The number of challenges on an electricians platter at any given moment in time can seem somewhat impossible to overcome.
Whether it’s the day-to-day running of a growing operation, through to fears you may be spiralling in a downward direction; what’s critical is knowing that you’re still able to stabilise your revenues. Add to this the need to show you’re successful, and the reality of being viewed as a reputable player in the field becomes a more present reality.
When you can manage these and other factors, the speed at which you’ll win the types of projects you want will come in faster than ever before. As a result, you will acquire customers from areas you never imagined, who firstly respect your knowledge and refer you to others.
With this writeup, we look at some of the main threats electricians are up against the world over. Hopefully, it will get your brain in gear to prepare your next best steps.
Are you stuck thinking about when you’ll get your next enquiry that leads to a big payoff? Do you get tired with carrying out many low-cost jobs which are hard to turn down? These are not uncommon frustrations faced by electricians, and working out how to ensure anything you do brings in good margins may be something you’ve put off for some time.
If you haven’t put on a forward-looking lens, now would be the time to. When did you last weigh up how your industry will look in the short-to-mid term? Is there a way in which technological advancements will aid your workload? Better still, are the products customers will require (from a skilled person like yourself) likely to differ? If you answer positively, are you tooled up, qualified enough and able to access the resources needed service these requirements?
Now would be an opportune moment to review the types of tasks you can carry out with ease multiple times. Is there an undertaking that is high in demand (such as tests and inspections), easy to carry out and that you can assign to a low number of team members? Just as important, have you looked at conducting times studies to set specific durations against completing different duties? Knowing answers to these propositions won’t only get your workforce attuned to your practices, but will ensure that your calendar gets correctly filled with every minute accounted.
Without the pressures of adhering to industry standards, you’re afforded a freedom to innovate. It’s for this very reason that looking beyond your field may allow you to solve problems that stumped you before.
What would it mean to pick up a new set of buyers from a demographic you hadn’t previously approached? Can you see how an extended client pool opens you up to new opportunities? These are both great things to have, but the underlying question is what you will do to procure these customers? Do you know where the clients you want today go for the services you offer? If so, what is that rival doing to draw them in? Is there a platform you have to present on for the same levels of exposure?
At times the techniques that get put to use are right before your eyes. Have you seen an advert or memorable branding applied to everyday objects (e.g. trade mag ads, vehicles, billboards, etc.) you see? When walking around larger scale worksites do you observe droves of workers in a uniform that stands out? These are but a few reasons you’re not growing at the pace you crave. So with this said, what mechanisms and tools have you contemplated using, to increase the number of interactions coming your way?
Now, when in front of a prospective buyer, do you have a loosely structured script that ensures you bring home the bacon? Have you thought out what you’ll say, and how your follow-up presentation of the proposed cost will appear? If being memorable is one part of being shortlisted or getting selected instantly, this must be evident both offline and offline. Therefore, what will you do to ensure your web visibility, matches, exceeds, and correlates with these intentional efforts?
Are you at all familiar with what is meant by passive income? When we mention it here, we’re speaking of a specific kind of money-spinner related to your role. By no means would we encourage you to ignore your principal venture. You don’t necessarily have to go out there seeking alternate income streams. So, the question we raise here is, are you fully monetising every task you carry out as a business? Is the inhouse knowledge you possess spread far and wide? Can one get a feel for your operation through you giving fair coverage of your firm’s activities (across all departments)?
Just think, in everything you do, there is a level of wealth attached. It may be what you say, or how people view it, or the action to which it is attached. Would you be receptive to creating video content which generates income based on the number of times it gets viewed? If so, could you keep this up at a set frequency so that you build a community of followers who are eager to tune in for the next episode? Just think, not all you create needs to be visual. But, if you’re coming up with enough insights when recorded, you should be able to share them in multiple formats.
