How to start a small electrical contractor business
Before starting your own electrical business, you need to understand the necessary qualifications to be an electrical contractor. Then you need to figure out how to market your business once it’s up and running.
When working on a startup, you may be tempted to depend on friends and family for referrals, but building a foundation for marketing and business development will help your business be successful in the long term.
Along with creating a marketing strategy, you should also create a comprehensive business plan and determine how you will operate your new business. As an entrepreneur, you’ll be responsible for far more than just day-to-day repairs or installations. You need to be prepared for whatever life as a small business owner throws at you.
Local businesses also have a unique opportunity to help customers in a specific location. Knowing how to market your local service will enable you to target your marketing efforts and grow your business more quickly.
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Skills and experience
While specific skills and experience are necessary to be an electrical contractor, there are also essential skills required to run a successful business. When running your own business, you’ll need to manage employees, balance financials and handle customer relations. Besides that, being an electrical contractor also has specific requirements based on where you live.
What are the qualifications for an electrical contractor?
A high school diploma or equivalent is required to begin your journey as an electrical contractor. Beyond that, each state has different qualifications and requirements for hours needed as an apprentice before you can get certified as an electrician.
Once you know where you want to start your business, you can search for your state’s specific requirements. Potential customers will want to find an electrician licensed in the state and can show their qualifications.
What is the difference between residential and commercial electrical work?
The basics of electrical work are similar between residential and commercial work. However, the power supply and voltage are different when working in a commercial environment. Residential electricians work with power up to 240 volts, while commercial electricians can work with voltage up to 480 volts.
These job sites also require different electrical equipment to get the job done. To be qualified for either residential or commercial electrical work, you’ll need to be licensed with your state and have the experience to demonstrate your expertise in both.
Building your client base
Once you’re qualified to be an electrical contractor, you’re ready to start getting customers! To begin, you need to handle some basics so that customers can find you, trust you and hire you again and again.
First, come up with a business name and register your company with applicable government agencies. You’ll also need to determine your business structure and define what type of work you will be doing. There are many other things that you must decide when starting a business, including pricing, employee policies, customer relation standards and more.
You will also want to create a website so you can find your ideal clients and market your services. If you’re hoping to gain new business through word-of-mouth referrals, you must be prepared to provide an exceptional customer experience.
Developing a brand
Your company’s brand is how people perceive you. It’s essentially everything that the public sees about your company. If you’re just starting your business, you’ll want a memorable business name, a logo and maybe a tagline or some way to convey your competitive advantage to customers.
Creating a website
Once you’ve figured out your business name and what you offer, you’re ready to start touting your services.
A company website is a critical part of every business. Your website is your digital home where potential customers will go to learn about your services and your business. A lot goes into creating a website, especially one that attracts new business.
Here are things to consider when building a new website:
- URL: Your website’s URL is how people know how to find you. Depending on the name of your business, your URL may be as simple as the business name. However, there are a lot of websites out there, and you may need to be creative to find an available URL. Just make sure it’s easy to remember and easy to spell.
- Homepage: Think of the homepage as your first impression. Be welcoming, informative and eye-catching. Potential customers will run away quickly if your home page loads slowly or leaves them confused. The homepage should show visitors what you do and how they can contact you.
- About us: When hiring an electrician or other contractor, potential customers are looking for someone who is an expert in their field, but they also want someone who they are comfortable having in their home or business. Your “about us” page is a get-to-know-you opportunity. Here you can talk about why you got into the business, why you’re serving customers in the areas you do and why you want to help them with their problems.
- SEO: Another critical part of your website is search engine optimization. SEO helps search engines find your business based on keywords. For example, you want your business to top Google search results when someone in your service area looks up “Electrician near me.”
- Contact information: Last but not least, make sure that homeowners know how to contact you. Ensure your website displays your phone number, email address and other contact information often. It’s a good idea to have your phone number on every page with a call-to-action (CTA) to schedule an appointment with your electrical business.
Connecting with your target market
After you’ve created your brand and developed your website, make sure your target customers can connect with you. For electrician contractors, you’re likely serving customers in a specific area — whether a metropolitan region, city or county.
To connect with your target market, understand where your target market looks for your services. There are many ways that someone could look for an electrician, including search engines, social media or through websites such as Angi or NextDoor.
Marketing your services online
Once you have your website and know your target market, you’re ready to promote your services to the world through the Internet. There are many ways to attract new customers online through digital marketing. Some of these efforts include social media, display advertising, pay-per-click advertising, search engine marketing and more.
Here are just a few examples:
- Social media: Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok allow you to create a business page, post information for followers to see, and advertise to specific demographics. Having a social media presence helps potential customers find you easier.
- Google Business Profile: Another important profile for your business to create is a Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business). This will help your business appear higher in Google search results, allow customers to leave your reviews and enable you to post information about your business and services.
- Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising: PPC advertising allows businesses to run specific ads, and the business only pays when a customer actually clicks on the ad. These ads are targeted based on keywords provided by the business. To know which keywords will work best, look at your competitors and research how your target audience might search for your services.
Jumpstart your new business with Broadly’s suite of services
Starting a new business from scratch can be a lot of work, and sometimes you need help. When creating your new business, it’s overwhelming to cover all the essential details, like business licenses, bank accounts, business insurance and more.
Being your own boss means you get to define the level of service you provide. If you give customers a great experience, they will more likely refer you to their friends and family. After every job, leave your business card so customers can pass on your information.
Finding a marketing partner to help you build your website, drive advertising campaigns and request customer reviews can save you time and money in the long run. Ready to see how Broadly can help your small business?
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