Make your business more cost-effective and cheaper for your customers

There are a number of ways you can make your business cost-effective and save money without compromising the quality of service you provide to customers. One of these increasingly popular ways of getting your business on the move is to use free business savings advice.

In time of recession the government is willing to support businesses with providing advice and guidance on how to boost growth and create jobs. Greater support for innovation and decisive action from the government to cut red tape might encourage more people to start their own businesses in future. However, if you are an existing trade, one way of cutting cost effectively is to seek professional advice.

One of the companies that can be useful to your business has been recognised as one of Britain’s fastest-growing companies in this year’s Sunday Times Fast Track 100, published today.

‘Make It Cheaper’ will offer your business free and impartial advice to about a range of overheads including energy efficiency and how to get your supplies cheaper.

In the past 12 months it has saved 50,000 business customers in the region of £100 million by cutting an average of 30% off their bills, either by switching suppliers or helping to re-negotiate deals with existing ones.

Jonathan Elliott, founder and managing director of Make It Cheaper, commented:

“Whereas larger businesses often have the experience, resources and necessary clout to negotiate good prices with suppliers, most SMEs do not. And there are over four million of them in the UK. Make It Cheaper has answered a call from these businesses to represent their interests in a David & Goliath fight for a fair deal on a number of essentials from electricity to credit card charges. The money we help businesses save goes straight to its bottom line as pure profit, without it having to increase its sales.”

What is your opining on using a free business savings advice? Do you think they have the potential to transform your business as they say? Let us know by sharing your comments below:



T4TS How to Guides: Mark talks about his job as a plumber

Mark Gilder is training to become a plumber with Train4TradeSkills. Tom Jinks from T4TS Radio spoke to Mark to find out how he was getting on with his training:

You can listen to Mark’s interview on the Train4TradeSkills Radio Blog at www.train4tradeskills.blogspot.com or download to iTunes from the AudioBoo app at www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills

T4TS How to Guides: Chris talks about his plumbing job

Chris Summerfield is training to become a plumber with Train4TradeSkills. Tom Jinks from T4TS Radio spoke to Chris to find out how he was getting on with his training:

You can listen to Chris’ interview on the Train4TradeSkills Radio Blog at www.train4tradeskills.blogspot.com or download to iTunes from the AudioBoo app at www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills

T4TS How to Guides: Sean talks about his Train4TradeSkills Plumbing course and business plans

Sean Whitmore is training to become a plumber with Train4TradeSkills. Tom Jinks from T4TS Radio spoke to Sean to find out how he was getting on with his training:

You can listen to Sean’s interview on the Train4TradeSkills Radio Blog at www.train4tradeskills.blogspot.com or download to iTunes from the AudioBoo app at www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills

T4TS How to Guides: Cliff’s Train4TradeSkills Practical Training – Week 6

Monday:

Well it’s Week 6 and the beginning of the end of level 2 this morning. There’s another group of students arriving for their practical, whether it be plumbing or electrics, week one or eleven all are mingling around the canteen chatting about their journeys, meeting new people or even some familiar faces met on previous visits.

I already know what I have in-store for me this week it’s my bathroom install assessment, and I am looking forward to getting on with it. The ATL centre is still down one tutor due to sickness so Robert is going to have to spread his time between two groups again, which is not a problem as we are supposed to do the install without any help from the tutors.

Nevertheless he spends twenty minutes with us explaining the requirements of the task, which include designing the layout, a full materials list, a written summary description and photographic evidence. So a good part of the morning is spent planning and setting out, we are to use plastic pipe and John Guest Speedfit® fittings below floor level and copper above floor level so it is going to be quite a quick install and I have almost finished the first fix by 4.30pm so I call it a day.

Tuesday:

Not feeling so good this morning as I am aching all over and have the sniffles first signs of man flu -just what I need this week! I get down to work regardless and soon complete the first fix and notching of the floor boards and proceed to pressure test the first fix.

Out in the real world this would be no problem as all my fitting would be new but here in the centre we re-use old fittings, so after changing several faulty service valves I manage to complete a successful pressure test and with the help of another student take the first of my photographic evidence photo’s.

I have been trying since I arrived yesterday to get Robert to read my updated summary description from last week so that I can sign the work off in my portfolio, but he is hard to pin down for long and I have to literally stand in front of him with my work and a pen to get him to check it and even then he only has time to scan it briefly before we are informed that we have exams in five minutes, Ouch wasn’t expecting that Wednesday is the usual day for exams but due to the amount of exams to get through this week they had decided to start earlier in the week.

So I have two exams Environmental Awareness In Plumbing and Effective Working Relationships In The Plumbing Industry, It feels very thrust upon us and my head is banging with the onset of flu, I Have a real problem keeping focused in the exam and am not happy when I leave the examination room and with good reason as it turned out.

I flunked the environmental awareness exam which surprises me as it’s a bit of a pet subject for me, re-sits Thursday before I can sit the end GOLA exam. So a bit disconsolate I return to my bay to continue with my bathroom install, “at least that is going well” Robert has spotted that I am not at my best and comes and spends a bit of time with me going over the environmental awareness with me, I really like Robert and his teaching methods and I am feeling much better when I leave for home.

Wednesday:

The Flu has really got me now and I am avoiding contact with rest of the group to avoid passing it on, fortunately I am working in a bay on my own so they should be OK as long as they keep their distance.

