7 smart strategies to minimise risk in your trade business

Michael Burke
April 8, 2024

Running a trade business right now can feel tougher than ever. Firstly there are the practical issues: juggling multiple jobs, managing a team and staying on top of the paperwork. Then there are the financial considerations, like cashflow, invoicing and payroll. Next comes customer demands for quotes and SLAs, as well as staying on the right side of regulations and compliance. It can all seem overwhelming, can't it?

BigChange has been providing field service management software to some of the most successful names in trades industries for the last ten years. We've used that experience to identify areas of vulnerability, so let's start by looking at ways to help create your own risk management plan.

#1 Invest in the right tools

Don't think of tools purely as things that fit on a belt or a toolbox for use in completing physical tasks. Truthfully, some of the best business tools aren't physical at all, but data based. What matters, whether you're talking drills or software, is equipping your team with the best ones for their job.

When choosing what to supply your team with, be sure to look at both cost and quality. Look for guarantees, warranties and reviews from other customers. Investing in high quality tools and maintaining them properly not only makes jobs easier to carry out but also reduces the risk of costly mistakes. This includes reduced accidents, fewer claims and results in lower insurance premiums.

Remember to think about the business as a whole when you are evaluating risk. The right tech can be a game-changer that has a knock-on effect in identifying risk and risk avoidance across your business - more on this later.

photos of europump and Dock solutions

#2 Train your team

According to government statistics, 561,000 people sustained an injury at work in 2023, including 135 fatalities. So how can you ensure that your team members aren't amongst them?

A well-trained team is a safe team. Regular training sessions can ensure your team is up-to-date with the latest safety regulations and best practices. This not only reduces the risk of accidents but also improves your team's efficiency and effectiveness.

Another key strategy to minimise risk is to implement strict safety protocols for your team. This includes identifying hazards, ensuring the use of safety equipment and conducting regular safety inspections. Establish a process to identify risks when purchasing new equipment and implement safeguards.

Prioritising safety in your business lowers the chances of accidents and injuries and keeps your business running smoothly.

#3 Stay up to date on regulations

Penalties for breaching HSE regulations can include Fees for Intervention, fines or, in extreme cases, imprisonment. So, obviously it's important to stay informed about the latest regulations and compliance requirements in your industry.

Once you are aware of changes coming, plan ahead so that your working practices include them. Make sure all documents are up to date and that your procedures align with the new rules.

Stay informed about regulations to keep your business compliant and avoid legal problems. If you haven't already, consider joining industry associations or attending training sessions to stay informed about regulatory changes.

If you're unsure about how to conduct a risk assessment in a specific area, the blog will help.

#4 Invest in proper insurance coverage

Sadly, accidents happen, even when you have done everything possible to protect your staff. That means that reducing your financial risk is essential.

To reduce risk in your trade business, make sure you have the right types and levels of insurance from a reliable insurance company. Also speak to your insurers about the possibility of bundling insurance as it can reduce the overall cost. Here are some to consider:

  • Public Liability Insurance: Covers you for claims of property damage or injury made by 3rd parties.
  • Product Liability Insurance: Protection related to damage or injury caused by defective products sold by your business
  • Employers’ Liability Insurance: Covering work-related injuries or illnesses and a legal requirement in the UK if you have employees.
  • Business Contents Insurance: Protects the contents of your business premises against events like floods, fires, or theft
  • Business Buildings Insurance: Also known as commercial property insurance. This covers damage to the building(s) your business operates from.

However, it's not just about protecting your business—it's about peace of mind. By having the proper coverage in place, you can protect your business and your workforce from unexpected events that could lead to financial loss.

2 images of workmen carrying out tasks

#5 Build strong relationships with suppliers and customers

Building strong relationships with your suppliers and customers can also help minimise risk in your trade business. By maintaining good communication and transparency with your suppliers, you can ensure timely delivery of materials and avoid any disruptions to your projects. Similarly, by providing excellent customer service and addressing any issues promptly, you can build trust and loyalty with your customers.

Happy customers are loyal customers. And loyal customers are less likely to take their business elsewhere. Building strong relationships with your customers can help you minimise the risk of losing business. This includes everything from providing excellent customer service to going the extra mile to exceed their expectations.

Be aware of how a 5-star or 1-star review can impact your business and reputation in the industry.

#6 Monitor your finances closely

Finally, it's crucial to monitor your finances closely to minimise financial risk in your trade business. Keep track of your cash flow, expenses, and profits to ensure that your business is financially stable. Look for a way to measure actual vs planned costs and monitor your cash flow to identify potential shortfalls. Consider working with a financial advisor or accountant to help you make informed decisions and plan for the future.

#7 Find the right tech solution

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You might not be able to predict the future, but you can prepare for it. Having a backup plan can help you deal with unexpected problems, like equipment breakages or sudden market changes.

Being prepared can mean the difference between a minor setback and a major disaster. Nothing will make this easier to handle than having the right tech solution in place. Here are just a few of the ways that BigChange's job management software can help reduce risk in your business:

  1. Risk assessment completion: Create digital risk assessment forms and decide the order of job sheets on our mobile app. This ensures technicians must complete the risk assessment before carrying out any work, reducing potential risks.
  2. Planned preventative maintenance: Set recurring jobs for regular maintenance and testing of your equipment. This is also something that you can offer to your customers as well.
  3. Certification reminders: Ensure that everyone in the business has up-to-date professional certificates and training. Easily create text or emailed alerts ahead of time when someone has a skill scheduled to run out.
  4. Customer portal: Help reduce administration and please your customers by giving them access to job and financial information 24/7.
  5. Vehicle checks: The simplest way to ensure that your fleet is fit for purpose. Create your tailored vehicle check and mandate your drivers to complete it as soon as they log on to the app. You can include photographic proof that all equipment is present but also add a process to quickly deal with defects.

By implementing these smart strategies, you can reduce risk and set your trade business up for long-term success. Be proactive and stay vigilant in managing risks to protect your business and achieve your goals. Remember, the key to success is not avoiding risks, but managing them effectively, so, get out there and nail it!

With the right strategies—and a little help from your friends at BigChange—you can tackle it head-on. So, what are you waiting for? Speak to one of our experts and start minimising risk today!

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