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INTRO A tradesman spending too much time in the slow lane!

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DelteQ

New Contributor
Jan 10, 2021
6
11
13
Firstly, I'd just like to express my gratitude on finding this forum and the information within it. It seem like a fantastic community driven by @MJ DeMarco and all of the active contributors.
I have spent the majority of my Sunday afternoon trawling through the information on here, finding so many answers to questions I already have and opening doors to subjects I have not even considered yet. So, I signed up and am making it my upmost priority to read both TMF & Unscripted.

My position;
I am currently one of two directors in an electrical contracting business, we provide service to many different electrical applications....installation, maintenance, testing etc. We also offer a multitude of other services such as; CCTV, Alarms, Smart homes, audio & video and WIFI. The business earns from the hours we both put in, plus we have 2 subcontractors. My day starts on site at 07:30 and I am not often home before 18:00. It's physical, mentally tiring but rewarding and fun work..... it's my trade and I am proud of it.
After I return home, I am in the office until 22:00 most nights sending invoices, quotes, writing test sheets, organising other paperwork and replying to emails. I spend 20 minutes with my wife eating dinner and that is pretty much our only interaction throughout the day. It's a lot of graft, and my business partner does the same thing, the modern day small trade business requires so much work.
Our aim in the next year is to employ an admin assistant to take over the majority of these tasks and free up some time for the both of us. At this point, I aim to start the side business to free myself from trading time for money.......which I believe at this current moment will be in Digital marketing, aimed at trades people.
My working background started as a junior marketing manager is an engineering firm, to which I learnt basic web design, google Adwords, SEO and the early days of social media marketing......all these skills will be relatively out of date now and I have forgotten most of the important things.
I joined the military as an engineer at 22, after 3 years in the previous job..... this is where I learnt a lot of life experience and became a qualified electrician, and has led me down my current path.

For me now, I believe it's time to take a detour and start aiming big, take control of some free time and create a job that allows me to work from my laptop and travel. The electrical industry keeps me local and keeps me stressed! Growth for our company means more employees, more stress and more risk, which is not a position I'd like to be in in 5 years time.

So, im glad I found the forum, hopefully I can actively interact with others andit will help build the business I'm dreaming of. I look forward to the process.
 

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Andy Black

Dad, Husband, Inbound Marketeer
Staff member
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
May 20, 2014
11,670
46,724
4,306
Ireland
Firstly, I'd just like to express my gratitude on finding this forum and the information within it. It seem like a fantastic community driven by @MJ DeMarco and all of the active contributors.
I have spent the majority of my Sunday afternoon trawling through the information on here, finding so many answers to questions I already have and opening doors to subjects I have not even considered yet. So, I signed up and am making it my upmost priority to read both TMF & Unscripted.

My position;
I am currently one of two directors in an electrical contracting business, we provide service to many different electrical applications....installation, maintenance, testing etc. We also offer a multitude of other services such as; CCTV, Alarms, Smart homes, audio & video and WIFI. The business earns from the hours we both put in, plus we have 2 subcontractors. My day starts on site at 07:30 and I am not often home before 18:00. It's physical, mentally tiring but rewarding and fun work..... it's my trade and I am proud of it.
After I return home, I am in the office until 22:00 most nights sending invoices, quotes, writing test sheets, organising other paperwork and replying to emails. I spend 20 minutes with my wife eating dinner and that is pretty much our only interaction throughout the day. It's a lot of graft, and my business partner does the same thing, the modern day small trade business requires so much work.
Our aim in the next year is to employ an admin assistant to take over the majority of these tasks and free up some time for the both of us. At this point, I aim to start the side business to free myself from trading time for money.......which I believe at this current moment will be in Digital marketing, aimed at trades people.
My working background started as a junior marketing manager is an engineering firm, to which I learnt basic web design, google Adwords, SEO and the early days of social media marketing......all these skills will be relatively out of date now and I have forgotten most of the important things.
I joined the military as an engineer at 22, after 3 years in the previous job..... this is where I learnt a lot of life experience and became a qualified electrician, and has led me down my current path.

For me now, I believe it's time to take a detour and start aiming big, take control of some free time and create a job that allows me to work from my laptop and travel. The electrical industry keeps me local and keeps me stressed! Growth for our company means more employees, more stress and more risk, which is not a position I'd like to be in in 5 years time.

