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2 mins tradie tips

The simple solution to managing unused materials



I’m a big advocate for ordering materials correctly and not overbuying, but I’m also realistic and understand that sometimes it’s not always possible in the real world. Because yes, if you’re heading to a job and don’t know what type of fitting you’ll need, it’s quicker and easier to take a few options so you know you’ll have the right one on hand. Even though it went against my own rules, I’ll admit I’ve even done it myself on the odd occasion. But, what happens with the unused stock afterwards? Is it costing you money?

If you’re like the majority of tradies, you hold onto the surplus materials, leaving them in the van until they can be used on another job, at some stage. No, no, no, no, no! Why would you want to leave potentially hundreds of dollars worth of stock rolling around in the van for a few months waiting for that magic opportunity (if you even remember it’s there!) - and, more importantly, can you afford it?!

The simple solution: return all unused stock to the supplier for credit.

You also don’t want to waste the money you’re getting back from the credited stock on paying the tradies to drive it back to the supplier. So, you have to put a system in place that reduces the time spent crediting materials and is super easy to follow.

Here is what I did in my own business to make the credit process super simple…  

  1. When you get materials, make sure they’re in a bag or box. Keep the delivery docket/receipt and stuff it into that bag or box - don’t throw it away.
  2. When the tradie goes out to do the job, they record what’s been used on the delivery docket then put the bag or box back in the van - with the unused stock still inside.
  3. Next time they’re in the office they hand it in.
  4. At the end of each week, the office team processes all the returns in one go and sends the excess stock back to the suppliers in bulk, for credit.

The net result: an easy system for the tradies on site to follow, the customer is happy because they got what they needed, and you get to enjoy the benefits to the bottom line. Job well done. Not to mention you’ll avoid that awful chaos of an overstocked van, which is priceless!

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