Electrical business owners looking to grow their business can come across a lot of conflicting advice online. To help electrical business owners find useful strategies to grow their businesses and increase their bottom line, ServiceTitan spoke to a range of highly successful home service industry experts and users of our electrical service management software.
From these conversations, we have assembled this collection of strategies and tactics for growing an electrical business, whether you're a startup or an established small business.
In this guide to growing your electrical business and creating an electrical contracting business plan, we help you position your electrical company to survive any disruptions and be prepared to grow and adapt to the changes and fluctuations of the home service industry in the future.
Below, we’ll cover the following strategies and tactics:
ServiceTitan’s software has driven the growth of thousands of electrical businesses by providing tools to improve their marketing and operations. To get more details about how these features can help you grow your electrician business, schedule a demo here.
Create an Electrical Business Plan Based on the Electrical Business You Want to Be in the Future
Find a mentor who’s doing what you want to do.
Shadow your mentor on the job; ask for electrical business ideas.
Go find 10 more mentors, and do it all over again.
Listen to electrician podcasts for tips and inspiration.
Read books on how to grow your electrical contractor business.
Tommy Mello, The Home Service Expert, says he wished he’d found a mentor before starting his own garage-door business 15 years ago. He could have emulated their best business practices, instead of figuring things out on his own.
“You’ve got to act like the business you want to become, and I didn’t know that back then,” says Mello, owner of A1 Garage Door Service, which topped $30 million in revenue last year.
“If I would have listened to a mentor tell me, ‘This is why you shouldn’t do this,’ or ‘This is why you should,’ it would have definitely fast-forwarded the business.”
Find a role model who’s doing what you want to do and is willing to share everything you need to know. Shadow them on the job. Ask tons of questions. Then go find 10 more mentors, Mello advises, and do it all over again.
He also suggests reading or listening to books to grow your business, such as The E-Myth by Michael Gerber, The 7-Power Contractor by Al Levi, The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes, Essentialism by Gary Keller, or his own book, Home Service Millionaire.
“Reading has been a big part of my success, and hanging out with successful people,” Mello says.
Mario Campirano, owner of Express Electrical Services, gives thanks to Service Sales Coach Joe Crisara for pointing him in the right direction when he decided to switch from commercial electrical work to residential in the midst of the Great Recession.
“He took me under his wing and taught me how to not take no for an answer,” says Campirano, who now runs an $8 million electrical company in Los Angeles.
With lessons learned and high ambitions, Campirano started knocking on homeowners’ doors. He says it even got to the point where he visited local home improvement stores to find potential customers.
“Now I didn't have a sign like, ‘Will work for food,’ but you have to get smart,” Campirano says. “You go into Home Depot and you start looking at the people buying an electrical item, you start hitting them up, ‘Hey, you've got an electrician to do that?’ And then you start just going, going, going.”
“You’ve got to be hungry for it, at the end of the day. If you're not hungry for it, if you can't go knock on somebody's door, I don't know what to tell you, but that changed my life. That gave me a reality wake-up call.”
Grow Your Electrical Contractor Business by Investing in Recruiting and Training a Qualified Workforce
Build a strong company foundation.
Outline a fully developed organizational chart.
Always be recruiting, and establish a thorough interviewing process.
Provide extensive training for every employee.
Offer performance pay as an incentive to grow.
Remember that pesky trade worker shortage before the COVID-19 outbreak? That problem didn’t disappear overnight.
Electrical contracting business owners, like others in the skilled trades, struggle to find qualified employees in a climate rife with high demand. They also worry about investing time and money in training, only to see those electricians leave to go off on their own or work for another company.
“Focus instead on building a strong company foundation in the first place, with a fully developed organizational chart,” Mello says. That means creating clear job descriptions and expectations for every position, providing extensive training to set up every employee for success, and using performance pay as an incentive to help employees grow.
“Some people say, ‘always be closing.’ I say, ‘always be recruiting,’” says Mello, who gives employees $1,500 for referring a new hire.
“I think a lot of us just don’t start the business right,” he adds. “Give it such a strong foundation, there’s nowhere to grow but up.”
Gold Shield Services, based northwest of Chicago in Des Plaines, Ill., built a strong company foundation using the ServiceTitan mobile software for electricians. The company services about 70% commercial customers and 30% residential customers.
Director of Operations Derek Baer says the ServiceTitan software helped the business streamline and operate more efficiently. Six months after he joined Gold Shield in 2018, he says the software helped him generate more revenue, manage money better, build a $40,000 home office, and still end the year with a profit.
For 2020, Gold Shield offered health insurance to its employees for the first time. The move, Baer says, positions the company for growth, especially as Gold Shield opens its new headquarters in Algonquin, Ill.
