How to make the most of the surge in home improvements home improvements

5 top tips to help your business make the most of the surge in home improvements

Demand for new homes and renovation projects is driving a huge boom in the home improvement industry. Here are some tips to cement your business success now and help build your future.

The construction industry is one of the economy's fastest growing sectors. And it's playing an important role in the UK's recovery from the 2020 pandemic. Direct Line research from 2021 found that 8/10 tradespeople have seen their earnings rise following the third UK lockdown. And there are a number of reasons why.

The 2020 pandemic has sparked a rise in people wanting to relocate and with an increasing number of people working from home, they're wanting to spruce up their workspace. In fact, UK property owners spent £39 billion on home improvements during 2020, according to Checkatrade's Home Pride Index. So if you're in a trade that works on home improvements, now has never been a better time to build up your business. But how can you maximise your opportunities following the post-lockdown boom?

Tip 1: Manage your customers' expectations

The home improvements boom may be bringing in a lot more demand for your services, but it may also mean tools, timber, steel, soil, paint and other trade materials are in demand too. All of which are essential to the job. With this in mind, it's extremely important to spend time managing your customers' expectations, because one of the most important aspects of running your own business is maintaining a good relationship with your customers. So make sure you communicate with them regularly. If you can't get hold of something you need due to limited availability, tell them upfront and say how long you think you'll be delayed by.

Similarly, if you're experiencing price hikes on materials, communicate this too. If your customers are hit with an unexpected bill, they're not going to be happy. Being honest with your customers helps create trust and builds stronger relationships. It will also hopefully result in more referrals too.

Tip 2: Stay organised and up to date

With all the extra work you might be taking on, it's vital you stay organised. As well as keeping on top of your finances and job schedule, it's also extremely important to keep up to date with the latest health and safety regulations, best practice and industry trends. As well as regulations that are specific to your particular trade. This not only gives you an edge over other local businesses, but it will also help you predict future outcomes for your industry, giving you time to plan, forecast and budget accordingly.

Plus, if you're aware of upcoming changes in legislation, such as safety equipment you have to wear, you can get ahead of the game and start saving early. You can find lots of useful information on the latest legislation and guidance on the government website and Health and Safety Executive.

Tip 3: Modernise your marketing footprint

Your customers are more online than ever, so you should be too. Setting up a small business website doesn't have to be expensive. There are lots of platforms to choose from like WordPress, Squarespace and GoDaddy, that don't cost the earth and have lots of step-by-guides to help you. But if you don't have the time to invest in building a website yourself, then there are lots of companies out there who offer their services – just give it a Google, or ask your friends or network if they can recommend anyone.

A clear and concise website makes contacting you easy. So keep in mind, if your telephone number and email address aren't clearly visible on the homepage, a potential customer might miss it.

It's worth putting your name out there too – make sure to list your business on sites and directories like Google My Business, Bing Places, Yell, 118 and Checkatrade. This should increase your visibility and help to build trust in potential customers that you're a genuine and reputable business.

It's also worth setting up a page for your business on social media accounts like Facebook. You can showcase recent projects so people can see the quality of your work and customers can leave reviews. Positive reviews tend to make people trust a local business more.

Tip 4: Keep your team safe

It's vital to your business that you do everything you can to keep your team safe. If you or any of your employees have symptoms of coronavirus, you should follow the government guidelines. When you're working, make sure to frequently wash your hands and clean your equipment to reduce the chances of spreading the virus, and open windows if working indoors.

If you're unsure of the latest guidance, visit the government website, which has lots of information dedicated to working safely during coronavirus, including risk assessments, cleaning and PPE.

Tip 5: Prepare for the unexpected

When you're working as a tradesperson, anything can happen, so making sure you have the right insurance cover to meet your needs is essential. At Direct Line, we offer a range of covers to help keep you and your people safe, like Employer's Liability Insurance, which covers you if an employee is injured or becomes ill because of the work they do for you. Your tools are also vital to your trade.

Direct Line Tools Essentials service comes with Tools and Business Equipment insurance and helps tradespeople replace their essential tools within 24 hours, with an upfront payment of up to £1,500, after a few checks.

Tools Essentials is available to every customer who has a valid tools claim and policy with Direct Line. You can report claims between 8am-6pm, Monday to Friday, except Bank Holidays. Policy limits and exclusions apply.

If you want to build your own tailored insurance check out our Tradesperson Insurance, which has information on all the different policy options available to you.

Find out more about Tools and Business Equipment insurance and contact us to add Tools and Business Equipment insurance or Overnight Tools Cover to your current policy.

How else can we help?

From health and safety to cementing customer relationships, hopefully you now have everything you need to maximise your opportunities post-pandemic and beyond. For more tradesman tips and news, visit our Business Blog. It's packed with insights and support to help you construct a successful future.

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Last Updated: 1 Dec 2021