It’s a theme that runs through everything we have said in Tradebot over the last few years: small businesses are at the heart of the economy.
While particular sectors have tended to receive more support, particularly in terms of advertising, marketing, and technology support, those businesses in the trades and contracting sector have had limited tools available to allow them to make the most of the new digital economy.
Tradebot was established to reduce the barriers to access to high-performance marketing communications technology.
In the past few years, we have helped hundreds of small, independent businesses with our chatbot technologies.
Seeing the positive effect we have had on their bottom line has been amazing, as has been hearing about how our clients are making the most of the additional free time our tools have created for them.
While every new business aims to make money, the team and I are also proud of our other successes with softer metrics. Whilst it is no secret, we also personally experienced the sacrifices small business owners make, particularly around the times missed with family and friends.
Financial shortfalls and losses can be recovered from, but the important times missed out with others cannot be regained.
As such, when our earliest users told us not only was Tradebot helping to get them more new business but was helping to save time which they were then able to spend with loved ones, it became a hugely important part of our motivation.
Establishing and leading the team at Tradebot has been challenging but hugely rewarding. I have been lucky to meet and work with a global team over the past years.
The past number of years have been challenging for many small businesses, and we took the decision at the start of the pandemic to put the weight of team Tradebot behind supporting our clients and their peers to weather that storm, and to emerge stronger on the other side.
However, the current Tradebot business model is no longer feasible in our home market. In late 2021 we began to review the options available to us, and following significant customer support planning, we are now in a position to take the next steps. As such, Tradebot’s Irish parent company Independent Performance Exchange is now entering a period of orderly closure.
Over the past number of months, James/Hasan has supported existing customers and this support resource will continue until further notice.
Please contact James/Hasan directly if you would like to discuss your options in more detail.
The team at Tradebot will provide further updates on our social & over the upcoming week.
As a lean start-up Tradebot has worked closely with remote contractors to build our products and operate our business.
These services offered by this core team have previously been available on a limited, consultancy basis to our clients.
As the business founder, I am happy to endorse the Tradebot teams’ direct services, (including sales, support, marketing, and technology services) all of which are available directly from each team member in their contact details. Many of our clients have had business problems solved efficiently & efficiently with these services.
Just as chatbot technology was just available to large companies, so were remote contracting services. I would strongly urge any business with a problem, question, or idea in the digital space to contact the relevant team member via the Team page.
I would like to thank all of Tradebot’s clients, partners and those who have helped and supported us over the past few years.
Austin Gleeson, Founder.
Looking To Streamline How You Get And Manage New Business? Let Tradebot Help…
Want A Better Way To Manage New Business Leads Online? Let Tradebot Help…
Securing an insurance policy is one of the most important facets in the life of a tradesman. As you handle equipment and machinery every day, you are more prone to accidents and mishaps. The best way you could save yourself is by buying the best insurance policy for yourself.
But often, people forget what is most important- reading the contract. Not reading the terms and services has become a widespread joke on the internet. However, you should be content in letting it remain just that, and not making it spill out to real life. Why you may ask? Because of the simple reason that you may never know what clause or term will prevent you from taking out your claim. You may have spent months in filling your insurance regularly. However, if you have not been aware when the time comes, you may find yourself on the deep end of things.
Here are a few things you should absolutely keep in mind before signing on the dotted line once again:
(Disclaimer: All opinions suggested are that of the author alone, and may not be relevant to your market)
Check whether the policy covers everything that you want it to
You would obviously want to check that your insurance policy covers everything that you want it to. This includes all accidents or natural diseases. In case of untimely death, you would want to make sure that your family can get the insurance money with the least amount of hassle possible. However, there is always a hidden clause or two in the policies, which always tend to mess up the claim that you or your family should receive. Hence, it is most prudent to read everything thoroughly at least once. Furthermore, you should also ensure that any questions or problems that you have are addressed by the company as soon as possible.
Remember to answer all questions truthfully
Be upfront about any ailments or issues that you may have so that your insurance company is aware of any problems which may occur. In addition, always ensure that your insurance company is continually aware of any kinds of issues you may have. If you withhold information from your insurance company, they may reserve the right to outright reject the claim when it comes to them, thus you will be left in the lurch.
