How This Tradie Saved Thousands by Automating His Business?

Late in 2023, Jarryd from Building Site CCTV hit me up with a request that seemed straightforward: boost his online visibility. But as we dug deeper, it became clear Jarryd was after something more substantial – he wanted a steady stream of leads to elevate his business that specializes in setting up temporary CCTV poles for construction sites.

David List from LIST Media excited looking at Building Site CCTV car

Jarryd was already in the Google Ads game, but we ventured into enhancing his organic SEO with some blogging and pumping up his Google Reviews through automation. Shortly after launching his SEO strategy, we integrated him with Trade Magnet for Google Review Automation.

“What more can we do with Trade Magnet?”

Jarryd Miller – Building Site CCTV

But, Jarryd’s curiosity quickly moved beyond reviews. “What more can we do with Trade Magnet?” he asked. Pumped up, I met with Jarryd and his team to work on a plan covering every customer interaction, from their initial inquiry to the final billing. From there I set out to to automate the entire process.

Here’s what it looked like:

The Automation Workflow

  • Initial Contact: Upon receiving a call or web inquiry, Jarryd’s admin dispatches a welcoming onboarding form via email and text. This form, requiring just basic contact details to start, empowers the customer to specify their needs, including the pole type and installation location, and even upload photos.
Trade Magnet online form example
  • Proposal and Agreement: Completing the form triggers an automatic proposal outlining service details and the upfront fee. Customers digitally sign this proposal, streamlining the process.
Trade Magnet automation
  • Effortless Payment: An invoice is then automatically sent, offering various payment methods. This not only eases the payment process but also builds trust, laying a solid foundation for future transactions.
Trade Magnet automation
  • Project Management: With real-time updates, Jarryd’s team can track each customer’s progress, ensuring smooth operations from payment confirmation to scheduling the installation.
Trade Magnet job board
  • Installation Day: Technicians, armed with all necessary details via an app, proceed with the installation. They upload completion evidence, ensuring transparency and efficiency.
  • Post-Service Engagement: A strategically timed request for a Google review is sent post-installation, enhancing customer engagement and feedback.
Trade Magnet Google Review email
  • Ongoing Invoicing: The admin team sets up recurring invoices for the hire service, streamlining the billing process and ensuring consistent cash flow.
Trade Magnet reoccuring invoice
  • Completion and Renewal: The job concludes with the removal of the CCTV pole, but the seamless process ensures customer retention and the likelihood of repeat business.
Small business automation workflow

This strategy marked a significant move from Jarryd’s initial review automation idea. While we faced challenges, particularly with over-automation, we found a balanced approach that combined technology with a personal touch, tailored to the business.

The Perks of Automation in Your Business

Automating your business, much like I did with Jarryd’s, can revolutionize operations, enhance customer experiences, and significantly cut costs. Here’s why:

  • Efficiency Boost: Automation streamlines processes, from customer onboarding to billing, saving time and reducing manual errors.
  • Enhanced Customer Experience: Customers enjoy a smoother, more engaging interaction with your business, from initial contact to project completion.
  • Improved Cash Flow: Automated billing and payment reminders ensure faster payments and better cash flow management.
  • Insights and Oversight: Real-time tracking offers valuable insights into customer behavior and project status, enabling better decision-making.
  • Scalability: Automation supports business growth without proportionally increasing the workload on your team.

My Top 5 Automation Software for Tradies

For trade businesses, finding the right tools to automate and streamline operations is crucial. My journey through various automation tools has led me to some AWESOME discoveries that have significantly improved how my business runs. Among these, Trade Magnet (of course) stands for its ability to automate mundane tasks but also for its suite of features. Here’s a deeper dive into the 5 tools I have and continue to use, for me and my client’s automations:

Trade Magnet

Full transparency, I’m 100% affiliated with Trade Magnet, but honestly, it truly is the ultimate digital tool kit for automation and digital marketing.

Why It’s a Game Changer for Me:

  • It doesn’t just automate tasks; it offers a CRM system, virtual mobile numbers for keeping business and personal communications separate, social media planning tools, a website builder, and email marketing capabilities.
  • The platform is intuitively designed, streamlining everything from customer onboarding to project management and invoicing with a few clicks. It’s the backbone of my customer interaction, allowing for seamless communication through automated SMS and emails.
  • Crucially, the automation features have transformed how I handle repetitive tasks. This means that to leverage the full power of automation, including sending those crucial automated review requests post-job.
Trade Magnet Automation

Limitations:

  • 3rd Party Connectors: While it offers a comprehensive suite of features internally, automating with other apps is limited to webhooks. Although this may change with the new marketplace feature.
  • Pricing: For smaller businesses or startups, the starting price might be a bit steep, especially for those just looking to automate a few aspects of their operations.

