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Accounting for Trades People

Over the years we have assisted several hundred tradesmen including builders, plumbers, carpenters and electricians with their accounting, tax and financial affairs. In fact, trades people have become a niche within our firm.

We acknowledge the long hours and physical demands of running a trades business. It explains why bookkeeping and administration often don't get the attention they deserve. While GST, BAS and tax payments often represent some of the largest financial obligations for a trades person, many struggle to manage their tax affairs.

We understand the risks and issues facing trades people and can offer you advice on everything from your business structure, website, branding and invoicing through to your marketing and accounting software. When its time to employ apprentices and sub-contractors we can help you comply with the regulations and reporting requirements. This is obviously in addition to the usual small business compliance issues of GST, BAS, PAYG and Superannuation.

We are not your average suburban accounting firm who just keep the financial 'score' and our clients operate in a range of different trades including:

  • Air Conditioning Mechanics
  • Arborists
  • Bathroom Renovators
  • Blinds - Repair & Installation
  • Bricklayers
  • Builders
  • Carpenters
  • Carpet Cleaners
  • Carpet Repairers
  • Ceiling Repairers
  • Commercial Cleaners
  • Concreters
  • Domestic Cleaners
  • Electricians
  • Electrical Appliance Repairs
  • Fencing & Gates
  • Floating Floors
  • Floor Sanding
  • Furniture Assembly
  • Fencing Contractors
  • Guttering
  • Garden Maintenance
  • Gas Fitters
  • Glazers
  • Handymen
  • Home Security
  • Insulation
  • Interior Decorators
  • Joinery
  • Kitchen Renovaters
  • Landscape Gardeners
  • Lawn Care
  • Painters
  • Paving Contractors
  • Pergolas
  • Plasterers
  • Plumbers
  • Rendering
  • Retaining Walls
  • Reticulation
  • Roller Doors
  • Roof Tilers
  • Roofing Repairers
  • Rubbish Removalists
  • Security Doors, Gates & Grills
  • Swimming Pools & Spas
  • Telecommunications
  • Tiling
  • Timber Floors
  • Tree Loppers
  • Vinyl & Carpet Layers
  • Window Cleaners
  • Wrought Iron Gates & Balustrades
  • Welders

If you are looking to start a trades business talk to us about our comprehensive 45 page booklet, 'Starting or Buying a Small Business'. It is a valuable resource available to clients that explains all the key business start up issues including alternative business structures, GST and tax registrations, record keeping, legal issues to consider, claiming car expenses, finance options, employing staff and preparing a business plan and cash flow budget. With over 20 years experience with clients in the trades you can benefit from our experience and to illustrate our expertise we have produced a number of specific e-booklets for the trades that you can download including:  

11 Things Every Trades Person Should Know (pdf)
Accounting For Trades People (pdf)
Industry Benchmarks for Trades (pdf)
The Motor Vehicle Tax Guide (pdf)

STARTING A TRADES BUSINESS

Starting a business is a bit like building a house. You need solid foundations that include the right business structure, the most suitable accounting software program, adequate and appropriate insurances, a marketing plan, a lead generation website and various social media channels.

Your choice of business structure is critical and there are a number of different options such as partnership, sole trader, company and trust. Asset protection is a key consideration when selecting a business structure because of the high risks associated with the building trades. When choosing a business structure you also need to take into account your family situation, your forecast level of profit and your future plans regarding the potential admission of new business partners.

Accounting software is another foundation brick in the business wall and the wrong choice can be catastrophic. Poor financial records are one of the biggest causes of business failure in this country and up to date, accurate records let us make informed business decisions. It's very important that your accounting software matches your business needs with your level of accounting skill otherwise your records could resemble a 'computerised shoebox' which conflicts with our brief of helping you reduce your bookkeeping and compliance costs. We support a range of software programs including cloud based options and where required we will train you to use the software to reduce your frustration and bookkeeping costs.

As you know, to build a house you also need the right tools. When 'constructing' your business we also use a number of tools including our start-up expense checklist to identify all your potential establishment costs. It dissects your start-up costs into several categories including tools, equipment, IT expenses, professional fees and marketing costs. These figures can then slot into a cash flow budget template that will produce projected trading results and help identify any finance requirements.

