After years slaving away as an apprentice sparkie, you’ve made the gutsy move to start your own electrical business. With ‘business owner’ added to your resume, what more could there possibly be to achieve?
You probably already know that owning a trade business can be tough. With financial forecasts, managing staff and invoicing clients, there’s a lot to get your head around – and things could easily turn to custard if you aren’t careful.
So how do you grow your electrical business to its fullest potential? We’ve got a bag of tricks for taking things to new heights – here’s what you need to know.
- 1. Start with your digital marketing
- 2. Update your website
- 3. Refresh your photography
- 4. Use online directories
- 5. Make the most of free tools
- 6. Let customer reviews do the talking
- 7. Up your social media game
- 8. Make the most of offline marketing techniques
- 9. Take a step back to reflect
- 10. Time for change – pivot and grow
1. Start with your digital marketing
In the digital age, everything is online (case in point, you’re reading this online right now). It’s how we communicate, access education, read the news or book a table at a local restaurant. It’s also how most people find an electrician. If you aren’t using digital marketing, you’ll have a hard time growing your business.
If you’re feeling out of your comfort zone, and even sending a text message is beyond your capability, there’s no need to stress.
Check out our guide to digital marketing, or download our free online marketing toolkit.
2. Update your website
Did you know that you have 50 milliseconds to impress your viewers with your website? If yours doesn’t lure them in, they’ll move right along to the next one. There are things you can do to update your website – like improve your SEO and keep your design crisp. Another important thing is to have a call to action – loud and clear. Don’t make it difficult for people to get in touch – have your details at the ready.
3. Refresh your photography
A cracker website will help sell your business, but only if your photography is up to scratch. If your budget can’t stretch, some good quality shots from your smartphone will do the trick, or ask your friend, sibling or spouse to help you out. If you need some tips, our photography for tradies guide can get you started.
4. Use online directories
There’s no space for old-fashioned phonebooks anymore – the internet has taken over. There are lots of online business directories for electricians no matter where you live. They’re an affordable way to spread the word of your business to a wide audience – without having to worry too much about digital skills. A simple, good-quality photo, some contact details and a link to your website should do it.
- Small business directories for trade businesses in the UK
- Small business directories for trade businesses in Australia
- Small business directories for trade businesses in NZ
5. Make the most of free tools
Digital marketing is important – we’ve made that clear. But updating it doesn’t have to break the bank. These days, free online tools are a great resource to get your electrical services out there and grow your business.
Try out Google My Business to promote your business through a listing on Google Search and Google Maps. Otherwise, you could give MailChimp a go – it’s a subscription-based software with a free basic plan that allows you to send professional-looking offers, newsletters or surveys to your customer database.
6. Let customer reviews do the talking
Studies show that 90% of people read online reviews before visiting a business. Customer reviews are important no matter what business you’re in, but for an electrical business, they’re particularly important. Here’s how to get 5-star reviews for your trade business.
7. Up your social media game
Social media has taken the marketing world by storm. If you aren’t using it to promote your business, you might want to consider it. We’ve got some ideas on how you can easily integrate them with your business plan.
With more than two billion active users worldwide, Facebook is the biggest social media platform. It’s a great way to market your electrical business through a range of formats – video, posts and photos.
Check out our blog on how to use Facebook to market your trade business.
These days, if a business isn’t on Instagram, you might wonder whether it even exists in real life. Instagram has a huge influence in promoting businesses whether you’re in hospitality, fashion or the trade industry. It’s particularly beneficial for younger target markets who spend a lot of time on their phones.
Feeling a bit out of your depth? Check out our Instagram guide for tradespeople.
Video is quickly becoming the number one way brands market their businesses. YouTube’s revenue has grown nearly $19 billion in just ten years – so there’s no denying it’s an effective marketing tool. We know what you’re thinking – how can you market your electrical business on YouTube? There are endless ways.
Why not start a channel answering common electrical questions? Or showcase a day in the life of an electrician to gain traction on your channel? Whatever the way, it’s a sure route to growing your business. We know YouTube might seem daunting, so here’s how to start a YouTube channel as a trade business.
Don’t forget about the sparkies who might want to come and work for you, or another trade company looking to join forces. Before they pursue a chat with you about a job or collaboration, they’ll want to suss you out via LinkedIn – so make sure yours is up to date and looking flash.
8. Make the most of offline marketing techniques
As an electrician, you tend to emergencies of all sorts. Day to day, your client base extends from university students who’ve blown their switch box to elderly retirees needing assistance. For that reason, your marketing needs to be far-reaching and diverse.
