From Tradie to Tradiepreneur – the secret sauce to building a successful solar enterprise

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It's time to plan for 2020-2030. What's going to change for you?

Many solar installers have made the shift from a sole trader to fully-fledged business manager and found the secret sauce for a profitable enterprise.

Often though, this transition takes a lot of work.

Here’s what we’ve learnt about the challenges tradies face when building a successful solar enterprise.

The Engine Room has few windows

You’ve heard it before but it’s as true as ever.

If you’re on the roof knee-deep solving problems as they arise, you can’t be taking care of business.

It takes patience to hand over the information and stand back, knowing that you could complete a task in a much shorter time.

Those technical issues might be important and need the overview of a supervisor, but the owner can’t stay bound to the engine room.

Building resourcefulness and confidence in an install team is worth the investment and just requires some detail in install job packs.

There’s a mindset to building this team and it requires patience and trust to stand aside and let others make decisions.

Add to secret sauce:

Daily attention to fostering a team-building mindset will move the owner who is slave to their business further towards the position of leader of a self-sustaining enterprise.

Solar CRM Sales and quoting and design tools

The pitfalls of the small team and the partnership path

An installer can surround themselves with good tradies and build a team that gets the job done and do it to a high standard.

The skillset of a great install manager meeting deadlines is a huge asset, but this may not necessarily guarantee business profits.

Sometimes it’s a partner, business partner, or just an office manager with a solid handle on the number-crunching that can make the difference to the bottom line.

A good business owner understands their strengths and, in order to address their weaknesses, makes good use of the skills and resources others bring to complement their own.

Installers who try to pump out quotes late into the night (and who hasn't!) might need to think hard about this one.

It takes a team in the field and a team devoted to sales and fulfilment to build a really sustainable enterprise.

Add to secret sauce:

Partnerships between a solid install manager and a manager tuned in to the bottom line may create a better 360 degree view and improve profitability.

Automatic, systematic...

Installers who have been in the game for a long time like to build bespoke power systems and create a unique order and install process for each job.

However, unless your customers are prepared to pay a high premium to pay for this very specialised service, you need to work at repeatability, with a volume of jobs to support a full team plus profits.

Some degree of standardisation of products and processes is essential for profitability.

A limited number of system packages means:

  • Each selected brand and model can be more thoroughly researched and its features matched to the application
  • Compatibility of components can be refined and tested to ensure trouble-free operation and reduce callbacks
  • More standardisation means installation times can be reduced with greater confidence in the expected install time and more confidence in communication setup between devices.
  • More loyalty to certain brand can improve relationships for better support and possibly other loyalty perks

There may always be problems with reliable supply and contingencies are necessary for backup suppliers as well as 'Plan B' components .

Having a select range of system packages also allows for better pre-planning for quoting and documentation.

SolarPlus supports a very streamlined quoting process by providing management of complete system packages with very detailed configuration and pricing models.

Having these packages pre-configured means you have a higher level of knowledge of performance, particularly for battery cycling to suit different applications.

You can also pay more attention to warranties, along with return on investment value at warranty conditions over the lifetime of the system.

Add to secret sauce:

Time invested in systems and processes can be the most profitable time spent. It might not be urgent but what's more important?

Solar sales Integrations Simpro Zapier

Review and Refine

Standard operating procedures can not be set and forget.

Set up sales processes and records in a CRM so that you have a means for monitoring of key metrics.

Set up scheduled review times so that this becomes part of the normal business operation.

Look for the patterns of what works best and be prepared to adjust when processes or products are not performing as expected.

Use sales processes to nudge customers towards those packages that provide the best returns to you and long-term reliability for them.

Add to secret sauce:

A continuous cycle of reviewing performance and refining processes is key to long-term success.

A quote is a quote is a quote

Are you proud of what you put in your potential customer’s hand?

Does it match your commitment to quality that comes through in your installs?

Crafting a winning proposal takes a lot of effort and a lot of time.

Putting that proposal into a workflow that is fast and efficient is something that requires a talented team and a massive budget if you want to go it alone.

Bad quoting practice don’t lead to a successful enterprise, although they may lead to just enough work…to keep a good installer stuck in the engine room.

See what best practice look like in a demo of SolarPlus.

Add to secret sauce

Partner with the right CRM platform and the right team and invest some time upfront to make your quotes outstanding.

Solar Savings RoI Sales Platform

A team to free you to do what you do best

SolarPlus is the fastest evolving solar CRM and workflow platform on the market.

That’s because we’ve built the best team to deliver it.

We don’t believe in shortcuts.

Creating a proposal means doing it right – full module level performance simulation at best practice standards for any type of install.

We don’t believe you need 5 platforms to manage your workflow and generate documentation.

We build connection diagrams and complete handover documentation with the highest level of attention to compliance and efficiency.

Our team are 100% dedicated to building the best adaptability to secret sauce of each enterprise for its efficiency and profitability.

Add to secret sauce:

Team up with SolarPlus to build your enterprise.