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Spike Says...

How to win more work when things are slow

You might be well and truly back into the swing of things with projects and jobs galore, but if you’re not, and you’re struggling to get the work flowing in during this time, here are some things you can try. Get your business online If your business doesn’t have a website or a social media [...]

Working as a tradie at Level 2 – what you need to know

Now that it’s been announced that we’re moving to COVID-19 Alert Level 2 as of 11:59pm on 13th May, many people around New Zealand will be feeling pretty relieved. From what we’ve seen, there isn’t too much of a difference for tradies between Levels 2 and 3 in terms of distancing and hygiene, but here’s [...]

Working in clients’ homes safely during COVID-19

Now that we’ve been in Level 3 for about a week now, you’re probably all over what you need to be doing when you’re working on site. Maybe you already know the drill for working in clients’ homes too, but we thought we’d go over it just one more time for those who haven’t ventured [...]

5 tips to get back into work at Level 3

Now that we’re at Alert Level 3, a lot of tradies will be heading back to work. As much as you might be raring to go after being stuck at home for so long, make sure that you’re still looking after yourself and others, and following all of the on-site protocols to keep everyone safe. [...]

Site Safety at Level 3 – What you need to know

Now that we’re moving to Alert Level 3 next week, there are some things you’ll need to have in place on your work site. You’ll need to sort some changes to your Health & Safety requirements and protocols, including cleaning procedures and sign-in and -out steps. Check out an overview of these below.   Before [...]

Freaking out about your KiwiSaver? Let’s put it in perspective

You probably don’t normally give your KiwiSaver much thought, but now that you might have seen it drop during this unstable time, you’re freaking out a bit. Here are some tips to help you put it all in perspective. KiwiSaver is an investment Did you think KiwiSaver was a big savings account? You’re not alone. [...]

Why your insurance is more important than ever right now

These are crazy times we’re living in, huh? With such unprecedented things happening, it’s easy to get a little panicky and make some knee-jerk decisions. But if there’s one thing we can tell you (not just from an insurance perspective but also because we’re tradies ourselves), it’s really important to keep your insurance in place [...]

How to keep your skills up during the COVID-19 lockdown

Being at home sounds all good and well until you have a few kids screaming the house down and you’re sitting on the couch like a zombie. For those of you who will be at home during this lockdown, here are some great tips to keep your minds and bodies sharp! Build a treehouse for [...]

COVID-19 – A note from our Chief Cactus

To our clients, These are unprecedented and uncertain times. A lot of our clients were too young to see the real effects of the Global Financial Crisis in the mid-late 2000’s, however I am sure that quite a number of you saw them first hand. With what looks to be like an impending similar situation [...]

How to make a killer first impression

As much as clients can sometimes be the bane of your existence (changing the plans again?!), because their work means money for you, you need to make sure you’re treating them with respect and being the bigger person. So how do you get clients to choose your business over someone else’s? It’s all down to [...]

I, Robot – a look at some of the craziest new tradie tech

As a tradie, there are probably a few things in your job that you think could be made easier or done better, but there just isn’t the tech or cash to make it happen. But the good thing is that there are some epic new tech innovations happening right now in the industry and one [...]

4 top budgeting tips for tradies

No matter how much you love your role as a tradie, whether you’re a business owner or you’re still working for the man, money is always going to be a focus. How much you’re getting paid, how much a job is going to cost, and what expenses you have are going to be front of [...]

Trade business owner? Here’s how to keep that stress at bay

With great power comes great responsibility. If you’re the owner of a trade business, you’re not only responsible for making sure your team gets the job done well, you’re also responsible for paying them, keeping hazards to a minimum, making a profit and all of the other stuff that comes with being the big dog. [...]

Teaching an old dog new tricks – benefits of hiring older tradies

Being a tradie seems like it’s now a young mate’s game, after all there’s a huge physical component involved and you’re often working in less-than-ideal conditions. But old mates are actually worth their weight in gold and, besides dealing with the heavy-lifting without whining about it, they also have a wealth of patience and experience [...]

Workplace accidents – why they happen and how to avoid them

Aah the dreaded ‘workplace accident.’ We all spend hours reading boring paperwork to make sure that one doesn’t happen and as serious as it is, we probably don’t think too much about it as we just get on and do what we need to do. So here’s a little reminder about why most workplace accidents [...]

4 things tradies need to keep an eye out for in their insurance

If you’re a tradie, you know that insurance is pretty important. You’ve probably already got it sussed (and if you don’t, get in touch with us!) but do you know exactly what you’re covered for? There are a few important things that you need to be aware of with your insurance so take another look, [...]