Know the rights that you have
One of the most important things that you should know is that there are many more reasons for your policy to get rejected than to get accepted. The most popular way this happens is when you don’t understand all the rights that you are entitled to. For example, you could have the right to merge your insurance policy with your spouse’s in case of a medical emergency. However, if you are not aware of that fact, you will not ask for it, ultimately resulting in you paying out of your pocket. In such a scenario, having an insurance policy seems rather redundant, doesn’t it?
In addition to personal insurance, there are a bunch of liability programs that you should consider as well. It does not matter what sort of tradesman you are- a liability is a must. Whether you work for a company or as a sole trader, you should be aware of the liability programs that you sign up for. Read all offers and documents carefully before agreeing to anything. Whether you are under the employ of a company or a sole trader, there are three liability programs that you should consider.
Public Liability Service
The public liability service is a saviour for every tradesman. While on the job, there are a number of accidents that could take place. For example, imagine that you are working at a customer’s place, with heavy and hazardous equipment by your side. For some reason, your client decides to check in on the progress that you have made. They walk over to you without looking at the equipment and somehow manage to trip and fall on it, getting some very serious injury. The client will obviously decide to sue you and take away every dollar which you are worth. However, the public liability service is here to help protect against that. With amounts ranging from $1 million to $20 million depending on your cover, you are sure to scrape out of any issues.
Employer’s Liability Service
An Employer’s Liability Service is mandatory for you if you are the owner of your own company, or own more than 50% of shares of a particular company. This liability will protect you from claims made by your employee against you, owing to any injury or illness which they may have claimed while in your employment. Obviously, this also means that former employees can sue you as well. But with an Employer’s Liability Service, you can be sure to defend claims up to $10 million, depending on the type of cover that you have purchased. However, in addition to the claims, you should be able to produce your “Employers Liability Certificate of Insurance.” Failure would do so would mean that your cover would legally become null and void. Thus, you would have to pay for everything out of your pocket, which would result in a serious disaster for you.
Professional Indemnity Service
This is important for you if you have the job of an advisor to the tradesman. Sometimes you could be sued by a handyman because some advice that you gave turned out to be incorrect, resulting in serious damages. They could state that your advice was the one that caused them the irreversible damages. However, with a professional indemnity service, you could protect yourself against a variety of claims, ranging up to an amount of $5 million, depending on the cover that you have purchased. Unlike other liability services, the professional indemnity service cannot be renewed again and again. It is a one- time purchase, liable for a fixed number of years or till a claim is filed against you.
Interestingly, though there is a wide array of choices for consumers today, brand affinity still works wonders with them. This is why whatever you do, you have to pay attention to building a brand that is appealing. This appeal begins with the eyes and that means good logos, graphics, colours, fonts, and images. Today, not only products are branded, services too. If you offer professional home services like plumbing, carpentry, window cleaning, or any other service that is vying for customers attention you can need a brand, not just a business name. And you definitely should do this to move your business to the next level.
“Design is the silent ambassador of your brand” – Paul Rand
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Want to modify and distribute your own digital sales support – take 5 minutes to create your own Tradebot!
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Working as a professional tradesman can be quite overwhelming and complicated. Sometimes, the demands and pressures of the profession can get the best of you if you work in complete isolation. Having access to a group of fellow Tradesmen for professional help and companionship is one of the best ways of making the job easier and fun. And one of the fastest ways to do this is via online forums.
Online forums have been a popular meeting point for Tradesmen and Contractors to get quick and easy access to tips and resources. But over the years, these platforms began to lose their focus and effectiveness.
Through the rise of social media sites like Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and other viral apps, the landscape has been massively disrupted. It has turned most hitherto resourceful online forums and chatrooms to nothing but funny pics sites and trolling zones.
Though this has made finding a professionally focused online forum a hard task, locating a good forum that meets your need is still possible, and this article seeks to help point you in the right direction.
Compiled in this article is a list of some of the best and most feature-packed online forums targeted towards serious Tradesmen and Contractors. If are looking for a community of tradesmen that you can rely on for solid resources, then you are at the right place.
A key thing to put in mind when choosing a forum is that sticking to the rules stipulated on these sites is of great importance if you don’t want to get rejected or banned.
One of the most important rules to uphold – that is common among most of these online forums – is keeping your posts to the boards relevant to the topic of the site. If you stick by this, you will have a great experience on these sites.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best online forums for Tradesmen and Contractors that you can begin signing up to.
