As the baby boomer generation enters retirement and leaves the workforce, the demand for skilled tradespeople is expected to intensify. This trend mainly affects trade occupations as they tend to have an older force. Unfortunately, many young people perceive that trades offer low pay and lack intellectual stimulation, leading to a decline in trade enrollment over the past few decades.
The skilled trades present excellent opportunities for starting their businesses. Firstly, these trades are in high demand, providing a solid customer base. Additionally, most trades can be operated as home-based businesses, as the work is typically done at the customer’s location. Lastly, compared to many other business types, the initial capital investment required for equipment like vehicles and tools is relatively low in most trades. Moreover, these trades rely on specialised skills that cannot be fully automated, ensuring job security in the future. Even in industries like welding, which have some automation in manufacturing, numerous jobs cannot be feasibly mechanical.
Here are some of the best business opportunities within the skilled trades. Remember, risk management is also a fundamental role for successful trade businesses. Ensure you have sufficient tradie insurance in place at all times to cover your risks.
Electricians are responsible for designing, installing, maintaining, and repairing electrical wiring and control systems in homes, commercial buildings, and industrial installations. While electricians work across various industries, the majority are employed in construction.
Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration (HVAC) Technicians
HVAC technicians specialise in installing, maintaining, and repairing residential and commercial heating, air conditioning, ventilation, and refrigeration systems. Some HVAC professionals also focus on related areas such as fire protection and sprinkler systems, oil and gas burners, and building and facilities maintenance.
Like electricians, HVAC specialists are expected to experience high growth in demand over the next decade. This field is also well-suited for those seeking self-employment, as HVAC systems require regular maintenance after installation. Selling service contracts can provide a steady cash flow. Starting an HVAC career usually involves several years of post-secondary education and on-the-job apprenticeship training. Certification is increasingly mandatory due to the industry’s growing technical complexity.
Masons specialise in constructing walls, patios, and walkways using mortar bricks, stone, and concrete. Highly skilled masons who can create intricate masonry structures will always be in demand.
Becoming a mason typically requires three to four years of apprenticeship training and classroom instruction. Physical strength and fitness are necessary due to the lifting of heavy materials.
Given the high demand for skilled masons, starting a masonry business can be an ideal opportunity for those seeking self-employment. Depending on the location, obtaining a license may be required before beginning a self-employed masonry firm.
Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters
Plumbers handle the design, installation, and repair of piping, waste disposal systems, and related fixtures in homes, businesses, and industrial plants. Pipefitters and steamfitters, on the other hand, install and repair piping systems used for heating, cooling, energy production, and manufacturing.
The demand for plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters will remain strong through 2026, making these professions excellent business opportunities.
Training typically involves several years of apprenticeship combined with technical school education. Most jurisdictions require plumbers to hold a license or certification.
Welders are crucial in cutting and joining metal parts using various tools. Welding is utilised in construction, auto body repair, forestry, oil and gas, metal fabrication, and shipbuilding. The welding trade offers both manual and semi-automated processes.
While the job growth rate for welding is projected to be average, skilled welders are consistently in demand. Welders willing to travel and work in remote or challenging environments can earn a substantial income.
Becoming a welder typically involves technical training, apprenticeship, and eventual certification. Different industries often require mastery of specific welding techniques.
The nature of the welding business makes it well-suited for self-employment. Starting as a mobile welding contractor is common, and as the company expands, dedicated shop space may become necessary.