So, im glad I found the forum, hopefully I can actively interact with others andit will help build the business I'm dreaming of. I look forward to the process.
Welcome. Yours is a common story for many business owners. What’s the first thing you’re going to do to get some more of your time back?
 

MJ DeMarco

Administrator
Staff member
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
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The electrical trade is a great skill to have in any economy. Welcome aboard my friend, glad you enjoyed the book.
 

Johnny boy

Platinum Contributor
Speedway Pass
May 9, 2017
936
4,365
987
24
Washington State
There's likely more of an opportunity to turn your existing company into something that better suits your lifestyle goals rather than starting an entirely separate business on the side.

Your unique situation, industry experience, and existing business is an advantage that 99% of people who want to have a successful remote, scalable online business don't have. It would be much easier for you.

Lots of people wouldn't call my lawn care business "fastlane" but it can be managed easily, scaled up somewhat quickly, and allows me to travel and take 3 months of the year off. And if employees are doing their jobs I can peacefully avoid doing much work at all other than giving quotes for a couple hours.

Don't get me wrong, I still work. And I had to work my a$$ off in the beginning too. But, I get plenty of time for my hobbies, I get to sleep in, and I spend plenty of time with my girlfriend. I spent 2 months in Thailand and a couple weeks in India a year ago. This winter I've been skiing a lot.

Your effort is probably being wasted in many ways. I would reevaluate what benefits actually come out of you spending so much time on your work and imagine how you would run your business if you HAD to limit yourself to a couple hours of work a day.

Business changes that can add time back into your life

1. Hire employees to do the actual work
2. Hire customer service and give them an instruction manual for how to deal with customers, new leads, etc
3. Do recurring services or offer an automated quote option so you don't have to travel or waste time dealing with each new customer that will only give you income for a single job. (if you cannot do recurring services, sell to organizations or HOA's so you can sell ONCE and get a job worth 50x your normal size)
4. Stop doing work that wastes your time or causes regular problems or results in a higher rate of complaints
5. Include contracts to protect yourself from bad customers
6. Use autopayments and get customer credit cards on file so you have 0 "unpaid invoices" (useful for recurring services)
7. Change services to be only the basic work that any employee can do to cut down on training, management load per employee, and give you more peace of mind with less risk. Also cuts down on insurance in some cases. Again, recurring services are best. Schedule uncertainty is a nightmare. You always want to be able to make payroll as well.
 

Andy Black

Dad, Husband, Inbound Marketeer
Staff member
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
May 20, 2014
11,670
46,724
4,306
Ireland
There's likely more of an opportunity to turn your existing company into something that better suits your lifestyle goals rather than starting an entirely separate business on the side.

Your unique situation, industry experience, and existing business is an advantage that 99% of people who want to have a successful remote, scalable online business don't have. It would be much easier for you.

Lots of people wouldn't call my lawn care business "fastlane" but it can be managed easily, scaled up somewhat quickly, and allows me to travel and take 3 months of the year off. And if employees are doing their jobs I can peacefully avoid doing much work at all other than giving quotes for a couple hours.

Don't get me wrong, I still work. And I had to work my a$$ off in the beginning too. But, I get plenty of time for my hobbies, I get to sleep in, and I spend plenty of time with my girlfriend. I spent 2 months in Thailand and a couple weeks in India a year ago. This winter I've been skiing a lot.

Your effort is probably being wasted in many ways. I would reevaluate what benefits actually come out of you spending so much time on your work and imagine how you would run your business if you HAD to limit yourself to a couple hours of work a day.

Business changes that can add time back into your life

1. Hire employees to do the actual work
2. Hire customer service and give them an instruction manual for how to deal with customers, new leads, etc
3. Do recurring services or offer an automated quote option so you don't have to travel or waste time dealing with each new customer that will only give you income for a single job. (if you cannot do recurring services, sell to organizations or HOA's so you can sell ONCE and get a job worth 50x your normal size)
4. Stop doing work that wastes your time or causes regular problems or results in a higher rate of complaints
5. Include contracts to protect yourself from bad customers
6. Use autopayments and get customer credit cards on file so you have 0 "unpaid invoices" (useful for recurring services)
7. Change services to be only the basic work that any employee can do to cut down on training, management load per employee, and give you more peace of mind with less risk. Also cuts down on insurance in some cases. Again, recurring services are best. Schedule uncertainty is a nightmare. You always want to be able to make payroll as well.
I was going to tag you but see you beat me to it. Great response. Often the grass is greener under our feet.
 