Gold Shield also focused its efforts in 2020 on growing the home services side of the business and training electrical techs to understand that business model.
“The commercial side is paying the bills and helping us grow,” he says. “The residential side is going to put us in a whole other department.”
Need Better Electrical Branding? Start by Building a Great Company Culture
Value your company’s number 1 asset: Your employees.
Invest as much time in recruiting and training as you do on electrical service sales.
Increase electrical branding and engage potential applicants by sharing insight into your company’s culture.
Share your team’s success stories regularly to motivate and inspire everyone. Happy employees typically mean more productive employees, no matter the industry. Give your electrical staff more than just a steady paycheck by building a company culture that really shows them how much you value their work. They can help spread the word to potential new applicants.
Trades consultant Ben Stark advises keeping techs and other employees involved in the process, and making sure they know their role in growing your electrical contracting business. Let them own a piece of it, and you’ll likely get complete buy-in and increased cash flow. “Employees are your number 1 asset,” Stark says.
When crises or setbacks occur in the home services industry, don’t stop hiring for your company or marketing to expand your customer base.
“Resist the reactionary,” Stark advises. “I’ve gone through a recession, a crisis...we put on the accelerator (for marketing and hiring), and we have always come out on the positive side.”
Express Electric’s Campirano says he tries to keep his employees motivated by leading with a cup-half-full mentality. Showing fear just leads to more of the same, he shared during a ServiceTitan webinar.
Instead, Campirano tells his employees they’re heroes. He pumps up his employees and makes them feel valued with a specific message: “Let's go out there and be humans. Let’s help other humans in need. We can do this together — as a team.”
“Employees who feel valued also work harder,” says Tom Howard, ServiceTitan’s Vice President of Customer Experience and owner of multiple home service businesses. He thinks electrical companies need to spend as much time attracting and retaining employees as they do trying to sell electrical services to new or existing customers.
How ServiceTitan’s Processes Improved One Electrical Business’s Communication and Company Culture
After implementing ServiceTitan across its business in 2020, The Happy Outlet, an electrical services company based in Carson City, Nev., found communication between team members much easier. This improved the overall company culture of focusing on keeping both employees and customers happy, as its name suggests.
ServiceTitan gave Happy Outlet’s techs and office staff access to job information, call history, and customer communication details in a single interface, available anywhere.
“We’re able to be more productive as a company because everything is all in one system,” says Rebecca Tenorio, Dispatcher and Client HAPPYness Representative for The Happy Outlet. “With ServiceTitan, it’s all at our fingertips, no matter where we are.”
Following the switch to ServiceTitan, the company grew by an estimated 50%, now employs 14 team members, and expects to generate $3 million in revenue in 2022. Tenorio attributes that success to the new software system. “It’s allowing us to focus more on training and the future,” she says.
“All the information is in one program where everybody can access it,” Tenorio says. “It’s very convenient. It’s made so many things a lot easier.”
Build Your Electrical Contracting Business Using Systems, Checks and Balances
Gain efficiency with a well-defined organizational chart and operating manuals.
Include checks and balances for each department to ensure accountability.
Automate with field-service software to improve your electrical business.
Control and track inventory with custom reporting in real time.
Most successful electrical contracting businesses run effortlessly with a well-defined operating system. This includes checks and balances for every department, such as comparing your CSR booking rates to actual jobs completed by your techs, or comparing inventory controls to parts used on each job.
Mello says Art Levi, The 7-Power Contractor author and home services expert, taught him the importance of establishing a good system for running his garage-door business.
“An in-depth organization chart clearly defines each employee’s role, the management hierarchy allows only five direct reports to any one manager, and various operating manuals outline proper procedures for just about everything. It’s a recipe for success,” Mello says, and “one used by big players in other industries.”
“Look at McDonald’s or KFC, they open a new store every four to six hours. It’s this master plan to go in and everything’s the same, there’s a system, and checks and balances around every single aspect. That’s how they create success,” Mello says.
How ServiceTitan Gives Electrical Teams Easy-to-Follow Processes and Systems
When implementing ServiceTitan, electrical companies get a simple and easy-to-follow way to implement systems and processes. These cover the following areas:
Call booking systems: ServiceTitan’s software for call booking provides your customer service reps with the caller’s name, job history and contact details as soon as each call comes in. Your reps can then welcome customers by using their names and ask them about any previous electrical work your company has done. Using ServiceTitan’s drop-down menus, CSRs gather all the information before sending an electrician to do the work. Reps can concentrate on the conversation with the caller, which improves the customer experience, and take down all the details your electricians will need when they arrive.
