According to Statista, as of the end of 2015 there are 124.5 million households in the United States, and an additional 13.32 million in Canada as noted by Statistics Canada. With nearly 140 million households in these North American nations, there is ample opportunity for electricians to grow their business as a residential contractor. Performing installation in new builds is great, but there is a wealth of work awaiting if you can diversify your offering as a contractor meeting regular electrical needs for these 140 million homes.
Build a Reliable Contact Database
As you seek to expand your presence as a residential contract electrician, you’re going to come into contact with a number of different customers. Unlike building companies where you work on a home and may never work with that company again, working with residential customers requires a reliable contact database to keep track of information.
Depending upon the size of your business or the scope of your work, a simple contact list in your email account software may do. However, spending some money on a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can help you track the status of a contact, last contact date, reason for last contact, and make it easier to add new contacts in pre-existing forms. Why does this matter?
Cultivate Stronger Relationships
When you can connect with your growing customer base, be it individuals or real estate and property management groups, knowledge of your past encounters with them allows you to cultivate a strong relationship with individual consumers and show a more human side to your business. This is one area where CRM software come in handy. The ability to quickly recall when you last spoke with a customer and what job you last performed for them humanizes your brand.
Define a Marketing Strategy
You can take the data and information from your CRM or other tracking program one step further and use it to define a marketing strategy. No matter how you are tracking previous jobs, know which types of jobs generated the best contacts and profit for your residential contracting business is essential.
When you know what kind of jobs have worked best for you as an electrician, you can market your skills in that area and use former customers as success stories for future customers. As you begin to market those skills to potential residential customers, you can then track which marketing strategies have worked best to draw in more profitable, successful jobs. Think of everything as a cycle, with each piece feeding into the success of the other.
You don’t have to spend thousands or even hundreds of dollars marketing your services. Business cards, flyers, and direct mailers can help you encourage your current customers to share their experience with your business to neighbors, friends, and colleagues. Word of mouth advertising isn’t discussed in many business circles, but when it comes to household repairs and maintenance, word of mouth carries a great deal of value. Homeowners want to choose a service provider with a known track record, not one that leaves them feeling as though they’re rolling the dice.
In an effort to further your budding brand, don’t be afraid to take advantage of social media to help promote your areas of expertise as an electrician while also sharing customer success stories. It will further enhance your influence beyond simple word of mouth.
Don’t be Afraid of New Things
Emerging trends exist in all realms of business, so while it is good to get your start working as an electrician wiring new homes, there are a lot of opportunities out there is you’re willing to adapt and change. For example, the number of builders and homeowners interested in solar energy for homes is increasing. If you familiarize yourself with this approach and establish your business as a product expert, you will find a growing stream of business.
In addition, helping people with cross-market trends such as mobile adoption and home energy, you could further enhance your customer pool. Again, as an example, consider smart-home technology. Interconnectivity between Wi-Fi, smartphones, and common home electronics is increasing. Homeowners want to be able to close the garage from another state, turn on the outside lights before they get home, and set the coffeemaker for the morning from bed.
If you can establish your brand as one that embraces trends and provides service installing and maintaining integrated systems, you’ll be the name that people turn to when they need assistance. Success as a residential contractor is about effort and flexibility. Pursue both, and you’ll find success.