Accounting for Carpenters

As you know, running a carpentry business can be demanding given you need to contend with long hours, extensive travel and safety regulations.

While clients expect you to build decks, pergolas, carports, kitchens and roof frames many carpenters fail to give bookkeeping and tax matters the attention they deserve. While GST, BAS and tax payments often represent some of the largest financial obligations for a self employed carpenter, many end up paying too much tax and incur fines for non-compliance.

Here at SBG Accountants we understand the building trades including carpenters, plumbers and electricians. Having an accountant who understands the mechanics of your business can mean the difference between just surviving and potentially thriving. Apart from the usual small business compliance issues of GST, BAS, PAYG and superannuation, we assist clients with managing their cash flow and selecting the right software to prepare quotes, invoices and manage their staff and apprentices. Over the past decade, Paul Dobson and his team of accountants have mentored dozens of carpenters through the various stages of their business life cycle – from start up right through to sale. We offer you experience, technical tax knowledge and most importantly, an intimate understanding of your industry.

THINKING OF STARTING A CARPENTRY BUSINESS?

Trades people including carpenters are one of our specialist client groups and we are recognised as business start-up specialists. If you are looking to start a carpentry business or buy an existing operation, there are numerous issues to consider. There is your business structure, tax registrations, insurances, tools, software, your vehicle plus finance. As business advisors we can assist you in all of these areas plus provide advice on HR matters, payroll and the preparation of a business plan.

Starting a business is a bit like building a house and it all starts with solid foundations. In a business sense these include the right tax structure, accounting software, insurances, a marketing plan, website and social media channels. Your choice of business structure is critical and there are a number of different options including sole trader, company, partnership or trust.

When it comes to selecting the most appropriate tax structure for your business we always recommend you ‘start with the end in mind’. There are a number of different options including sole trader, partnership, company and trust but Australian tax laws are complex and changing your business structure at some point in the future can trigger a capital gains tax event that could prove costly. Whenever we provide advice on business structures we always take into account issues like:

  • Minimisation of Income Tax
  • Maximize Asset Protection
  • Allow for the admission of New Business Partners or Investors
  • Comply with all Legal Requirements in your Industry
  • Consider Future entitlement to Discount Capital Gains Tax Concessions
  • Risk Profile of Your Industry (and trades are high

As a consequence, we often find the business structure is a compromise based on the relative importance of each of these issues. In some cases you might also need to consider if it will be easier to do business in your industry as a company or sole trader.

Your choice of accounting software is another brick in your business foundations and up to date, accurate financial records let you make informed business decisions. The wrong software can be catastrophic and poor financial records are one of the biggest causes of business failure for trades people. Your software needs to match your business needs with your level of accounting skill otherwise you could end up producing what we describe as 'computerised shoebox' records. We aim to minimise the cost of compliance for our clients but shoebox records defeat the purpose and once we evaluate your business needs and skills we then train you to use the software. Here at SBG Accountants, we want to be your accountant and business advisor, not an expensive bookkeeper. While we support a number of programs we have a strong preference for cloud based solutions like Xero.

To build a house you also need the right tools and when 'constructing' your business we have developed a number of tools including a start-up expense checklist broken down into various categories including: 
-  tools and equipment
-  professional advice and software
-  information technology costs
-  marketing and signage
-  vehicle and trailer costs

This checklist will help you identify all your potential establishment costs and these figures then filter through to our cash flow budget template and allow us to produce a projected profit and loss statement for your first year of trading. These reports can also tuck neatly into our business plan template that is designed to help you secure funding from external sources like a bank.

If you need a vehicle in your business we can assist you with finance by chattel mortgage or lease through one of our affiliate partners and you can also access fleet pricing on your new car, ute or light commercial van that could save you thousands of dollars. For a tradesman, your vehicle is arguably your most important business tool and you can learn more about the alternative methods of claiming your car expenses and the distinction between a business and private trip by downloading our 'Motor Vehicle Tax Guide' from the resources section of our website.

Through an affiliate partner we can also help you source funds to finance your business purchase, equipment or franchise fee (if applicable). Pricing is absolutely vital to the success of your business and we can help you do some price modelling plus we use benchmarks to compare your business performance against your peers so you know what is working in your business and what needs working on. If you're starting a business you don't need to reivent the wheel as we have all the tools and resources to help you get off to a flying start.

To be frank, that’s just the beginning. As accountants we can do some financial modelling and prepare some ‘what if’ scenarios. This gives you an understanding of your business’ best and worst case profit scenarios. Next, using industry benchmarks we can compare the performance of your carpentry business against your competitors so you understand what is working in the business and what needs working on.