Documents saved to the cloud: With ServiceTitan, you can store all of your electrical business documents and forms in a cloud-based repository. Anyone with permission can access these documents from wherever they are. When electricians are out on a job, they can easily find job notes, estimates, invoices, and appointment details — which are easily lost when you rely on a paper-based, or office-based, system. Using ServiceTitan Mobile, they can access all of these documents right from the cloud and be certain that they are looking at the latest information for each customer. You no longer need to make extra copies of any documents to distribute to electricians, or have them make specific visits to the office to drop off paperwork from their appointments.
Create Forms: ServiceTitan allows electricians and managers to build custom forms to take down information while out on jobs. Each form can be a required step in a process, and the next step is only unlocked when the previous form is completed. When forms are required to be completed on jobs, electricians make fewer mistakes and don’t have to call customers back to get missing details. If an electrician is working on a certain type of job, such as an electrical inspection, specific forms can be triggered during these jobs. These forms may need to be completed for your electrician to close out a job and allow ServiceTitan to issue an invoice, for example. ServiceTitan’s forms give your electricians guidance in the steps to be followed while out on a job. This makes their work easier and more efficient while ensuring a better level of customer service.
Templates for every stage of an electrical job: ServiceTitan provides a range of templates that give electricians a framework for presenting customers with proposals, estimates, pricing, invoices, and more. ServiceTitan’s templates have been made deliberately simple to fill out, while still looking professional. Plus, these templates can also include your electrical business branding. The documents produced using our templates can easily be shown to customers on the electrician’s tablet, or sent via email.
Get Your Electrical Business Operating Right Before You Expand
Master your own electrical business before buying another.
Build your business to succeed without you.
Narrow your focus to what you do best, and shed the rest.
Are you a professional electrician who thinks they can do it all? Do you want to expand into other home services as soon as possible? Be careful not to spread yourself too thin.
Mello tried doing it all, from operating his warehouse and controlling inventory to buying all of his own trucks and fixing them on-site when they broke down. When his expenses exceeded revenue, he decided it was time to rein in some of his entrepreneurial activities.
“I just realized focus is everything,” Mello says. “Instead of being a jack-of-all-trades, you want to be a master of one… Focus on one, get so big at one, then you can take on a new branch.
”Sometimes life throws a few twists and turns, causing you to refocus on what’s best for the business. A little market research can save a lot of headaches.
Campirano decided commercial electrical work just wasn’t in the cards for him, especially after a fellow contractor filed bankruptcy and left him on the hook for nearly $300,000 in electrical supplies.
To get out of the mess, he negotiated a new payment schedule with his supply houses, dropped most of his commercial work, and began offering residential electrical services instead.
“Before 2008, I was working for a service company, and I was a good technician,” Campirano says. “Between that and me becoming a contractor and getting into this big construction industry because it was booming, I lost my road. I lost my roadmap of actually being a service technician. But I got back into it… I learned some systems, and I killed it, man.
”Think in terms of building your business as a commodity with shareholder value — and one that’s able to operate efficiently, even when you’re not around.
“A business that depends on you to work is not a business I want to buy,” says Mello, who is an owner, partner, or investor in 14 other businesses.
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Electrical Contracting Business Marketing Focused on the Right Audience
Identify your target audience with specific demographics.
Develop electrical business ideas to reach your target audience.
Don’t put all of your electrical branding eggs in one marketing basket.
Automate marketing campaigns for better efficiency.
Save on cost per lead with targeted email marketing.
For tracking purposes, use a unique phone number for each campaign.
Before deploying any type of marketing plan, know how to get your business name in front of the right target audience. Leaving business cards at other local businesses can help, but word of mouth and referrals alone won't cut it if you want to grow fast.
“The first thing I’m going to ask you is, ‘Who is your customer?’ If you say, ‘Anybody with an electrical system,’ I’m going to say, ‘This is the age, this is the gender, this is the average household income, this is their credit score.’ You should know more and more about who your real customers are, and then you focus on direct response… and branding.”
Campirano improved his company’s electrical branding by getting to know his neighbors — and potential customers. He simply knocked on doors and offered to install free Ring doorbells to protect against porch thieves when he moved his family to Downey, CA, to demonstrate that he was a qualified electrician.
He also took an unconventional approach to electrical services during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Realizing people may be trying to store food in a second refrigerator or freezer — a problem he experienced himself — Campirano changed his advertising strategy to meet those customers’ needs.
“We started getting calls like crazy,” he says.
How ServiceTitan Drives Your Electrical Marketing Strategy
To boost your electrical marketing strategies, ServiceTitan’s Marketing Pro is a comprehensive software solution that leverages customer data to bring in more higher-ticket calls, leads, and bookings to your electrical business.
