1. Empower Your Skillset

Skillset

Welcome

Hello and welcome, my name is Gavin and thank you for your purchase. Before we dive in, I would like to kindly ask you to try and forget what you already know. This is purely so that you can start learning with a clear mind allowing more room for reflection on what you have learnt and not on previous knowledge, that even though it has helped you for a while, might be the reason why your business is not stuck in a rut. I want to give you the tools to skyrocket your business and this might have to go through reconstructing some limiting believes you’ve built over time or heard from others.

This learning program is built around 2 essential concepts:

  • Getting the knowledge, the information that will help you make a difference and,
  • The action steps you will take to put that knowledge into practice. 

contents

A bit about me

How I went from little skills and no qualifications to having a limited company fitting kitchens and bathrooms with plenty of work, lots of time off and no employees.

Combine your skills

How easy is it to multi-skill and learn as you earn?

The value ladder

A key ingredient to maximising your profit.

High / Low risk

Every business involves risks, which ones should you take.

About Me

I always wished I was able to work for myself using skills that would make money in the building trade and yet I had little skills, little confidence and no qualifications. After working nearly 10 years as a Tesco delivery driver, my wife helped me realise that I could work for myself by starting with the small jobs. From there I made progress learning new skills, picking up more and more customers and making lots of money

In the space of 3 years, I went from carrying out odd jobs to having a limited company carrying out one-stop kitchen and bathroom installation services. I do not have any employees and I still don’t have any qualifications. If I continued just doing small jobs then I would still be in a very good position today due to the way I run My business which is what you are going to learn in this course.

For me and my family, this was a new way of life. Work less and earn more! I was able to earn more in one day than in four days in my old job. I began to realise why I kept winning jobs over other tradesmen. I was doing a few things that others were not. This wasn’t just down to my skill set as this was in my early days and my skills were quite limited compared to now. What I am about to share with you can and should change the way you run your business freeing up more time while expanding your profit. 

“Combine your skills”

It was really an incredible experience for me. Because I wasn't trained in any specific trade, I was learning while I was earning a bit of many trades and combining my skills. I was creating a VALUE LADDER without even realising it. The value ladder is what enables you to maximise your profit from whatever skills you have and still all in a day's work or at least in the same job. This way also meant I was and still am much more resistant to a recession.
Gavin Harrison

While it remains true that you don’t need many skills In order to maximise your profit, many tradesmen still remain anchored into the trade they have always known which can hold them back from broadening their horizons. For example, If you have a fully qualified bricklayer with years of experience, his wages are capped if he only does bricklaying.


Carpentry

Carpentry is one of the most important trade skills anyone can have. If you can do some forms of basic carpentry, then you can multi-skill. Obviously, there are many aspects of carpentry which even I can’t do but for most home improvement work indoors and out, it’s quite straight forward. Carrying out small repair jobs like in this picture on the right (fence repair) is how I started learning while I was earning!


Painting and decorating

I have to admit, most of what I learnt about painting and decorating was from the help desks in the hardware stores and trade stores and even online advice. Reading some product reviews also helped. Free advice should never be underestimated. I only need to learn it as you are doing the job, also because you are doing it, that knowledge stays with you. Again, this was one of the skills I started off with.


Tiling

It still surprises me just how many customers want tilling and not just part of kitchen and bathroom refurbishment projects but in revamp jobs on floors, kitchens walls and toilet rooms. Anyone doing tiling for the first time may struggle a bit but trust me, there are so many practices which make the job super easy and brings lots of profit.


Plumbing

Plumbing is a real money maker and yet most tradesmen who are not plumbers are afraid to touch plumbing for lack of confidence and the fear of a leak turning into a lot of damage. What most people don’t realise is that modern technology has not only made plumbing super easy but has also made it super fast while reducing the cost of materials. 

All you need is very basic plumbing skills, willingness to learn and don’t take risks.

Still, to this very day I do not get involved in advanced plumbing and yet I have enough knowledge to refit kitchens and bathrooms including rerouting the radiators. You don’t have to be qualified as long as you stay away from gas. One important thing to remember is that you should always leak test your pipework.

Most of the time, it just simply means checking it under the usual pressure before you cover it up in the walls and floors.

The value ladder

A value ladder is a method of mapping out your product/service offering visually in ascending order of value and price. … As your customers ascend the ladder, the value level increases, as does the cost of your services.

