If the end of your apprenticeship is in sight, it’s likely you’ve toyed with the idea of branching out and starting your own business.
Transitioning to self-employment can be challenging, but the success will be rewarding if you’re dedicated to building your own business.
There are a few steps involved with becoming a business owner, but they’re all within easy reach. Let’s explore what you need to do to start your trades business and hit the ground running.
Make a business plan
This will be the foundation for your business. Determine who you are, where you want to go and what you need to do to get there. Keep it short and simple as you’ll want to refer back to these notes as you develop your business. A strong business plan will contain financial projections, marketing strategies, and your short and long term business goals.
Your financial projections should also consider your overhead expenses and desired income. You can then decide on what to charge for your services to ensure your business is profitable.
Register an ABN
Once you’re ready to get the ball rolling, you’ll also want to register an ABN as a sole trader. This is free and quick to do. If you’d prefer not to operate under your own name, you’ll have the option to register a business name, however this does incur a small annual fee.
Get your licence and qualification
Ensure your qualifications are up to date and that you’ve obtained any licences relevant to your trade. Be sure to check the licence requirements for your state, as they differ throughout Australia.
You’ll need to show proof of your experience to obtain a licence and your qualifications will come in handy when doing so. If you still need to finalise your qualifications, get in touch with our team to complete the process through RPL via our partner RTOs.
Once you’ve got your licence, you’ll be able to apply for public liability insurance. This is integral for the stability and resilience of your business, and it will provide financial security in the unfortunate event of a workplace accident. In addition, liability isn't a strong selling point for your new business. You’ll increase your job prospects with insurance, as your customers won’t be taking on any risk.
It’s also a wise idea to consider insurance for your tools, vehicles and any other work related assets.
Establish your brand
This is the part that requires your creativity. If you’re planning on sub-contracting, you won’t have too much to worry about. However, if you’re a tradie chasing business from residential and business clients; you’ll want to establish your brand and come up with a marketing strategy. This will include choosing a business name, logo, website, social media accounts, a Facebook Business page and business cards.
You can read more about how to market your trades business here.
Set up your accounting system
Thankfully, there are several innovative accounting platforms that take the hard work out of tracking your payments. Do your research or meet with an accountant to get yourself started with a rock solid business structure and accounting system.
Think about the future
If you set short and long term goals in your business plan, it’s likely you will have already covered this. Where do you see your business in 5 or 10 years? Are you happily subcontracting, or do you hope to one day have a team of tradies on board?
If you’re determined to set off on the small business path, but still feel like you could benefit from some guidance; consider finding a mentor. A mentor who runs a successful trades business could have a wealth of knowledge to share and you may be able to learn from their experiences. You can read more about the benefits of professional mentorship here.
Get your checklist ready and start planning your small business! If you’re looking to gain your qualification, chat to our team about RPL, or take our free 60 second skills check to see if you qualify.