During your journey to becoming a profitable electrical business, you may have gone from being a skilled electrician to a leader or manager in your company. As a leader, it’s important to consider how things are running beyond filling schedules with jobs. Let’s take a look at these top 6 electrical business operations tips.
In this article, we’ll provide an overview of the most effective electrical business operations tips:
- From developing your business plan to establishing why you’re doing what you do, we’ve got you covered.
- We’ll help you define a consistent communication style both with your team and customers.
- Also, we’ll reveal how to invest in your team.
- Finally, we’ll wrap up with pointers on how to keep everything running smoothly for many years to come.
After reading this, you’ll have multiple actionable steps you can take today to strengthen your electrical business operations.
Part 1 – Optimize Everyday Operations
1. Business Plan
A business plan is the foundational document of your company. It explains the focus and intended markets it serves. Also, it helps direct your business to where it hopes to be in the future.
It’s okay if you’ve put off building out a business plan because it feels like a massive undertaking. Thankfully, there’s a simplified single-page version, called a lean business plan, that can begin helping your electrical business today.
“[Lean-startup business plans] focus on summarizing only the most important points of the key elements of your plan. They can take as little as one hour to make and are typically only one page.” – SBA.gov
A lean business plan covers the following core characteristics of your business:
- Key Resources
- Key Activities
- Customer Segments
- Customer Relationships
- Value Proposition
- Key Partnerships
- Revenue Streams
- Cost Structure
Of course, when the time comes, it’s recommended to create a full business plan. That document could be a dozen or more pages, and it’s required if you grow to the point of attracting investors.
A full business plan includes in-depth business documentation broken down into these nine sections:
- Executive Summary
- Company Description
- Market Analysis
- Organization and Management
- Service or Product Line
- Marketing and Sales
- Funding Request
- Financial Projections
Once you’ve created your full business plan, seek out a CPA (i.e. Certified Public Accountant) to review it. It always helps to get a knowledgeable, and objective third-party to help point out any inconsistencies or errors you may have missed.
The SBA’s (i.e. Small Business Administration) site provides examples of full and lean business plans to download for free. Refer to these to get an understanding of the structure of these documents.
2. Clear, Concise, Consistent Communications
How you speak to your team matters. It may not seem like internal communications would affect how your electrical business is viewed by the public, but the example you set internally will radiate.
The entire team and managers will emulate the established communication style. Ultimately, customers will feel how your business communicates internally.
Something as simple as a technician placing a job site call back into the office can put your internal comms strategy on full display in front of customers. This is why it’s vitally important to create a clear and consistent comms strategy that works both internally and externally.
Examples to include in your strategy:
Create a procedure for technicians to include specific field notes in each client’s profile every job. If a clear directive is outlined from the start, a client’s profile can be a wealth of information formatted similarly across the entire client base. This makes for easy reviewing for anyone on the team.
Institute a set interval for everyone to check their work emails. This way, any urgent communications sent team wide will be caught by everyone. It could be as simple as the first thing after lunch, everyone checks in. This decreases the chance of miscommunication, and also diminishes the need to chase people down with urgent info.
Consistent communication processes set internally can easily translate to how you coordinate with customers.
You should set communications touchpoints with each customer before, during and after a job visit:
- BEFORE: Customers prefer to get a heads up when their electrician is on the way. Generally, it’s expected to be given a notification 30 minutes before arrival. If you’re using the best electrician software, this process can be completely automated.
- DURING: Every electrician on your team should be coached on specific checkpoints during a job where they check in with the customer. After the initial evaluation, before any work is done, before they do anything that exceeds the basic visit/pre-agreed scope of work, and also check in with the customer once the work is completed.
- AFTER: Post visits are a great opportunity to follow up with the customer to fill out a satisfaction survey, ask for a review, and send a general thank-you text or email. These post-visit customer contacts can be automatically generated and sent after a visit via FieldEdge. Also, days after a visit, it’s good practice to automate the process of sending out billing reminders.
See how FieldEdge can help you automate communications, track and review all customer calls. Book your FREE personalized demo today!
3. Systems and Processes
It can be all too easy to fly by the seat of your pants in the early days of a business. When it’s just a small group working together, there’s no real need to lock down systems and processes. Though, as you grow, you’ll become painfully aware of all those duct tape fixes and inconsistent workarounds.
This is why you need to consider incorporating systems and building out processes long before you need them.
Simple repetitive tasks can become much easier with a little forethought.
Onboarding employees becomes difficult at scale. Any growing business will run into issues attempting to hire without a clear process in place. The employee handbook is key in smoothly creating a clear roadmap of expectations for any new hire.
The perk of developing this tool is that it gets everyone on the same page on day-one, as opposed to being thrown to the wolves and told to learn the ropes.
