Jon’s Journey (Episode 12): Tradies, This is What You’re Up Against

If you’ve been watching, you might remember that Jon’s Journey is where I use my experiences of being a customer of tradies to see what we learn from those experiences.

Today, I want to say something a bit reassuring. I want to say that most of your competitors aren’t doing a great job of the business and commercial stuff.

And if you are, you can stand out as better. Make no mistake, this stuff does matter. 

So here’s the story from yesterday.

Our garden is a mess, the weeds and the lawn weeds everywhere, we’re not getting to it. Michelle suggested we get someone in for a day or so to get on top of it. Easy enough, I jump on Google, do a bit of a search and there’s not much around. 

There are a couple in Byron Bay which is 15 kilometers away, there are a few landscapers locally and I think that’s not really their thing. There’s Jims’ but I haven’t seen one around here so it’s probably just national advertising.

Then I found one, called the number, it’s some old guy, obviously a retired person. It’s not a business, they must have gone out of business or something so I moved on.

There’s Yellow Pages, there’s Oneflare, all those shouty listings for the top ten or the best ten  gardeners in Byron Bay. I know it’s a waste of time. 

And then I found one. It says it services my town which is Brunswick Heads, I clicked. It’s a really basic website, looks like a DIY job but it says they do what I want. It says they cover my town and there’s a phone number so I call. 

I’m quite forgiving. It’s only a bit of gardening, after all.

So there’s no answer, there’s no voicemail, there’s just Telstra telling me my message will be sent as a text so I leave one, “Hi, I’ve got some work, wondering if you’re interested – weed and feed my lawn, some weeding, feed the citrus, half a day maybe more. Let me know”.

I’m thinking I’ll get a call from a message like that.

I get a text back, “Don’t know what you’re talking about”.

Like seriously, not encouraging.

So I text back, “Are you not (mystery) garden maintenance?”. I’m not going to name and shame him because I’m being quite critical and I’m not a prick.

“Yes, but didn’t understand your message (smiley face)”. So I clarified on text what I want and he asked where I live, I told him. He offers to come and give me a quote on Thursday. I propose a time. I’ve got diary commitments so I say 8:30am or 1 pm. He says, “1:00 pm because the surf is cracking”.

Fair enough I don’t begrudge someone having a surf but it wasn’t a reassuring interaction, was it?

The website looked homemade and the conversation was unprofessional on a number of levels. He still didn’t announce his business name or anything, it was kind of unprofessional.

And I’m quite forgiving and I don’t mind and like I said it’s just a bit of gardening but I’m expecting cheap now.

I spoke to Michelle, my partner and she’s expecting cheap now. She’s not reassured. She’s not thinking this is a super professional company. She’s thinking this will be some cheap guy with some tools in his car. 

Here’s a footnote for you: 1:00 pm was yesterday, Thursday and he sent me a note saying, “Hurt my back, won’t make it”.

So his unprofessional demeanor has manifested in him not showing up.

I’m not devastated. I work from home, I was there anyway, but if I’d had an afternoon off work or something to wait for him I’d have been really pissed off, wouldn’t I?

So, to my point this is what you’re up against. 

Your competition is not strong in running a business, otherwise excellent tradespeople don’t really get customer service or don’t care very much. Or they don’t invest in business infrastructure like his website and they don’t market themselves well or they don’t compose themselves well.

I consider myself generous and forgiving when it comes to stuff like this, I don’t really mind.

Tradies are my customers, I can understand and forgive but I’m already close to calling somebody else.

It’s Friday as I write this so I’ll worry about it on Monday but if he hasn’t called me by lunchtime Monday. I’ll probably be calling somebody else and he’s missed out.

And this is common.

Do you remember my story about the air conditioning guy who came to my house measured up, said he would give me a quote and disappeared. I never heard from him again.

Recommended Reading: Jon’s Journey Episode 8: Why I Would Never Call This Plumber Again

Or the electrician who did some wiring for me when I had a new water heater installed in my house in Sydney and he never sent me a bill.

That’s three occurrences I can throw at you just from my own personal experience. Trades businesses are notorious for not turning up, not communicating well, not being very well organised, not following up, or not being very disciplined about the business side of what they do.

So if you can be disciplined and organised and follow up and communicate well and be better than this, you’ll be better than most of your competition.

You’ll be better at marketing, you’ll be better at business and your market will notice. Your win will work and you’ll command a higher price and it’s not even hard.

My program will help you be organised and making time to do this is possible. It’s even more possible as you grow and you hire people who can do some of it for you.

So check out business coaching. It’s great. 

Come to the next Tools Down workshop. Come down and listen to more of my stuff, more of my framework. 

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.