accountability and improvement
  • Advising on critical business situations, such as negotiations, mergers, and product launches
  • Arranging training sessions to educate and promote professional development
  • Providing an outside perspective on your performance and suggesting potential opportunities

What Sets Business Coaches for Trades Apart

If you want to be a successful tradie in Australia, it takes more than just hard skills and a positive outlook. You need to understand the ins and outs of the business landscape, something business coaches know best. This knowledge sets them apart from regular business coaches. Here’s a deeper dive into what truly distinguishes these coaches:

Real-World Experience

Contrary to what we perceive, a lot of business coaches have walked in our boots, having worked in a trade business or owning and running one! They know the challenges we experience, from managing cash flow and dealing with difficult clients to juggling multiple responsibilities from being an owner and a tradie all at the same time. The real-world experience trade business coaches offer is invaluable.  This allows them to relate to our struggles and provide effective solutions that they’ve tried and tested in the past. They understand the nuances of our industry and can offer advice tailored to the unique dynamics of trade businesses.

Extent of Knowledge

Business coaches for tradies are true Renaissance men and women. They don’t simply have experience in being a tradie and running the business; their expertise spans crucial areas such as process optimisation, financial planning, staff management, and marketing strategies tailored for our line of work. This includes streamlining operations to help maximise efficiency, pricing jobs accurately and managing cash flow better, hiring and training high-performing teams, and how we can effectively market our services in line with our target clientele. 

Continuous Learning

We all know that change is constant in the trades industry. New technologies, changing regulations, and client expectations are always evolving, and we are expected to adapt so we don’t get left behind. Business coaches are always in pursuit of new knowledge, meaning they are continuously learning and applying it to create business strategies that can position us one step ahead of our competitors. 

Leadership and Management Skills

It’s not just the technical skills and knowledge that matter. Being successful in your trade goes beyond technical expertise. Strong management and leadership skills are areas where business coaches excel. 

Trade business coaches can teach these qualities and empower us to lead and manage our teams with confidence and clear vision. They teach us to communicate our goals effectively, motivate our team, develop an accountability culture, and push us to continuously become better. 

What are the common challenges tradies face in business?

Like any other business owner, we also face our own unique set of challenges and hurdles. Aside from having to master our craft, whether it’s plumbing, construction, electric works, etc., we have to deal with other things that test our resilience, patience, business acumen, and adaptability. 

  • Time Management: Between long hours on job sites, handling client requests, and managing our teams, it can feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day. I remember this one time when I was knee-deep in a bathroom renovation, and my phone kept ringing off the hook with calls. It was crazy trying to provide service on-site while trying to squeeze in new appointments and meetings.
  • Financial Management: Ensuring we have the right business structures in place, meeting all the legal and tax requirements, and managing cash flow effectively can be a real headache. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to stay up late, crunching numbers and trying to make sense of all the paperwork and money trail!
  • Market Competition: Even though we are confident about our skills as tradies, we know that there is someone out there who is trying to get the same clients. This is why staying competitive and setting yourself apart is a constant challenge. I have to admit, I’ve even tried lowering the prices of my services just to land a job order. 
  • Keeping up with industry changes: The rapid pace of change can be overwhelming. This is what I experienced when new regulations required me to change my work practices, tools, and materials!
  • Hiring and retention: Good people are hard to come by these days, so knowing how to keep them on your side of the court is an advantage! I’ve had my fair share of hiring headaches, from dealing with no-shows to having to let people go because they weren’t a good fit.
  • Customer acquisition: Building a solid client base is crucial, but it’s no easy feat. You have to learn how to market yourself effectively, retain and build good relationships with your current clientele, and be quick to spot new opportunities. The number of hours I have slaved to knocking from door to door, handing out flyers and business cards, and cold-calling were endless, for the sake of snagging a new client. 

How can a business coach help your trade business thrive?

I know how easy it is to get bogged down in the daily grind of putting out fires and losing sight of the bigger picture. Having a mentor, such as a business coach, on your team can be life-changing. Business coaches aren’t just for big companies! They’ve been a game-changer for me and other tradies, showing us the way to grow our businesses and work smarter. 

Area Benefit Description
Goal Setting & Strategy Chart Your Course Define clear goals, create actionable plans, and develop winning strategies for your trade.
Skills Development Sharpen Your Tools Become a stronger leader, improve communication, and gain financial and business knowledge.
Stay on Track Keep Moving Forward Set key performance indicators (KPIs), track progress, and get the motivation and support you need.
Tackle Challenges Navigate Obstacles Get guidance on overcoming challenges, gain an objective perspective, and make better decisions.
Boost Sales & Marketing Attract More Business Optimise sales strategies, learn effective marketing and branding for tradies, and discover new revenue opportunities.
Streamline Operations Work Smarter, Not Harder Make your processes more efficient, implement systems for growth, and continuously improve your operations.
Personal Growth & Balance Success On & Off the Job Develop strong leadership qualities, build confidence, and achieve a better work-life balance.
Proven Success Stories Real Results for Tradies Increased revenue and profits, improved customer satisfaction, and sustainable business growth.

My personal experience running a plumbing business and enlisting the help of a business coach highlights the importance of a business coach’s role in making your business thrive in a competitive market. Whether it’s through meticulous strategic planning, enhancing our skills as leaders and communicators, or relentlessly pursuing the ambitious goals we’ve set for ourselves, the impact of a business coach is profound and pervasive.

With a business coach on your team, you can reach greater heights! A business coach is your cheerleader and roadmap to success. They’ll help you dream big for your trade business, and then break it down into clear steps you can take. They’ll support and challenge you, giving you the tools and confidence to turn those dreams into reality.

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