Some technicians find comfort in keeping processes to themselves and think of it as a form of job security. Implementing a procedure to document everything will help prevent this from becoming commonplace while also making sure all employees are completing jobs in a consistent manner.
If you incorporate FieldEdge into your workflow, you’ll have a cloud-based tool that allows techs to document all aspects of their work, including the steps they took to complete a job, pictures, and more. All of this information can be uploaded into the customer’s profile.
With FieldEdge, every technician will have access to each customer’s entire repair journey. This helps your entire team no matter who gets dispatched to each job.
With a proper dispatch board and process, scheduling and commanding the troops becomes far easier. A cloud-based system with a smart dispatch board will help your dispatcher inform who to send where and when. You’ll find your team operating far more efficiently, with the potential to complete more jobs each day.
A smart dispatch board gives a complete view of your entire team. Drag-and-drop functionality allows easy adjustments to each tech’s schedule. Plus, any changes are delivered via instant notification on the technician’s mobile device. Send the tech with the best skillset for each job, and watch your customer satisfaction SOAR.
4. Billing Process
Nobody enjoys waiting for a paper bill to arrive in the mail. Many residential customers would prefer to just pay when the service is rendered. Likewise, most businesses dread having to make follow-up calls on past due invoices.
Spare your team, your customers and save some trees in the process by digital invoicing. In turn, you can dramatically increase the speed in which you get paid. Including the best app for electricians in your team’s toolbelt will arm each technician with the ability to accept payments right on the job.
In addition, with price presentation tools, you can take the sales out of upselling. Let’s face it, electricians are not salespeople. So why put them in an awkward position to talk up a customer without a tool to help?
Give your electricians the tools to offer good, better, best options with visual price presentation tools right in the palm of their hands. Each job can instantly become more profitable when customers are able to say a resounding “YES” to more services right then and there.
And for those customers that prefer to be billed, automate those invoice reminders! The best electrician software can spare your business from wasting hours each week manually sending reminders. With the integration of the best app for electricians, you’ll see lag time on accounts receivable PLUMMET.
See how FieldEdge can revolutionize your invoicing and billing system. Book your FREE personalized demo today!
Part 2 – Strengthen Electrical Business Operations Through Leadership
1. Invest in Leaders
A necessary aspect of growth in any electrical business is developing leaders. Growing operations means building a strong structure. As much as we wish to run every facet of business ourselves with a growing pool of workers, that just isn’t feasible at scale.
A major factor in career satisfaction and workplace cohesion is the ability to promote from within. You’ll find that employee retention skyrockets as soon as employees feel seen, heard and respected. Though, that all starts with the recognition of a job well done.
However, once you find a great worker that could get promoted into management, the work doesn’t end with the promotion. Building a great leader, one that can successfully manage people and not just tasks, requires an investment in time, attention and patience.
There might even be an initial hit to operational productivity when transitioning a worker to become a successful manager. This is because the output the worker previously gave the company halts. Although, in time, this lost output could actually increase over multiple workers.
This is why, as you grow electrical business operations, and hiring and promoting become commonplace, consider including management training and leadership coaching.
A great leader doesn’t appear overnight, and a great worker doesn’t always mean they’ll be great at leading people. However, with the right attention and focus, most well-intentioned professionals can blossom into a great leader.
2. Constant Gentle Pressure
This simple concept saves headaches, arguments and misunderstandings every single day. Let’s break it down.
As a leader in your electrical business, you have a desired method of getting things done. Though, as you grow, existing team members leave and new employees arrive. The desired method of getting things done doesn’t change, even though the makeup of the team is constantly evolving.
The simplest way to ensure consistency and productivity in your electrical business operations is through constant gentle pressure.
The famous restaurateur, and founder of Shake Shack, Danny Meyer, explains with the analogy of keeping a salt shaker at the center of a table:
Your staff and your guests are always moving your saltshaker off center. That’s their job. It is the job of life. It’s the law of entropy! Until you understand that, you’re going to get pissed off every time someone moves the saltshaker off center. It is not your job to get upset. You just need to understand: that’s what they do. Your job is just to move the shaker back each time and let them know exactly what you stand for. Let them know what excellence looks like to you.
Electrical business operations will always benefit from the calm, consistent reminder of what excellence looks like to the team. After all, one of the leader’s main responsibilities is to enforce a gentle reminder of what a bullseye looks like.
In the end, a leader helps each worker line up their shot and deliver on a job well done on every single job.
Make Your Electrical Business Operations Stronger Today
There’s no doubt your business operations can benefit from these 6 tips.
Your team and customers alike will appreciate clear and consistent communication. Plus, when you provide your team with the best tools for billing, dispatch and customer communication, you can supercharge business operations. In turn, each job’s billable services will steadily grow, making a normal schedule of jobs even more profitable.