For a trades person, your ute or van is arguably your most important business tool and you can download our Motor Vehicle Tax Guide from the resources section of our website. It explores the alternative methods of claiming your vehicle expenses and the distinction between a business and private trip for tradesmen. In addition, through our affiliate partners we can also assist with vehicle finance (chattel mortgage, CHP or lease) and get you fleet pricing on your new car, ute or light commercial van that could save you thousands of dollars.

To be frank, that’s just the beginning. As accountants we can do some financial modelling and prepare some ‘what if’ scenarios. This gives you an understanding of your business’ best and worst case profit scenarios. Next, using industry benchmarks we can compare the performance of your business against your competitors so you understand what is working in the business and what needs working on.



MARKETING YOUR BUSINESS

One of our biggest points of difference compared to traditional accounting firms is our marketing expertise and we genuinely believe your marketing can be the difference between boom and gloom.  

From a marketing perspective most trades people rely on customer referrals and traditional marketing methods like yellow pages and local newspaper ads to grow their business. While some of these techniques remain effective, you need to move your marketing focus online to align with the shift in consumer behaviour. Google is now the number one source of new business for trades people and where do you appear on a search for 'plumber dandenong' or 'builder cranbourne'? If you're not on the first page in the top three listings you're not in the game.

The majority of your competitor's websites are nothing more than electronic billboards that simply list the who, what and where of their trades business. Over the past few years we have worked with dozens of clients to help them create quality affordable websites and we can offer you advice and assistance with your content, video production and search engine optimisation. We'll make sure your website is responsive to mobile devices and contains calls to action.

Our trades clients want more sales, more customers and more profit so we also give you access to one of the world’s most successful marketing programs, the ‘Business Growth System’. It contains more than 80 breakthrough marketing strategies supported by videos, templates and checklists. Access to this ‘vault’ of resources would normally cost you $500 per month ($6,000 per annum), however, as a client of the firm you get unlimited FREE access. In addition, you also get access to the ‘Grow Your Business in 5 Days’ video training course that could have a massive impact on your future business growth.

Here at Hyde Cooper Wells we are different to most accounting firms because we view the tax return as the start of the client process, not the end. Our mission is to help you fast track your business success and we offer trades people a range of tailored tax, accounting, financial and marketing solutions including:

  • Start-Up Business Advice for Tradies & Sub-Contractors
  • Advice regarding the Purchase or Sale of your Trades Business
  • Tools including the Start-Up Expense Checklist
  • Templates for a Business Plan, Cash Flow Budget, Letterhead and Business Card
  • Advice and Assistance with the Establishment of Your Business Structure
  • Tax Registrations including ABN, TFN, GST, WorkCover etc.
  • Preparation of Business Plans, Cash Flow Forecasts and Profit Projections
  • Accounting Software Selection and Training – Bookkeeping, Invoicing, Quotes, Payroll and Reporting Requirements
  • Preparation and Analysis of Financial Statements
  • Preparation of Finance Applications
  • Bookkeeping and Payroll Services
  • Income Tax Returns and Tax Planning Strategies
  • Assistance with your Marketing including your Branding, Corporate Brochure etc.
  • Advice and Assistance with your Website Development, Content and SEO
  • Wealth Creation Strategies and Financial Planning Services
  • Industry Benchmarking and KPI Management
  • Vehicle & Equipment Finance (Chattel Mortgage & Lease)
  • Monitoring and Controlling Labour and Sub-Contractor Costs
  • Advice & Assistance with Pricing your Services
  • Advice & Assistance with Claiming Motor Vehicle Expenses
  • Recession Survival Strategies
  • Advice regarding Employee Relations and Workplace Laws
  • Business & Risk Insurances (Income Protection, Life Insurance etc.)
  • Business Succession Planning

In summary, we are so much more than just tax accountants. By combining the knowledge of your industry with our consulting tools and marketing expertise we can help you build a better, more profitable and valuable trades business.

If you're an ambitious tradie looking to boost your current results or if you're looking to get your business off to a flying start we invite you to contact us today. You can expect practical business, tax, marketing and financial advice that could have a profound effect on your future business profits. To book your FREE, one hour introductory consultation simply call us on (03) 5995 3466 or complete your details in the box at the top right hand side of this page and we will be in touch.

Hyde Cooper Wells - Accountants & Business Advisors