You’re a tradie – how does KiwiSaver work for you?

Do you have your KiwiSaver sorted? Or does it seem like too much hassle? As a tradie, you might be keen to set yourself up for retirement ASAP, but is it worth it? And how does it really work with your role? What do you get out of KiwiSaver? KiwiSaver is a great way for [...]

How to defeat the dust this summer

‘Tis the season of surf, sun, sand and….dust? Being a tradie in summer is hard enough - the extreme working temperatures, the constant sweat, and the awkward tan lines - without adding in the dangers of breathing in a tonne of dust from a dry worksite. Here’s how you can minimise your exposure to the [...]

Goal-setting for your tradie business

It’s a new year in a new decade, and now is the perfect time to get your A into G and work on those business goals you’ve been meaning to get to. But how can you actually achieve them this time around? We’ve got the best tips for you! How did you go last year? [...]

New Year’s resolutions NOT to make this year

It’s that time of year guys, we’re all out there thinking that maybe this year’s going to be different, we’re going to go to the gym more, drink less, save more money...but these are actually pretty pointless since by February we’ve given up on them. So here are some resolutions NOT to make this year [...]

Best New Year hangover cures

Anyone else feeling a bit worse for wear after New Year’s Eve? To help you start the year off right, and maybe to keep in mind for any future times, here are some great tips to get rid of that hangover. 1. Get some grease This one’s probably more for next time but apparently if [...]

How to host the best barbie this summer

Whether it’s a casual get together with your mates or a full-on feast with the whole family, we all love a good old Kiwi barbie. Having hosted a few ourselves here at Cactus, we like to think that we’re definitely pros now, so here are some handy little hints to help you be the BBQ [...]

Christmas prep for tradies

With Christmas literally around the corner, you’ll be looking forward to a well-deserved break, or hopefully at least a couple of days off to chill and spend time with your family and your mates. Before you switch off though, here are a few things to check off your list and get sorted before you down [...]

Spike’s Survival Guide – Beat the heat this summer

You’ve likely worked in the heat before and you know how stinking hot it can be when you’re doing hard labour and sweating like crazy. Not only is it annoying, but the heat can also have pretty bad effects on your health, so we’ve put together this handy list of tips to help you beat [...]

Team Cactus does Movember

Well team, Movember is over! Here’s a couple of highlights from Team Cactus to show you how the guys went with growing their ‘staches to fundraise for men’s health! Good job guys, let’s do it all again next year! Related articles 5 Simple Tips to Stop Thieves from Nicking Your ToolsSpike Don’t Get Caught Short: How [...]

5 of the best moustache styles

So with it coming up to the final days of Movember, you should (hopefully) have grown enough hair on your face to style it into something spectacular. Looking for inspiration? Check out these legendary mo styles and try them on for size! 1. The Chevron Features: This mo style covers your top lip and its [...]

10 interesting facts about the mighty mo

Movember is almost over but we’re still going strong! To keep the mo-mentum going (see what we did there?) through the last couple of weeks, here are some interesting facts about the mighty mo! 1. There are between 10,000 and 20,000 hairs on a man’s face and the average moustache makes up about 600 of [...]

5 top tips for growing a mo

Movember’s now in full swing and we’re all getting our mo on! Whether you’re joining us in growing a mo for the month, or you’ve already grown a pretty stellar ‘stache and are holding on to it for dear life, here are some great tips to grow and look after your mo. Get the right [...]

10 of the most iconic mo’s of all time

As you might have seen, Cactus is all about the mo this month - we’re getting involved with the epic fundraising challenge that is Movember. So to kick it off, we’re sharing the top 10 iconic mo’s to get us all inspired! If you’re feeling inspired too, you can donate to us here or set [...]

How NOT to operate a forklift

How NOT to operate a forklift Some of you might be Formula 1 forklift drivers and some of you might have only messed around with one on site. Either way, to help you stay safe, we’ve put together some great tips for how NOT to operate a forklift. Note the NOT in capital letters… 1. [...]

Spike’s Survival Guide – Road Safety Tips

Tradies know all about safety, right? Safety with tools, safety with lifting, safety with eating your damn lunch. But how many of you actually have done some sort of road safety course that doesn’t involve forklifts? Hopefully you’ll know all of the road rules if you’re driving, but here are some site-specific tips that might [...]

Need new tools? Here are some tips!

So you’ve scored the tradie role of your dreams. Well, maybe it’s just an apprentice but you’re on your way, right? Now you need every tradie’s prized possession - your tools. But where do you start? How do you know which ones are good? And what do you need to do once you’ve got them?  [...]

Cellphones on site – yay or nay?

