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Feb. 21, 2022

Nick Lonsdale of Lonsdale Building Group, Melbourne Australia

Nick Lonsdale of Lonsdale Building Group, Melbourne Australia

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.


Mike Knoche has been running his general contracting business for 16 years. It's been trial by fire and in The Contracting Handbook, Mike shares his successes, his failures and asks other industry leaders to join him in a discussion of how to run a construction business! The Contracting Handbook podcast discusses the behind the scenes running of a small construction company. It’s everything from starting up, working with employees, subcontractors, and clients. Remember, it won’t just be Mike’s perspective as he will talk to contractors from all over the world about theirs too! Why the world over? Because through his travels in the off season he’s come to see that contractors everywhere have similar business needs, struggles, and ideas in common. We a are a global community of builders! Contact Mike at info@thecontractinghandbook.com for questions, comments, or to be interviewed.

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Guest: Nick Lonsdale

Website: Lonsdale Building Group

Insta: @lonsdale.build


Host: Mike Knoche

Website: The Contracting Handbook

Hammr: @mikeknoche

Instagram: @thecontractinghandbook

Venmo: Mike-Knoche-1