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Author: Marie Erhart
Electrical contracting businesses are among one of the most specialized in the industry. The National Electrical Contractors Association suggests that there may be as much as 70,000 electrical contracting companies throughout the US. Growing an electrical contracting business isn’t an easy job. Competition can be stiff, and because of the nature of work, customers may not bring repeat business for quite some time.
Managing an Electrical Contracting Business
Being innovative and unique makes a business stand out to the consumer. In a narrow field like electrical contracting, research and knowledge set a company apart as experts. Electrical contracting remains a business, and its success depends upon a few critical elements that permeate all companies, regardless of the industry. Here we take a look at what it takes to manage a successful electrical contracting company.
Hire Skilled Employees
Skilled electricians are rare, but when a company finds one, they should do all within their power to hold onto them. For hiring new talent, a manager should take his or her time and ensure that the candidate is trustworthy and competent. Mutual respect and understanding are a necessary part of keeping employees happy with a job.
Talented employees don’t have to worry about finding new work if they leave the company since the US Bureau of Labor Statistics mentions that the demand for electricians is likely to rise by 10% between the years 2018 and 2028. The onus is on the company to ensure that their prized employees remain with the company by treating them well. It’s a standard adage in the world of business that if a company treats its employees well, those employees will go on to treat the customers well.
Build Solid Team Relationships
Electrical contracting companies may have multiple teams with individuals usually assigned to a specific group for their tenure with the company. Advice Manufacturing mentions that organizations need to operate in environments that supportive, positive, encouraging, and underpinned by strong communication. Having open discussions with each team can help to settle issues within the group. Additionally, review of this type can help individuals deal with problems they may have out in the open so that there isn’t a buildup of tension and resentment.
Contacts are the core of any contracting business, and electrical contracting is no different. There are several different methods of managing ranging from standard database software to FieldPulse Electrical Software which is specialized for use by electrical contractors. Regardless of how the company intends to manage their contacts, having records that are searchable and cross-indexed will save the company time in following up with clients and is especially useful for use in marketing campaigns.
Spread the Word with Existing Customers
Most small contracting businesses get their customers through direct referrals. Business 2 Community mentions a poll conducted in 2016 that revealed the vast majority of Americans (up to 80%) sought out recommendations from friends before deciding on a purchase. With the advent of social media platforms, word of mouth is even easier to tap into. It is crucial to have a social media manager that updates pages regularly and informs clients in the area of any projects that the company may be pursuing. Having a page also encourages users to tag the business for a job well done.
Define a Mission and Vision for the Business
According to SHRM, a mission statement defines a business’ reason for existing. Additionally, a vision statement looks to the future, to determine where the company wants to be and how it intends to get there. Both of these are important in any business, not just electrical contracting. A defined mission statement allows the business owner to decide if the company is performing its core function and if it isn’t how it could be changed to do so. The vision statement helps to outline the contracts the business should take to reach its goals.
Listen to Customer Feedback
Whether the feedback comes from customers on social media or those that drop by to make a complaint, customer feedback can be instrumental in helping the company do better. The customer is the most critical element of a business. Because of this, their grievances should be taken seriously and investigated. The balancing of complaints, along with the well-being of workers is a significant consideration for owners to ensure that both customers and workers are satisfied.
Create a Marketing Strategy
Word of mouth is only the start of marketing a small business. With smaller markets, traditional marketing like flyers or radio and TV ads might cover the demographic that the company wants to access the most. However, the most impressive return on investment a company will have from marketing will come from utilizing the digital medium. Social media marketing is affordable and can directly target users that fall within the company’s perfect customer profile. Businesses that run a blog can use content marketing to build a community that will enhance their reputation (and by extension, the jobs they get) many times over.
Keep at the Cutting Edge of Technology
Both within the industry and outside of it, technology is ever-changing. Whether it’s new standards for electrical installations or innovative technology that can help customers by increasing the safety ratings of equipment, all of these things are the primary concern of an electrical contracting company. Knowing what’s happening may require reading up about what the industry offers and what new inventions may be on the market soon. Doing so, however, makes the company into a name that consumers can trust for their advice and knowledgeability.
Electrical Contracting as a Business
Electrical contracting companies may face many unique challenges, but quite a few of their problems are standard across all of small business management. As with most companies, balancing incoming jobs with outgoing cash flow is crucial to the business’ success. Through research, a company can explore the things that work best for other electrical contractors and adapt their business to use the insights their peers have discovered. Successful contracting comes from marrying the traditional with the innovative to make a brand name that consumers in the area can be proud of.
About the Author
Marie Erhart is a Success Manager at FieldPulse, creators of field service software that lets you run your entire contracting business from a single app. She works with contractors to help them grow their business using best practices.