Here’s where cultivating a YouTube channel (alongside others) can work to your advantage. Can you identify enough unique issues where you have opinions that stray slightly away from the norm? Do you provide instructions to your workforce that they might not hear from the typical employer in the field? Have you thought of a range of sharable content formats and groupable topics that will hold you in the public interest? Contemplate going this route, as its one not executed well throughout the trade itself. Invite audiences to see your operation’s day-to-day running and have a more personal feel of your brand.
Your business must do its extra bit to ensure you’re able to convince prospective buyers to use you. Yes or No is really like heads or tails. So, what more are you willing to do to improve on these 50/50 odds.
Fear only gets precedent when back up strategies aren’t put in place. In being a specialist that deals with a resource that’s critical to human survival, the necessity of having you around as an electrician won’t flounder away anytime soon. Have you calculated your average order value, and if not, why? Do you know the number of jobs you must close to surpass a break-even point? Have you been successful in hitting any targets you’ve set yourself? A famous quote reads ‘If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail’, and this is very true for electrical contractors who may experience peaks and troughs when it comes to soliciting their competencies.
Your first move should be to identify the problem at hand. Is it an issue of capacity? Are you guilty of charging too low a price which now needs increasing? Should you begin promoting higher ticket items, are you speaking to their overall benefits? It would also help take a look at market trends to see where you are seated on the curve. So, how is the competitive landscape looking in general? Do you see anywhere where you can craft a slight edge? Should you lack a quality which you know will give you a grip in the market, what will you do to turn this around?
Anything centred around this issue is operational and sits in your mind and attitude as a business owner. Have you seen a diminishing in the passion you once had for your product from a psychological standpoint? Are there external matters taking a toll on your ability to perform at your peak whilst working? Moving away from the personal aspects, how good is the team you have in place today? Are you confident they will be the ones to drive you towards your goals? Do they keep a keen ear to the ground to listen to what customers are demanding? Finally, have you set in motion a means by which this gets fed back to your senior ranks?
If your initial business strategy was to undercut the competition based on pricing alone, your prices are too low. Unless you are a multinational corporation selling commodity products, then cost cannot be the only weapon you have to attract new clients. It’s time to pick a new strategy and raise your prices.
One way of increasing your exposure is by developing a profile amongst interlinking trades? How often is it you are on the job, where the undertaken works require more than your skillset? It is commonplace for this to occur with electricians, as you’ll be carrying out wiring, providing lighting, updating panels etc., to accommodate a revamped space in many instances. So, think when the last time you took on a project where you’ve adopted duties you don’t typically fulfil was? Did you find yourself stuck searching for an expert to carry out the task? In such scenarios, how did this affect your bottom line? Was an urgent call-out costly?
Have you examined creating an informal structure amongst opposing professions within the trades space? Can you see how you might negotiate favourable rates if they’re partners you can rely on you? With a decent-sized operation in your arsenal of contacts, would you be happy to branch out and offer more services through your outfit? When it comes to this type of growth, you wouldn’t be the first and many building services companies who profess to cover the whole gamut are dependent on subcontractors. Is this something you would ponder over? Is it an avenue through which you can increase the number of incoming queries you receive?
In pressing towards this aim, however, you will want to know you have the right persons in tow with the agreements you shape. Have you thought of qualifying criteria when it comes to selecting who you’ll work alongside? In what way will you present this as an attractive option to prospective partners? Equally, what considerations have you given to scaling up should this be a success? Have you given thought to local and regional expansion if you’re able to replicate this model multiple times? If you’re already in this gear, then make moves to make it happen as it’s a tactic utilised by some of the most progressive outfits on the market today.
With the propositions set out in this article, there is no right or wrong answer. What rests are multiple solutions which you’ll need to resolve on a case-by-case basis. Not all will apply to your company, but you should act on those who do, without delay.
Of all these useful ideas, do let us know which ones are meaningful to you. Our comments section below awaits your input, and we’ll be sure to take your responses and mould them into future writings.
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