Understanding Tech For Tradies [Video]


TradiePad – Mobile Technology Training for Tradies [0:05:15s]

Clinton Cowin was a plumber on the Northern Beaches of Sydney that combined his knowledge of technology with his plumbing skills to create a paperless system for his business using iPads. He realised that there was an opportunity to help other businesses do the same thing and started helping other tradies set up similar systems. This lead to the creation of his business TradiePad, a mobile technology training organisation.

TradiePad has now helped hundreds of clients all over Australia and New Zealand in various segments of the industry, including traditional trades as well as mobile businesses. TradiePad specialise in providing tools for tracking and communicating jobs and projects for any kind of mobile business.

Benefits of Technology for Tradies [0:10:28s]

Technology like mobile devices and cloud-based software have been a game-changer for the construction industry, which was previously reliant on paper-based systems. The benefits of technology in construction are huge, it can improve decision-making, visibility, accountability, collaboration, and financial performance.

Live Data Collection

Workers in the field can collect live data to provide a real-time feed of information about a project or site. This live data allows for better decision-making based on statistics and information rather than gut feelings. It also helps to avoid quality issues that may arise at the end of a job.

Visibility and Accountability

Technology provides more visibility and accountability for employees as business owners can track their workers’ progress through GPS location services.

Collaboration is also improved with technology, allowing multiple people to work on one job or subcontractors to collaborate with builders. Improved communication leads to greater efficiency within the business.

Financial Benefits

On average, businesses should spend 1% of annual revenue on technology implementation. Small businesses that increase their technology spending are likely to experience growth in employment by up to 5% per year. Increased efficiency and engagement with clients lead to more work opportunities.

If we increase efficiency, we increase accountability and we increase the way that we engage with our clients it's going to lead to more work.

Technology Spending for Business Growth [20:05s]

Did you know that businesses that boost technology spending grow revenue three times faster than those with weak technology spending? Proper implementation of technology is key to achieving this growth, many businesses spend money on software but fail to implement it properly which can be frustrating and costly.

Having a plan around what the business’s technology platform will look like is important because it’s not just one app these days; it’s a whole combination of things that work together in unison.

Components of the Business Technology Platform [21:19]

The Business Technology Platform has four main components: devices and network, communication and cloud storage, financial software, and operational software.

Devices and Network

Devices and network are the hardware side of things used both in the office and out in the field. Whether you use Windows or Apple devices comes down to personal preference but it will play a role in the software you use as some products have limitations on certain systems.

Communication and Cloud Storage

Communication and cloud storage are essential components for remote work operations. Cloud storage allows for easy access to files from anywhere with an internet connection.

Financial Software

Financial software helps manage finances such as accounting, invoicing, payroll processing etc.

Operational Software

Operational software helps manage day-to-day operations such as project management tools or customer relationship management (CRM) software.

Devices and Network [23:15s]

Remote work allows for flexibility in where and when work is done. Cloud technology has made it possible for businesses to operate remotely which is especially handy for tradies that spend majority of their day onsite rather than in an office.

The decision on which devices to use is based on whether they will be used by staff in the office or out in the field. It’s common to have a mix of personally owned and company-owned devices but providing company-owned devices allows the business owner more control over data and device management.

Mobile Device Management or MDM software allows you to easily manage a fleet of mobile devices. It is typically used by larger organisations but smaller businesses can benefit from it as well. The main benefit of MDM is that it can control apps, wipe lost devices remotely, push content out to devices, manage security and updates.

Internet connection is crucial for cloud-based work, so choosing the right network provider is important. Regional areas may have more limited options for network providers. Telco providers offer business centres with account managers who become your point of contact for any issues with bills or new device needs. Tradies often get their mobile devices from their Telco provider since they need a SIM card anyway.

It also gives you automated backup and security so if you lose your device it doesn't matter, if your computer crashes it doesn't matter, it's all stored in the cloud so you can then go and buy a new device, sign in with the username and password and all of that stuff comes back.

Devices For Tradies [0:29:36s]

Most tradies prefer tablets over phones as they have larger screens which make it easier for viewing things like sets of plans or typing out reports. They also have larger keyboards which makes for less mistakes when typing in information.

Having your devices set up in the right way with the right accounts so that they’re synchronised is important. This ensures that all your devices work together as one and you can pick up any device and access all information needed. It’s also important to ensure that all your devices are backed up and secured so that if you lose one, everything comes back when you sign in with your credentials.

