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9 tips on how to grow as a tradesman

We're all Business

Posted on Tuesday, May 28, 2019

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South Africa needs skilled tradesmen starting their own businesses. It’s key to creating a more prosperous, equal country. The people who require the skills of tradesmen – electricians, plumbers, handymen, locksmiths and satellite installers, for example – range from homeowners to major industries, so the opportunities are endless.


With minimal overheads and a relatively small budget, you can set yourself up for success as a rated tradesman, not to mention helping the South African economy while you’re at it. Here are a few top tips for success:

  1. Have a business website – it is your virtual shop window and you won’t have to spend top dollar. Start with something simple that you can update with images and testimonials from happy customers by yourself. As your business progresses and your budget increases, you can look at expanding your website build.
  2. Harness social media – it’s a free way to provide insight into your work and knowledge. Customers will research your reputation and customers’ opinions of your services, so by utilising social media you can show yourself to be approachable and transparent.
  3. Provide case studies – include pictures and testimonials from happy customers on your website or Facebook page. This is another free way to reassure potential customers who are researching your work and reputation.
  4. Explain what needs to be done simply – don’t presume that your customers know what you are talking about. The more they understand, the more their confidence in you will grow, so help them to grasp what needs to be done and why.
  5. Encourage customers to contact past clients – a potential customer who is choosing between several tradesmen will be reassured by speaking to past customers.
  6. Explain your costs – people are investing in you and your skills, so they will want to know that they are not being taken advantage of. Break down your costs into understandable amounts.
  7. Be honest about timelines – provide a realistic time frame, as well as variables that could affect the outcome such as weather, availability of parts, etc.
  8. View yourself as a brand – while you do need to utilise online marketing channels, much of your business will come to you via word of mouth. Consider yourself as a brand and get a simple logo and business cards created. Use these to hand out to interested people – these are your potential customers.
  9. Collaborate with other trusted tradesmen – if you are a plumber and your buddy is a builder, you could start by agreeing to refer business to each other exclusively. However, consider the quality of the local tradesmen you collaborate with, as any negative experiences may reflect badly on you.

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