A 10-step Guide to Turning Your Trade into $100K a Year

This is an excerpt from “Six Figure Tradesman: 10 Steps to Making $100,000 in Your First Year as a Professional Tradesman” by Elysia and Andrew Gloudeman. The book describes life as a self-employed tradesman (or tradeswoman), including cautionary tales and a 10-step map on what to do.

The Power in Replying

Something we hear a LOT, and one of the things that makes us stand out among our competitors, is the fact that we always respond. One of the biggest complaints we hear from customers that hired someone before they hired us is that the person before us was either unresponsive or unreliable.

We know how it is to be busy.

We are consistently turning away work.

However, even if we are booked a month out, if someone takes their time to leave us a voicemail, send us an email, or text us asking for work, we always do them the courtesy of responding with our lead time. The few seconds or minutes that it takes will pay off in the long run. We cannot count the number of times that someone has reached out to us for work and we haven’t been available in the timeframe they needed us, but because we treated that person with care and responded to them with our “unavailability,” they reached out to hire us for work on a future job.


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How can you do this and manage your time when you already have a full day of work? Here are some steps to make this easier:

  • Give yourself a schedule: We recommend always responding to customers within 24 hours or on the same day. Do not plan on responding during your workday while you are with other customers. Instead, finish your work for the day and leave your customer responses until the end of your day when your head is clear and you can focus. It’ll take less time if you can do all the responding at once instead of stopping in the middle of your day to respond to customers one at a time. Most people do not even expect to hear back within 24 hours, so you’ll likely be ahead of the game if you can meet this timeframe.
  • Set expectations: Don’t over promise yourself. If you truly do not have availability when the customer wants you, tell them. This will demonstrate for your customers that you are in demand, and they may even wait for your services. It’s so much better to say “no” than to overpromise and overextend yourself. You can only last so long if you are constantly overbooking your schedule and working long days. You’ll inevitably burn out if you do this and your customers will get fed up with you overpromising and under delivering.
  • Don’t offer a quote or estimate before you’ve discussed a timeline: We recommend not providing a quote until you’ve confirmed with your customer that they are OK waiting until your soonest appointment. This (almost) guarantees that you won’t waste as much time quoting jobs that won’t come to fruition.

One of the most important parts of managing your busy business will be keeping to a response schedule. As mentioned above, a 24-hour response window is ideal. It will give you plenty of time to do your physical labor during the workday but is still a tight enough window that most customers won’t have found another contractor already. Customer care is one of the most important factors in being able to maintain a 6-figure business, so following these guidelines will make your life easier and your customers happier.

“Six Figure Tradesman: 10 Steps to Making $100,000 in Your First Year as a Professional Tradesman” is available on Amazon.


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