City Plumbing Supplies shares a few tips that self-employed builders might want to consider during the Coronavirus pandemic

It’s frightening times indeed for freelancers right now. Even with the Government grants that have been promised (and will hopefully start being made available in June), there are those of us for whom the concept of going without pay for two or three months is not only a likelihood but an inevitability.

The social distancing measures have hit particularly hard on the construction sector and for self-employed builders, the worries are amplified even further.

Delays in the supply chain will undoubtedly cause problems and with so many in quarantine and social distancing measures in full-force, the naturally busy building site is simply not a viable working environment for many people right now.

To help soothe the burden somewhat, we’ve compiled a few tips that all self-employed builders might want to consider during the coronavirus pandemic.

Diversify: In times of great uncertainty, it’s always a good idea to expand your skill set and explore some new potential avenues. If you are a contractor that only works in brickwork, for example, start exploring the realms of kitchen and bathroom installations. There’s never a bad time to branch out.

Social media: Social media is an incredible and cost-effective marketing tool that can be utilised by almost anyone. If you do not already have a heavy social media presence, then this is something you really need to rectify asap as there are literally millions of potential clients and projects you’re missing out on.

Keep well-stocked: We’ve all seen the news stories of people stockpiling toilet paper and while we wouldn’t recommend doing likewise with your building materials, we would at least implore you to ensure you have a well-stocked supply cupboard. That way, when the world finally gets back to normal, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running.

Keep informed: The Government guidelines are changing by the day, so it is advisable to keep informed of every minor update. Watch the daily briefing on the BBC every day at 5pm and makes notes of how any updates might affect you and your work. You’ll also want to address any immediate legal issues, particularly if you have live jobs on the go. If needs be, consult with a construction lawyer and see where you sit.

Chase invoices: Anyone who has ever been self-employed will know that one of the greatest challenges can be getting clients to actually pay for work. With work slowing (or stopping completely) due to the COVID-19 pandemic, take this time out to focus on claiming some of those unpaid invoices. This is all money that will put some nice feathers in your cash cushion. In the same breath, you might want to consider taking out some working capital loans to keep you afloat if things are looking a little bleak.

It can be easy to fall back on “keep calm and carry on” clichés in these situations but the fact of the matter is - this pandemic will affect your workload, there’s no way of sugar-coating it.

However, if you are able to follow the tips above then you’re more likely to emerge on the other side of this crisis with your self-employed construction career still alive and well.