Business AdvisoryTrades and Construction

The Five Biggest Time Management Mistakes Tradies Make

Jeff Broughton Jeffrey Broughton
25 November 2021
5 min read

25 November 2021

You get into business to have flexibility with your time and be in control of your destiny. But before you know it, you're wearing a million hats and you are stuck running the hamster wheel. After working with hundreds of profitable tradies, we have captured the five biggest mistakes they make so you can avoid the common pitfalls! Avoiding these time management mistakes can save you time, money, and a lot of stress.

[Related: Check out Tradies workbook: Own your time and get hours back in your day]

1. Poor time management

When you start your trades business, you start off as the technician (on the tools), the salesman and the support staff. But, as the business grows, your role as the business owner changes too. You become the strategist, the salesman, the leader, the people manager and so it keeps going.

Too often, business owners struggle to take themselves off the tools and give up the admin, meaning their time management is not spent where it is needed the most - growing the business and its people. Having a better grasp of time management allows business owners to work on their business, and not work for their business.

For example, one of the common traps business owners get caught in, is thinking that ‘working on the business’ (building relationships, training, people development) is not productive time.

For a free tool to help you block off time in your week so you can focus on ‘working on the business’, download Tradies workbook: Own your time and get hours back in your day

2. Lack of systems and technology

We are in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution where almost any routine task can be automated through technology. In simple terms, this means replacing a manual task with an automated process. Using automation and proper systems can be a major asset for your time management problems.

In sounds straight forward, but many tradies have been slow to adopt the large number of systems and tools that can help you save time and improve performance.

We find the biggest hurdles can be a lack of knowledge, not knowing where to start and worried about change.

3. Effective prioritisation and planning

Effective prioritisation means you identify the most important jobs (your big rocks) that need done and diligently smash through them. As Mark Twain once said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”

Unfortunately, many tradies are stuck in the cycle of being busy about being busy and do not take the time to prioritise and plan. But research shows a plan and to do list significantly increases your chances of tasks getting done!

4. Trying to do it all yourself

You built the business up from scratch and it’s your baby. So, for many trades business owners, it can often be hard to delegate and trust others to do as good a job as you.

If you find it hard to delegate, it pays to remember the saying, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, but if you teach him how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.”

Don’t fall into the trap of doing everything yourself. By providing your employees with opportunities where they can take on additional responsibilities, you are helping them develop and thrive, and managing your time better! Win-win.

5. Lack of appreciation for the value of your own time

One of the biggest mistakes managers of trades businesses make is not valuing their time.

The value of your time is not your charge-out rate and it’s important to understand where spending your time creates the greatest value for the business. (hint: it is working on the business and building your asset).

The activities you undertake can either create value in the short-term by selling hours or widgets or longer term by building your asset.

Of course, as a business owner you wear multiple hats and you must generate cash to pay the bills. It’s about getting the balance of where you spend your time right.

Tradies workbook: Own your time and get hours back in your day

It doesn’t take long for most trades business owners to discover that time is their scarcest resource. Before you know it, the demands of work take over, your schedule is out of control, you are working long hours to try and manage it and you come home every day stressed out!

The good news is, there is a pathway forward. The Tradies workbook: Own your time and get hours back in your day can help provide the structure and planning you need to learn how to shift your mindset and develop a plan that will help you take control of your time and schedule to give you back hours in the day.


Jeff Broughton
Author: Jeffrey Broughton | Associate Partner