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Trade Tips To Make Your Christmas Less Stressful

Normally, this is the time of year when you get to wind down a bit and finally catch up on the admin that you’ve been putting off – as well as spending a bit more time with friends and family. However, you probably already noticed, things are a little different this year.

If you’ve found yourself unusually busy, you may be struggling to find time for those odd jobs, but they shouldn’t drop off your to-do list, as they will really help you prepare for next year. To help, here are some easy tips that can ease the burden at this busy time.


We recently hosted a poll on our Twitter page, asking you what you’re struggling to find time for at the moment. Keeping on top of your finances was one of the top issues.
But never fear, there are plenty of accounting and finance apps around to help, most only costing a few pounds a month. Two to check out are Quickbooks and Xero. What’s handy about these apps is that many allow you to photograph your receipts and keep digital copies. This means that you can have a proper clear out and throw away your stack of receipts – finally! They also sync up with your bank account, meaning that you don’t need to enter each transaction manually.
We also know that taxes and VAT can be a bit of a headache to work out, but here are some top tips on how to plan ahead, courtesy of chartered accountants LDP Luckmans:
  • Don’t leave it until the last minute! This leaves little time for your accountant to make sure you’ve claimed all of your expenses
  • Keep an eye on your sales. If you’re approaching the VAT threshold of £85,000 a year, you may need to get VAT registered
  • Avoid harsh penalties by making sure you’re paying the right amount of tax and on time
  • After you reach the personal allowance (currently at £12,500), you will need to pay tax at 20%. So, try to save 20% of your net profit each month to make sure you can make the payment. It’s also a great idea to set up a separate bank account for this.


Tool maintenance

It’s likely that you give your tools a deep clean each winter to make sure they’re in good shape and prepare them for the harsher weather. But this can quickly turn into a pretty big job, especially if you have a lot in the back of the van. We’ve found that when it comes to tool maintenance, little and often works far better than once a year. As it’s winter, it’s especially important that you keep your tools clean – as the cold, wet weather brings with it the risk of rust and disintegration.
Try to remember to apply a little bit of light oil or grease to your tools each night, to not only make the annual clean less laborious, but to also make your tools last longer; saving you money! Try setting a reminder on your phone at the end of each day so you won’t forget.
When it comes to cleaning any tools that you don’t use as much, it’s a good idea to soak wooden handles or shafts before use, as they can become brittle if they’re out of action for extended periods of time.
As always, it’s important to be aware of the risk of van theft, as lots of valuable equipment is stored away for longer periods of time during winter. Make sure you’re taking the necessary security precautions to keep your precious cargo safe.

Ordering materials

If you’re a sole trader, or run your own small business, pitching for a job can take up a lot of your time. You want to make sure that you provide your customer with as accurate a quote as you can. So, sourcing materials, calculating how much you’ll need and pulling together a tender can be quite time consuming.
If you’re struggling to find the time to do this, we recommend you take a look at Build Aviator. They take all the stress off your hands by giving you a comprehensive estimate of what materials you need and how much the job will cost. They’ll then supply you with a slick and professional pack for you to pass on to your customer, helping you to stand out and hopefully secure the work. Once you win the job, Build Aviator can pass on the details to your local Jewson branch, and we’ll supply you with everything you need, hassle free.
It doesn’t just stop with the financials and estimates. SAP assessments, a range of testing include Acoustic and Air Tightness reports, RDCs and ongoing support are all part of their service. The team will be on hand to guide you through the build, and being ex-trade, you can relax knowing you’re in experienced hands. Until the 30th December, Build Aviator are offering 50% off their estimating services, click here to find out more.
Also, if you find yourself taking on some extra work as part of the Green Homes Grant, then Build Aviator are offering a free quote on all the sustainable home improvements that are covered under the scheme. You need to be PAS2030 and Trustmark approved (or currently seeking approval) to be qualified – if not it’s just a small £50 one-off payment.
And there you have it! Add these simple tips into your routine to make this busy period a little less stressful.