Wickes and Business Link join forces
Published:  07 September, 2011

UK: Recent statistics released by the Construction Index reveal that the first quarter of this year saw a 23% increase in the number of construction companies going into administration in the UK compared to the last quarter of 2010. While technically competent, many tradesmen lack a solid business background meaning that the failure rate of new businesses in the building sector is second only to restaurants.

To help address this issue, Wickes has joined forces with government’s online resource for businesses, Business Link, to launch a first-of-its-kind business information website which has been created especially for tradesmen in a move that sees expert industry-specific advice and guidance provided through a public/private link-up.

New business owners in all sectors frequently lack relevant knowledge and expertise in areas such as finance, tax, and managing employees. This skills shortage is particularly acute in the building trade.

This is reflected in research released today by Wickes that reveals 38% of British tradesmen do not seek any business advice, with 35% stating that it is difficult to find the business information they need. Just 2% of those questioned currently seek business advice from a business advisory service and only 1% go to a professional trade body for guidance.

Wickes Trade Builder is a simple to access and navigate website developed to provide tailored business information for tradesmen. The site is the first online resource to provide the key information an independent tradesman needs to run a successful business, including template invoices, tips on getting and keeping customers, navigating the legalities surrounding the hiring of employees and apprentices, and tax assessment guidelines.

Wickes board director, Rob Murray, says: “Today’s tough economic climate means that working for yourself is harder than ever. This has been shown clearly in the Construction Index’s recent report showing an increase of almost a quarter in the number of construction companies going into administration in the first quarter of this year. It’s imperative that tradesmen understand how to protect and grow their businesses effectively, but our research has shown that many tradesmen don’t know where to find this kind of advice easily.

As experts in the trade, Wickes recognises that it has a responsibility to provide the essential information a tradesmen needs to run a successful business, from tax return dates to managing money. This means that tradesmen get exactly what they need to know in just a couple of clicks.”

Business Link director, Ray Lambe, adds: “It is really important that we make our information as easy as possible for tradesmen to get hold of. We have joined Wickes in creating the Trade Builder site so that tradesmen can find the business advice they need in one, easily-accessible place. Trade Builder provides information ranging from debt recovery to local advertising to hiring subcontractors – including the legalities that go with it.”

Mr Murray concludes: “Essentially, it’s a one-stop-shop for business advice for the trade. Trade Builder brings together Wickes and Business Link‘s combined knowledge and expertise of the building trade and business advice in one place. We are very much looking forward to helping tradesmen better safeguard the success of their businesses for years to come.”

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