Tradies: 5 reasons to turn down that next job
31 October 2017
Tradies: 5 reasons to turn down that next job


It’s always hard to turn down work. Especially if you’re trying to grow your business. And we all know that building booms don’t last forever. It’s tempting to keep taking on more work.

You know, Make hay while the sun shines.


But is it always a good idea to take on more?


Sometimes it’s better to say NO. Yes, saying no to work can actually be more profitable for your trade business.

Here are 5 cases where it’s probably better to turn down a job.


1. When it’s a rush job

“We need a full bathroom renovation and it needs to be completed by the end of the week!”. We’ve all had those inquiries. But think carefully. 

Unreasonable demands and completion dates mean one thing — you end up busting your boiler and working around the clock to finish the job. This inevitably results in additional stress on you and/or your team, increased anxiety, and lack of sleep. And worst case, you burn yourself out and risk a workplace accident or get sick, which means time off work.  

Take home point: It’s up to you to educate your customer on a reasonable time frame and to turn the work down if they’re unwilling to budge.


2. When you’re already full to the gunnels

You’re already super busy, working long hours but another tempting job comes along. Can you juggle and fit it in? The first thing to ask yourself is ‘what’s the profit margin?’ If it’s not super profitable and you’re already pushed for time, then this is a great one to recommend to another tradie. Otherwise back yourself. If the customer really wants you to do the work they may be prepared to wait.

Pro-tip: Use the fact that you’re really busy as a way to enhance your credibility.


3. When the work’s not in your sweet spot

You’ll know the kind of work that your best and the most efficient at. This is probably the work you enjoy the most and hopefully it’s the most profitable for you too. So stick to it.

If you’re not comfortable completing the scope of work on a job, it’s best to say no. There will be a specialist that’s better doing that work than you. You’re best to focus on your true expertise.

But that doesn’t mean you need to turn down the whole job. There may be someone you can bring into the team or share the job with. If it’s a good profitable job, a bit of lateral thinking may be in order.


4.  When your margins are squeezed

Ever notice that the customers who haggle down a price are the ones that turn out to be the most painful all the way through? On top of that, they’ll expect their next job to be just as cheap, and even worse, recommend you to their friends and tell them what you charged.

Set your rates and stick to them. No exceptions. Because when you give discounts, you’re eating into your profitability. Plus, if you’re earning less money than you feel you deserve, you’ll end up resenting both the job and the customer.

Do yourself a favour and work with customers who are willing to pay you what you’re worth from the start.


5. When you get a bad vibe

Ever had a customer that you just can’t gel with? If it feels bad, it probably will be bad.

Good two-way communication is one of the most important factors in any relationship, including that with your customers. If you feel that a potential customer may have unrealistic expectations, or you can’t get any clarity around what they want; or if they are rude and obnoxious, or too dithery for you liking then walk away. Trust your instincts.


Opportunity cost

When you take the leap and start saying ‘no’ to work that’s not a good fit (or not good for your bottom line), you open the door and your diary for your next perfect opportunity.

Focus your time and energy on converting good opportunities and forget about the rest. Give yourself permission to say ‘no’.


This pearl of wisdom brought to you by Ovaboard. Protect floors while you work.  We do our best to provide accurate and insightful content but we’re not perfect! We don’t claim total accuracy or completeness and don’t accept any liability.