The Australian housing market has been booming for decades without showing any signs of slowing down. But with the median cost of buying a home in cities like Sydney and Melbourne surging to well over a million dollars, those looking to get into the housing market are faced with an uphill battle.
The rise of tiny houses is one way people are sidestepping this struggle. With these miniature dwellings stripped back to around 37sqm – compared to approximately 240sqm for the average Australian home – this minimalist way of life is a viable alternative with the right approach. While on one hand this is an opportunity for new homeowners to enter the market, it’s also perfect for talented tradies who want to specialise in a budding niche.
From carpenters and plumbers to electricians, you don’t have to spend all your time working on building big houses. Considering tiny houses need to be carefully crafted to squeeze in everything the owner needs, putting your skills to the test in this newfound arena could open up your career possibilities.
Considering 43% of tiny home enthusiasts say they lack the building ability to get their ideas off the ground, attracting these people with your talents has the power to skyrocket your business. Here, we explore the definition of a tiny home and consider which tradies benefit most from this emerging housing trend.
According to the Australian Tiny House Association, “tiny houses are moveable dwellings up to 50m2 that are suitable for residential use.” In addition, tiny homes are broadly categorised into two groups – Tiny Houses on Wheels (THOW) and Tiny Houses on Skids (THOS). While tiny homes might seem like a dramatic shift away from your standard Australian home, people who seek out this small-scale lifestyle simply don’t view bigger as better.
But just because tiny homes are minimalist in nature doesn’t mean they sacrifice creature comforts. In fact, the best examples feature all the same luxuries you’d find in a house ten times the size. Due to building and housing regulations, it’s most common for tiny homes to be constructed as mobile structures on top of trailers. However, there are also many with fixed foundations just like traditional homes, only much smaller.
While many tiny homes come in standard wood-frame designs, this modern way of living also pushes architectural creativity to the limits. For instance, you might find tiny homes constructed from repurposed shipping containers or even school buses. Meanwhile, it’s common for new tiny houses to feature air conditioning, solar panels, rainwater tanks and external storage solutions.
With tiny homes costing upwards of $150,000 to buy, tradies with an entrepreneurial mindset can take advantage of this expanding market to establish themselves as industry specialists.
No one is denying a standard home takes plenty of skill to build, but it takes a load of creativity to construct a tiny home with everything it needs to feel warm and accommodating. Considering that you’re working with so much less space than usual, finding an elegant way to include your everyday amenities can take a lot of work.
Tiny home builders are effectively specialists in solving problems with these complex projects, which ensures they can charge a premium for their services. Building a functional kitchen requires clever carpentry that not everyone has the skills to pull off, plus having a custom-built plumbing system is not something that can be ignored.
With this in mind, tradies with a knack for operating in tight spaces have a chance to establish themselves as leaders in the tiny house construction industry. Also, many of these eye-catching projects capture attention on social media and in design magazines. If you’ve completed a project that captivates an audience, tiny house enthusiasts will seek out your handy work without you even needing to invest in marketing.
If you want to specialise in tiny house construction and maintenance, there are endless opportunities for tradesmen. As this market continues to grow, making your name as an expert might just be the best decision for your career. Here are just some of the trades that might benefit in a big way.
Every tiny house needs four walls and a roof. This is why traditional builders are primed for success in the tiny home space if they have the right skills and mindset. Meanwhile, tiny houses need clever carpentry solutions to ensure the home is functional enough to ensure total comfort. Therefore carpenters with an adaptable approach to kitchen drawers, bathroom cupboards and crafty storage solutions will be in hot demand.
Plumbing systems in tiny homes can get complicated rather quickly. However, this means talented plumbers have plenty of opportunities to showcase their skills. For example, tiny homes often use tank storage to capture and use rainwater for everyday needs. Plus, many clients want their tiny homes to feature greywater systems to minimise wastage.
As many tiny homes are located in off-grid areas and designed to have minimal impact on the earth, clients often want energy-saving components incorporated into their structure. This means solar power is frequently used with tiny homes, as it may be the only viable energy source available. Sparkies who understand the ins and outs of solar power are definitely needed for building tiny homes.
The small-scale nature of tiny homes ensures they rarely require comprehensive HVAC systems. However, as these mobile homes often shift between hot and cold climates, many choose to install mini-split systems or through-the-wall units to keep everyone comfortable year-round. As these must be professionally installed, HVAC experts can rapidly grow their reputation in the sector.
Most modern tiny homes will have a full range of household appliances, including stovetops, ovens, refrigerators and more. With the installation of appliances often requiring some form of improvisation, repairing them can be a major pain for owners. However, if you’re capable of fixing appliances in challenging circumstances, finding a profitable customer base won't take long.
Finding a way to carve out a career as a tiny home specialist is an exciting prospect, but the legality behind building and living in a tiny home in Australia is probably far more complicated than you might think. Fortunately, the Australian Tiny House Association has outlined a handy construction guide that explains the minimum requirements for the design and construction of these structures.
In fact, you can help potential tiny home owners by becoming an expert on these regulations. As the legalities of where tiny homes can be built and parked differ by state and even local councils, helping your clients understand their responsibilities can set your business apart.
Most councils divide tiny homes into two classes – Tiny Houses on Wheels (THOW) and Tiny Houses on Skids (THOS). As the former are built to meet the definition of caravans, there are limitations on how long someone can live in a THOW as their primary residence. THOS are considered similar to granny flats, meaning they may require council approval and building permits before construction can start.
As the tiny home movement attracts new followers every year, now is the perfect time to start providing your services to those looking to downsize. As tradies with the right skillset are bound to attract attention, finding a way to keep your jobs organised is essential to your success.
This is where FieldPulse’s powerful business management app stands out. Using your smartphone from the office or on the road, you can take charge of every job instead of fighting piles of paperwork.
From keeping track of client information and scheduling jobs to processing invoices, our user-friendly platform makes it easy to run your building operation from anywhere. Ready to give it a shot? Schedule a free demo today to find out what makes FieldPulse different.