Painters Pit Stop:
This site which aptly refers to itself as “the international painting and decorating community forum” is an online forum that has about 1,800 members that meet to talk about nothing else but painting and décor. If you are into that line of trade, then Painters Pit Stop is for you.
Talk Electrician Forum:
Talk Electrician forum is a UK originated online forum of Electricians that boasts 29,500 members and a topic count of about 37,852.
Some topics discussed on this board includes (but not limited to) Electrician’s & electrical jobs, Electrician apprenticeships, computers and networking, green renewable energy, plumbing, and students learning.
If you are interested in any of these topics, you need to check the Talk Electrician Forum out.
Dry Wall Talk:
Dry Wall Talk is an online forum that is focused on the contractor community. With a membership count of 9,673 contractors, it is definitely a platform worth registering with if you are a contractor in the wall painting industry.
The website has a blog where helpful industry tips are shared, as well as a “recent projects” section where some recent works by professionals are featured. You can find out more about this resourceful contractor forum here.
Let Tradebot do some of the talking for you and turn more of your site visitors into leads…
The Plasterer’s Forum:
This forum is strictly a community of people into the plastering line of work. The Plasterer’s Forum provides a meeting point for plasterers to meet and share ideas on the trade. It also contains information on courses centred on plastering, as well as a room where contractors can hire the service of plasterers.
This is a forum that is centred on the HVAC profession. The site provides useful tips on how to service and maintain HVAC systems, as well as posts the latest news coming from the HVAC world. Read more about the site here.
As the name suggests, this is an online meeting point for professionals in the roofing business. The site has topics on both commercial and residential roofing.
Roofers Club also has a dedicated chat room for Questions and Answers. Are you a roofer looking to link up with like-mind professionals to share your experiences and/or advance your knowledge? To check out the Roofers Club, click here.
This is another resourceful site that brings plumbing professionals together to rub minds on any and everything plumbing.
With a membership count of over 10,000, this forum is a very active forum of plumbers that meet to talk on topics like general plumbing help, latest plumbing tools, plumbing building code, project display and much more.
If you in the plumbing profession, this is one site you need to check out. Plumbing forums can be found here.
Plumbing Zone, as the name suggests, is an online meeting point for professionals in the plumbing line of trade. The forum is dominated with posts centered on plumbing, and with over 31,000 members and 576,506 posts, this is your go-to point should you need help on anything plumbing. Interested in checking them out? Click here.
While this is a list of top online forums where you can meet and connect with other professionals in your line of trade, note that there are other awesome places online where you can also meet and rub minds with your colleagues in the trade.
One of such platforms is slack. Slack, an online collaboration application with instant messaging abilities does contain some communities dedicated to meeting and connecting with fellow tradesmen. You can find a comprehensive list of top slack communities here.
Right now there are people on your site, in the zone to hire. But you’re not there, and that’s another one that got away. With Tradebot you can automatically greet and chat to site visitors
Another great where you can easily link up with Contractors and Tradesmen is Reddit. Here are some popular Reddit subs you can follow: Reddit for plumbers, for roofers, for electricians. When you land on the page, search for your relevant profession and you will find something for you.
Lastly, you can turn to Discord Servers in your search for an online gathering of contractors and tradesmen. Listed here is a comprehensive outline of all servers available on Discord Servers.
One of the biggest challenges of tradespeople & small business face is time management.
You can get so much caught up in your quest to get ahead that you only a little time get to work on the books or to get the right work on the books.
Running a trades or small services business requires great expertise and dedication, you are looking after the job, managing a team and then home to handle the admin.
Running your own trades and contracting business can be exciting and terrifying, but the one thing it always is is time-consuming. Wouldn’t it be great to have a little bit more time to help the kids with their homework, have a night out with your partner, or maybe even spend an evening catching up with old friends?
“Nothing in business is so valuable as time” – John Henry Patterson
If you are looking to get more free time as a tradesman business owner, consider the following tips:
You Need To See A Professional
Most tradesman business owners tend to believe they can handle almost everything, but the reality is the opposite. You will most likely need professional help in some aspects of your tradesman business, especially those places you tend to get stuck. So, bring the professionals in to help. An accountant will do well in managing your books, or an SEO professional to help you get more traffic to your website.
You do you, might be a bit of a trendy meme, but really you know you shouldn’t waste time on things you are not good at.
