By Andrew Houston
August 21, 2018 — As an electrical controls licensed electrician, I know first-hand the challenges an electrical contractor faces each day. The following five mistakes contractors make are based on my own experiences when I started and ran my own contracting company many years ago. While I may not practice my trade any longer, I continue to speak with and coach business owners in the trades every day, and can con rm these challenges still ring true.
1. THEY DON’T KNOW THEIR NUMBERS
Your financials are vital to understanding your business’ well-being. Knowing these numbers gives you the power to adjust and control the actions that will sustain and grow your company. You should focus on key areas such as cash ow, profits and expenses. Additionally, you should consider some other numbers, such as team performance (e.g. callbacks and ratings) and the speed at which your crews work.
2. THEY DON’T LET GO OF TASKS
As a business owner, you should be focusing on high-value tasks. This means letting go of quoting, answering the phones, picking up materials, and so on.
If you have employees to support you, leverage them! I know it’s hard to let go of control but, to grow your business, you have to let go of the tasks that, frankly, are beneath your pay grade. Think about it… what’s more pro table: engaging with ideal prospects and connecting with new alliances, or answering callbacks from Grade D clients and loading the truck?
3. THEY HIRE THE WRONG TEAM MEMBERS
Contractors need to have the best possible team to keep their business moving forward. After all, your team is the first point of contact with your customers, your brand ambassadors in the community, the ones conducting the jobs and the last ones leaving the jobsite. Develop a hiring process that allows you to hire based on attitude and fit, not just skill set. You can leverage our Contractor’s Application Form for help at tinyurl.com/yc8xdsyl.
4. THEY DON’T COMMUNICATE WELL WITH THEIR TEAM
In my experience, a number of contractors don’t conduct team meetings, and it baffles me. You can’t expect a system to operate smoothly when the pieces aren’t connected.
To get things out of your head and into the hands of your staff, you need to communicate with them so that you’re all on the same page. Sharing insights with your staff will make them feel included, and show them they have a major impact on your company… that they have purpose and they matter.
5. THEY DON’T USE TARGETED MARKETING
Don’t make the mistake of trying to sell to everyone. Why? Because that is an impossible task! Choose a niche market, and only create marketing content that matches your ideal customers. I suggest testing and measuring your marketing efforts so you know which have the best return on investment.
The solution? Contractor Strategy Sessions
So how do you fix these common mistakes?
Electrical Business Magazine is sponsoring a limited number of complimentary Contractor Strategy Sessions. These one-on-one, hour-long business chats with a Profit For Contractors coach are your first step toward taking your business to the next level.
The purpose of these calls is to provide business owners in the trades a chance to discuss their company goals and challenges with a professional business coach. From there, you’ll carve out a business plan that will enable you to fix mistakes and go from chaos to control.
Sign up at tinyurl.com/ya5ujlff .
Andrew Houston is the owner and founder of Profit for Contractors. He has been coaching trades business owners for nearly a decade, helping them improve their business skills so they can achieve their personal and business goals. A graduate of George Brown College, Andrew achieved Industrial Controls Licensed Electrician as well as Electronics Engineering Technologist. Visit profitforcontractors.com.
This article originally appeared in the July/August 2018 issue of Electrical Business Magazine.