In the early days of setting up your own trades business, you’ve got no choice but to wear a whole lot of different hats.
You go from spending your days as a Tradie on the tools, to transforming into an all-in-one office manager, novice accountant, and occasional debt collector in the evenings.
It’s enough to make you think twice about starting your own business - at least it was for me when I was starting to get my plumbing business off the ground.
Then, after those first mad few months, you suddenly find yourself with too much work to handle. You need to hire someone before you run yourself into the ground.
But, who should you hire first? Another Tradie or an Office Manager/Administrator?
Who’s going to help you make more profit and grow your business?
The trades business owner dilemma
Here’s what you need to weigh up.
On one hand, a Tradesperson makes you money. On the other hand, an office person does not earn you any money but, if they do their job well, your profit will increase in the medium to long-run.
How? An office person can help control costs, put in place systems and processes to automate administrative tasks, and leave you with more time to spend out on the job raking up those billable hours.
Tradie = income
As a rule of thumb, I would say always employ an income-producing Tradie ahead of an office person - if it’s your first hire.
If this is you, then check out our tips on how to find great Tradies.
But, this rule goes out the door when it comes to making your third or fourth hire, and you - the business owner - are still burdened with all the admin.
This is when you need to hire an office person to give you some much needed time and headspace to figure out how to grow your trade business.
Groundhog Day blues
Another sign you might need to hire an office person over a Tradie is if you feel like you’re just not making any progress in the business.
Let’s say you’ve had enough of chasing the guys for their hours just so you can get the wages paid on time every week.
Or, you’re completely over chasing money - let’s face it, no one enjoys chasing up on late invoices. And, it’s a very cost-ineffective activity (especially if you’re not using job management software with invoice reminder automation).
If those types of things are getting you down and getting in the way of growing your business, then it’s definitely time to hire an office person.
Check the numbers first
However, before you list the job ad, make sure the business is making sufficient profit to cover an office role.
In fact, if your budget is too tight, you may need to hire a Tradie first to bring in the extra revenue.
Remember, hiring should always be a financial-based decision.
Make sure the numbers work and take into account your future business prospects and the state of the current economy before making any decisions.
To help you figure out if a new hire is right for your business, download our free profit and loss calculator.