Avoid ridiculous jobs
The first thing you learn when starting in business for yourself is that time is money. You don’t have to work on piddly jobs that are not worth your time. For example, driving for more than an hour to a €30 gig isn’t worth it. Likewise, avoid clients once you can smell the least iota of trouble from afar, you know the ones, always looking to scrimp and save cents on every item.
While this can be a tough call to make, especially when starting out, making it will create a free space in your schedule, which can be invested in other more profitable jobs.
Plan Your Driving
Tradespeople tend to find that a lot of their time is spent in the van. That time can be spent catching up on paperwork at 7 or 8 PM before you go in-home, but more likely it is time spent driving to & from jobs.
Sometimes you hop in the van you just get to where you are going by instinct, but taking a little bit of time out to plan the driving you are going to do for the week you will save valuable minutes which will quickly add up. One of the simplest ways to do this is to try schedule in jobs and visit suppliers around the closest locations.
It’s a Family Affair
Chances are you spend only a little time with your family as a tradesman. This situation can improve if you involve them in the business, although this will depend on how old your kids are or what your partner can, or is willing to do. By bringing them in, you can always have them close to make things easier and faster.
How about letting your partner handle the quoting? Or your kids getting the tools into the toolbox at the end of the day? They probably have their faces buried in a computer or tablet most evening, so why not get them to manage your website?
Look At The Cloud
You cannot avoid dealing with paperwork and admin as a tradesman business owner. However, with the cloud, it becomes easier to keep track of quotes, invoices, new business leads and receipts. Likewise, account sorting becomes a piece of cake, rather than running after your staff to deliver their timesheets.
How about getting a free trial of Tradebot and see how we can help you weed out the time-wasters, plan out your driving and provide you with a little bit more help to save your trades and contracting business save time.
We’re getting back to work, but times are still challenging.
Over the last few months everything has gotten a lot more digital, how can your business thrive?
At Tradebot we believe in Backing Small Business and helping them to make the most of this increasingly digital world.
If you’re a tradesman, massage therapist, dog walker or bookkeeper you’ve seen digital becoming a more and more important part of how your business operates. We all the last few months have changed how we interact with our business partners, loyal clients and new business leads.
We are increasingly staying together, and doing business by digital.
It’s a path we were all on, some enthusiastically, some reluctantly but the last few months have seen us jump years ahead. When we all go back to work, we will be going back to the future.
We have asked our customers about how they are managing the changes digital is bringing to their small business.
The most common theme is don’t be afraid. It’s only scary if you think it is – get excited and take small steps! Making small changes to becoming a more digital business can save you money, save you time, make your customers happier and really pay off for you personally and professionally in the short and long term.
So, here are some top tips from small business owners, sole traders and self-employed business people…
Be upfront with your team
- Some employees might worry that new digital initiatives will eventually cost them their jobs. Surprisingly, Business Wire reports that 35% of millennials share that concern, so it’s not surprising if older employees are even more worried. Just be honest with your team and share your plans about the company, what digital can help achieve and impacts this will have on your team.
Show them the tech
- So much of digital technology is seen as the preserve of the youngest person on the team or a line on an invoice from an agency. If you’ve ever bought an elderly relative their first tablet or smartphone as a gift, you have probably seen them going from reluctance to heavy use (thanks for the memes Gran!), simply by using the tech. Don’t keep your digital tools away from staff on the operational front line. They may not use it on a day-to-day basis but show them around the tool and offer to give them more training if they want to find out more.
- One of the first things you will see when you begin to look at digital technologies for your business, is the sheer number of tools, plans and jargon out there. It is very easy to waste hours researching and comparing tools. So, start small and start simple. Start with considering how increased use of digital technology could make your existing business processes cheaper and easier.
Find a mentor
- If you’re running a small business, you have likely given or received advice from your peers. It might have been about which services to offer, or what pricing or best practice on quoting for new business. A really simple way to find the right person to talk to is to look at other businesses websites. What are they doing right, what on there do you think is a ‘Wow’ or ‘A-ha’ moment. If that business has invested time and energy in building a user-friendly website, automating new business enquiries, making sure it’s easy for mobile users to get in touch, then it’s likely they have been on the same journey you’re on. Give them a call – we all love talking about our successes, and sharing our failures over a few beers.