Seeing as we’re all glued to our cellphones nowadays, we thought we’d do a little pro/con list about having them on site. Every job site probably has different rules on this - no cellphones allowed at all, cellphones allowed only on breaks, or maybe your boss is all good and doesn’t really care either way. [...]

Spike’s Survival Guide – Staying Safe at Heights

If you’re a fairly experienced tradie, chances are you’ve already dealt with being up at a height and know the drill with safety. If you haven’t had the pleasure of this experience just yet, we’ve put together some great tips to help you stay safe when you’re getting high. (For legal purposes, by getting high [...]

5 tips to help you go it alone

You’ve racked up years of trade experience and a tonne of great skills, so what’s next for you? Starting a business can be f*cking terrifying but it’s also a great way to take control and finally do things how you want to do them. Whether you’re just thinking about going it alone, or you’ve already [...]

Young mate or old boss – KiwiSaver tips for every life stage

Whether you’ve just left trade school or you’ve been in the game for a while now, making sure your KiwiSaver is giving you the best bang for your buck at each stage of your life is pretty important. Depending on what your goals are, saving for your first home (or trying to!) or preparing to [...]

How to nail your tradie job interview

Got an interview for your first (or next) tradie role lined up? We’ve got the low-down on how to nail it and take the next step in your tradie career. Do your research This one’s pretty important - you need to know as much as you can about the company you’re looking to work for. [...]

6 ways to piss off a tradie

Whenever you’re working with clients, there are likely to be a few little hiccups along the way. We’ve chucked a list of the worst things that clients do to piss off tradies - feel free to pass it along as a point of reference for anyone who needs to hear it! 1. Haggle with the [...]

How to avoid those client complaints

We all know clients are a tradie’s livelihood - without them, you wouldn’t have projects, and without projects and jobs, you wouldn’t be making money. Knowing this makes it all the more difficult when your clients are being right d*cks. So how do you make sure that both you and your clients are always happy? [...]
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Finding new blood for your business

Is it time for a new round of recruits? Maybe you’ve got a tonne of applicants but how many really cut the mustard? Or maybe you’re struggling to even get a couple of people to interview? Here’s the definitive list of how to find new blood for your business and make sure they’re the next [...]

Business 101 – Marketing tips for tradies

Getting your name out there might seem like an easy task, but it often falls into the ‘too-hard’ basket, or you just don’t have the time to set it all up. Marketing your business properly is key to attracting new clients and getting referrals from existing clients - but it doesn’t have to be difficult. [...]
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5 ways to handle the newbies on site

This one’s more for the big bosses, but some of you might need a little reminder that you were all newbie tradies once! It can be hella annoying having someone new getting under your feet and asking annoying questions, but there’s actually a lot to learn from the apprentice. Don’t believe us? Keep reading! 1. [...]

How to keep your tradie staff sweet

Running a tight tradie ship? Then you need to make sure you’re keeping your staff sweet so that you’ll get the most out of them. Tradies are among the hardest workers out there, but if you don’t have your management sh*t together, they won’t be putting in 110% and you could lose those valuable skills [...]

5 perks of being a tradie

If you’re a tradie, you probably already know the best bits about your job, but we’ve put together a list so you can show your mates and convince them that you’ve definitely got the better deal! If you’re pretty green and your boss is trying to hire some new blood, this is also something you [...]

Spike’s Survival Guide – Staying safe on site

A tradie’s job is basically a minefield of risks and hazards - you’re like the James Bonds of the working world, dodging falling debris, dealing with red wire/blue wire situations, and doing all the heavy lifting to get the job done. But even James Bond isn’t invincible and needs to keep his sh*t together to [...]

How to get those ace referrals

We all know that in this world, word of mouth is key. You know you’re going to get the best service for whatever you need if your cousin, his mate, and his mate’s brother have all recommended it. So how do you end up being the guy they’re all talking about? Check out our tips [...]

Quoting tips for tradies

We get it, quoting for a job isn’t the most exciting thing - there’s always a lot of work to put in at your end and then the inevitable response from the client wondering if there’s aaaany way you could cut it down, just a little? Or the more blunt response that they’re flat out [...]

5 tradie myths busted

Tradies get a fair bit of flack for being late, eating junk food and lazing around, but we know that you actually work your asses off all day every day so we’re here to bust some of the myths about tradies! Tradies get afternoons off Even if this is the case for you, because you [...]

Spike’s Survival Guide: Your first week as a tradie

Most of you probably remember your first week as a tradie pretty well, even if you’d rather forget some of it. If you’re just starting out and you’re green as grass, here’s a handy survival guide to make sure you make a good impression and get through your first week in one piece! Be on [...]

