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Starting your own test and tag business can be an exciting experience, but before you take the plunge you could save yourself a lot of time and money by being aware of what’s required to succeed within the industry.
We’ve gone ahead and chosen our top five tips that we believe are the most important factors to consider before you start a test and tag business.
By choosing to run your own test and tag business, it’s absolutely vital that you have a strong understanding of the best practices in the industry. This means when you’re out on the road testing appliances, you shouldn't be taking any shortcuts. For example, not conducting a thorough visual inspection.
This is not only important for building your reputation and a trustworthy relationship with your client, but will result in repeat business.
It is also important to stay up-to-date with all of the standards that apply to the environments you are testing in. AS/NZS 3760 is the main standard for our industry, however there are several others that provide regulations and guidance when testing equipment for construction & demolition, repaired & second-hand goods and even marinas and film stages. By keeping up to date you can provide the most value for your customers.
What to consider: make sure you understand test and tag best practices by getting the proper advice, training and exposure to test scenarios.
Building yourself a support network might not be a difficult thing to do, but it’s definitely the most beneficial. Whether you like or not, you’re going to need help at some point! This might include knowing where to get the right technical advice when you’re onsite, or following industry associations to stay up-to-date with test and tag industry standards.
Beyond these immediate points of support, you’ll also need to find the right accountant and broker, getting advice on how to structure your business effectively and finding the right insurance to cover yourself.
What to consider: ensure you have support available in every part of the business.
It’s imperative that you have a decent understanding of the different test equipment options available and the specific features you’ll require in a PAT tester. The most important factor will be the range of tests you’ll be able to perform. This will also depend on the type of test and tag work you’ll be offering.
For example, being able to use a tester that has either 3 phase, RCD and Leakage testing abilities might be a necessity for you; this is important considering not all testers offer these capabilities. After all, if you’re offering test and tag as a service, you’ll most likely need the ability to have an extensive range of tests available at your disposal.
Other factors come down to efficiency, as some appliance testers are faster than others in performing tests and how it collects data at the end of every test. Some are manually done each time, while others help automate it for you. If you're doing hundreds, or even thousands of tests a month, sometimes these little improvements can mean a huge difference. We discuss this in more detail further down the page.
It's worth pointing out as well, there are certain ways you can ensure your PAT Tester stays healthy, something you'll want to do considering the financial outlay.
What to consider: ensure you can perform a range of tests that will complement your business
Image: RCD tester and Metrel DeltaPAT kit
Similarly, you have to carefully weigh up your options when you choose to buy a system that will allow your business to grow.
For instance, you could start with an economical testing solution and then add extra functionality as the business grows. This means you’ll ideally want to buy a tester that can in fact be upgraded (if it already contains restrictions), such as adding a printing functionality.
Not all testers are capable of being upgraded, so this could be a costly mistake if you're not doing a proper check before you buy.
What to consider: on whether you prefer starting small and upgrading and/or add extra functionality as you go, or simply get the more comprehensive option straight away.
In order to gain the required efficiencies when testing, your level of reporting needs to be at the suitable standard that goes beyond just a manual test and tag logbook.
In fact, some clients will require your testing results to be more detailed, possibly asking for extra information such as actual test readings and the time items were tested.
So when we discuss reporting data, there really is a huge difference to what is expected if you're offering test and tag as a service as opposed to simply testing your own equipment.
It pays to trial the software before you buy your test equipment if you can, or at least see samples of the reports it can produce. Most testers will only talk with their own specific software and there can be a vast difference in both price and functionality.
What to consider: you’ll need to right tester and software to streamline the reporting process and to make your life easier.
If you would like further support in starting your own test and tag business, or perhaps improving your current one, speak to us today to learn what skills you require to take that next leap.