We had a lot of enquiries about our annual articles on salaries here. Most wanted to know how others in their trade were earning more.
Lockdown gave us plenty of free time so we arranged an online chat with a sparkie, plumber and joiner earning in the top end of their trade within their region, to find the secrets to earning more.
“They think of me as someone trusted by the big players…That means I can charge more of a premium as I’ve an established reputation”
Mark Lawson, a 38 year-old sparkie in Liverpool, believes his time on the tools plays a part. “I’ve built up contacts over the years and stayed pally with those who put me in touch with the big contractors”. But more crucial to earning more, he believes, is perception: “I`ve always made sure people know I’m working on certain jobs for big-name companies. Then they think of me as someone reliable, trusted by the big players to do a decent job. That means I can charge more of a premium, as I’ve an established reputation.”
FACEBOOK – THUMBS DOWN
“People want to haggle, to make you compete for a job…”
Baz Timmons, a 45 year-old plumber in Dorset, agrees word of mouth is important. He uses Facebook for jobs in his area. “It’s generally useful. I’ve had a couple of golden jobs. But it’s got downsides. Lots of enquiries come to nothing and bookings are cancelled at the last minute. People want to haggle, to make you compete for a job with the cheapest local plumbers they can find on there. I think people don’t take it too seriously on Facebook, so often it’s not worth the effort.”
“When a customer contacts me through the site, I know they’re happy to pay more as they’re sure I’ll do the job properly.”
Mike Johns, a 32 year-old carpenter and joiner in Margate, has fared better online. But he doesn’t rely on Facebook. “My website’s been my best tool. Never considered one before a mate set one up for me a few years back. I just gave him a few photos and details to put on the site”. Mike believes the site gave him the reputation he could use to increase his earnings: “It really helped. I’ve photos of my best work up, so people can see what they’re getting. They trust me with the job.”
He was able to turn this further to his financial advantage: “I realised that when a customer contacts me through the site, I know they’re to pay more as they’re sure I’ll do the job properly. So slowly I built up a customer base as others who’d used me recommended me to their friends with the price they’d paid.”
So you have it The secret to getting the best paying jobs is establishing reputation and trust – qualities that don’t cost you a penny but pay dividends later.