DelteQ

New Contributor
Jan 10, 2021
6
11
13
Welcome. Yours is a common story for many business owners. What’s the first thing you’re going to do to get some more of your time back?
My first thing to do is simplify our quoting & invoicing system, both are quite labour intensive and require us to keep things up to date.
Which is virtually impossible whilst we are still on the tools on site.

The company is very new, we formed the partnership in November, after both running our now companies individually, so we are still ironing out the creases. But, I'd like to get our systems and processes sorted before we get used to the current way too much.
 

Andy Black

Dad, Husband, Inbound Marketeer
Staff member
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
May 20, 2014
11,670
46,724
4,306
Ireland
My first thing to do is simplify our quoting & invoicing system, both are quite labour intensive and require us to keep things up to date.
Which is virtually impossible whilst we are still on the tools on site.

The company is very new, we formed the partnership in November, after both running our now companies individually, so we are still ironing out the creases. But, I'd like to get our systems and processes sorted before we get used to the current way too much.
It was such a relief when I went from manually creating and sending invoices to setting up automated invoices (especially if they're auto paid!). And I likely didn't send out anywhere near as many invoices as you.
 

DelteQ

New Contributor
Jan 10, 2021
6
11
13
There's likely more of an opportunity to turn your existing company into something that better suits your lifestyle goals rather than starting an entirely separate business on the side.

Your unique situation, industry experience, and existing business is an advantage that 99% of people who want to have a successful remote, scalable online business don't have. It would be much easier for you.

Lots of people wouldn't call my lawn care business "fastlane" but it can be managed easily, scaled up somewhat quickly, and allows me to travel and take 3 months of the year off. And if employees are doing their jobs I can peacefully avoid doing much work at all other than giving quotes for a couple hours.

Don't get me wrong, I still work. And I had to work my a$$ off in the beginning too. But, I get plenty of time for my hobbies, I get to sleep in, and I spend plenty of time with my girlfriend. I spent 2 months in Thailand and a couple weeks in India a year ago. This winter I've been skiing a lot.

Your effort is probably being wasted in many ways. I would reevaluate what benefits actually come out of you spending so much time on your work and imagine how you would run your business if you HAD to limit yourself to a couple hours of work a day.

Business changes that can add time back into your life

1. Hire employees to do the actual work
2. Hire customer service and give them an instruction manual for how to deal with customers, new leads, etc
3. Do recurring services or offer an automated quote option so you don't have to travel or waste time dealing with each new customer that will only give you income for a single job. (if you cannot do recurring services, sell to organizations or HOA's so you can sell ONCE and get a job worth 50x your normal size)
4. Stop doing work that wastes your time or causes regular problems or results in a higher rate of complaints
5. Include contracts to protect yourself from bad customers
6. Use autopayments and get customer credit cards on file so you have 0 "unpaid invoices" (useful for recurring services)
7. Change services to be only the basic work that any employee can do to cut down on training, management load per employee, and give you more peace of mind with less risk. Also cuts down on insurance in some cases. Again, recurring services are best. Schedule uncertainty is a nightmare. You always want to be able to make payroll as well.
Wow, thanks for such a lengthy reply. Very insightful and I have taken a lot from it. Something we may be doing which could be a detriment to us, is providing a large amount of services.

Perhaps we should look into scaling down the variety of work and focus on a few key sectors. We had looked into pushing the electric vehicle charging points and trying to base a large part of what we do around it. Unfortunately, bigger fish drive the price down by doing a complete install for the same price as we can buy the equipment! Electrical testing is the same, with small one man bands with minimal overheads doing the work for peanuts.

I love the idea of an automated quote system for customers. This would have several benefits for both client and us.
 

DelteQ

New Contributor
Jan 10, 2021
6
11
13
It was such a relief when I went from manually creating and sending invoices to setting up automated invoices (especially if they're auto paid!). And I likely didn't send out anywhere near as many invoices as you.
I did actually try a few pieces of software a while back, to try and automate a lot of the work.

One called Tradify, the other was Servicem8. Both, tailored to construction and service businesses.
They didn't quite fit and I had a few frustrations, so eventually gave up with them and went back to my trusty spreadsheets. I'd love to be able to input costs against jobs as they progress and automatically invoice when the job is complete. Would save a lot of time and energy.
 

