When builder Julian Standley puts his tools down at the end of the day, the job is usually far from over.
Like many sole traders, he spends hours a week plugging numbers into an excel spread sheet to reconcile the books.
The importance of accounting software is something Clinton Cowin knows all too well, and the reason the plumber started his small business, Tradiepad.
The mobile training business offers tailored solutions to problems like invoicing and keeping track of appointments.
Small Business Secrets teamed Clinton up with Julian to talk about his business:
Clinton: So Julian let's start with a bit of background about the business. Where did it start and where do you see it heading in the future?
Julian: I basically started working for larger companies once I completed my TAFE trading. Then in 2012 I tried to get some more work because I'd been overseas and I couldn't get any. I just decided I'd go and renew my builder's license and start up again as a small business.
Clinton: Is there scope for taking on more staff?
Julian: If I wanted to grow I'd probably have to pull back from being on the tools so to speak and have something in place like this to allow me to manage other people.
Clinton: I can see that you've got a website and it's good because you've got a presence, it's good you've got somewhere where people can find things about you. You've got your domain name but the email address that you use is a hotmail address so there's no direct link between your email and the fact that you've got a website so we can connect those two together. It promotes a bit more of a professional image, ties in with your branding and your website.
Clinton: so what would you say is the biggest bottlekneck in your business at the moment? You're spending all day on site and then are you spending time after hours?
Julian: That's definitely the most difficult thing is to find the time to do all the administration effectively and do all the quotations because I find that time early in the morning, late at night, on the weekends.
Clinton: If you're doing that on the job, during the day, that's a justifiable part of the project. So not only reducing the amount of time after hours, you're actually able to bill for that work. It's a win win.
Clinton: The concept here is that you've got a device that lets you log things straight away, so you're doing it in little pieces.
Clinton: There's a heap of options out there for financial tracking.
Julian: So what do you think I should be doing to streamline and help my business?
Clinton: I think having an Ipad on site is going to be great, this could stop you doing things at night.
Clinton: We've got a great system that we work with called Tradify which allows you to create quotes and log bills.
Julian: If I become more efficient I'd feel like I'd be getting more value.
Clinton: Technology can make you more efficient.
Clinton: With what we've been through today it's looking like what a great starting point would be is to move towards that more professional email, g suite would be a great and give you access to google drive and google calendar, and that would be the foundation you would use. I'll put together a recommendation for you and we''ll take it as a stage approach
- Use cloud based storage to help you keep track of appointments.
- Invoicing on site can give you a better relationship with clients and more time at the end of the day.
- Make sure people can reach you- try linking your website and your email address.