Tradesmen and women have been urged to be ‘vantastic’ and smarten up their works vehicle to help business boom.
With thousands of self-employed UK builders, electricians and plumbers working out of vans five days a week, often far from home, their vehicles can easily become tired and messy. But new research from leading specialists LeaseVan.co.uk has identified a smart van as one of the eight most simple improvements tradesmen and women can make to their businesses. Even a regular wash can help bring in more business as the public is more likely to hire a tradesman with a clean smart van than one which is covered with dirt.
Other advice to grow business includes taking better care while driving on the roads, becoming better organised and diversifying services.
Gareth Roberts, Head of Strategic Development at LeaseVan.co.uk, said: “Britain’s army of tradesmen and women are unsung heroes keeping the economy of Britain thriving. There’s no doubt at all that they are incredibly hard working men and women but sometimes they work so hard that the little things such as washing their van can fall to the bottom of the priority list. But we have found that a dirty van can really put off a lot of potential customers, as can being seen to drive badly. By identifying the eight top tips tradespeople can easy implement we hope we can help some of the UK’s wonderful van driving small business owners watch their companies thrive.”
“Doing something as simple as washing your van could see an upturn in business, whilst many tradespersons have never even considered marketing their services. Never forget that the customer is king, or queen, so without compromising your personal standard of work, always be flexible to meet the client’s needs and over-deliver.”
Here are the eight top tips to be a better tradesperson from LeaseVan.co.uk:
- Be vantastic: As it’s their mobile office, it is important for tradespeople to take due care and attention over their working vehicle. The first step is to ensure the vehicle is appropriate for the job; a van that is too big or small, the wrong type or missing key features will not allow the job to be completed as smoothly as possible. It is also crucial for any vehicle used to visit a client or site to be spotlessly clean, both internally and externally, to maintain an untarnished reputation. Keeping a smart image whilst driving from job to job will generate confidence in the quality of your work.
- Promote: Implementing a proper marketing strategy is not exclusive to any particular type of business; any tradesperson could advance themselves by putting the word on the street about their services. The spaces on the sides of vans are ideal for some self-promotion; install advertising, branding or contact details to open the door to passing potential clients. Other ways to generate new business include getting listed online to be positively reviewed, taking pictures after successful jobs, trying a social media publicity campaign and carrying a stash of business cards.
- Drive better: Any bad or dangerous driving, such as speeding, tail-gaiting or general road rage, will discourage fellow motorists from using your services. Taking a more relaxed attitude to driving could also help business finances through more economical fuel usage. Remember, too, upon arrival at a job, to park considerately, as any driver or homeowner who is obstructed or annoyed could be a potential customer lost.
- Organise: Tradespeople can save time, money and effort in conducting their work by maintaining proper organisation. Invest in a clipboard to keep a checklist of van contents, to ensure everything a customer or tradesperson could need is always to hand. Also make sure all paperwork is up-to-date, particularly anything regarding equipment, finances, insurance (personal, van or business) and tax.
- Be secure: All cargo and tools should be stored securely; confirm any loads in or on working vehicles are appropriately secured whilst travelling and ensure vans are secure overnight or when left unattended.
- Be safe: Health and safety is vital in the modern world, so make sure vans, power tools and similar items are always properly maintained. Follow good working practises such as conducting risk assessments before conducting any work (consider yourself, the customer, the public and the site). Take further precautions such as wearing high-visibility clothing and hard hats; never turn up to a job tired, dehydrated or otherwise unfit to work.
- Diversify: Gaining extra skills could allow a tradesperson to consistently deliver more than expected on-site. There is no need to become a general handyman or woman, but an electrician who can also plaster and paint over his or her work afterwards, or a carpenter with excellent first-aid training, will certainly be widely recommended.
- Put the customer first: Always remember that the customer comes first; clear and considerate communication will allow your trade skills and work ethic to be showcased, so always try to be visible and approachable.