Tradies out in the field need to protect their devices from dust, drops, knocks by putting them in tool bags by using protective cases, there is a huge range available for every device that have been designed to be tradie tough and fit for purpose.

Communications and Cloud Storage [0:30:30s]

Communication tools and cloud storage are a foundation component of business. They are essential no matter what operational software, job management software, project management software, or accounting package you’re using.

Cloud storage allows for easy access to files from anywhere with an internet connection, it also provides automatic backups and version control. Choosing the right communication tools is important for businesses, it’s best to use tools that integrate well with other systems and have good mobile apps. Some examples of communication tools include Microsoft Teams, Slack, Zoom, Skype for Business, and WhatsApp Business.

Importance of professional email address and cloud storage [0:34:12s]

Professional Email Tools

A business grade email uses the domain name of your website to create a professional persona for your business. This makes it easier for clients to find you and helps with marketing and growth of your tradie business. Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, and Zoho are some examples of products that offer excellent business grade email. Two-step authentication or two-factor authentication is critical for security of your email, Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace offer this extra level as standard with their products.

Cloud Storage

Cloud storage is useful for storing business-related files and information. Cloud storage tools like Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive are essential for any job management system or accounting package. These cloud storage tools provide accessibility from anywhere and automated backup and security. It is a good idea to organise your cloud storage into various folders to store different information fro example job-specific vs. non-job specific

Video Tools

Video calls are becoming more commonplace in businesses and can save time by allowing remote site visits when it’s not practical to travel. Video functionality is built into many platforms such as Zoom, FaceTime, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams etc.

 I get asked the question all the time what's your favourite, what's the best job management system for a plumbing business and I can't answer that question. It's what's the best job management system for this particular business because every business is different, every business has requirements, has levels of tech savviness, has future growth plans. There's all of these things that go into making the decision on which one of these products is best for you.

Financial Software [0:44:18s]

Financial software serves as the hub of your business operations and is important for managing financial data within an organisation. Xero and QuickBooks Online are the most common accounting packages used by tradies but there are other smaller cloud-based packages are available too which can work well depending on the size and needs of your tradie business. Additional add-on products work alongside accounting packages such as Dext, Hubdoc and Spotlight Reporting that provide receipt data extraction automation and reporting tools that link into your accounting software.

However, there is a discussion around how these products work with job or project management software to get job costing visibility. Job or project management tools are used to run customer lists, create jobs, do scheduling, create quotes, creating invoices and take payments. There is a big crossover between what goes on in operational software and financial software which is why integration is critical.

Operational Software – Job Management Tools [0:49:18s]

Operational software such as job or project management tools are essential for organising everything related to a job or project in one place. There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to choosing a job management tool. The decision on which tool to use depends on factors such as your business requirements, tech savviness, future growth plans and user knowledge.

General project management tools like Monday and Asana are not industry-specific. Industry-specific tools like ServiceM8, Tradify, Ascora etc have features tailored specifically for tradie businesses and their industry needs and requirements. When first starting with software it’s best to keep things simple, even if it means beginning with a basic product and upgrading as your business grows in complexity. Don’t be afraid to move to another product in the future as your business grows and needs change.

Different job management tools have varying levels of integration with accounting packages. Having the right financial and operational software working together efficiently is important to minimise duplication and double handling of information.

Use apps can be used to fill gaps where operational software does not go to a reasonable extent. Additional software like Timesheet tools, Employment and HR services as well as Workplace Health and safety apps or vehicle trackers are extra pieces that can be added to your technology tool belt.

Implementing Business Software [1:03:28s]

Finding the right software for your business and implementing it properly can be quite a task for tradie business owners. Doing research and getting a proper understanding of how a particular piece of software would work for your organisation is important so be prepared to spend a lot of time and learn a lot if you are going to do it yourself. It is critical to make sure you’re finding the right tool for your business and that you’re 100% confident in that decision.

Once you have decide on a software, the next step is implementation and roll-out into your tradie business. Change management is huge when rolling out new technology to your staff and it is important to have a well thought through plan for the implementation and training phase to ensure success. Ongoing support and education will be necessary due to constantly changing nature of cloud-based software with constant feature updates and system improvements.

TradiePad provides scoping sessions where they spend time with you to understand your tradie business requirements, educate you about how all of this stuff works, what is the best fit, why it’s the best fit, and how it will work for your business. TradiePad can fast track your technology journey by offering our setup services including configuration, training, implementation and support.



Clinton is driven by a passion to help the construction and field services industries evolve through the use of technology and education.

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