Andy Black

Dad, Husband, Inbound Marketeer
Staff member
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
May 20, 2014
11,670
46,724
4,306
Ireland
We had looked into pushing the electric vehicle charging points and trying to base a large part of what we do around it. Unfortunately, bigger fish drive the price down by doing a complete install for the same price as we can buy the equipment!
I know someone else who runs an electrical engineering firm who started doing this and shelved it for exactly the same reason.
 

Johnny boy

Platinum Contributor
Speedway Pass
May 9, 2017
936
4,365
987
24
Washington State
The thing that helped my company was I asked myself a basic question.

How can I get $15 an hour workers to do work that pays us $150 an hour every day.

It eliminated 80% of the work we were doing for people.

I now say "no" to a LOT of stuff.
 

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Andy Black

Dad, Husband, Inbound Marketeer
Staff member
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
May 20, 2014
11,670
46,724
4,306
Ireland
I now say "no" to a LOT of stuff.
That's a sign of someone scaling.

To get started we say "yes" to lots of stuff. To scale we say "no" to lots of stuff.
 

Soundmaxx

Contributor
Aug 25, 2018
32
39
113
Uk
Firstly, I'd just like to express my gratitude on finding this forum and the information within it. It seem like a fantastic community driven by @MJ DeMarco and all of the active contributors.
I have spent the majority of my Sunday afternoon trawling through the information on here, finding so many answers to questions I already have and opening doors to subjects I have not even considered yet. So, I signed up and am making it my upmost priority to read both TMF & Unscripted.

My position;
I am currently one of two directors in an electrical contracting business, we provide service to many different electrical applications....installation, maintenance, testing etc. We also offer a multitude of other services such as; CCTV, Alarms, Smart homes, audio & video and WIFI. The business earns from the hours we both put in, plus we have 2 subcontractors. My day starts on site at 07:30 and I am not often home before 18:00. It's physical, mentally tiring but rewarding and fun work..... it's my trade and I am proud of it.
After I return home, I am in the office until 22:00 most nights sending invoices, quotes, writing test sheets, organising other paperwork and replying to emails. I spend 20 minutes with my wife eating dinner and that is pretty much our only interaction throughout the day. It's a lot of graft, and my business partner does the same thing, the modern day small trade business requires so much work.
Our aim in the next year is to employ an admin assistant to take over the majority of these tasks and free up some time for the both of us. At this point, I aim to start the side business to free myself from trading time for money.......which I believe at this current moment will be in Digital marketing, aimed at trades people.
My working background started as a junior marketing manager is an engineering firm, to which I learnt basic web design, google Adwords, SEO and the early days of social media marketing......all these skills will be relatively out of date now and I have forgotten most of the important things.
I joined the military as an engineer at 22, after 3 years in the previous job..... this is where I learnt a lot of life experience and became a qualified electrician, and has led me down my current path.

For me now, I believe it's time to take a detour and start aiming big, take control of some free time and create a job that allows me to work from my laptop and travel. The electrical industry keeps me local and keeps me stressed! Growth for our company means more employees, more stress and more risk, which is not a position I'd like to be in in 5 years time.

So, im glad I found the forum, hopefully I can actively interact with others andit will help build the business I'm dreaming of. I look forward to the process.
Welcome in the forum!
I'm a plumber, I have posted a thread about tradesman here HOT TOPIC - Any tradesmen in here?

The only reason I haven't done anything yet is that I'm not quite happy to built a human resource system. I've worked on site for years and I've seen a lot.
Although I would concentrate on recurring revenue so I would be chasing contracts both commercial/domestic which is scalable and follows all 5 CENTS! Plus the huge customer base you'll built over the years!

Happy to have you here
Chris
 

DelteQ

New Contributor
Jan 10, 2021
6
11
13
Welcome in the forum!
I'm a plumber, I have posted a thread about tradesman here HOT TOPIC - Any tradesmen in here?

The only reason I haven't done anything yet is that I'm not quite happy to built a human resource system. I've worked on site for years and I've seen a lot.
Although I would concentrate on recurring revenue so I would be chasing contracts both commercial/domestic which is scalable and follows all 5 CENTS! Plus the huge customer base you'll built over the years!

Happy to have you here
Chris
Thanks @Soundmaxx. Great to be here.

Really appreciate the advice and am taking it on board. Are you a plumber based in the UK?
 

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