Applying your skilled trade expertise in your own business

Take a look at what it takes to get set up in your own skilled trade business.

If you’re a skilled trade person thinking about self-employment, there may not be a better time.

There is strong evidence your talents will be in demand for years to come. In Canada, it’s estimated the country will need one million skilled trade workers by 2020. Working within such a growth sector should mean self-employed skilled tradespeople can count on steady work and decent pay – no matter what the economy is doing.

According to the latest Industry Canada Financial Performance Data for Specialty Trade Contractors, 84% of them run profitable enterprises and generate average revenue of $67,600 per year.

Here’s how to make a go of running your own profitable skilled trade business.

Start with a plan

In order to take your in-demand skills and launch a profitable business, you’ll need to take the right steps – starting with careful planning.

A detailed business plan will help you determine your start-up expenses, set financial goals, determine your operational strategy and lay out your marketing plan. It will also help you obtain financing should you decide to approach a lender for a business loan or line of credit.

It takes time to write a solid business plan that covers all your bases. The Scotia business planning template was designed to help simplify the process for new business owners as they write their first business plan.

Follow start-up steps

Check these items off your list before you start marketing your new trades business:[1]

  • Come up with a business name that is easy to remember and isn’t already in use.
  • Check whether your website domain name is available.
  • Decide on your business structure.
  • Register your business with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to obtain a Business Number.
  • Register your business for GST/HST. Collecting GST/HST is mandatory if your annual sales will exceed $30,000.
  • Apply for any licenses or permits required to perform your work.
  • Decide how you’ll finance your business – with personal savings, a loan from family, or bank loan.

Embrace tax breaks

Like any business in Canada, you can write off eligible expenses associated with operating your business such as:

  • Advertising.
  • Business start-up costs.
  • Business licences, memberships, and subscriptions.
  • Insurance.
  • Maintenance and repairs.
  • Motor vehicle expenses.
  • Supplies.
  • Travel.
  • Depreciation on tools used in your business.

For a complete list of eligible business expenses, visit the CRA small business website. Not all tax breaks will apply to your business – be sure to consult with a bookkeeper or accountant to obtain tax advice specific to your particular business.

Ready to start your business?

At Scotiabank, our advisors understand the important decision ahead of you.  We’re ready to help you – just as we’ve helped thousands of entrepreneurs like you to take the next step in starting their new business. 

Get more business advice, access helpful resources and learn about available financing solutions by speaking with a Scotiabank Small Business Advisor today.

Other resources

[1] Starting a business can be complicated.  Be sure to contact professional advisors to make the right decisions.