Tradie Mistake Number 1: Being A Dodgy Tradie

Tradie mistake number 1: Failing to show up.
It’s quite common that customers try to arrange a quote from a trade and the trade person says they’re going to show, and then don’t. Or they arrange two or three quote meetings, and they don’t all show up.

I heard this story from a friend. She was doing a bathroom renovation. She needed a painter and a plumber. She was spending about $7,000. She called a painter, he didn’t show up. So she took half a day off work, twiddled her thumbs waiting for this guy and had to start again. She called the second painter and he showed up late, but he got the work because she just wants it done.

She called three plumbers who failed to show up to do the work. The fourth guy showed up, was aware of the contract, and then he vanished into thin air — like a genie, gone, didn’t answer his phone calls, was nowhere to be seen, didn’t return his emails.

Of course, she got frustrated, got impatient, called another plumber who came for the quote, who was aware of the contract, did the work, happy days.

And then the fourth plumber came back from his holiday and had the nerve to have the sh*ts because she’d given the work to somebody else even though he’d gone on holiday for three weeks and not bothered to return her calls.

That’s quite a sad story.

What’s the lesson?

There are three lessons today:

1. This stuff is not unusual. I hear this all the time. Its common knowledge and if you’re really honest with yourself, you or your business has done it once or twice too. We’re most guilty of all those things I talked about.

It’s reasonably common. And if you can show up every time, if you can put the systems and the structure into your business so that you don’t fall prey to this mistake, then you’re at an advantage over your competition.

From my perspective (remember I’m a business coach who helps people grow and scale and who helps people put systems and structure in place), I believe this is an investment that’s worth doing. You’ll get customers more easily, and you’ll compare well to the other guys and your customers will give you their business more readily and perhaps at a higher price because you’re more reliable, which is why they want. And I’ve said this a million times. It’s not just about the price. This stuff is very important too. So it’s an investment that’s worth making.

2. Price vs risk. One of the differences between the very small guys — the one-man bands, and the rather bigger or slightly bigger businesses with structure and with systems (and remember that’s what I’m going to try to help you do if I’m your coach) is that, small guys are cheaper, and they come with these frustrations.

If there’s just one guy, he’s likely to not have the systems, structure, or have other people helping him, and he’s/she’s more likely make these mistakes and be unreliable and not show up.

Recommended Reading: Price vs risk (cheap tradies vs expensive tradies)

It goes with the territory of working on your own and being the only guy. Whereas, if there’s a few of you, you’ve got a receptionist (even if it’s a virtual one or an outsourced one). You’re less likely to make these mistakes. You’re likely to have your scheduling sorted out, and if you were with me, your scheduling will be sorted out because that’s what we’ll do.

So you, as a slightly bigger, more structured and systematized business can charge a bit more than those guys who have to be cheaper because the service isn’t quite so good. You have an advantage and you can charge a bit more.

3. The guys or the businesses that didn’t show up wasted all that marketing money. They spent money, built a website and paid for Google ads or did SEO, put an ad in the paper, put signs on their vehicle, or they put energy and effort into building a reputation in their area, they got referred when somebody asked. They did all that work. And then somebody booked a call, and they didn’t show up.

I was going to say didn’t bother to show up, but I don’t think that’s how it is. They didn’t show up because something else got in the way and it didn’t work out. I’ll come back to that thought in another video.

But they wasted all that marketing money and effort by failing to show up and taking advantage of the business opportunity.

Don’t do that. That’s silly.

Put systems in place into your business so that you spend money on leads, and give yourself the maximum chance of winning the business and doing the work that feeds you and feeds the people who work for you.

Be all of this:

  • Diligent
  • Systematic
  • Process-driven

Is part of how you grow successfully.

What you should do?

  • Use a job management or a project management tool or a package — Tradify, one of those things to help you and to help you put structure in place, and to help you manage your time and your people.
  • Set rules and document things (very important). Write stuff down so you don’t forget.
  • Don’t juggle your mobile when you’re on a job. As you grow, hire people to do that stuff for you. As I’ve said before, it’s cheaper than you think. It’s more accessible than you imagine. You don’t have to go spend $40,000 to hire a full-time person.


There are other solutions. You can do this without it being as prohibitive when it’s terrifying as you might otherwise, imagine. This stuff is not very hard. It takes a decision. It takes a bit of discipline and a bit of commitment. I can help, that’s what I do. Please do it. If you’re not ready for coaching, it’s fine.


There are four ways you can engage with me:

1. Subscribe to these emails and get them once a week in your inbox so you never miss a video from me.

2. Join the Trades Business Toolshed Facebook Group where you can watch these videos, ask me questions or talk to your peers.

3. Attend my next Tradie Profit Webinar.

4. Book yourself a 10-minute chat with me. We’ll talk about whether coaching is right for you now and if it is, we’ll go further into the process before you have to make your mind up.

See you later.

Click here to book a money maker call with Jon.