Many amateur DIY lovers don’t realise that — after years of watching YouTube videos, reading books and putting up shelves — they’ve acquired skills that could be translated into a full-time job.
If you’re interested in a career in the trade and want to know how to get started, check out our five top tips below.
Get formal training and qualifications
No matter how naturally good you are at something, getting qualified will ensure you have the full skillset to do the job right. Signing up to a training provider site, such as Access Training, can help to point you in the right direction, informing you of the qualifications you’ll need — typically a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) or some City and Guilds vocational qualifications, minimum.
Doing an apprenticeship is another good way to get practical experience in a trade environment. These present an opportunity to not only earn while you learn but to gain a varied learning experience: with a mix of studying and hands-on training from experts. Associating yourself with a reputable trade company from the start can also be a great way to get your foot in the door within the industry.
Invest in the best tools and equipment
You probably own a range of tools you’ve been using for DIY already, but these might not cut it at the professional level. Don’t make the mistake of choosing budget-friendly tools, as their price usually reflects their lower durability and quality. Choosing the best tools from reliable trade suppliers, like Zoro, can really complement your skillset, helping you to provide the highest-quality service possible and keeping your kit up to industry standards. You’ll also save in the long run when you don’t need to invest in replacement tools.
Building up a brand-new set of tools can be pricey, so make sure you have enough saved up for this investment. You should then keep the costs of replacing and repairing equipment down by securing and maintaining your kit at all times — never leave tools in your van overnight, lend them out, or fail to inspect them.
Start small and plan logically
Going into a venture with big aspirations can be extremely motivating for the future. However, taking on too much from the get-go can be a major contributor to failure, particularly as it involves spending more of the capital invested, quicker.
Creating a business plan and then discussing it with a business consultant as well as a financial advisor will help you to establish the important things, like whether the planned cost and scale of the business is realistic, and whether what you’re offering has a unique selling point to help you stand out. To help with this, it may help to visit the government’s advice guide to financing and supporting your business, where you can search for assistance from organisations in your local area.
Choose the right business insurance
Jobs within trade differ, but whether your day-to-day includes going up and down a ladder constantly or rewiring a house’s electricity, you’ll need business insurance cover.
All trade workers will need public liability insurance to cover them in case any of their work causes harm or damage to a member of the public or their property. Tool insurance will also be a big one: ideally it should cover both hand and power tools from theft, damage or loss. Be aware that if you begin hiring, you’ll need employer’s liability insurance to cover any compensation claims from employees in the case of work-related injuries or illness.
There are many other types of insurance that you may want to invest in during your business’ lifetime, so be sure to shop around for the best advice and quotes on trades insurance — comparison sites, like Money Supermarket, can help to ensure you’re doing just that.
Market yourself effectively
Most importantly to your marketing strategy will be your reputation: it’s hard to convince people to choose you if you have a bad track record on jobs. So, make sure you do the best possible job from the get-go as most of your early customers will be won over by word of mouth. However, don’t let this put you off from advertising wherever and whenever you can — both online and offline directories will help you target large audiences, and secure a sound customer base quickly. This can involve putting up adverts in newspapers, phone books or on sites like Gumtree and Craigslist.
Business cards can also help to drive up your customer base: find a good printers to design and print them and then put these up in local shops and on notice boards to spread the word about your business quickly and conveniently.
Turning your DIY passion into a career can be an exciting yet daunting prospect. Be sure to follow our top tips for getting started and watch yourself go from strength to strength!