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Do I need to hire more staff for my trade business?

Reading time: 4 minutes

As your reputation grows and you get more work, you might want to grow your team. Here are some tips on what to think about if you’re planning on taking on more people...

There are different ways of growing your team, depending on what you’re trying to achieve.

  • Taking on subcontractors - If you only need specific people for certain jobs, you probably want to go down the subcontractor route. This gives you the freedom to take on trusted tradesmen for specific jobs when you need them. To find out more about how to hire subcontractors, visit our dedicated article here.
  • Employ people - If you think you’ll need a bigger team on an ongoing basis, you might want to consider employing people. This gives you stability and loyalty, but can bring extra responsibilities and admin. Find out more here.

Many people in the trades who are currently working as subcontractors should probably be classified as employees, but it can be easier for both parties to rely on the greater flexibility of the subcontractor arrangement.

However you take people on, there are various layers of admin you’ll have to deal with, whether that’s registering for CIS or getting started with PAYE.

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How to find new people

When it comes to growing your team, there are a few ways you can look for people to come and work for you.

  • Recruitment websites - There are dedicated sites for finding subcontractors, like supersubbie.com and findasubby.com, but you can also use trade messageboards and dedicated groups on sites like Facebook to find people. You can also make use of sites like MyBulder to check out the profiles of potential subcontractors - read their reviews, check their experience and see if they have the right skills and background for what you need.
  • Word of mouth - Whether it’s asking friends and family or posting messages on social media, finding people based on recommendations can be useful.
  • People you’ve worked with - Maybe you’ve worked for someone else at the same time as another trade and got on with them, or admired their work. There’s a lot of networking within the trades, so keep in touch and when you’re looking to add people, see if they’re interested and available.

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Finding the right people

Growing your business is exciting, but can be a worrying time because you’re trusting the reputation you’ve built up to other people. To make sure you find the right people who will add value and won’t risk your reputation, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Do your homework - Interview someone before they come and work for you. Ask the right questions and find out about their skills, background and what they’ll bring to your team. Imagine them meeting your customers - are you happy with them representing you?

  • Be upfront - Honesty is the best policy. If you are taking someone on, tell them exactly what it is you do, how you do it, and what you expect from them. The clearer you can be here, the more time you will save later.
  • Check them out on site - How people work on site won’t just give you a chance to assess their skills. It’ll show you how they deal with people and how they’ll represent your business and fit in with the people they’re working with.
  • Think about how you want them to work - If you want someone who’s going to do things your way rather than their own way, you might want to take on someone younger or less experienced so you can teach them the way you want things done.
  • Don’t take it personally - People will come and go, that’s how it works in construction. Don’t expect people to care as much about your business as you do, and don’t take it personally if they decide working with you isn’t for them. It’s just how it goes.
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Making sure you work as a team

Once you’ve taken on extra people, making sure they all feel part of the team is important:

  • Encourage them to be a team - Setting up a work Whatsapp group can help encourage that team spirit. So can treating your team to a day out or a few beers once in a while.
  • Ask for input - Bringing the team in on what you want from the business and getting their input on projects can be a great way of making everyone feel like they’re in it together.

Growing your team can be a scary business, as you start to move responsibilities to other people and have to put your trust in them. But as scary as it is, it’s also a huge opportunity for you and your business.

Growing your business