Tradies going into business

Going into business after you have finished your apprenticeship is an exciting dream. Most of us like to be our own boss!! It sounds great - liberating - fun even. And having your own business is exciting. 

Carolyn Geyer from Geyer Accountants in Croydon South writes about the major contributors to small business owners, particularly trades people, not succeeding in their business.


There are a lot of things that need to be considered during the set-up stage. If they are not done carefully, or with some professional advice, doing business can end up being costly and stressful.

Things to consider include:

  • business structure
  • business insurance
  • income protection
  • bookkeeping
  • tax obligations and the tax system
  • GST registration
  • wages and contracts
  • PAYG Withholding
  • motor vehicle expenses
  • receipts
  • permits and registrations.

However, I believe there are two areas that cause most small businesses (including trades people) major problems - lack of business management skills and marketing.

Business management skills

The first - and I believe one of the most important - is that many don't recognise that being very good at your trade doesn't mean you can run a business well.

Running a business requires a completely different set of skills, and most people go into business without any business management skills.

Think about how long it takes for an apprentice to become skilled at their trade - 3 or 4 years. How much time do they spend developing their business management skills?


The second - and equally important - is marketing.

Marketing can be a lifeline for small businesses. We know that word of mouth is an effective form of marketing for established businesses but it is not effective for new businesses.

There are a variety of methods to market your business including: websites, business cards, brochures, social media, leaflets, referral programs, advertisements, seminars & presentations and networking.

The real question is which form of marketing is right for your business and clients/customers? Does the marketing target the type of client or demographic group that will provide the best income for your business?

Marketing is undertaken for one reason and that is to get clients and customers in your door. It is crucial to get your marketing right. Business is a lot of hard work and if managed well can be very rewarding, exciting and a lot of fun. Yes - fun!!

However, make sure you are prepared.

Meet the business

Carolyn Geyer

For more information visit


More information

Maroondah City Council is holding a variety of business training workshops to assist small businesses improve their business skills, for more information visit What's On.