Pricing:

  • While Trade Magnet offers a range of plans, the automation capabilities that truly set it apart are available in the Growth and Trade Legend plan, starting from $89 per/month. For businesses ready to make the leap into automation while taking advantage of a robust set of tools designed to streamline operations and enhance marketing, reaching out to me directly for a quote is the way to go. LIST Media can tailor the pricing based on your specific business needs, ensuring you get the most value out of your investment.

Zapier

Why it’s AWESOME:

  • Its ability to connect over 3,000 web apps means I can automate just about any task between the software tools my business uses.
  • Setting up Zaps allows for the automation of workflows, transferring info between apps without any manual input from me.
  • The versatility of this tool is unmatched; it caters to both simple and complex workflow needs.
Zapier Automation

Limitations:

  • Complexity with Advanced Workflows: While Zapier is incredibly versatile, setting up more complex workflows can be a little clunky.
  • Zap Speed and Frequency: On lower-tier plans, the speed at which Zaps run (e.g., every 15 minutes) and the number of tasks per month can be limiting for businesses with high-volume needs.
  • Premium Apps: Access to premium apps is restricted to higher-tier plans, which can limit functionality for users on the free or starter plans

Pricing:

  • There’s a free plan for basic use, perfect for getting started with automation. When you’re ready to upgrade, paid plans begin at $46.43/month (billed annually) and go to $160.59/month (billed annually) for more advanced features.

Make.com

Why it’s AWESOME:

  • The visual interface makes it easy to connect apps and automate workflows, even for someone who’s not a tech wizard.
  • It offers detailed control over how data moves between apps, allowing for very specific automations that fit my business processes perfectly.
  • The pre-made templates are a great time-saver, helping to automate common tasks without starting from scratch.
Make.com.Automation

Limitations

  • Complexity for Beginners: The visual interface, while powerful, can be overwhelming for beginners or those not accustomed to thinking in terms of data flows and logical operations.
  • Operation Limits: Free and lower-tier paid plans have limits on the number of operations (data transactions) per month, which can restrict the volume of workflows for busier businesses.
  • Learning Curve: Due to its detailed control and customization options, there’s a significant learning curve to fully leverage its capabilities.

Pricing:

  • A free plan is available for those just starting out, with paid plans beginning at $9/month (billed annually) and go to $29/month (billed annually) for more robust features and higher data limits.

Pabbly Connect

Why it’s AWESOME:

  • This tool lets me automate tasks without needing to know how to code, which is AWESOME, because I’m lazy.
  • It supports a huge array of integrations, making it an obvious choice for connecting different aspects of my business.
  • The unlimited operations per workflow offered in their pricing model means I don’t have to worry about hitting a cap on automation.
Pabbly Automation

Limitations

  • Integration Variety: While Pabbly Connect offers a wide range of integrations, it might not be as extensive as some of its competitors, potentially limiting its use with less popular or niche applications.
  • UI/UX: Some users might find the user interface less intuitive or user-friendly compared to other automation tools, which can impact the speed of setting up new workflows.
  • Advanced Features: Some advanced features available in other platforms might be missing or less developed in Pabbly Connect, affecting users needing highly specific automation functionalities.

Pricing:

  • Pabbly Connect stands out with its pricing model, offering unlimited operations per workflow starting at FREE for 100 workflow tasks, to $59 USD/month (billed annually). Additionally, they have a Lifetime Plan for $699 USD, which gets you 10,000 tasks per month and unlimited workflows with multi-step included. This is great for businesses looking to scale your automations without scaling your costs.

Microsoft Power Automate

Why it’s AWESOME:

  • This is something I used prolifically when working at Ventia, being part of the Microsoft ecosystem, it integrates seamlessly with the Office tools my business already relies on.
  • It supports creating automated workflows between apps and services to synchronize files, get notifications, collect data, and more.
  • The AI builder and pre-built connectors make it a powerful tool for both simple and complex automation.
Power Automate Automation

Limitations:

  • Microsoft Ecosystem Dependency: While it offers robust integration within the Microsoft ecosystem, businesses that rely heavily on non-Microsoft tools may find it less versatile.
  • Complexity: Similar to Make.com, the detailed and powerful capabilities come with a complexity that might intimidate non-technical users or small teams without dedicated IT support.
  • Pricing for Advanced Features: Access to more advanced features, especially around AI and data modeling, is gated behind higher-tier plans, which can be costly for small to mid-sized businesses.

Pricing:

  • Power Automate includes a free plan with Office 365, which is a great way to get started. For more advanced needs, standalone plans start at $15/user/month, offering enhanced capabilities for automating business processes.

