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  • #991347
    MKDD
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    Hi all,

    Just wanted to get some opinions on a topic that has been on my mind for a little while now.

    My fiance and I are considering a move to a Snowy mountains area of NSW, so naturally I would be wanting to transfer my business down there. The issue is that in my field (building design / architectural drafting), people need to be building things for me to get work and there isn’t too much of that happening.
    I would need to base myself there and extend my services to the surrounding areas, which according to my research seem to be going well as far as building works go. This means about an hour to and hour and a half drive to meet clients, look at job sites etc.

    My question is, how far / long would you travel to get jobs?
    I know that there are people in Sydney and other capital cities that commute daily, but they would be working for a company, most likely getting a weekly income.
    Being a sole trader, there’s a good chance that every long drive to meet a new client could be fruitless. Plus there are subsequent trips out there for meetings etc.
    Of course, I would be trying to plan my week to make the most of my trips, but if you were in my situation do you think the country lifestyle be worth the amount of driving you would need to do for work?

    Many thanks! Going crazy trying to figure this out…

    Mark

    #1181125
    ThexArm
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    I guess it all comes down to whether you like country life style or not.

    If you like it then there are obvious benefits living in a country – close knitted community feel, low cost of living expenses, less pollution, less traffic congestion etc…

    Initially it may be too much travel but as you grow your business you will find a way to reduce amount of travel or price it accordingly to make it economical for you. If you think the travel expenses are high then think about the savings you make living in country side.

    The important part would be to target your market and do the advertising accordingly. Tie your services with few builders around few areas where it is feasible that way as and when builders get new work they will employ your services. Register your business with local councils and building associations etc.

    Don’t be put away by the long commute. It seems long only until you get few clients and once money starts to flow it you don’t mind it.

    #1181126
    MissSassy
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    Hi Mark

    Remember that the world is so much smaller now and in reality you don’t always need to meet in person face to face. The business world regularly meets over Skype and various other methods, Google etc.

    Try to consider how you could do business in the future without needing every meeting to be in person. With your type of business, try to break it down to how many new client meetings you have throughout the year – some architects only have a few clients per year. If you are only going to need to see people in person once a month or once every few months, I am sure that it something you can work out.
    Example:
    With my business I am probably split 50/50 which allows me a much greater pool of potential clients as they don’t need to be within driving distance. Think of the benefits you can have by embracing technology and how you may be able to potentially grow your business without be reliant in the location alone.

    #1181127
    Greg_M
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    I’ve been living in a small country town for just over 15 years now and up until a couple of years ago I worked in the building industry almost exclusively.

    The attitude I took is that I spent on average about an hour getting to jobs in the city (I’ll bet it’s more like 2 hours now), so I gave myself a one hour drive radius as my prime service area – you go a lot further in K’s but there’s no traffic lights and no hassles.

    Anything over the hours drive I loaded the price a little, more than 1.5 hours I made an allowance to stay overnight.

    A more general observation is, that once you get known in a district and if you’re good at what you do, the work will appear … might take a while but the client base tends to stay solid. Country people will tend to shop local if they can, and mainly operate on direct referral. They are also used to paying a slight premium for travel to get the services they want.

    By the time I stopped operating exclusively on site I had a network that meant I rarely needed to travel an hour.

    Given that a lot of your time will be in your own office (not on site, or with clients), travel should be a smaller issue than a daily commute would be.

    I still visit the CBD quite a bit (train) … but driving there is insane if you can avoid it, I have no regrets getting out.

    Cheers

    #1181128
    bb1
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    It all depends really.

    When I was in the big corporate wrld I was travelling about and hour and a half each way, every day.

    Once I saw the light, and had my tree change, when I started out I would travel anywhere up to 1/2 hour from home, but as the business built up I slowly reduced that down by dropping off the far flung clients. Now all my jobs are within a 15 minute drive from home, and if I can plan my day right, I start 15 minutes from home and by the end of the day i am 5 minutes from home.

    I do get the odd client who has asked me to go to their holiday place anywhere up to a couple of hours away, and I have said yes purely because they are good clients, but I insist on a minimum of 8 hours work, and including travel time both way.

    I have done a couple of jobs over 3 hours from home, but than I insist on overnight accomodation as well.

    Really you need to gauge how far you are willing to go, what the cost of that travel is, can you include it in your quote, oor use other means of communicating with the client.

    I know a bookkeeper who has been servicing clients in Northern NSW, and has only visited the site once in about 12 years, when they happened to be passing on holdays. So now a days depending on the job, distance is not as much an issue

    #1181129
    MKDD
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    Thanks for the replies, they were very helpful. I guess I really won’t know until I try it so I may just have to get out there and take a risk.

    Thanks again.

    Mark

    #1181130
    Past-Member
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    I think you should investigate what broadband/wireless services are like where you are intending to move to, and what access prospective clients would have. If you can do Skype or FaceTime meetings with clients, especially for initial interviews (i.e. have a coffee meeting by Skype/Facetime), then you would alleviate the need for travelling.

    However, your prospects would need to have either Skype or FaceTime access themselves.

    Recently we had a quote done for an awning (we didn’t go ahead but were very impressed) by a builder specialising in them. He had access to high aerial photos and Google maps etc. He measured everything from his end on his computer without having to travel to us and gave us a quote within the hour with a diagram of proposed item. It was an amazing service.

    As for myself, I do have Skype meetings by appointment with some clients interstate or in the city so that we can show each other ideas or to discuss the project at hand.

    Perhaps you should be looking along those lines as well. Just thoughts to ponder. Best wishes.

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