How Much Should Tradies Spend On Marketing?

If It Makes Money…

When you’re running a trade business, figuring out how much to spend on marketing is hard to know.  Some people just look at how much it costs (Bad plan!).  It is best to think of it like a job. If it makes money do it!  If the amount you spend on marketing brings in a new customer, makes a profit and covers the cost of marketing, then it’s worth it.  In fact, if this was the case, you would do it again, and again, and again!

But, how do you know if your marketing is actually working?  The key is to measure it. Ask every lead you get how they found out about you. Over a reasonable amount of time work out how many leads you got, jobs you won, and ultimately your profit made.  Compare this to your marketing costs and other marketing strategies you do.  With this information you should be able to work out where to spend your time and money for your future marketing.

Cheap Will Not Always Work For You

Let’s talk websites for example. Some folks might wonder if they really need to spend a lot on a website. Here’s the thing: if you’re proud of the high-quality work you do, your website should show that off. If your website costs $500 and only has your name and number, it’s not going to tell customers about the quality work you do. A simple, cheap website doesn’t scream “high-quality” to anyone. You want a website that shows off what you’re good at and why that potential customer looking at your website, should choose you.

Watch out for always going cheap. This doesn’t mean blindly spending $1000 on social media and getting no return. Its about who and where are target is and the most efective way of communicating with them. It could be Facebook posts and marketplace ads or it may be a flyer in the mailbox.

The Tradie Marketing Plan

Developing a plan is planning to succeed in any area of your business and even more so in marketing.

In your plan you lists

  • your target audience, the clients you want and where they are and how to get to them
  • a maximum budget (we recommend about 10% of your gross income)
  • a bunch of strategies (mentioned below to get started)
  • a measurement strategy to find out what is working best for you
  • a referral program (get your clients doing marketing for you)

Never Done Marketing Before Strategies

For a small tradie maintenance business about 4 or 5 strategies usually work well:

Van signage, site signage,
Google my business
Stickers/fridge magnets
Networking and alliances
Mailbox flyers

Now, about the best way to market your trade business. If you’re doing small jobs for homeowners, something as simple as having your business name and number on your van can work wonders. It’s like a moving billboard. People see your van, remember your name, and might call you for a job.

Big Business – Aim Directly

But, if your business deals with other businesses or big projects, van signs aren’t going to cut it. For B2B (business-to-business), the best approach is direct marketing. This means reaching out personally, maybe with a phone call or a visit, and building a relationship. It’s more about who you know and making those personal connections.

The Perfect Fit?

So, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to how much you should spend on marketing. It all depends on what kind of trade business you have and who your customers are. The bottom line is: spend on marketing that works for you, brings in customers, and fits the kind of work you do. Whether it’s a top-notch website or personal outreach, make sure your marketing tells customers why you’re the right choice for the job.

The question of how much to spend on marketing cannot be answered with a simple figure. It demands a deeper exploration of what makes your trades business resonate with your customers, the quality of engagement you’re aiming for, and the measurable outcomes of your marketing efforts. By focusing on these aspects, businesses can navigate the complexities of marketing investment with confidence, ensuring that every dollar spent is not just an expense, but a strategic step towards growth and success.


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Hugh Bowman is a specialist in business coaching for trade businesses and is a former engineer and technical expert. He has lived and worked in many parts of regional Victoria coaching tradie business owners.

Ph: 0409 402 474