The Rise Of The iTradie: Tradies Swap Cash For Apps!


“Will you do it cheaper for cash?” is something Ben Stuth only gets asked on the odd occasion these days.

Stuth has been an electrician for 14 years now and says times have changed since he started Bill & Ben The Electrical Men with his father.

Father and son team Ben and Bill Stuth run Bill & Ben The Electrical Men.

“When I first started 14 years ago dad would get the invoice book out and write out an invoice and you would be stuck at [a] job for 15 minutes. Now I can do an invoice in a matter of minutes and you don’t lose any of your records.”

The difference is the advent of smart phones and invoicing apps like Invoice2go and OneFlare (owned by Fairfax).

Tech-savvy tradies

While cash used to be king in Australia’s $90 billion home improvement market now tech-savvy tradies are operating their businesses through their mobile phones.

The positive for tradies are less time spent on the paper trail.

Invoice2go claims small business owners can be paid seven days faster on average and when they accept credit or debit card payments, they can see funds hit their account in as little as two business days.

With the average time for an Australian business to pay an invoice at 44.8 days on-the-spot payments can make a big difference in tradies’ cash flow.

The decline of the cash economy

The upside for the tax man is less of a cash economy.

The ATO’s figures show approximately 18 per cent of the 1.6 million small businesses it works with which deal in cash show “some characteristics” of omitting income.

In 2015-16, the ATO raised over $208 million in tax and penalties from approximately 13,500 cash and hidden economy activities.

Bank transfer

Stuth says now he uses his smart phone for invoicing the main way customers pay is by bank transfer.

I’ve done a lot of quotes for people who say other tradies have said ‘This job has to be in cash’. Ben Stuth

“That seems to be the number one way of getting paid,” he says. “We still get the occasional cheque and around Christmas we get the odd cash job. I’ve done a few quotes for people who say other tradies have said ‘This job has to be in cash’,” he says. “But my dad’s always been by the book a bit in that respect.” 

Bill & Ben The Electrical Men turns over about $120,000 a year.

“We are pretty small,” Stuth says. “I’ll play lotto if I want to get rich. I’ve pretty much taken over because dad is 72 but he still enjoys it and I don’t think he will retire anytime soon.”

Cash is a rarity

Self-employed shade sale seller Igor Chudnovsky has also moved from cash and cheque to online payments.

Chudnovsky is contracted to sell for the Shade Sails Centre which specialises in custom-made shade and water-proof sail installations throughout Sydney.

He sells up to $40,000 worth of sails in a week if the weather is warm and “just about everybody” pays by electronic transfer.

“Very rarely does somebody pay cash,” he says. “Probably one out of 100 … there used to be a lot more people paying cash and a lot of people paying by cheque as well. It’s a lot safer now, there used to be times I’d be out carrying $10,000 cash on me and that’s not necessarily something you want to do.”

Now Chudnovsky uses electronic invoicing to send a quote while he is visiting a customer.

“I used to go out and see five or six people in the day then come home and get on the computer and spend two and a half hours putting together all the quotes and trying to remember all the details,” he says. “Now it takes me about five minutes while I’m there.”


Article courtesy of SMH.

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