MARKETING YOUR CARPENTRY BUSINESS

For small business owners, your marketing can be the difference between gloom, doom and boom.

Most carpenters and trades people rely on their reputation and referrals to grow their business and while these ingredients remain important, you need to shift your marketing focus online. Increasingly local searches like ‘Carpenter Melbourne’ are driving traffic to your website and often your website is the first touch point with a potential new customer. As you know, you only get one chance to make a good first impression and your website is your silent sales person working 24/7 to promote your business.

One of our biggest points of difference compared to other accounting firms is our marketing expertise. We can assist you with your branding (business name, logo and slogan), your corporate brochure and help you harness the power of social media to win more referrals. Over the past few years we have worked with dozens of tradie clients to help them create affordable, quality lead generation websites that are responsive to smart phones and tablets. We can provide advice and guidance with your website content including video production and if your website lacks calls to action or lead magnets we'll help you build them. In addition, we'll introduce you to strategies like re-marketing and search engine optimization to drive more traffic to your website.

If you aren’t using some of these marketing techniques your carpentry business probably won't reach its full profit potential.

The marketing process begins with your branding and we have worked through the process with dozens of clients over the years and using some online resources we can help you build a modern brand that resonates with your target market. We can even help you develop your stationery at a fraction of the cost of engaging a graphic artist or marketing consultant.

We recognise the fact that business owners want more sales, more customers and more profit so we also give you access to one of the world’s most successful marketing programs, the ‘Business Growth System’. It contains more than 80 breakthrough marketing strategies supported by videos, templates, checklists and 2,500 pages of instructions. Access to this ‘vault’ of resources would normally cost you $500 per month ($6,000 per annum), however, as a client of SBG Accountants you get FREE access. In addition, you also get unlimited access to the ‘Grow Your Business in 5 Days’ video training course that could have a massive impact on your future business growth.

Our role includes helping you understand the Four Ways to Grow A Business and in the process, identify the key profit drivers in your business. We can talk you through various profit improvement strategies and even quantify the profit improvement potential in your business. Our role is to make sure you don't leave any profit on the table.

To be frank, that’s just the beginning. As accountants we can do some financial modelling and prepare some ‘what if’ scenarios. This gives you an understanding of your business’ best and worst case profit scenarios. Next, using industry benchmarks we can compare the performance of your carpentry business against your competitors so you understand what is working in the business and what needs working on.

Our team of chippie specialists at SBG Accountants offer you a range of accounting, taxation and business coaching services including:

  • Start-Up Business Advice for Carpenters & Sub-Contractors
  • Tools including the Start-Up Expense Checklist and Templates for a Business Plan, Cash Flow Budget, Letterhead and Business Card
  • Advice and Assistance with the Establishment of Your Business Structure
  • Tax Registrations including ABN, TFN, GST, WorkCover etc.
  • Preparation of Business Plans, Cash Flow Forecasts and Profit Projections
  • Accounting Software Selection and Training – Bookkeeping, Invoicing, Quotes & Payroll
  • Preparation and Analysis of Financial Statements
  • Preparation of Finance Applications
  • Bookkeeping and Payroll Services
  • Income Tax Returns and Tax Planning Strategies
  • Wealth Creation Strategies and Financial Planning Services
  • Industry Benchmarking and KPI Management
  • Vehicle & Equipment Finance (Chattel Mortgage & Lease)
  • Monitoring and Controlling Labour and Sub-Contractor Costs
  • Advice & Assistance with Pricing your Services and Claiming Motor Vehicle Expenses
  • Recession Survival Strategies
  • Advice regarding Employee Relations and Workplace Laws
  • Business & Risk Insurances (Income Protection, Life Insurance etc.)
  • Business Succession Planning

We are not your typical Melbourne accounting firm. We pride ourselves on being business and profit builders who provide a full range of accounting, tax and business coaching services to carpenters and tradesmen from all around Australia. If you are starting out as a carpenter or want to take your existing carpentry business to the next level, contact us today.  

We invite you to book a FREE, one hour introductory consultation to discuss your business needs. You can expect practical business, tax, marketing and financial advice that could have a significant impact on your bottom line. To book a time, call us today on (03) 9629 6744 or complete your details in the box at the top of this page. Let's get to work ON your business so it is more profitable, valuable and saleable.

SBG Accountants & Business Advisors - Taking Care of Business