Every business has its ups and downs and electricians are no different. There will be times when you can barely keep up with the work, and then there will be times when you’re scrambling to find enough work to keep the lights on. But do you know what you can do to prepare for the lean times, so you aren’t trying to negotiate with the water company to prevent a shut-off?
When the gettin’s good, prepare for when it’s not. In other words, the best time to start planning for bad times is when times are good. Here are a few things you can do to make the lean times a little less stressful.
Why Plan for Bad Times?
The short, and slightly snarky, response: Because it’s crazy not to. It doesn’t matter how successful your business is, or how stellar a reputation you have. You could be the best electrician on the planet, but if no one has the money to hire you and no one is building houses, you’re not going to have work. And when (not if – when) that happens, do you really want to deal with a dwindling bank account and praying for the economy to bounce back? At least if you prepare for bad times, you’ll stand a fighting chance of coming out the other side with your business intact.
Save Your Money
Did you finish a contract ahead of schedule and get a bonus because of it? Instead of spending it on something you don’t immediately need, put that money in your savings account, or use it to purchase some other type of investment. If things go south on you down the line, having a nest-egg to fall back on with keep the panic at bay and help you avoid making hasty decisions fueled by that panic.
Use Sales to Your Advantage
Get stuff on sale. There’s no shame in waiting for equipment to go on sale before you buy it. If you need it now and it’s not on sale, it can’t hurt to try and negotiate a sales price, either. The money you save by buying things at a discount can be used to shore up the bank account and ensure you have enough to tide the business over until things improve.
Let Everyone Know Everything You Can Do
You’ve undoubtedly heard this saying at least once in your life. It’s a solid idea. Yes, you’re an electrician and a damn fine one, we’re sure. But even electricians might want to branch out into other areas.
For example, you might specialize in original wiring systems in new builds, but you might want to make sure potential customers know what else you can do too. Rewires, specialized lighting installations, outdoor wiring…it might seem like a “Well, duh, of course I can do all these things,” but ensuring that people know this before your residential new wiring gigs fall off is good – because then you won’t be in the thick of panic trying to reinvent yourself. Instead, you can just shift your focus and keep things moving.
Planning for when things go bad isn’t fun, but it’s a necessity of business. If you want your business to thrive and survive, you need a plan in place that will keep the coffers from running dry when business gets lean.