Business AdvisoryTrades and Construction

Time Management Tips to Create Profitable Tradies

Jeff Broughton Jeffrey Broughton
25 November 2021
5 min read

25 November 2021

One of the biggest mistakes many tradies make is not valuing their time. And, if you are like many trades business owners, you probably spend most of your time working ‘in the business’ and spend limited time working ‘on the business’. Creating profitable tradies requires an intentional approach to time management.

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

It does not take a mathematician to understand that if you can get $70 for selling an hour of time, you should not be short-changing yourself by doing administrative tasks that you can hire someone else to do for a third of the price.

What’s harder for many tradies to justify is swapping out their chargeable time working ‘in the business’ and replacing it with time spent working ‘on the business’. Chargeable time is money in the bank right now while working on the business is money in the future.

But if you’re going to get anywhere in business, work on your business you must. And profitable tradies understand this. Whether it’s working on your own skills, undertaking strategic projects and general improvement projects, strategic people management (i.e. performance development), resource allocation, or working on organisational structures, time spent working ‘on the business’ needs to be part of your time allocation every week, and is a time management technique that reaps dividends in the long run.

For a free guide to help you understand what your time is worth in dollar value, download Tradies workbook: Own your time and get hours back in your day

5 ways profitable tradies manage their time

To make the necessary time you require each week to work ‘on the business’, it might be necessary to reallocate some of the tasks you deal with so you can maximise the time you have available to you each day.

Broadly speaking, there are five options to reallocate tasks and each has different costs.

1. Eliminate Tasks

The best time saving technique of all is to just eliminate the task.

Ask yourself the question, “What would happen if I just didn’t do this task?” If the answer is “nothing” then you should eliminate it!

2. Automate through technology

We are in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution, which is blurring the boundaries of the physical and digital worlds.

Technology in the workplace can radically improve performance and save time though automation. And with almost 10 million different apps, with many focusing on making our lives easier or more enjoyable, there will be a number of routine tasks that can be automated.

Review your key routines and processes and see what technology you can implement that will improve your time management and performance

3. Delegate

Being able to delegate effectively is one of the key levers available to you to save time. But it is also an area that business owners struggle with the most. Being an effective delegator is an easy way to become a more profitable tradie who manages their time well.

Delegation not only saves you time, but it empowers your staff and helps improves performance across teams. Good managers know that the time and effort of training staff will pay the business back in spades so next time you go to do something that could be done by someone else just as well, if not better, ask yourself, “Does this work really need to be carried out by me?”

4. Outsource

Now that you understand the value different activities generate when you allocate your time to them, think of tasks you could outsource (cashflow allowing) that would:

  • Save you time

  • Reduce distraction and stress

  • Improve productivity and performance

Examples might include your payroll, bookkeeping, marketing or HR. Many small businesses get put off by the additional costs, however, specialists who are more effective at their job, can help you be more effective with your time by spending it where it creates the most value.

5. Hire staff

Too often we see businesses who are making money but, despite working around the clock, are reluctant to hire.

If you’re in this position, you need to look at the value of your time and where it makes the greatest contribution.

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