Who Should I Hire First?

Who Should I Hire First?

You’ve looked at your finances to make sure the business is ready to take on another employee.  Now it’s time to decide who to hire and then write their job description.

Oftentimes, the first hire we see trades businesses make is either an apprentice or another tradie. We don’t think this is always the best move. Here’s why.

If you’ve got to the point where you’re so busy that you’re thinking about taking on another employee, you’re almost certainly doing lots of what we call low-leverage tasks, and what you call “the paperwork.”

Hiring somebody to manage “the paperwork” is in our view the most important hire you’ll ever make. A good office assistant will make you far more productive by taking on all those low-leverage tasks that you can’t charge for. This means you can channel your expertise, time and energy where they’ll be most effective.

This is what will create an immediate boost in productivity and income!

The “Drudgery Zone”

Why do we say this? Well these low-leverage tasks - “the paperwork” – are in what we call the drudgery zone. Tasks and activities that you neither enjoy nor are particularly proficient at. They sap your energy because you don’t particularly enjoy being sat behind a desk. Right now, at this stage of your career, you’d probably much rather be out and about on the tools.

The bottom line is all the while you’re performing tasks that suck your energy away from income generating activities, you’re actually losing money.

The Maths

If you charge out your time at £200 a day, this equates to £25 an hour for an 8-hour day. Now let’s assume, for arguments sake, that you spend 8 hours a week in the drudgery zone on “the paperwork.”  The cost to your business is £200, whether you bill this time or not. Because you’re neither on the tools doing a job, nor doing a marketing/ sales related activity that’s going to pull in the work. Nor spending time with your family for that matter.

If, however, you’re paying an office assistant somewhere around £10-12 an hour for their work, then that’s less than half of your hourly rate. It’s cost your business £80 instead of £200. So, automatically, you’ve gotten a good return.

Think that return’s not worth it? Try adding it up over the course of the year. Over the course of 48 weeks, you’ll have lost £5,760. What could you do with an extra £5,760? Or the time not working in the drudgery zone?

What we’ve not even calculated is the lost opportunity cost to your business because you’ve not been able to invest your time in an activity that will deliver an exponential return. For example, attending a weekly networking group to gain high quality referrals that lead to second and third generation referrals.

The question is: would you pay £80 to make £200?

The “Desire Zone”

The opposite of the drudgery zone is the desire zone. This is where your passion and your expertise come together. Your zone of genius. It’s what you love doing and what you’re really, really good at.

For a tradie in the early stages of growing his/ her business, this boils down to three things. First, working on the tools to deliver each job to the customer’s satisfaction. Second, teaching and coaching your new recruits to work to the standards you’ve laid down for the company. And thirdly it’s winning new work. Focus on these three activities and you’ll create the most leverage and the greatest impact for your business.

Your First Hire

We recommend your first hire is a telephone answering service. Several of our customers use Zebra Connections, as do we. From just £40 a month plus VAT, a Zebra Connections PA will answer calls in your company name, become familiar with your products, services and customers, manage your diary and relay messages to you via email, text message or fax, passing urgent queries straight through to your phone. This leaves you free to focus on dealing with the job in hand. You can then deal with customer calls during your breaks, with your diary to hand.

Your Second Hire

A great office assistant will handle the paperwork side of things for you. Sending out and chasing up quotes. Contacting customers to book in jobs. Getting customer feedback and requesting testimonials and reviews. Sending invoices and following up slow payers. Dealing with incoming mail. Simple bookkeeping.

With these things handled, you’re free to invest your time in the places where you’re going to get the greatest return and you’re also the most enthusiastic about.

Next week, we’ll continue this step-by-step series on hiring by looking at how to write a job description.

The other articles in this step-by-step series are:

Other articles that will help you grow your trades business include:

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