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Secrets Of A Thriving Business

Sep 22, 2022 | Tradies

4 ways to stay ahead of your competitors

Construction is a high-pressure field, with tough competition for contracts and clients with high expectations. Without an idea of what your competitors are doing, your business runs the risk of earning less than its potential; or losing clients to more competitive pricing and better services. Assessing your competitors can also help you to identify where your company stands out from the rest and give you a shot at better contracts. Read our guide to identify the signs you could be falling behind your competitors and discover ideas to stay ahead.

1. Scoping out the competition

Knowing what your competition is up to can help you work out whether you need to offer a broader range or narrow your focus. Wondering how to find this information? Check out competitor’s websites to see their service offerings, read industry publications like BuildIT, The Tradie and Housing, join and follow trade organisations like HIA and Master Builders, and network to find out more. 

Pricing details can help you decide if you’re overcharging or undercharging, and the best way to compare yourself to your competitors is to ask your customers directly for feedback on how your quote compares. Asking customers if your price is similar or otherwise to other quotes they received can be awkward at first but it’s your best way of pricing the market.

Information about how competitors deal with budget blowouts or other major issues can also be invaluable.

Find your place in the market 

You can’t compete if you don’t understand your strengths. Once you’ve assessed the competition in your sector, you need to find ways to differentiate your brand. This could mean focusing on a specific niche service, providing service at a better price, or promoting your particular skillset. If you can’t find a way to stand out, you may need to improve the way you manage your business and cashflow.  Read on for the scoop on what many tradies are currently doing to get ahead of the game. 

2. Strategic planning

Winning one exciting project is great, but it’s not a recipe for long-term success. For sustainable growth you need a strategic approach – that means knowing what works and how to replicate that in every project.  It’s worthwhile taking the time to reflect on projects that went well, those that didn’t, and working out what made the difference. Consider things like customer type, timelines, materials, suppliers, staff/subcontractors etc. One of the first things to do might be implementing new systems or processes so it’s easier to measure.

Software systems and service improvements

Technology isn’t the only way construction companies can pull ahead of the competition, but it’s an increasingly common factor when it comes to improving services. If you can find out what type of software systems your competitors are using, and what for, it could help you identify gaps in your systems. Here’s how software could be changing the game for your competition:

Managing schedules and meeting deadlines. 

If your competitors are building reputations for getting projects in on schedule, it could point to a software fix. Many construction companies are now using business management software like Tradify, Xero and MYOB to automate manual tasks, streamline team communication and keep projects on track. If you’re still working on paper or sending email updates, it’s easy to see how this capability could help the competition get ahead.

Payment Services

A growing number of tradies are using online payment security services like Upfront Pay to make sure they’re paid on time. This means their cash flow and project management is way out in front of anyone still using old invoice-and-wait-for-clients-to-pay systems. Sign up at upfrontpay.com.au to start getting your invoices paid the same day you complete the job.

3. Developing a strong customer focus and positive review profile

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the demands of a project and neglect customer service, but that can come at the cost of customer satisfaction and retention . Establish a solid relationship from the beginning by providing clear, honest and accurate quotes and timelines; the best way to do this is with upfrontpay.com.au which assures the customer there won’t be unwelcome surprises at invoice time. Then, put systems in place to keep them up to date on progress and deadlines throughout every project. With regular updates and no surprises, it’s far easier to maintain positive customer relationships, even if things go off track.

Actively seek customer feedback

These days online reviews are integral to growing any business, so it’s worthwhile investing some time in asking your customers to leave a review when the job is done. Finishing the job to a high standard, cleaning up your mess, and using an easy payment system like upfrontpay.com.au are important ways to leave your customers with a feeling of satisfaction and they will be far more likely to leave a review and for it to be that 5 star beauty everyone’s after.

4. Invest in systems to help you succeed

Better customer service, strategic planning, outstanding results. If you want to change the way you manage your business and catch up with the competition, implementing a cloud business management system could be the best way to achieve those goals. This is particularly true if your competitors are already using sophisticated software to manage their projects – it’s difficult to compete if you can’t access the same toolkit. 

The right platform will let you automate key processes, saving time and energy, giving you real-time visibility across projects, forecast costs and budget accurately. Xero and MYOB can be invaluable in this regard, and along with payment security services like Upfront Pay, they give you more predictable cash flow and help with project management. In a cutthroat market, it could be the best way to pull ahead.

Don’t be left behind

With constant changes in the market, it makes sense that running a successful construction company requires regular assessment of competing businesses and refinement of your service offerings. This is an exciting time for trade businesses as technology helps take small businesses to the next level, just keep an eye on the new options available so you don’t get left behind.


  1. Jake of All Tradez

    It is very informative blog, I am also working for a construction related firm so it is more beneficial for me.

    • Upfront Pay

      Thank you, Jake. We’re glad to know this is beneficial for you.


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