If you’ve been working as a tradesman on sites for a number of years, you’ve probably thought about setting up on your own. Rather than simply getting your wage at the end of the week, it’s a much more lucrative option to go out on your own, where all the profits theoretically go into your pocket.
However, it’s not just as easy as setting up and getting started on jobs, there are a number of things you must make sure you do.
All businesses need to be insured. After all, mistakes can happen so you need to be fully covered. This can range from looking for the cheapest van insurance to cover your vehicle and the tools inside it, to public liability insurance and employers’ liability insurance.
You may want to set up as a sole trader or as a company. There are a variety of different business structures, all with pros and cons and which require different means of formation. At this stage, if you’re a little unsure which would be the best option for you, it’s important to seek some independent financial advice.
You have the skills in place to succeed when it comes to your actual trade from your years working on different sites, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have the business skills to succeed. This is where you need to learn fast, as you’ll be required to organize the accounts and all the financial aspects of the business. It’s worthwhile securing the services of an accountant to help with the financial side of things as they’ll be able to advise on the different tax issues and what you can or can’t claim back on the business. For example, you should be able to claim back certain things such as travel expenses, mobile phone bills and the cost of setting up a website, amongst others.
The hardest thing is getting customers. Yes you may have contacts from before and have relationships with existing customers, but to be successful in a competitive market you need to attract new business. Set up a website, get some flyers printed off and take to social media. You may also want to consider branding your van – not only will this potentially attract new business, vans that are branded are less likely to be stolen which could also save you some money when it comes to your insurance premiums.