My Top 5 Business Automation Tools

SoftwarePriceFeatures
Trade Magnet (Growth Plan)$89/month– Access to automation features
– CRM system integration
– Virtual mobile numbers
– Social media planning tools
– Website creation and management
– Email marketing capabilities
ZapierStarts from FREE; Paid plans from $46.43/month (billed annually) and go to $160.59/month (billed annually)– Connects over 3,000 web apps for automation
– Easy to create custom workflows (Zaps)
– No coding required for automation
Make.comFREE plan available; Paid plans start at $9 USD/month (billed annually)– Visual integration platform for creating custom automation workflows
– Detailed control over data flow
– Supports complex logic for tailored automations
Pabbly ConnectFREE for 100 workflow tasks, to $59 USD/month (billed annually). Lifetime Plan for $699 USD, which gets you 10,000 tasks per month and unlimited workflows with multi-step included.– Simple and powerful task automation
– Extensive range of app integrations
– Unlimited operations on all plans
Microsoft Power AutomateFREE with Office 365 for basic use; Standalone plans start at $15/user/month– Seamless integration with Microsoft ecosystem
– Automated workflows between apps and services
– AI builder and pre-built connectors for enhanced automation
Top 5 Automation Tools

My Must Have Automation Tools

If I had to pick my absolute must-have automation tools from the lot, it would hands down be Trade Magnet and Pabbly Connect. Trade Magnet isn’t just great; it’s a game-changer, perfectly tailored to boost my operations and take client service to the next level with its AWESOME automation features. It feels like hitting the nail on the head every single time.

Trade Magnet and Pabbly Connect logos

And Pabbly Connect? Grabbing the lifetime package was like striking gold. The value is just unbeatable. It’s like the Swiss Army knife in my digital toolbox, effortlessly linking Trade Magnet via webhooks with an array of other apps, streamlining everything from QuickBooks to Google Sheets. The way these two work together is bloody magic, making every aspect of running the business more connected and efficient.

Five Ways to Automate Your Business Today

1. Missed Call Text Back

  • Automation: Automatically send a text message to callers when you miss their call, assuring them their call is important and will be returned as soon as possible.
  • Impact: This automation helps capture potential leads that might otherwise be lost due to missed calls. It also improves customer service by immediately acknowledging the missed connection.
  • Software: Trade Magnet particularly shines in this area by using a Virtual Mobile Number offering a seamless integration for missed call text backs, ensuring that you never miss an opportunity to connect with a potential client.

2. Customer Onboarding with Online Forms

  • Automation: Use online forms for customer onboarding, allowing clients to fill out their information, preferences, and job details at their convenience.
  • Impact: Streamlines the process of gathering necessary client information, reduces manual data entry, and speeds up the project initiation process. It sets a professional tone from the start of the customer relationship.
  • Software: While many platforms offer online form capabilities (Trade Magnet included), integrating these forms into your CRM or project management tool can be efficiently managed with automation tools like Zapier, Make.com, or Pabbly Connect.

3. Appointment Reminders

  • Automation: Send automated reminders to clients about their upcoming appointments via SMS or email.
  • Impact: Reduces no-shows and last-minute cancellations, ensuring a smoother scheduling system and better time management. It enhances the professional image of your business.
  • Software: This is a straightforward yet powerful automation that can be set up on numerous platforms, enhancing your service’s professionalism and efficiency.

4. Google Reviews Automation

  • Automation: After completing a service, automate the process of asking clients to leave a Google review.
  • Impact: Increases the number of positive reviews, enhancing your business’s online presence and reputation. Positive reviews can significantly influence potential customers’ decisions.
  • Software: Trade Magnet offers a comprehensive reputation management system, making it easier to manage and boost your online reviews across various platforms, not just Google. But this is super easy to setup using Zapier, Make.com or Pabbly.

5. AI Assistant for Customer Interaction

  • Automation: Utilise an AI assistant to respond to inquiries, providing instant responses to common questions or booking requests.
  • Impact: Offers immediate engagement with potential clients, enhancing customer satisfaction and freeing up time for you to focus on your work. An AI assistant can handle a significant volume of inquiries without human intervention, ensuring no lead goes unnoticed.
  • Software: While setting up an AI assistant can be achieved with Zapier, Make.com, or Pabbly Connect using the ChatGPT connector, Trade Magnet offers a built-in AI that specializes in responding to messages across multiple platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and Google Business Profile, streamlining your customer service process.

Implementing these automations not only boosts your operational efficiency but also significantly enhances your customer service experience, contributing to a stronger, more reputable brand presence in the competitive service-based market.

Conclusion

Jarryd’s journey from seeking more leads to fully automating his business operations with Trade Magnet has been AWESOME. It’s not just about saving time or money; it’s about offering a seamless, efficient service that customers appreciate. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, particularly for the SMS notifications, which boast an impressive open rate.

This journey has shown that with the right tools and a willingness to embrace technology, any trade business can achieve remarkable efficiency, growth, and customer satisfaction. If you’re considering taking a leap into automating your business processes, now is the time to explore the possibilities.

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David List

David List

G'day ya LEGEND! I'm an Tradie of almost 20 years (sparky to be exact), who started to make videos on YouTube, TikTok and LinkedIn, as a way of passing on my knowledge. One thing lead to another and I realised I could make more impact helping Tradies with my own business. So, LIST Media and Trade Magnet were born! Helping Tradies Convert with Online Content.

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