Kiwi Tradies Remain Optimistic And On The Tools Despite COVID-19 Challenges.
Despite the challenges of the past year, more than half of New Zealand tradespeople have a positive outlook for their business in 2021, according to a comprehensive new report.
Job management software company Tradify, surveyed tradies across the country to find out how COVID-19 had affected their business. The February 2021 Pulse Report showed 53 percent believed conditions would improve over the next year, with Tradify’s user data mirroring this positive sentiment; there has been little to no change in the average number of quotes, jobs and invoices generated by Kiwi tradies through the platform compared to this time last year.
Tradify CEO Michael Steckler said post-pandemic building and renovation activity may be part of the reason why the trade industry doesn’t appear to have seen any significant drop in work due to COVID-19, while data from a previous Pulse Report showed an increase in new home consents following the first lockdown, providing more work for tradies.
“At this stage, the impact of COVID-19 on many New Zealand trade businesses doesn’t seem to have been as bad as initially feared last year, with the volume of job activity remaining at or above pre-pandemic levels,” he said. “However despite more than half of the tradies surveyed feeling positive about the future, the results show there are many who feel COVID-19 has had a high impact on their business, and they may take longer to bounce back.”
Of all the individual trades surveyed, roofers tended to have the least positive outlook for the upcoming year, with only 25 percent believing business conditions will improve in 2021. The report also looked at areas where tradies felt they had least control of their businesses during uncertain times. While the vast majority said they almost always or often felt in control, there were still headaches, including getting quotes out quickly and having confidence in finding new work. Electricians, construction workers and landscapers were the trades that felt least in control of their businesses, while 14 percent of owner-operator electricians said they never felt in control of their business’ finances.
And when it comes to business efficiency, most Kiwi trades businesses are still spending up to a staggering 80 hours on administration per month. This didn’t vary for different sized businesses, showing the basic requirements for organisation and administration in trades businesses can be similar for both smaller and larger operations.
“Trade business owners with 11 to 50, or even more than 50 staff, spend a similar amount of time on admin as businesses with 2 to 10 staff members,” Steckler said. “What this tells us is that it doesn’t matter whether you’re two people or twenty - getting your job management process sorted before you consider hiring your first employee will help keep your business running efficiently as it scales up”.
Steckler says inefficient systems and processes mean many hours a month that could be spent on the tools or with family are being spent on administration.
“Tradies already work hard but going digital would help them work smarter too, so they are best placed to achieve their desired business and personal goals in 2021 and beyond,” he said.
Even with a heavy administration burden still holding some tradies back though, the report found tradies seem to be getting paid faster, with 72 percent of trade business owners now spending just one hour a week on chasing payments, likely thanks to the impact and increased usage of automated payment reminders and online payments. Those who switch from quote books and paper invoices to an end-to-end digital job management solution like Tradify can free up an additional day a week or more.
“Now is a great time for Kiwi tradies who are on the tools to get serious about using digital tools too, so they can get their nights and weekends back and drive their business forward,” Steckler said.
The Tradify February 2021 Pulse Report can be accessed here.