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The Basics Of Hiring People For Your Trades Business


Click on the video to watch it (Runtime 10 minutes).

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If you’d rather read the transcript it’s here below.


How to hire trades properly

I have a post on this before about hiring people for your business. It’s quite a loaded situation. You really want to get it done, don’t you? You’ve got stuff to do, got a business to run, decided you want a new person, and you really just want it done. You want a new person in the job doing the thing. And that leaves you vulnerable to making poor decisions and rushed decisions.

When you’re looking at a resume or when you’re interviewing someone, your emotion is something like, “Hope this is the right person.”

And it’s a bit true for the person you’re interviewing as well. They come to the interview or submit their resume hoping it’s the job from heaven, the best job ever. They either have don’t work or they’re looking for an improvement from their current work situation, and they want it to be right too.

So you’re both there hoping it’s going to be great and that leaves you both vulnerable to making a sh*t decision.

Hiring the wrong person

It’s easy to hire the wrong person given the environment, isn’t it?

A trade business is a people business. You’re dependent on hiring the people to grow your business. You grow by hiring more people to do the work and by taking your share of the cut.

You need people to run it as well, not just the trade people doing the work. It’s the people running the business, running the operation behind the scenes, in the office, all of that.

If you hire someone who turns out to be no good, that’s a costly error. It costs you the time.

  • You have to rehire someone else
  • You’ve wasted time figuring out that they weren’t doing a good job or weren’t suited or didn’t fit the culture

It’s costly and you’ll regret it when you made the bad decision.

I’m constantly helping people who’ve made poor hiring decisions deal with the fallout of that.

As a business coach for trades people, I see people paying the price for ill-considered hiring decisions, particularly in the new part of their relationship, and it can be very frustrating and costly for them.

I help people grow and scale. You need good people to help you grow and scale your business. You do. You’re reliant on your people. You are your people. Your business really is your people. You’re a trade business. That’s what it is.

If you’re hiring people and then hiring replacements, you’re limiting your ability to grow.

I spoke last week about capacity and about how you grow your capacity to do it by hiring people. If you hire badly and you get caught in that loop of rehiring, you’re not really helping yourself grow.

So this video is about hiring properly with discipline and by being methodical.

Recommended Reading: Trades Business Growth Strategies – How To Increase Your Work Capacity

Hiring with discipline

Hiring suitable people is a bit tricky because of that loaded environment I spoke to you about before. But you can improve your chances of finding good people by using some disciplines and some structure. And like most of my advice, it’s not difficult to understand.

I’m going to teach you a very simple process to follow.

The important is the ‘doing it’ – the sticking to the process and the being disciplined and not just going “Thank you, you seem nice,” and hiring somebody (which is very common).

Be diligent and follow this process instead.

1. Write the job description. What you want this person to do and what do you want this person to be responsible for? What do they own? Write that down.

  • How will you know if they’re doing a good job?
  • How will they know if they’re doing a good job?

Try and keep it short. We just want a description of what you expect them to do.

Don’t just say ‘plumber’. Tell them what we are doing and tell them what they’ll be responsible for.

2. Write down the attributes you want them to have.

I’m thinking things like:

  • Have good attention to detail
  • Be good with people
  • Be clean
  • You want them to be presentable
  • You want them to be punctual
  • Care about doing a good job
  • Be organized
  • Be good at finishing things off

All that stuff. It will be different for different businesses. If you’re more in a craftsmen end of things or if you’re more into getting things done in the phase, you have different attributes that you want people to have.

Write that stuff down, “What do you want this person to be like?”

I’m obviously thinking about a trade person here. But if it was somebody in the office, you might want them to have different attributes like being organized and being able to juggle things more.

3. Write the job ad and write about the job description and the attributes you want. You want someone who’s punctual, someone who’s presentable.

You’re ruling people out here. If your ad says “I need someone who’s presentable” and they see that in your ad and they’re a scruffy bugger, they might not apply. So you’re helping yourself by ruling out that people you don’t want.

  • Remember your job ad is a sales pitch. Saw how exciting the opportunity is.
    • Exciting growing business
    • Great job opportunity
    • Working a fun team, etc
  • Say nice things about the job
  • Say a few things that you want from them
    • “You’re going to be organized, proud of doing good work”
    • “You’re tidy”
    • “You’re presentable”

Write those things in your job ad as well as the pay grade.

4. Filter through some resumes. Don’t bother interviewing the people who clearly don’t fit. Be disciplined here. If there’s nobody that fits, don’t just go and pick somebody who’s the best out of the poor bunch. Wait until somebody good shows up.

5. Interview several people for those attributes and prepare yourself some questions that help you establish whether somebody is punctual, tidy, etc.

And if they show up scruffy and you want somebody tidy, they’re not in a good shape already.

And don’t just say, “Are you punctual?” because everyone’s going to say “Yes“.

Ask some questions where they have to tell a story about being punctual or how often they’re late. Things like that. Do your interviews and select your winner.

6. Check your references. Make sure they’re not lying. Make sure they’re not just putting on a good front for you. Check their last boss or the one before, not just their best mate or their mom. Make sure these are people are real employers, not just their mates.

I know this sounds tedious because it is tedious. That’s several hours of work, maybe even a couple of days.

It is tedious and it is worth it.

The price you’ll pay for a sh*t employee is much higher than a few hours of being a bit disciplined and methodical.

Once you’ve written a job description for the trade in your business, you can use it again and again. You can adapt it as you look for team leaders so some of this work repeats and you can use it again.

If you’re hiring in a haste, and then you’ve complained to me that you’ve hired in haste and now you’ve got a problem, I’ll probably say something like, “I told you so” (because I’m a bit of a prick like that). So please be disciplined and please do the work.

Recently clients of mine hired somebody who turned out to be an absolute disaster. He lied. He was suss to begin with. He looked a bit strange. His LinkedIn profile looks a bit dodgy. We smelled a rat but they hired him optimistically. They gave him the benefit of the doubt and he lasted two days. He was a complete liar and he stunk. He didn’t wash or shave, and he didn’t care and it was a very strange experience for them.

And we all wished that we listened to our instincts and to the voices in our head that say, ‘We probably shouldn’t hire this guy’ rather than giving him the benefit of the doubt. And we wished we’d checked his references because we wouldn’t have wasted two days and $3,000.

He threatened to make a call if they didn’t pay him for week. They had to pay him $3,000. So they were $3,000 and 4 weeks behind. Some discipline and some method would have saved them from that hassle.

Here’s what you need to to do to avoid this:

  • Do your diligence
  • Set your processes up
  • Follow your processes
  • Don’t allow yourself to be beguiled by a nice smile or a firm handshake or somebody who seemed willing
  • Don’t let your desire to get someone in quickly make you skip that process because you might regret it.

Now 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. Hover over the form on the upper right side of the screen 👉
  2. Join the Facebook group Trades Business Toolshed by Small Fish where you can watch these videos. You can ask me questions or talk to your peers. You can engage me in conversation on the group.
  3. Attend my next Tools Down workshop.
  4. If you can’t wait for any of that, 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.

There you go. Hire with some discipline and some method. See you later.

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About the Author

Jon Dale

Jon likes helping business owners and especially owners of trades businesses. Life can be a bit frustrating when you run a business and a trade business can be even more so. Jon reckons this stuff is fixable and that you can fix it by making some fairly simple changes to the way you do things. In fact, he runs a free monthly webinar to help explain the process further of moving your business from manual to scalable.

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