This method also applies to your detailed work descriptions inside your quote, which is why it is also important to add more detailed information to your quote. The work description matrix is available in your resources.

If you pick up a painting and decorating job and your customer requires new skirting, then “bosh” there’s your carpentry skills and your value ladder! More skills, more money.

These days, applying new skirting is easy when using a mitre saw, grab adhesive and decorators caulk. If you use the bathroom and notice the bath or shower requires a reseal then just ask the customer if they would like you to carry out this additional work as you are already there on the job. Again – Value ladder. Often enough, customers like someone capable of more than one trade so they get to know you and call you again in the future.

things to remember

Never deliberately make money out of a customer. Most customers generally get concerned about work and the final invoice mounting up, so only guide them and ask permission for any essential unforeseen work which may occur during the job that you were paid to do. Never try to sell them something, instead give them options as customers always like to choose, as choice gives them power. This is “the power of choice”!

If your customer agrees to additional work, you could let them know that you are offering it to them at a discount as you are already there. Always keep track of pricing as it can be very embarrassing when you forget just how much was agreed. This has happened to me in the past and we will talk about pricing in detail further on in this course. 

 

High / low risk

Ok, so there are many types of people who run a business.

Ones who don’t mind taking big risks and hope to always come out on top and those who like to play it safe. Yes big business does come from taking big risks but fortunately, I am not a gambling man, so, therefore, I don’t like taking many risks. 

I’ll tell you exactly what I am talking about. For a few years, I was subcontracted to bathstore up until they went into administration. They still exist but without the fitting service. The pay was very good and we’ll get more into that later as I learnt a lot from there customer installation pricing structure, which funnily enough, to my surprise was already similar to the one I had in place but just allowed me to make some changes, and you guessed it – more money.

Anyway, they used to pass a lot of work my way above their other fitters, knowing they would get a higher return rate as I would go and carry out the customer surveys and gain the contracts especially when it came to the elderly customers. A customer survey is just a fancy term for a measure up and listing the work required.

Now, as a fitter, I used to communicate with the installation manager who was always under pressure due to fitters taking on jobs they were just not capable of doing or they didn’t allow a reasonable time frame.

You can just imagine the horror stories I used to hear about including a guy who ran a few jobs simultaneously with 3 of his own teams working on them. He ended up having a breakdown when it all went wrong leaving 3 customers with no bathroom and no fitter to finish the job.

So why did it go wrong? he took risks, big risks with impossible schedules using fitters who barely knew what they were doing.

Sure the money was good and this didn’t just happen overnight, it happens gradually.

I would say that if I got this far without taking too many risks, then anyone can follow my path.

All you have to do is be honest with yourself and with your customers, if you are not sure then say no and leave yourself more time then you think you will need for the job and between jobs until you get used to how much time you really need. If you do have any time left, then either start the next job early or just enjoy having some time with your family.

Also, don’t forget the value ladder I mentioned earlier. This could easily fill in some of that free time. There were also others I would hear about and still do hear about from my own customers today. Tradesmen who are just there to make quick money while doing a bad job not caring about the customer or their reputation. 

HandyMan

These pictures were the actual jobs I did in my first year of trading. They ranged from fitting a blind while painting and decorating, repairing and installing fences, turfing, small patio’s to shelving and shelving a customers van.

I was earning between £150 and £300 per day

Bathroom refurbishment

This bathroom gives you an example of the money you can earn when you are a one-stop shop for your customers

This job earned me between £400 and £500 per day. It was ok once the walls were boarded over and as you can see the orientation of the bath has changed.

To summarise this first lesson, you were learning…

A bit about me

In 3 years I made it from a Tesco delivery driver with little skills and no qualifications to having a limited company fitting kitchens and bathrooms with plenty of work, lots of time off and no employees. 

Combine your skills

Never be afraid to learn new skills as you are “on the job”. Learning while you are earning is a quick and useful way to become multi-skilled

The value ladder

More skills, more money. Be tactful and use the value ladder method to Increase your work with the same customer on the same job and maximise your profit. This often works best when quoting a customer.

High / Low risk

Fewer risks, fewer problems. This involves time frames and the ability to carry out the work. It’s always best to allow enough time for each job and concentrate on one job at a time unless you really have people you can rely on.

In the next lesson, we will be looking at....

  • Your business as a whole.
  • Your name
  • profile
  • How you communicate with your customers
  • Quoting
  • Website
  • Your personal appearance and
  • What type of vehicle are you using.