Feb. 21, 2022

Nick Lonsdale of Lonsdale Building Group: From tradesman to businessman, the 10-yr warranty, and "hire 'em quick, fire 'em faster!!"

Nick Lonsdale of Lonsdale Building Group: From tradesman to businessman, the 10-yr warranty, and

We get right into award winning builder Nick Lonsdale's design build business structure to micromanaging, quickly shift to the mandatory 10 year warranty, and mental health. Stepping way from design. That’s the first 7 minutes!

Yes, that his bulldog Boston snoring away in the background

Importance of trade relations!

Setting standards as builders that are above code.

Then it’s a bit of banter comparing building in AK vs Oz

How does Nick choose clients?

This is where it gets interesting…as his company grew, he stood back and looked at it and thought “is this what I want”. There was a ton of work

Choosing client comes down to these factors:

Distance to jobs

“can they regulate their emotions”

We get in bed with clients for ten years

Its their life savings so there is so much emotion involved.- affirmation

He’s building a legacy (he sounds just like me! I'm older)- affirmation

We have to educate our clients
We need tradesperson to share that educating skill
The process from design, changes, getting quotes and do it over and over again

Communication between trade subcontractors and your clients in the field

Being a builder is all about communications and solving problems- affirmation
When designers tell the clients their drawing is going to cost one price but you know its going to be 20-30% more!


Red Flags for clients

Then Nick turns the table on Mike and asks what tradespeople make per day.

Carpenter wages should be on par with the other trades

Licensing of all trades in Victoria is coming.

Fixed pricing from subcontractors as a matter of course

Hire quick and fire faster! In this day and age..its like getting into a relationship with someone, for the first few months, it feel like euphoria….

Then we slide into expectation management and contracts

Special conditions

Changes and the need for follow up emails, photos, whatever it takes
No verbal agreements - affirmation

People in Aus get pissed when they have to pay more

Establishing boundaries is imperative.

Now for how Nick got into the trades:

School wasn’t for him and he picked up some work as a carpenter with his uncle and the more he worked the more money he made before he knew it, he got cocky and started his own business and guess what happened. He made less money.

But the process of getting there is fascinating. It’s just like yours.

What do the awards mean to you?

Sustainable building- we have the same issues with expense so its up to the client

Advice for the next generation

“have some realistic goals, have some unrealistic goals, come back and check them but write them down, start with small goals”

“work on communication, be someone that can hold their tongue"

Don’t be afraid to let go

You can make the same amount of money with fewer people and and a smaller company, put ego aside, its your life.


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The Contracting Handbook podcast is all about the builders and skilled tradesmen and tradeswomen in the construction industry from all over the world. Here you’ll meet the tradespeople who took a leap of faith from working their craft to running the own construction company. You’ll meet people who left lucrative careers to enter the trades. For newcomers to running a construction business, there is a ton of advice on “how to” run your contracting company. For established contractors, you get to meet other industry leaders and get behind the scenes of their business and stay up to date with industry change. Mike Knoche, your host, keeps the conversation interesting. He’s been operating his contracting business for over 15 years in the oddly wonderful, Fairbanks, Alaska. Mike’s philosophy is “we are all experts in how we build where we live, but the business basics and business management are universal”. Join us for this global conversation on operating a construction company, mental health, cool projects, and construction industry progress.


Host: Mike Knoche

Website: The Contracting Handbook

Instagram: @thecontractinghandbook

Venmo: Mike-Knoche-1



Guest: Nick Lonsdale

Website: Lonsdale Building Group

Insta: @lonsdale.build