From Furlough to Forklift: How to start a business in the trades post-lockdown

In the last month, the lifting of furlough rules has allowed thousands of employees in the trades to return to work. With government grants for green and efficient insulation installations, along with the liberalisation of planning regulations and Stamp Duty cuts, there has been plenty done to help stimulate the trade sectors. With plenty of opportunities being created, it is vital for businesses to hit the ground running and make a success of the remainder of 2020.

Ben Dyer, founder of Powered Now, an app technology designed to take the pain out of admin and paperwork heating and plumbing engineers as well as other sub-sectors, has offered his tips to running a successful trade business.

1. Imagine how good life could be
Imagine life if your staff always did a great job for your clients. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if there never seemed to be any problems – they were all sorted out before you even heard about them?

2. Take care who you recruit
You only ensure getting great staff by recruiting really carefully. So, beware of pressure to act in a hurry. Bad staff will upset customers and lead to disputes and refunds. They will create mayhem unless you are always watching them. Even cheap ones will still demotivate others who will start to wonder why they bother.

3. Keep talking
Talk to your staff. Explain as much as you can about details of the job and your priorities. Don’t assume that they know. The biggest complaint in most jobs is that “nobody told me”. Give them quick feedback when they have finished a job.

4. Pay fairly
Contrary to a lot of belief, salary isn’t a big motivator, although a higher salary does make it easier to recruit. But people will become very demotivated if they believe that they are not being paid fairly. And that will happen as soon as a good person discovers a worse employee is paid more than them.

5. Keep them motivated
Decent people will be motivated when they believe they are being treated fairly and are allowed to take pride in their job. The key point is to always give praise in public, and only criticise in private. If someone has done a poor job or made a mistake, approach them straight away and in private and with an attitude of trying to help them.

Criticism does need to be constructive so that they have a chance to improve. You need to act as the adult and stop any frustration from showing.