Working in a limited liability partnership (LLP) as a tradesperson
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Working in partnership is more than sharing a trade and tools; it’s about having a strategic vision for the future and working together to get there. Here are some foolproof ways to enjoy a successful and profitable partnership...
What does an average day look like?
It might sound obvious, but when there are two of you, you can be in two places at once. That might mean that one of you can be out quoting on new work while the other sorts out the snagging on the last job, or one of you can be out collecting supplies while the other is on the tools.
It might be that you stick together, whether you’re on the tools, or out meeting new clients, so you can both bring your expertise to bear or get work done at double speed. Invariably if you are going to make the most of your partnership, you'll probably end up giving yourself roles that play to your strengths.
Map out business requirements
Some of the key areas you need to take care of are:
- Day-to-day management
- Finance and bookkeeping
- Invoicing and payments
- Estimates and quotes
- Marketing and business development
- Legal, technical and professional training
- Staff management
- Logistics and diary
- Materials and tools
- Client liaison
- Site management
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The key to a successful partnership involves sharing out the jobs to ensure that everything is completed.
Some good habits to get into:
- List out of the roles - Write down what you need to do daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly. Include everything, no matter how mundane or boring and an idea of how much time it will take.
- Distribute tasks - Sit down with your partner and figure out a fair division of the work. Together, you’ll need to cover everything. While running a business isn’t always easy or fun, you’ll halve the pressure by working together.
- Write it down - Once you’ve agreed on your roles and responsibilities, write them down somewhere. This can act as a bit of a job description; it also protects you personally if your partner isn't pulling their weight.
- Re-evaluate - Sit down regularly and share your experiences. Re-evaluate priorities, tasks and roles and continue to hone what works.
Identify your goals strategy
A successful partnership involves much more than simply getting the job done; it’s about building a sustainable business that can grow.
You don’t need a grand strategic plan, but you should have some agreed goals.
These should include both long-term aims and short-term objectives.
In practical terms, you should have a vision of where you want to be in a year, and in five years.
Write these out and agree on them. Once you’ve written them down, you can focus on achieving them together.
Tips for a successful partnership
- Have a shared work email address - You should have an email account for your business that both partners can access, so you can both stay in the loop with all your communications.
- Have a shared telephone number - A shared telephone number should ensure that no calls are missed or enquiries unanswered.
- Use a shared calendar - A shared calendar that’s updated immediately is critical for booking and managing jobs. You can use an online calendar or a paper one, whatever works for you.
- Accountancy software - Online bookkeeping and accountancy software can make it easy for you and your partner to manage your business, including keeping track of invoices, seeing who has paid and who hasn’t, and logging expenses.
- Conduct a regular review - Put a date in the diary to review how things are going. If tasks are taking longer than expected, or are more complex or challenging, then be upfront. Honesty and open communication is the basis of a successful partnership.