Even in the digital age, offline marketing shouldn’t be forgotten. There’s still a place for it, and if used wisely, it could be hugely beneficial to growing your electrical business.
Here are a few tips to give you a head start:
Brand your vehicle
If you haven’t got your van sign-written yet, there’s no easier way to market your business than to personalise it with your company logo and contact details. It’s a one-off expense that could bring you a lot of business long-term. If you have staff or other vehicles, consider doing the same with them.
With Tradify you can create a QR code, print it onto a sticker or magnet, and allow customers to contact you just by scanning the code.
Tweed Electrical's trucks have a QR code linking to their Tradify enquiry form.
Place a print ad
Remember, as an electrical business owner, you’re targeting a wide range of people – and not all of them will be connected with social media. An ad in your local newspaper will reach the eyes of those people, covering all your bases.
As much as we advocate for modern systems, we can’t deny that a good old-fashioned chat can spread the word of good business. Networking is a fool-proof method for growing your business. And what’s more, it won’t cost you a thing. Check your local area to see if there are any professional business networks running.
Use business cards
Although a lot of your business is going to come through your website and other online channels, there’s still room for the business card. Keep a few on hand for when you find yourself chatting to a prospective customer, or pop them into your neighbours’ mailboxes next time you’re passing.
Look sleek in uniform
As an electrician, you’ll meet lots of potential clients every day. What better way to market your business than to wear the brand? A uniform or company t-shirt won’t break the bank, looks professional, and it’s an easy and effective way to spread awareness of your business.
9. Take a step back to reflect
When you own an electrical business, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the daily grind that you forget to pause and reflect. But this is an essential part of growing your business – and if you never review how you’re doing, you’ll never know how to grow.
Not sure how you’ll find the time? Below we’ve got some simple changes you can implement.
Let’s be frank – if you’re not on top of finances, the future of your business isn’t looking flash. But we’ve got some guides that can help keep things running smoothly. The most important thing is knowing where your budget is going, so you can see where you could rein things in and spend more wisely.
- Cash flow forecasting and profitability for trade businesses
- Small business break-even analysis for tradespeople
- Small business sales forecasting for tradespeople.
Take a holiday
We know what you’re thinking – how can I possibly take a holiday? I’ve got a business to run, jobs to manage and staff to train! We hear ya, but the thing is – taking a break is hugely beneficial to your business.
Not only is it important for you to switch off, but you might also find that some time away brings new inspiration or ideas for how to improve your business. Plus, it gives your staff a chance to take the reins, which is empowering for them – and will benefit your business long-term.
Chat with your staff
Without your staff, you have no business. When was the last time you checked in with them to see how they’re doing? Keeping a good rapport with your entire team is important for their productivity and development and it’ll help future-proof against mishaps. Make an effort to check in with every staff member at least once a month, and watch your business thrive because of it.
10. Time for change – pivot and grow
In every business, the time comes when the old ways of doing things don’t work anymore. Maybe it’s your staff arrangements, the services you provide or the audience you’re targeting – but whatever the case, you need to be resilient and proactively make changes when they’re needed.
Here are some things you can try:
Upskill yourself or your staff
If things are running a little slower than you’d like, you might want to consider upskilling. Investment in professional development is an investment in your business.
In today’s world, technology is changing all the time – and if you don’t keep up, you’ll get left behind. As an electrician, you should consider offering an EV charger installation service. EVs are the way of the future – and getting qualified to install the chargers now will see huge growth in your business. You can also find out if you’re eligible for the OLEV grant if you’re UK-based.
Shift your audience focus
A bold way to grow your electrical business is to expand to a new target market. Do your research and keep up to date on local developments or renovations in your area. That way, you’ll score the work before any other electrician gets in. Or, send out a special intro offer to a neighbourhood further afield to win the business of a completely new market.
Knuckle down on management
Most electricians start the old-fashioned way – jotting down job details using a notepad and pen. Problem is, you could be losing profit by forgetting to charge for extra materials, dropping client information and missing jobs – obviously, not good for business.
But there’s a better way. Tradify will help you keep tabs on jobs, manage staff efficiently and track your outgoings, so you can be sure you’re making a profit.
Get your business sparking
Establishing a new electrical business takes hours of blood, sweat and tears. There’s no point going through all of that if the business isn’t going to be a success. Your strategies for growing a business are even more important than the steps it takes to start one. With a few tweaks to your marketing, some time away to pause and reflect and a commitment to upskilling yourself and your staff, your business will be soaring.
When the jobs start rolling in, make sure you have a system that can scale with your growing business. Try a free 14-day Tradify trial now.