Inspiration from the Carpenter – when work is S-L-O-W

Before I became a plumber, I used to be a telemarketer. I took the role seriously because I had a quota of appointments I had to set each week, and being a perfectionist, if I didn’t get my quota, it would affect my sleep because I’d be worried I’d lose my job.


Most weeks I would meet my quota, and other weeks I wouldn’t. The times I didn’t meet my quota weren’t because of lack of trying. I’d make the same calls and still get a different result. In the end, my boss explained that he knew I was putting in the effort and not to worry about it. My quota was really just an aim and not necessarily a performance assessment.

In the building and trade industry, it’s different. If you don’t win a job, it’s just not yourself who loses out, it’s the company and other trades that lose out on work. The pressure to win jobs when pricing is SO tight is ridiculous but if you don’t win work, you don’t make money and when you don’t make money – you know how the sequence ends.

What is my advice for these times?

DON’T go below cost – If a client has been given a price and it’s too cheap and below your costs, don’t bother trying to negotiate. Explain why your price is the way it is – for example you have been in the industry for a long time and they will experience exceptional customer service throughout the entire timeline of the project and after the job has been done.

Don’t give up. Remember every ‘no’ from a client is closer to your next ‘yes’!Think outside the square. Dad and I did this when the GFC hit in 2008. We changed our clientele to domestic and advertised that we were a family friendly service with a FEMALE plumber. Don’t underestimate the POWER of employing a female trade person and thinking outside the square.

Lower business costs. Rather than sacking an employee or two, offer job share so that the employee/s still have a job, only a part-time income. (It’s better than nothing in this difficult climate) Look at office supplies, services etc and get a better deal.

Approach all old clients and consultants to find out what work you could have the opportunity to price.

For Builders and Interior Fitout Companies – Ring tradesmen to find out if any work they do has a need for a new joinery for a kitchen, plastering, painting etc. Dad and I are always going to jobs where people want a bathroom renovation and we find it hard to find builders that are interested in this type of work. This work is small and minute but when you don’t have much on, it can be what gets a bit of dough into the bank account.

PRAY. This is my first point of call when we are light on for work. I never know what each week will bring, but the weeks that look grim, I pray for work opportunities or calls and you know what? We ALWAYS get a job when I pray first. Try it sometime this week and see how God answers your prayer!

1 Peter 5:7 ‘Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.’