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“It's more than just an operating platform. It’s about building trust in the construction industry - it can be used to really connect people.” Darren Siemsen CEO Emergency Trades Services (ETS).

At the beginning of the year, things were looking good for i4Tradies. They had just on-boarded a large new client, had a number of others in the pipeline and big plans for expansion.

 

All that changed as everything was put on hold in March when COVID hit. CEO and Founder Logan Nathan says: “business revenue crashed by a staggering 80 per cent. It was like a brick had been dropped on us”.

 

Logan along with his co-founder Sachi Wickramage found themselves in a situation many businesses can relate to this year; walk away or get creative and think outside the square.

 

Choosing the latter, i4Tradies is now on the re-bound and the future looks bright – not only for the business but for the trades industry at large.

 

When technology and trades collide

 

With a desire to transform the trades services industry, Digital Transformation Strategist Logan Nathan established i4Tradies in 2017 together with co-founder Sachi Wickramage.

 

Using a business model similar to Uber, i4Tradies operates business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C), allowing clients and customers to easily find trade and maintenance services anywhere in Australia – all within a few clicks online or a couple of taps of the app.

 

The platform ensures all communication can be tracked and seen by all involved parties, in the one place and connects a myriad of industry players, from Trades Services Business Owners, to Property/Strata/Facility Managers and Trades Consumers.

 

i4Tradies also focuses heavily on customers like homeowners, tenants, and office managers. With the platform’s FindMyTradies option, customers are connected with certified trades people in their locality. In addition, they are empowered with complete transparency, from checking customer reviews and tradies’ certificates, to quotes, tracking job progress, and even making payments.

 

For more information, visit i4tradies.com.au

Left-Right: Logan Nathan - CEO, i4Tradies and Darren Siemsen - CEO, Emergency Trades Services (ETS).

 

The humble text message

 

With most of Australia in lockdown and people in panic mode, Logan says they realised there was a gap in the market for those without access to help or resources, those living alone, the elderly, or the vulnerable. “We wondered what these people would do in emergency and how would they find help quickly and easily?” he says.

 

They soon arrived at an answer: the humble text message (SMS).

 

The launch of the Emergency Response Centre means customers can be connected with trade businesses via text, and can easily organise maintenance jobs wherever they are in across Australia.

 

Partnering with well-known trade businesses such as Master Plumbers NSW, National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA), Master Painters NSW and Emergency Trades Services (ETS) just to name a few, the seamless, digital solution has proven to be a success, with a rise in the number of jobs coming through for the trades business; not to mention customers are able to get the service they need – a win-win.

 

CEO of Emergency Trades Services (ETS) Darren Siemsen says partnering with i4Tradies has helped them branch into the residential sector during a very hard time in the industry.

 

“This really opens up opportunity for us to provide a consistent approach to help mums and dads and people on the ground who need it most. It’s also helped generate work for our people.”

 

A lifeline

 

Many businesses find themselves in need of a lifeline at some point in their journey; most often it’s during the low points, the times of need.  

 

An ANZ customer of more than 35 years, Logan says they had the plans in place to keep their business afloat, they just needed a little help. He picked up the phone and called his business banker.

 

“I was blown away by the support and service I received from Jaspreet Sawhney, Harman Singh and the team at ANZ. I take my hat off to them because really, it wasn’t just about a monetary transaction; they really listened, and took the time to understand the heartbeat of the business. For that, I am very grateful.”

 

Jaspreet Sawhney ANZ Small Business Specialist says it is a pleasure working with customers such as Logan who are passionate about thinking differently and looking for opportunities to adapt and grow their business.

 

“While taking the time to understand Logan’s business plans for growth, I was blown away with the model presented at the time. i4Tradies is a great digital transformation strategy aiming to connect with the disconnected trade services – something that is needed not only to survive during these hard times, but as step to transform the industry for years to come.”

 

“It’s great to partner with our customers and be able to support them through the ups and downs of business.”

 

Transforming trades

 

During a time of restrictions, economic uncertainty and heighted anxiety, Darren says now more than ever, customers are looking for transparency, oversight of costs, quality workmanship and a simple, easy way to get the job done.

 

He believes one of the most positive aspects of i4Tradies is having transparency across the work flow, enabling everyone to have peace of mind.

 

“I don't think that's something we've ever seen anywhere in the construction industry to date. To have everything documented in a single system and be able to provide consistency of cost is just gold for us,” he says. “It allows us to build trust and strong relationships with our customers, as they have full oversight of the whole job.”

 

“It's more than just an operating platform. It’s about building trust in the construction industry - it can be used to really connect people.”

 

He adds, “It’s great for all of our customers, from residential to large corporates who, thanks to consistent pricing structures, are able to finalise their budgets or keep their spend low, which provides a better service and helps overcome a fear of cost.”

 

While trades and technology do not often get mentioned in the same sentence, Darren says he believes automation and artificial intelligence (AI) will transform the construction industry in the next 12-18 months and allow them to stay ahead of the curve.

 

“The industry is very much built on the labour component and getting the job done and done right.” He believes that’s the core focus,” to be able to organise things such as appointments, reports, invoicing all at the push of a button - or by talking to into a device - will be a game changer. Workers will not only have more time to focus on getting the job done, they will have more time with family and friends after work – not being tied down to the hours of admin that comes with the job.”

 

Through lockdown, recovery and beyond

 

The i4Tradies Emergency Response Centre was developed to not only help the business survive, but with community in mind. Trade partners were given a boost through lead generation, helping keep people in jobs, and customers where able to easily access emergency trade service.

 

Logan says while they haven’t yet recovered 100 per cent of their revenue loss, they have achieved something equally as important – helped motivate their staff to keep going. It has allowed them to hold onto some hope things will start to look up. It has also allowed his clients to see the value of solid, trustworthy relationships.

 

“People won’t remember how much money you made during the pandemic; they will remember you for how you managed through it, how you helped the community” he says.

 

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