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Self-employed tradesman checklist

If you’re considering becoming your own boss, be aware that it’s a life - changing decision, so you’d better do it right.

Becoming a self-employed tradesman isn’t as easy as procuring some equipment and posting on local listings sites to get work. Here’s a checklist for self-employed tradesmen to help get you off the ground.

Things to consider before becoming your own boss.

Experience
Having the adequate experience before you become a self-employed tradesman is vital to your long term success. Seek out qualifications, and not just in the trades you want to focus on: working independently can be considerably more taxing and time consuming that you initially expect, so having the experience to adequately deal with unforeseen circumstances, overtime and finances is always advisable. This will also play a significant role in securing work as people are more open to people with qualifications and relevant experience.

Setting up a business
If you’re starting your own business, the most affordable option is to become a sole trader as it will require less paperwork. Despite the name, as a sole trader, you can employ other workers should you need. But be careful, you can end up personally responsible if your jobs go wrong. When you can afford it, become a limited company.

Equipment
Having the correct access equipment, power tools, hand tools, clothing and personal safety equipment is vital to ensure you can do a professional job, efficiently and safely. Purchase your equipment at affordable prices.

Finances
When starting off as a self-employed tradesman, you have to consider the costs involved. There are many different types of cover you will need – from insurance for your tools, van, public liability cover and accident insurance. These are all highly important because you will be working within the public. There is a form of insurance called tradesman insurance which can offer much of this cover within a comprehensive package, meaning you don’t have to work with numerous insurers.

Advertising
Being qualified and ready to work is only half of becoming a self-employed tradesman. Getting work is the other. As a self-employed tradesman, the best way to get work is through word of mouth. To get the ball rolling however, advertising in local listing sites and directories is recommended.

Advertising can be extremely expensive depending on advertising channels you use. Large adverts in directories can be expensive, eating into any advertising budget very quickly. In many cases it may be more profitable to advertise locally using flyers, local shop windows and local papers – as there will be less competition and you will be working in and around your base.

Away from that, focus your advertising online. That’s because 1) it’s where people look nowadays and 2) it’s generally free! Local listing sites such as Gumtree allow tradesmen to advertise or find people looking for tradesmen. Once you get a few good jobs under your belt, the power of word of mouth will begin to kick in and getting work shouldn’t be a problem.

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