Entrepreneur Matt Jones wants to create a world where tradies are tech-smart

- August 24, 2014 4 MIN READ

Tradies have just about everything in their toolbox except digital apps. Although we’re diverging rapidly into a digital world, many tradies are still uncomfortable using technology and are often left overwhelmed with the number of online tools available at their fingertips.

This is why plumber-turned-entrepreneur, Matt Jones decided to launch what he hopes will become a national event – and perhaps even a movement. The Modern Tradie Workshop will kick off on the 5th of September in Sydney, and is aimed at empowering tradies so that they can experience the full benefits of technology.

Jones, who is also the founder of web solutions company Tradie Web Guys, laments the reality that many tradies, despite being excellent at their trade, fail to market themselves to the masses and streamline processes.

“As a tradie myself and now having worked exclusively with tradies for many years, I am regularly confronted with very smart business owners, who are excellent at their trade, yet lack exposure to products, systems, programs, technologies and education that can help them run their business better,” he says.

“The implications of such scenarios stem beyond the expected frustrations that come with a poorly run business. After a while individuals can get run down, they can lose enthusiasm and their home lives can become affected. Much of this stress can be avoided with the introduction of technology and systems, it’s just a matter of implementing the right tools.”

True to its name, the Modern Tradie Workshop will encourage tradies to adopt modern solutions that will not only help keep their businesses afloat, but will enable them to scale. ‘Modern solutions’ encompasses everything from the basic online presence to more complex cloud solutions.

Jones says that having the right tools in business is just as – if not more – important than having the right tools on the job. By having the rights systems and processes in place from the business-end, tradies can guarantee that the service being delivered to the consumer is going to be more efficient and punctual. Overall, technology allows tradies to communicate better, be more organised, and build better rapport.

The Modern Tradie Workshop will not only introduce tradies to new tools, but will also teach them strategies around marketing and client nurturing – which are the key areas they struggle in and often due to the way they’ve been educated.

“On a social level, the problem that we often see comes from when you’re serving your apprenticeship. You only get exposed to one way of running business, which is your bosses way (which may also be his bosses way). Right, or wrong, that’s all you know, so when the time comes for you to start your own business, there is a good chance there may be a better way of doing things,” says Jones.

“Also, TAFE and colleges can only cater for so much, so there is a massive gap in what is currently being taught and what needs to be taught. The Modern Tradie Workshop is about educating tradies on solutions, so that when they’re ready to take the step into business for themselves, they are equipped with enough of the basics in order to make informed decisions.”

Jones says that he has selected presenters carefully, based on the aforementioned parameters. Peter Moriarty from IT Genius will be delivering a presentation on Google Apps for Business which Jones says “is a critical stepping stone to help tradies transition onto the cloud”.

Paul Shepherd from Tradie Web Guys will be discussing the variety of marketing options available online and which type of marketing is suited to which type of business.

Clinton Cowin from TradiePad will be discussing various applications and programmes that can be installed on smartphones and tablets to allow tradies to run their businesses from the road. Jorge Gasca will be discussing creating a marketing funnel and how to leverage your existing client database.

Jones himself will be discussing online representation and web principles that help improve conversion.

“I have worked personally with all of the speakers and I approached them to speak on these specific topics because they are the best in their fields and they are specialists in communicating their services to the trades,” Jones says.

“Also, most of the presenters either come from a trade background, or have some kind of tie to the trades. Clinton and I are both plumbers; Paul’s brother is a builder and Peter says ‘My Dad is a Carpenter/Builder and it always blew me away how much paperwork was involved in running his business’.”

Given the event is a first for Jones, he will be capping it at 100 tickets. Jones says he will decide on the dates for other locations in Australia based on the outcome of Sydney’s workshop. All of the events are being recorded and turned into training courses for those that don’t make it on the day.

Sponsors for the event include a range of local small businesses, as well as big names like PayPal and Xero.

“They’re all onboard because they all believe in the movement that is being created and they all can add value to industry, which is paramount for me. I’ll only deal with sponsors that share the vision and can add value,” says Jones.

“Sponsors come running when they catch wind of not just an event, but a movement. I guess we just attract the right ones and we’re really privileged to have their support.”

Jones says he wants to create an online course for tradies so that content can reach a wider mass.

The Modern Tradie Workshop is being held at Bayview Golf Club on September 5th. Pricing and other details are available via www.tradiewebguys.com.au/modern-tradie-workshop-sydney-north.

Image: Matt Jones. Source: Provided.