By Kevin Collison
A new approach to enabling small contractors grow their businesses beyond working from home is opening soon in a former sculptor’s studio on Troost Avenue.
Trades, a fresh concept by William Hayes, has taken over the space at 1701 Troost where the sculptor STRETCH once welded huge artworks, and will provide space and services for trades people to expand their companies.
“We’re shattering barriers to scalable growth for small contractors,” Hayes said. “It’s the first company to provide working space dedicated to the trades industry.”
While the co-working space idea has been around awhile for office-based businesses, Trades takes that approach and modifies it to fit the working world of tools, machinery, building supplies, bookkeeping and legal work.
For monthly fees ranging from $199 for a basic “virtual office” up to $1,300 for a “private office” package that include access to interior and exterior storage, shower, conference center and equipment parking, a smaller contractor can leave his or her home behind.
Hayes said almost half of small contractors work from their homes and it’s difficult for them to find and afford space to grow their businesses.
He speaks from experience.
His career in construction and development has taken him from massive projects such as the renovation of the historic Pickwick complex at Tenth and McGee streets into apartments to rehabbing single-family houses in poor neighborhoods on the East Side.
“Last summer, I need to expand and find more warehouse space,” he said. “I discovered there’s a big gap between small builders and larger companies.”
That’s where the inspiration for Trades came from.
The new facility includes 6,000 square-feet of office space that can accommodate up to two dozen contractors; 6,000 square-feet of indoor warehouse space featuring 16 secure cages; 12,000 square-feet of outdoor secure storage space plus parking.
Trades however, is more than providing space for growth. It will provide support services as well for small business owners including marketing, accounting, payroll processing and legal work.
Hayes also said contractors locating there can combine their purchasing power through Trades to obtain discounts on supplies and building materials as well as phone service. Educational seminars also are planned.
And if his plan goes well, Trades also will become a referral source for contractors working out of the facility, providing assurance of quality work.
Hayes anticipates the first Trades, which is expected to open in a couple weeks, to lead to four more located in each corner of the metro. The bigger plan is to roll out the Trades concept on a national basis.
“The contracting business always has been a lone wolf approach,” Hayes said. “Nobody has had a backbone where you can seek knowledge.”
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