3 Trade Business Growth Options: Pros And Cons

Trade business growth path choices.

If you own and run a trade business, you’ve got some choices about what that looks like, don’t you?

  • You could be self-employed, that’s a business.
  • You can just find work for yourself to do and do it yourself.
  • You can grow a little bit bigger – hire some people, have a few staff or a few tradespeople.

If you push through all that and go for something bigger with structure and systems in place then you have a substantial business.

They’re all valid choices and they all come with pros and cons like most things.

I’m a business coach for trades business owners who want to grow and scale (I’m option 3).

I want that same path for myself on the way to building a coaching business that has structure and systems in place, and is bigger and makes me extra money.

I’m on that path. I’m not there yet but I’m on that path.

So probably, it’s not a shock to you too to hear that my preferred option is option 3 – the one of growing something bigger and great.

If it’s not your choice, I’m not judging you. Make your choice. You’re not lesser if you choose one path over another. You just made a choice.

Now, back to those pros and cons for a moment. The choices we make are better if they’re informed.

I’m going to talk about those pros and cons in an attempt to help some of you make more informed choices.

I do hear a lot of people saying things like there’s no point growing bigger, you don’t make the extra money. Or it’s too hard, you can’t get staff, or staff will let you down. Or it’ll all go to sh*t – negative self-talk.

I think I want to say that’s not quite the case.

You certainly can grow bigger so I want to let you be aware of these pros and cons because the smaller options have their cons as well.

Self-doubt and self negative self-talk comes from misunderstanding, a bad experience, or not really knowing how to grow and scale safely without managing those risks.

There you go.

The 3 Options To Grow And Scale Your Trade Business – Pros and cons.

Spolier Alert: I’m running a workshop soon where I’ll talk about that structure and those systems to put in place to grow a bigger business and I’m marketing it to you right now.

I’ll tell you at the end where you can go and read more about it.

Option 1 – Getting big with structure and systems.

And I don’t really mean a $100M or anything like that. I’m talking $3 – $8 million or more.

If you’re a builder, the revenue will be higher with 5 and 10 people, a substantial business.

Not that you can’t go bigger because of course, you can. But that’s where the benefits start to kick in. That’s where it starts to get nice, where you start to feel those benefits. There’s the money.

A 10% net profit on top of the salary for you is a reasonable expectation for $3 to $5M. You’re talking $300,000 to $500,000 a year on top of your salary as profit.


So once you push through the hard part, this option:

  • Makes the most money because you’ve done the hard parts of building the systems, and the structure. And hiring the right people is less stressful as well.
  • People are doing their jobs and you are not trying to do everything yourself.
  • You employ people so you’ve built a business that looks after other people and other families as well as your own and that’s something to be proud of. It’s lovely.
  • You build something with value or a beautiful thing as I like to call it.

So what are cons then?


  • It’s quite hard.
  • It takes a lot of time, effort and commitment.
  • It’s easy to start the process and then fall back to something smaller and miss out.

You have put all that effort in or money in and it’s easy to give up on it.

It’s also a long time before you get those lovely rewards.

You’ve got to push through a difficult time — a time when you earn less than you might otherwise be expecting to. When you’re spending money on people, business coaches, marketing or building those systems and you’re not getting those rewards then you’ve got to push through that time before you get to the end.

You don’t build something lovely without taking risks. You’ve got to try things and they may not work.

You can mitigate those risks but there’s risk involved.

It’s hard to get there and it requires an investment from you of time, effort and commitment.

Option 2 – Staying somewhat small.

It’s easier and less scary.


  • You do what you know and it feels more manageable.
  • Everything’s within reach.
  • You’ve got a small team, you all know each other, you probably all like each other.
  • You’re doing most of the work yourself — maybe two or three guys or girls and a bookkeeper, something like that size.

I think it can feel more manageable, less risky, less stressful.


  • It can be precarious – busy, then quiet. It can be up and down.
  • You can find you’re working pretty hard because not only are you trying to be on the tools but you’ve got invoicing and quoting and sales calls to make.
  • And all that time doing admin can make you feel like you waste time when you’re not earning money.

It can be stressful and hard to manage and up and down.

Option 3  – Self-employment.

That’s when you’re working for yourself. It’s just kind of you, and your vehicle, and your tools, and maybe an apprentice or an off-site helping you with labour. You’re small.


  • Lower stress
  • There’s probably some satisfaction in it
  • You will enjoy the work that you do

You all seem to enjoy your trade so you can get lots of satisfaction from being the person doing the good work that you’re proud of. I think at the same time that’s probably easier, satisfying and less stressful.


  • You’re still going to do your invoicing yourself.
  • You can be busy and then quiet.
  • Money can be less because there are only so many hours in a week that you can work.
  • It’s hard on your body.

As you get older it can be hard on your body and you might wish you built something where you didn’t have to be on the tools. It doesn’t have an exit option for you.

That ultimate goal of a bigger, structured, systematized business is a prize that’s desirable. I think it’s less difficult than you might think.

If you come to the workshop, I’ll show you the structure and systems and so you can look at that path to bigger and structured and think about whether that’s the choice you want to make.

Click here to go and read more about it.

See you later.

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.