What makes a successful tradesperson?
Reading time: 5 minutes
Working as a tradesperson can be a hugely rewarding career if you approach it with the right attitude. And like any other job, if you’re not that into it, it can feel more like a slog….
There are plenty of articles about the skills required to succeed as a tradesperson - whether that’s knowing the right tools for the job to being good with your hands - but there’s less advice about having the right mindset for your business to thrive.
MyBuilder founder Ryan Notz worked as a stonemason before setting up MyBuilder and Carl Goulding has years of experience on the tools. Here they share their observations on the attributes that make exceptional tradespeople stand apart from the rest. Grab a brew and read their seven tips for trade success...
Focus on the long term
Why do you get out of bed in the morning and go to work? If money is your only incentive, you’re unlikely to be motivated to put in the hard yards day after day to become a great tradesperson.
The real business killer is taking a short term mindset when it comes to money. Just like other businesses, you need to invest in order to make gains. It’s important to make good long term decisions, whether that’s the jobs you take on or the tools you buy. When you focus on the short term above all else, you miss out on the bigger picture which is often immeasurably more valuable.
Love it or leave it
Focus on what you do and how that adds value for your customers, and in turn that will become positive for your business. If you get into that frame of mind, where you love what you do and appreciate seeing how your skills add value, good things follow - including income.
Most importantly, it makes you happy and happiness is infectious. If you can look back on a job well done and bask in the knowledge that THIS is why you do it, then you know you’ve chosen the right career.
Do the best job you can, not just the job
When you are dedicated to the pursuit of doing something really well, good things inevitably follow. Dedication is the bedfellow of success and the single most important ingredient for any thriving business.
Dedication is living proof of your belief that what you are doing has real value and of a willingness to prioritise and sacrifice. This drives focus, hard work and excellence...and success usually follows not far behind.
Treat each home like your own
It’s amazing (but not surprising) how many times this pays dividends for tradespeople. Clear up properly after the job, stay a bit later to finish a task rather than put it off until tomorrow, put that delivery in a safe place, unpack that new ceramic bath with the care you would if it was yours.
When customers can see that you really care, they will reward you with their trust. And they’ll recommend you to their family and friends...
Life’s just better when people communicate well with each other. What does communicating well mean? It’s about engaging with someone even when it’s tricky or inconvenient and it’s about being transparent, open and respectful.
Remember, there’s likely to be a knowledge gap and customers don’t necessarily know the right questions to ask.
As a business owner, proactive rather than reactive communication will always instill confidence in your clients that you are a professional and that they are in good hands.
When things need to be said, say them. Don’t hold back on delivering a hard truth just because you’re worried about what someone’s reaction might be. And don’t hold back on giving someone praise because you feel embarrassed.
Try your best to share your feelings and be clear about your thoughts, and always do that with respect. Communicating well is a practised art, and as with most things, takes a bit of courage, too.
Own every detail
Be responsible for every last detail of your business, addressing even the smallest issues as they occur. Leaning into and dealing with problems rather than letting them grow into bigger problems will save you time and help you sleep better leading to increased chances of success. This will result in happier customers and a more profitable business as you waste less time and money rectifying mistakes... usually after a complaint.
The end result is increased satisfaction for both you and your customers which enhances your reputation, which in turn leads to more work. This applies to both the way you operate your business and to the way you approach your jobs.
Learn to swallow your pride
Sometimes we all get into tricky situations and unfortunately our emotional reactions can often make things worse. The best way to deal with conflicts with customers is to wait until you’ve calmed down to react. You shouldn’t let yourself be taken advantage of, but nor do you want to overreact or make things worse. There should be a bit of give and take in any relationship and it’s not healthy to get into the mindset of having to always come out on top.
Instead, seek out mutually beneficial solutions or agreements in your relationships with colleagues and customers. Value and respect people by understanding that a win for all is a better long-term resolution than only one party getting their own way.
Like any job worth doing, being a tradesperson can be thoroughly rewarding if your heart's in it. If your passion and soul go into every job you do, then all the rest will follow.