5 mins with…Stuart Harvey, CEO, Right Trades

Stuart Harvey gives Talk Business an insight into his newly-launched company, Right Trades, explaining how it will revolutionise the way tradespeople will work forever.

IMG_0836What is Right Trades, and what it does/aims to achieve?

Our vision to become the biggest and the best trades service organisation in the world stems from over 20 years working within the trades industry. Our business model is one-of-a-kind connecting customers to independently assessed trade partners offering fixed price solutions. Currently, no one offers customers a comprehensive package with transparent costs, guaranteed high-quality work from third-party audited tradespeople, and round-the-clock access to customer service teams if the job isn’t up to scratch. Likewise, no one offers contractors the chance to grow their business as part of an international brand without charging extortionate franchise fees, or additional costs for leads or jobs.

What makes Right Trades stand out from the crowd is our ability to meet the needs of both customers and trade partners simultaneously; we give trade partners the opportunity to grow their business with exclusive ownership of a region with no same-trade competition and the tools and team behind them to help make it happen. For customers, we take the hassle out of finding a highly-skilled trade partner offering transparent, fixed costs, giving them peace of mind.

Where did the idea for Right Trades come from?

The idea behind Right Trades was developed out of frustration more than anything else; having worked in the trades industry for the last 20 years, it became increasingly clear that existing organisations just did not offer what we as a company needed. I’ve tried to find a solution many times; I initially investigated franchise options, however soon realised the high costs, from upfront and ongoing fees, involved in this venture outweighed the opportunities. I also tried working with software companies that specialise in trades, but they too charge extortionate annual fees and just couldn’t tailor their system to meet our exact needs. I therefore didn’t renew the software and tried working directly with lead generation sites instead. This was great for creating high volumes of leads but the fight for the customer was still there and client management, involving chasing leads up, quoting and then chasing payment, was too time consuming.

Many trades professionals, like myself, aim to work independently but are unable to due to these many obstacles. In developing Right Trades we took the positives from all of the options already out there and created a unique trades solution system.

Why do you think this is the perfect time to start Right Trades?

More people are realising that working for yourself is the best way to get the maximum financial return for yourself rather than an employer. With the recession behind us, work is flowing and more and more tradespeople are taking this leap.

We’ve seen, and are bridging, this gap in the marketplace by offering a full package, at a very low annual cost with no additional fees for works passed. Our bespoke software solution is tailored to meet the needs of a 1-100 man company. The top features include an easy-to-use web interface with diary management, upfront payment protection and round-the-clock support. The work we pass on to our trade partners is constantly flowing with our strong commitment to spend 40% of sales revenue into initial and ongoing marketing and brand exposure. Our partners never compete for jobs, thanks to our unique region exclusivity model, and are provided collaboration opportunities to tender on big, local contracts and take on national account work with big chip companies who are already working with us. Our trade partners are also able to take advantage of our network for direct cost savings on courses, premium insurance, accountancy service and stock items. I truly believe we’ve created something special and the benefits we’re able to offer, at a very low annual cost, need to be seen to believed.

What has been the biggest challenge for you and Right Trades?

Making the change from entrepreneur to business owner was the biggest challenge. There is a world of difference from starting a business from concept to actually growing an existing operation, as I have done previously. Business owners take on all areas of the operation and to run efficiently are required to switch gears and delegate.

Working on the concept step-by-step was also a learning curve. I realise how this needs to be done in a controlled manner to ensure productivity and perfection in all areas. We’ve been developing Right Trades for over two years now. We want to launch in a very strong position so we’ve been holding off going to market. Now that we’re ready I keep hearing the phrase “no stone unturned”. That sums up where we are at.

What would you be doing if you weren’t running your own business?

If I had never started Right Trades I would probably be coaching Rugby in Australia and working as a project manager for an electrical contracting company. I say this whilst reminiscing about my life 6 years ago, as I was doing this exact thing. That said, I have no regrets with the path I’ve taken, as I’m confident we’ve created the perfect solution for tradespeople. I’m really looking forward to seeing Right Trades grow, alongside our trade partners as we both take our businesses to the next level.

Do you manage to achieve a good work/life balance?

I understand the commitment involved in starting a new business, especially at the ground-breaking level, but I will always make time for my family. I’m getting married in October and I’m a mere 5 weeks away from becoming a father for the third time. Family is the most important aspect of my life. I strongly believe it’s important to have a balanced professional and personal life and encourage all my staff and partners to do whatever is needed to ensure this is in check.

Everyone deserves time away from work for hobbies and to spend with their loved ones. We’ve incorporated this philosophy into the development of Right Trades. To book time off, all our trade partners need to do is block it in their online calendar. Our administrative team will then organise a member of our team, matching their trade expertise, to cover their exclusive region so their customer base won’t suffer during their absence.