Email Marketing for Electrical Businesses with ServiceTitan
Targeted email marketing is the most cost-effective strategy for keeping your brand front and center in the minds of customers, says Megan Bedford, who runs Mugyver Consulting to help small companies in the trades.
Not only is the cost cheaper for targeted email marketing — $12 or less per lead — it’s the type of communication customers prefer, as opposed to direct mail or a promotional text. The key, Bedford says, is to find the right tool to automate the process, then target the right audience with the right message.
ServiceTitan’s Marketing Pro gives you tools to manage your email marketing strategy for your electrical business and helps you target specific customer profiles in your database. This means you can send out emails with special offers or discounts to specific customers that are likely to respond.
Sending an email out to all the customers who haven’t responded to estimates, for example, and providing them with a specific number to call can remind customers to get back to you and book the job.
Send reminders to all of your installation customers to carry out maintenance or a regular inspection. These emails can often recapture old leads and turn customers who have gone quiet into new revenue sources.
ServiceTitan also provides an extensive range of email templates so you can quickly and efficiently send out a campaign without hiring a designer, as shown in the image above.
Choose an appropriate email template, adapt the default text to your email campaign strategy, and send it in an email blast to your selected customers.
After you’ve sent out the emails, ServiceTitan lets you check the campaign’s performance by tracking the exact ROI within the dashboard.
This detailed tracking information helps you decide which campaigns are successful, and which need more work to generate a better ROI.
How One Electrical Company Used ServiceTitan’s Marketing Pro to Boost Income
After receiving a free trial of ServiceTitan’s Marketing Pro, Jupiter-Tequesta Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electric ran its first email marketing campaign — targeting previous A/C customers with a one-time “We Miss You” message.
“After one week, the revenue on that one email brought in about $4,000,” says Bill Highsmith, the company’s Process & Procedure Manager.
Manage Direct Mail Campaigns with ServiceTitan
Direct mail is still a powerful way to get your message right into the customer’s hands, Stark adds, but he’s also finding new ways to do creative marketing through various digital media channels.
“Marketing is such a beast these days. It's so multi-layered that you’ve got to always be looking for ways to get your name out there, however it may be,” Stark says.
ServiceTitan helps electrical businesses manage their direct mail. You get everything you need to design, print, mail, and track the results of each campaign. In just a few minutes, you can choose a postcard design from the ServiceTitan library, alter the default text as necessary, select the audience, send it to be printed, and then send it to your potential new customers.
Each campaign you design through ServiceTitan costs a single flat-rate per postcard, so you know exactly how much you’ll be spending, whether you send thousands or just a few.
Similar to our email marketing tool, by using ServiceTitan, you can track the revenue generated by each of your campaigns, so you can identify which is the most successful approach.
Focus Your Online Electrical Marketing Strategies
Post helpful electrical safety content to boost Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on Google.
Invest in Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising to increase brand awareness.
Incentivize techs to get more reviews.
Expand your service area in conjunction with Google Local Services.
“Just understand Google is God when it comes to home service,” Mello says, explaining how consumers find 70% of all services online through Google searches.
“Half of your marketing dollars should be spent on SEO, PPC, Google My Business, getting reviews, and Google Local Services.”
Billboards and TV or radio ads can still work, but with one caveat:
“You better be good at Google, and you better have mailers going out, because that’s going to increase the conversion rate on the direct response stuff,” Mello advises.
Marketing via Facebook also works for some electrical companies, he says, but it’s hard to make a ton of money on the social media platform.
“Facebook is more of an upside-down pyramid,” Mello explains. “The way I do Facebook is, you’ve got a lot of customers at the top who really don’t know about your service or they don’t need it today, but you’re building a funnel. It's at the top of the pyramid, but it’s an upside-down pyramid.”
Some customers will find you because they need your services today, whereas new business might find you through brand awareness.
“They call it ‘top-of-mind awareness.’ You’re starting to get that online reputation of ‘Hey, I’ve seen that company before, now I need them.’ Now, they’re going to think of you,” Mello says.
How ServiceTitan Helps Boost Your Online Presence
ServiceTitan makes it easy to advertise your electrical services online by integrating with Google Local Services. This integration allows potential customers to click on your Google Local Services ad and be taken directly to a job-scheduling page driven by ServiceTitan.
When a potential customer searches for “Electrical Service Chicago,” for example, your Local Services ad appears at the top of the search results in Google. The customer then clicks on your ad to book an appointment with you and doesn’t need to make a call or look up the booking section on your website.
