When you are working in electrical contracting, the type of work you are doing is likely going to come via a steady succession of smaller jobs, some of which may be one-time jobs, while others may be from recurring customers.
It is likely that you will continue working in this manner until word-of-mouth recommendations for your business start coming through. Established businesses can attract new customers on the strength of their brand identity. But before you get to that enviable stage with your business, this electrical business guide may help you to unlock new opportunities and land new clients for your electrical business.
1. Understanding the process of contractor bidding
To get electrical jobs and grow your electrical business it’s important to understand that many jobs in the field of electrical work are obtained through competitive bidding. A call for bids or a request for proposals will be distributed by a client. Following that, various businesses will have the chance to respond with details of how much they will charge to complete the task. Here are a few more details about a typical bidding or tender process.
- The bid requirements for public and private jobs typically differ, so be sure to review them before submitting your offer.
- Even if you’re in dire need of a job, resist accepting one that you don’t think you can finish. Failure will ultimately harm your brand and reputation.
- Ensure that your submission includes historical data demonstrating your track record of adhering to schedules and budgets. If you do this, you’ll be able to distinguish yourself from other applicants.
- Strike a reasonable bargain. You will be able to negotiate on bids up until the contract is finalised, even after your bid has been accepted. Just be careful not to stray too far from your original offer.
2. Accurately price your work
Many inexperienced electrical contractors don’t accurately account for all of the costs that go into their estimate. In the best-case scenario, the client will most likely become aware of this and reject your offer. The worst-case situation is that after the client accepts your bid and you start working, you realise that your estimations were drastically off the mark and that you would need to charge the client more or take more time to complete the job.
Your reputation will ultimately suffer, which is detrimental if you want to secure future jobs. When pricing your work, ensure that you take the following into consideration:
- Subcontractor payments.
- Labor expenses.
- Cost of materials (including demolition, if needed).
- Preventative upkeep (including expensive additional equipment).
You may also need to hire specific expertise or bring in specialised equipment, depending on the project or installation. Make sure your bid accounts for the additional expenses you will incur. It is crucial that your bid sheet is well-kept, and that you have clearly documented the factors that were taken into consideration in your bid.
Even if you merely leave an estimate, the client will still want further information. If you are unable to supply them with the information they require, you will likely be passed over for the work. By stating your position up front, you’ll save yourself and everyone else time and effort.
3. Promote yourself
Even though you may lack the financial resources of your larger competitors, you can still acquire electrical work by using clever marketing. When considering how to get electrical contracts, concentrate on the other advantages your company offers rather than merely trying to compete with them on a larger scale.
In this sense, social media is a fantastic equaliser. It’s not too expensive to get started with Facebook advertising. You can even target individuals who you believe would make perfect customers. People who live in your local service area or have an interest in property management and maintenance can be included in the audience you target with your Facebook advertising.
Additionally, you need to have a strong online presence. Rather than choosing a free, templated web designer service, consider making a significant investment by hiring an actual web designer who designs websites for a living. In addition to looking more professional and being easier to use, professionally designed websites are also better geared for SEO and will rank higher in local searches.
4. Continue networking
We’ve already touched on how crucial a contractor’s reputation is; this is true for both residential and commercial projects. While developing your online presence through marketing is important, you should also network through other platforms.
For instance, if you’re attempting to increase the number of clients your business has, be sure to explore any and all new business opportunities that come up. For instance, if you work on the electrical system for a significant office building, you will collaborate with teams from facilities management, corporations, and many other key project stakeholders.
Use these connections to promote yourself, your business, and your services to these potential future customers. Make sure that everyone who is potentially of value is aware of your company.
If they are aware of you and you deliver great work, they might either recommend you to people they know or recruit you directly for more contract work. A network-savvy electrical contractor may greatly increase their clientele, which will result in securing more ongoing work as a preferred supplier.
5. Invest in project management tools
Using your experience and intuition is one thing, but keep in mind that everybody has their limitations, including yourself. Your perception of the world might be out of date, and new trends might change how much a job costs today. There is always a chance that something could go wrong in the middle of a project. Make sure you completely understand all the variables on a job, so you can accurately price it up before you submit a bid.
Electrical project management software can help with providing accurate estimates for jobs. Having a complete view of your bid history and how it compares to your ultimate costs can help you apply what you have learned going forward to refine your quoting strategy.
Having this knowledge in hand can help you become better at winning tenders or bids and ensuring the projects you take on are profitable by breaking down all the various costs associated with the job.
As a successful electrical contractor, you want to build your contractor business for the long-term. A fantastic way to secure the future of your electrical contractor operation and keep you doing what you do is to safeguard it with electrical contractor insurance*.
BizCover offers specialised insurance for electricians and electrical contractor insurance. Best of all, we make it easy and hassle-free. Get a quote online today or give us a call on 1300 920 864 to see how we can help protect your business.