Want to step up? Here’s how

Been feeling a little restless lately? Feeling like the same old stuff just isn’t cutting it anymore? Reckon you could run circles around your work mates? Maybe it’s time to step up. So how can you get promoted, take on more responsibility and hopefully get paid more? Try focusing on a few of these key [...]

Spike’s Survival Guide – Winter on the job site

Most of us think of winter and think of gloomy days and bloody freezing temperatures, but for tradies, it’s that and so much more. It’s muddy boots and cold socks, it’s early starts made harder and most of the team feeling pretty sh*t most of the time. While we can’t change the weather, we can [...]

Business 101: How to improve your cash flow

We all want more cash-money right? We’ve got the tips for making sure that you’re getting out more moolah than you’re putting in. This one’s more for the big bosses out there but it’ll also be handy for those tradies that work for themselves. FYI, cash flow isn’t just the money you’re making, cash flow [...]

How to beat fatigue on the job

It’s pretty cool to be working on your gains while you’re working on-site, but because of the nature of the work, tradies can get hit with the big bad f-word quite often. We’re talking about fatigue, or extreme tiredness, where you’re finding it hard to keep your eyes open and you’re struggling to concentrate on [...]

Tips for tradies – Vehicle insurance

Making sure your wheels are covered is probably one of the first things on your insurance to-do list if you’re a tradie. As your pride and joy, your vehicle is probably very well-looked after - maybe more than you look after yourself - so if anything happened to it, you’d be pretty pissed. Here’s some [...]

How to stay motivated

Ever feel like some days you just don’t wanna get out of bed? Maybe sometimes you think you would have been better off sitting on your ass at a desk drinking coffee and watching funny YouTube vids. Even though some days are harder than others, you know deep down you wouldn’t trade being a tradie [...]

Kiwi Tradie Slang

Most Kiwis know these words but tradies use them so often it’s like they have their own language - how many of these do you and your mates use on the daily?   Barbie - BBQ - ‘Come for a barbie after work mate.’ Beaut - beauty, beautiful - ‘Your new ute is a beaut.’ [...]

KiwiSaver 101

So unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about this thing called KiwiSaver. You probably also have money from your pay going into it every week but you figure it’ll just do its thing in the background and you don’t have to worry about right? Wrong. If you want more moolah when [...]

Things You Should Know About Insurance

You might already know a fair bit about insurance given that it’s super important for tradies, especially those working on building sites, but here are some things about insurance that if you don’t know, well now you know! Vehicle Insurance Make sure you check this one out pretty carefully - if you have private vehicle [...]

How to be a Top Tradie

You might already consider yourself a top tradie, but can you answer yes to all of these questions? Have a read and you might just learn how to take out your competitors and be even more kickass at what you do. Are you easy to find? We don’t mean letting people find where you live [...]
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Health Tips for Tradies

Before you roll your eyes and scoff about being lectured, we’re not here to tell you to cut out the beersies and the pies - we’re just giving you some easy tips to keep you and your mates healthy as so you can keep on truckin’ and do what you do best! Take regular breaks [...]

Back to Basics: Mortgages 101

Whether you own a home or just wish you did, you should probably know what a mortgage is and how it works. You’ve probably heard of fixed interest rates, market value and yadda yadda, but the main thing you need to know about mortgages is that it’s a long term commitment. Like loooong term (unless [...]

Don’t Lose a Job Because You’re Not the Cheapest!

Times are tough out there. It seems like every man and his dog are running their own operation and undercutting you. What do you do? Do you lower your prices, devaluing your abilities and reducing your profit, or do you stick to your guns and show people why you’re worth the higher price? If you [...]

Don’t Get Caught Short: How to Make Sure You Get Paid!

Cash flow is the lifeblood of your business. Cash flow issues are more crippling than a torn ACL and will drastically impact every aspect of your business. It will affect your ability to buy supplies, pay staff, commute to jobs and ultimately, it will impact your ability to work. Getting paid on time and in [...]

I’ve Completed My Apprenticeship, Where to From Here?

So you’ve finished your apprenticeship and now you’re qualified. First off, well done! Secondly, what’s next? There are a number of options available, you’ve just got to discover which one is best for you. Do I stay or do I go? Chances are you’ve been with the same company for the past four years. They’ve [...]

Don’t Let These Common Mistake Trip Your Business Up!

It doesn’t matter how big your business is or how many employers you have, there are a few common mistakes that could have a massive impact on the success of your business. Don’t let these common mistakes trip you up. They are easily avoidable if you take the time to get them under control now. [...]

