You’re thinking of starting an electrical business and not really sure where to turn. What do you need to know before you visit that first home or business? How do you make sure you can legally run your business?
In this article, we’ll present 5 tips for starting an electrical business:
- 1. Secure Required Training and Licensing
- 2. Register Your New Business
- 3. Build a Business Plan
- 4. Develop a Website and Marketing Presence
- 5. Invest in Software to Streamline your Processes
1. Secure Required Training and Licensing
You must get your professional ducks in a row when starting a new electrical business.
Two of the most important aspects from a legal standpoint are to make sure that you (and your employees) are properly trained and that you’re licensed by the state. That’s one of the first questions prospective customers will ask: are you a licensed electrician? Ensuring that you are licensed and have the proper experience will ultimately protect you, your employees and your customers.
The minimum requirements for an electrician are a high school diploma (or GED) and a possible aptitude test. A typical aptitude test includes sections on algebra and reading comprehension. Two sample tests can be found here and here.
Once those requirements are met, you are typically required to obtain training through a trade school or apprenticeship. Trade schools usually are completed in two years and take place on a campus with teachers. Often, these programs are during the evening so that up-and-coming electricians can apprentice or work other jobs during the day.
Apprenticeships combine real world working in the field while taking night classes for 3 or 4 years. After the proper training and when you meet the required number of trade school and practice hours in your state, it’s on to the licensing test.
It’s imperative that you get your state license prior to starting an electrical business. Every state has licensing requirements and some have reciprocity agreements that allow you to work in other states.
Not sure what your state requirements are? We created a handy license guide to help you with these requirements found here.
2. Register Your New Business with Your State
Another requirement for starting an electrical business, meet with a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) and register your business with the state. CPAs can help evaluate your business assets and send you on the right path to being a business owner. They can also help you set your first budget and profit goals (more on that to come!)
Registering your business is a pretty easy process requiring some minor paperwork. It also doesn’t typically cost a large amount.
Another thing to consider is registering your electrical business as an S Corp (i.e. S Corporation) or LLC (i.e. Limited Liability Company). This protects personal assets in case you get sued or receive a dispute. It also helps with filing taxes. Be sure to ask your CPA which option is right for you!
3. Build a Business Plan
“An hour of planning can save you 10 hours of doing.”
Too many entrepreneurs start a business without thinking it through. That’s where a business plan comes into play. A business plan is defined as a document setting out a business’s future objectives and strategies for achieving them.
Business Plan Components
Every business should have a plan in place before answering that first business phone call. The plan spells out exactly how you plan to accomplish the goal of running a profitable electrical business. Here’s what’s typically included in a standard business plan:
- Cover Page: This first page is used as a business overview. This includes the company name, logo, address and any other pertinent contact information.
- Executive Summary: This section includes a company’s business statement and information on leadership, operations, employees and location.
- Business Overview: A comprehensive business description and its goals, products, services and target customer. It also includes experience in the industry and what sets you apart from the competition.
- Electrical Services: Use this part of the business plan to describe the products and services you offer.
- Market Analysis Summary: This part describes the company’s competition and industry. It also includes its strengths and weaknesses.
- Business Strategy: This section includes researching and identifying a business’ target audience and where that audience can be found. May include geographic locations, pain points and needs of your target.
- Implementation Summary: This sums up what the business hopes to accomplish and where they want to be in the future.
- Management Summary: This provides bios of company leaders and explains how their expertise will meet business goals.
- Financial Plan: This includes overall financial plan and projections. Financial information like statements and balance sheets live here.
Business plans are also critical for securing any financing the business needs now or in the future such as loans, investing, etc.
When you have your final draft ready, be sure to run it by your CPA (especially the financial plan portion) to ensure it’s complete. Then continue to revisit your business plan once or twice a year as your business grows!
4. Develop a Website and Marketing Presence
In today’s technical world a business website is like a phone number years ago. It’s where most of your customers will visit when researching your services. Some businesses shy away from building a website because they don’t feel tech savvy. With the tools available today, every business should have a website, even if you have to pay a website professional.
If you are building a website from scratch, check out the following website builders: WordPress, Squarespace or Wix. All of them will help you get a quick and easy website up without requiring you to learn any code. However, we still recommend hiring a professional to help with the initial site set-up.
Your website doesn’t have to be complicated, just get one built and on the web and you can adjust later as your business grows. Begin with a home page, the main website page that shows the services you provide and a contact us page. Be sure to include where you service and as much detail as you can about your services.
You want a website that loads in 3 seconds or less. Customers won’t have patience for a slow loading website! Also make sure your site works on a mobile phone.
Finally, add a CTA (Call to Action) on your homepage. A CTA is a button and/or text that encourages visitors to take action by entering their email via a form or emailing your business’s address to learn more.
5. Invest In Software to Streamline Your Processes!
You want to launch a profitable business and ensure your customers are happy with your services. Get ahead of common pain points. How can you make your job easy once customers come calling? This is why investing in software (Like FieldEdge or FieldEdge Flat Rate) early in your business is the best.
Get ahead of the competition with a few key features like:
- Scheduling and dispatching: Does your dispatch board meet all your needs and give you a clear picture of the day’s activities?
- Customer service: Are you reviewing calls to make sure the customers are getting what they need? Do they get texts or emails when your work van is on its way?
- Accounting: How’s the numbers side of your business? Software like FieldEdge is integrated with QuickBooks, allowing every transaction to flow between the two software.
- Presenting the Price: As a new business, you have profit goals to hit! Good pricing presentation can help with upsells to customers. Software can help with that!
Sometimes a new business will skip the software and try to get by without it. We wouldn’t recommend that! The amount of time and money saved with a robust software package will pay for itself and then some.
See how the best electrician software will streamline your new business. Book a demo of FieldEdge for free today!
Start Your Electrical Business Today!
You are now armed with the basics to starting an organized, profitable electrical business. Follow these tips and you’ll be off to the races!
Today’s article taught you the importance of:
- Securing Required Training and Licensing
- Registering Your New Business
- Building a Business Plan
- Developing a Website and Marketing Presence
- Investing in software to streamline your processes
Related: 5 Steps to Becoming an Electrician