To make sure your marketing and advertising budget is being used appropriately, you can also track ROI on your Google ad campaigns using ServiceTitan.
Connect your Google Ads and Google Analytics accounts to ServiceTitan to track the ROI of your campaigns to the actual jobs booked and the revenue generated from those jobs. Real ROI figures can help you decide which ads to invest in further, and which ones to shut down.
Grow Your Electrical Business with the Best Field Service Management Software
Make it easy to implement all the tips and strategies in this article by using ServiceTitan’s field management software.
ServiceTitan helps you improve your business processes and workflow, and ultimately helps your business grow by:
Giving your team reliable communication tools. Office staff can easily communicate with electricians out in the field — streamlining workflow and improving company culture.
Helping your business put processes, systems, and templates in place for consistent and error-free services.
Giving you tools to manage digital advertising, email marketing, and direct mail campaigns, as well as tracking ROI — so you know what is working and what needs to be changed.
How Mel Carr Electric Uses ServiceTitan to Improve Sales and Drive Growth
Mel Carr Electric in Albany, N.Y., switched from another mobile software provider to ServiceTitan in January 2019 to give its techs better options for sales presentations in the field.
The move helped to improve the customer experience and increase close rates, according to company President Rob Carr. “It’s so user-friendly. So intuitive. [The software] just knows your next step,” Carr says. “It took care of things we never even realized we needed.”Carr says the ServiceTitan software also provides the following features that have contributed to his company’s growth:
Accurate, real-time business performance data. Everything from close rate to average ticket and up-to-the-minute revenue is available in one place: ServiceTitan.
Better display of sales options for the customer. This capability has increased Mel Carr Electric’s customer closing rate and enabled growth.
More capabilities without hiring more people. Mel Carr Electric uses ServiceTitan’s app to automatically send technicians’ bios to customers, which has increased customer trust. This job was previously done by the company’s CSRs. “We just weren’t doing it at all before,” Carr says. “The software took care of things that we never even realized we needed.”
The ability to record customer service phone calls. Phone calls to CSRs are recorded automatically and available through the app, providing training opportunities, increasing conversion rates, and eliminating confusion. “Today alone we’ve utilized those recordings two or three times,” Carr says. “Shockingly, the guys in the field listen to the calls, too. I never expected that to happen, but they love it. They want to know what they’re getting themselves into.”
Real-time updates from the field. “The guys in the field love it,” Carr says. “We’re not bothering them as much by calling and asking, ‘Hey, how much longer, what’s going on there?’ We can watch them as they write a quote. We can correct them with our new techs and make sure that they’re doing it right. We can tell when they’ve gotten a signature, ‘Hey, they’re finishing up, they’re cashing out.’ And that is incredible.”
Text updates sent to the customer from the app. This fulfills a big customer desire, Carr says. “One thing we hear most from people is, ‘Text me. I want a text.’ It’s informal, it’s quick, it’s personal, it’s in your pocket. It’s what people are looking for these days. And we didn’t quite realize it beforehand.”
An intuitive pricebook that can be updated remotely. If a technician runs into a problem with the pricebook or needs a change, Carr can help immediately, from the office. “That is wonderful,” Carr says. “Sometimes they need me to make a change. Oh, you're right, let me do this. Click, click, click. OK, refresh. Boom. He’s like, ‘OK, here it is, I got it right now.’ And he clicks a button and we’re done.”
Want to Grow Your Electrical Business? Know Your "Why"
Identify your personal strengths.
Don’t become an electrical business owner just because you want to be your own boss.
Keep work-life balance in focus.
Understand the financial aspect of running an electrical business, or find someone who does.
The concept of “work-life balance” gets thrown around a lot, but Mello thinks it’s something to keep in mind when considering whether to start your own electrical contracting business or grow your current one.
He recommends the book Off Balance on Purpose: Embrace Uncertainty and Create a Life You Love by Dan Thurmon to gain a better perspective, especially in times of uncertainty.
“The reason you should own a business is NOT because you don’t want to work for someone else,” Mello says. You may exhibit excellent electrician skills in the field but lack the financial knowledge or expertise in managing an electrical contracting business. If that’s your situation, it’s a great idea to admit that to yourself and find a partner or manager with the experience and the skills you need to help you with this aspect of your business.
“I feel like I’m just getting started...I literally feel like it’s there to build, it’s ours for the taking,” Mello says. “For me, success just means if I want to go do something, I do it.”
“You’ve got to choose what’s important to you and decide what’s your ‘Why?’”
ServiceTitan has helped thousands of electrical businesses grow by giving them tools to manage marketing and operations. You can find out more about how these features would help your electrical business by scheduling a demo.
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