Insly Customer Story: Cactus Insurance

This was a Customer Story published on Insly website on the 26th of February, 2018. Cactus launched an online trading platform in New Zealand for commercial combined and contract works insurance covers based on Insly software. Founded in 2012, Cactus is an innovative insurance wholesaler with the aim to provide brokers with effective online tools [...]
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5 Simple Tips to Stop Thieves from Nicking Your Tools

Every tradie knows, your most valuable assets are your tools and truck, they literally go everywhere with you. Not only are they expensive but for many, they possess high sentimental value, especially tools that you’ve had from the start of your apprenticeship. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got the same set your old man passed [...]

Become Part of a Thriving Industry (Without the Uni Fees)

Our industry is currently in a very good position. It’s like we’re 3-points ahead in the 2011 RWC with 10-minutes left and Stephen Donald has just pulled on Cruden’s XS jersey, the outcome was never in doubt. All around the country, the building and construction industry is thriving. Whether you’re a plumber, sparkie or roofer [...]
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Major Tradie Insurer in Liquidation. Are you affected?

One of the construction industry’s largest insurers has entered into interim liquidation leaving thousands of tradies in the dark and potentially out of pocket. CBL Corporation, a major underwriter for tools, vehicle and worksite insurance, has been forced to put all claims on hold until the liquidation has been resolved. Are you affected? If you [...]
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How are You Going to Attract That Gun Apprentice?

The building industry is booming and we mean booming! You take one look around Auckland and chances are you’ll spot a new scaffold up or building knocked down. Between Auckland’s housing and infrastructure programs and the continued Christchurch rebuild, chances are your company is involved in one way or another. And if you're not, what [...]

Watch Out, Robots are Taking Over – How Technology is Going to Shape the Way You Build

One of the wonderful things about the building industry is that we are always finding new ways to implement technology to create safer and more efficient worksites. Over the past decade, we have witnessed an unprecedented boom in the way technology is being utilised. Remember the old days, the ones Jim and Dave constantly reminisce [...]

Tradesman Business Advice: Covering Financial Risk

As a small business owner, your finances are the key to understanding your business. Making sure you understand how they can negatively effect your business is one of the keys to success. The main two financial risks that you must to cover in the financial side of your business are liquidity and credit. Liquidity Risk:   This [...]

Growing a construction business in New Zealand

As a contractor or sole trader in the construction industry, word-of-mouth and referrals are going to be the biggest tools for growing your business. Reliable and friendly customer services is the easiest way to ensure people refer your business and you beat out your competition. Focus on exceeding expectations of current customers - you never [...]

Business risk – protecting yourself

Business risk should be a fundamental consideration for any tradesman or small business  owner, and properly protecting yourself can be the difference between swimming in cash or being in the sh*tter. Most small business owners don’t spend as much time as they should understanding risk and how it can affect their business, let alone implementing [...]

Who are we?

Cactus insurance. The urban dictionary definition of the word cactus is dead or not functioning. Why would we call our insurance company by a name that essentially means it's f***ed? Well, in truth we think that a lot of the current insurance offerings for tradesman are f***ed. They are complicated and niggly, simple as that, and you [...]

Best tradesman accounting software

From tracking subbie or employee time sheets to, quoting jobs or full project management, Xero is an accounting software with a whole bunch of time-saving tools for tradesman.   Here are a couple of ways you can use this tradesman accounting software (and it's awesome ‘add-ons’) to make your business run smoother:   Tracking employee time sheets, this [...]
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Cactus Insurance tool cover for tradesman

 Tool Insurance. It’s not just for your tools!   If you’re a hands on tradie your tools are the be all and end all of your business. Your day to day ability to lay blocks or run cables comes downs to having your tools on hand to get the job done. Tool theft has become [...]
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Cactus Insurance vehicle cover for tradesman

When your truck is cactus, we help you get back on the road. Keeping your truck or work vehicle insured is something that every builder must do, how else are you going to get from site to site when you’ve got jobs to get through or if you’re running a team? When your vehicle is [...]
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Cactus Insurance liability cover for tradesman

S*** happens when you’re in business, we protect you when things go cactus up.   Liability insurance for tradesman is there to cover you when you are legally responsible for something, when a third party holds you legally liable for loss or damages. This is one of the most important covers a builder or tradesman [...]
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Cactus Insurance professional indemnity cover for tradesman

We all f*** up sometimes, no need to throw the cactus out with the bath water. As you grow your business and gain experience most tradesman will branch into giving more and more advice to their clients. A tradesman ‘duty of care’ states that the work completed must be ‘fit for purpose’ and is the [...]