Tuesday, July 23

Working as a Contractor: How to Keep on Top of Your Small Business

Working as a contractor is the choice of a lot of people who want to take control of their working hours and the amount of work they do. Skilled individuals often take the opportunity to be self-employed by starting their own small businesses and then expanding it by taking more employees on.

Regardless if you have just started your business or you have already established yourself in your local area, you are already familiar that having everything go smoothly is a challenging thing to do. Luckily, there are some things you can do to make your life easier.

Plan Your Day Effectively

Overpromising is something where a lot of contractors go wrong. Booking too many jobs for one day can be difficult to pull off and while your initial thought is clearly that the more jobs you take on, the more you are going to earn, that can backfire on you. Delays and missed appointments will not go down well with your customers as sometimes, some of them may have taken a day off work to be with you at the agreed time.

You need to make sure you spread the work out evenly so it allows you enough time to finish the job while keeping quality in mind. Sometimes delays are possible due to, for example, bad traffic. Make sure you let your customers know in advance though – don’t just turn up late assuming that it is not a big deal.

Have a Helper

If you are working for yourself, chances are you are not going to have an established office at least in the beginning. Since you will be out carrying out work, you will need a bit of help at least when it comes to taking calls from new customers. For starters, you can get someone from your family to help you out. You can put them in charge of booking jobs and dealing with emails while you are on the move.

If getting yourself a helper is impossible, then make sure you organize yourself well. Always have a diary around you so if a customer rings your mobile to book a job with you, you will be able to let them know when is the closest available gap you have.

Use HVAC Software

HVAC software is made to suit the needs of contractors who carry out heating, ventilation and air conditioning work. It is built around HVAC businesses and it functions like a small office for workers who are constantly on the move.

This solution is perfect for contractors due to multiple reasons. First of all, that diary we mentioned you should always have next to you can simply go on your mobile and you will always know what your obligations are with few flicks of the thumb. As a HVAC technician, you may need to carry out installation, commissioning and preventative maintenance as part of one duty. By using a HVAC software you can easily separate the jobs into different jobs and add timestamps for each task separately.

The most important thing for you as an independent contractor is getting paid. This clearly means that you can’t afford to miss sending an invoice or send a wrong invoice which will hold payment up. HVAC systems allow you to quickly raise an invoice after marking a job as complete and you can even set the system up to send automatic reminders if an invoice becomes overdue.

An HVAC software is a perfect tool for contractors since you may not have the resources to establish an office, hire an accountant or outsource work to someone who will sort the paperwork out for you.

Find the Right Partners

It is a common thing for contractors to form a partnership and cover each other’s work if one is too busy. Other businesses in your field are normally regarded as competition but that is not really the case. It is a very normal thing for big companies to outsource work to smaller companies or independent contractors especially in the busy periods and you can use that opportunity to get more work for yourself.

Still, careful not to let yourself think that the increased workflow will be a steady one. Remember that work coming from other companies is an extra income for you, yet you are dealing with their customers. An influx of work from them should not prompt you to expand. Before deciding to expand you need to establish yourself well and have returning customers. If you are struggling to take on the jobs that other companies offer you, then don’t hesitate to turn them down.

Continue To Invest In Yourself

Every area of business is evolving and you need to evolve with it. A lot of contractors often decide to stick to what they know and they do not upgrade their knowledge with courses and training. However, not doing that is making you less competitive on the market and that is going to show. Procedures and technologies change so if you are carrying out your work in an outdated manner, that can negatively impact your business.

Remember those big companies we mentioned previously that might outsource work to you? They keep on top of the trends and new developments and they keep the quality of their work to a certain standard. If you don’t raise yourself to their standard you might risk them not giving you any jobs.

Also, always make sure that you use decent quality materials when carrying out your work. Don’t get the cheap things just to maximize your margin – a quick profit can have its toll later on if the customer is not satisfied with the work you have carried out.

Working as a contractor can be quite a profitable thing to do if you have the skills and the drive to take the lead of your own business. Remember that running a business is much more than being a successful worker – you need to be ready to hold on to all of the strings firmly. It can turn out to be a great success if you learn how to organize your time, manage your customers and keep on top of your finances.

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