I get my head straight to finishing my installation and have it completed by lunchtime with no problems at all and took the other photo for the supplementary evidence and had Robert in to check and appraise the installation. I am not the first to finish this week but I am very happy with the finished job.

The sun is out today and I enjoy lunch sitting out in the fresh air and it makes my flu feel not so bad. The afternoon was spent methodically decommissioning the bathroom, counting and listing all the fixtures, fittings and pipe work used in the bathroom as I can use it to make a the accurate material’s list needed for supplementary evidence. It takes the whole afternoon to strip out, recycle and return the bay back to the blank canvas it was to begin with, I would of liked to get away early today to revise but it 5pm by the time I leave the centre tiered but satisfied that I only have my write-up left to do.

Thursday:

Big day today as its re-sit and my GOLA Assessment End Test, and there is no waiting around were straight into the exam room at 9.30am I have fully prepared myself with max strength flu capsules this morning and am feeling much clearer in the head the re-sit is easy and I have no problem with 18 questions then its straight on with the GOLAHOO!!! Lots of good vibes going around everyone’s done really well nobody needs to re-sit.

So congratulations to all my fellow students who completed their Level 2 plumbing. I can now look forward to starting my level 3 course work and I will be back soon with a week 7 training diary many thanks also to my friends and family for all your support, especially my partner Carmen without you none of this would have happened.

Read the rest of Cliff’s practical training diaries on his plumbing blog at www.plumbing-student.blogspot.com

T4TS How to Guides: Neil talks about his T4TS course and plumbing jobs

Neil Pain is training to become a plumber with Train4TradeSkills. Tom Jinks from T4TS Radio spoke to Neil to find out how he was getting on with his training:

You can listen to Neil’s interview on the Train4TradeSkills Radio Blog at www.train4tradeskills.blogspot.com or download to iTunes from the AudioBoo app at www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills

T4TS How to Guides: Ex-Armed Forces Personnel talk about retraining with T4TS as plumbers and electricians

Train4TradeSkills are a big supporter of the armed forces and are keen to promote the good work our soldiers are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We are also keen to help servicemen and ex-servicemen make the transition from the armed forces back into civilian life and have a number of students who served in the armed forces and are now training as plumbers and electricians.

Train4TradeSkills Radio has spoken to a number of servicemen and soldiers who are preparing for life after the army by training as plumbers and electricians. These are Dev Pun, Daniel Terblanche and Darryl Johnson.

Dev Pun

Dev is a Gurkha who has spent 11 years in the army as an engineer. Dev has served with the Gurkhas, who are part of the British Army, in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dev turned to plumbing because he was recommended to take it up by a friend who is a plumber, and he said he wants to learn new skills and have a trade under his belt.

Dev says about the practical training part of the course:

“The practical training is quite challenging and demanding because I’m learning new things every week. The teachers are helping me, and I’m learning new things on practicals.”

Daniel Terblanche

Daniel has spent 7 years in the army, working as a tank commander. Dan describes his job as “I basically drive, load , shoot, gun and sometimes command tanks.” Based at RAF Honington, Daniel took leave to attend his practical training and is training as an electrician.

Daniel told Train4TradeSkills Radio how he went about doing the course as well as serving in the army and his plans for the future:

“I basically just went through the chain of command. I went to my boss and spoke to him about it, saying this is what I’m doing and I’m paying for it out of my own pocket. At the end of the course the army has a scheme called Enhanced Learning Credits – if you can pay for a course with those learning credits then the army is obliged to let you go. Once I’ve finished the course I will put my application for enhanced learning credits in and they will give me some money back. I can then go back to army and say this is what I’ve done, I’ve passed a course and you’re letting me go for a few weeks at a time when it’s justified

At this stage of the game I think it will take me quite a while to finish the course and I’m in no rush at all at this stage. Once I’ve finished the course I’ll probably see if I can get permission At the end I would possibly like to be self-employed, yeah, but initially I need to get a whole lot more experience before I do that, so I would probably look to work for a big company or something along those lines.”

Darryl Johnson

Darryl is a soldier and is in the 2nd Royal Welsh Battalion. He has served a tour of Afghanistan and is set to leave the army in the next month and will instead focus on plumbing.

Darryl told Train4TradeSkills Radio about how he arranged to do the practical training and his plumbing plans for when he’s left the army.

“At the moment I’m on leave so it was quite easy for me to come down here for this second week that I’m on now. When I was on week 1 I was still in my working hours so because I was leaving my platoon commander was kind enough to give me the time off because he knew I was already signed off and my contract was going to end. He was happy to give me the time off and let me complete my week 1.

With me coming out of the army this month, I’m hoping to finish my Level 2 by the end of the year. Once I’ve done that I’d like to get in with a plumber, get employed and gain some experience.

The benefit with Train4TradeSkills is that you can do it at your own pace, in the evenings or in your spare time.”

You can listen to Dev, Darryl and Daniel’s stories from Train4TradeSkills Radio at www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills

Train4TradeSkills is a big supporter of the Armed forces and particularly Holidays4Heroes, a charity that gives holidays to servicemen and women who have sustained injuries whilst on duty. To find out more about Holidays4Heroes go to http://holidays4heroes.blogspot.com