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Old 02-10-2020, 01:58 AM   #21
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Thanks for all the replies, that's a lot to take in. Tbh I feel like we got a bit off topic and want to just give my thoughts on all this.

If I hadn't had positive experiences with GCs in the past I wouldn't bother courting them naturally. I Have a heavy background in custom homes and the like before going out on my own and to spend my time doing service calls and smaller renos feels like a bit of a waste, although there's nothing wrong with any of that, I just feel less fulfilled professionally.

I understand peoples concerns with those difficult reps that will readily sandbag you rather than just deal with a shifting project, but I feel like open discussion at the start of the process should circumvent a lot of that. There's one GC in my area that has a sub-contractor handbook that lays out all the expectations and requirements of working with them. It's about 30 pages long and while I was assured it wasn't a contract, had everything a contract would require on it down to dates and signatures, the whole bit. It was a bit disconcerting to begin with but proved to be ironclad. It was unique, but in the end protected everyone.

None of this really answered the question about how to approach a prospective client. Referrals by other trades, sifting to find that one decent employee, these things are self evident, although I thank everyone for their contribution to the max of course.

Telsa and Nobot came closest but I'm still curious, just what is the most effective method in the groups experience for getting something going on a cold call/email? What is it I should say/provide?
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Old 02-10-2020, 02:21 AM   #22
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Ever heard the saying "People buy from people they know, like, and trust"?

Cold calling is completely ineffective, unless you're planning on developing that relationship by consistently calling after the initial introduction.

You're best with an introduction. That means starting to communicate with anyone/everyone and asking for introductions and referrals. In your case, you want to talk to other subs about who they work with. If you do some service work, ask who did their new kitchen, etc. etc. etc.

This will take time, but once a referral ball gets rolling, it will keep bringing work in.
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Old 02-10-2020, 06:25 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by uberdog View Post
Thanks for all the replies, that's a lot to take in. Tbh I feel like we got a bit off topic and want to just give my thoughts on all this.

If I hadn't had positive experiences with GCs in the past I wouldn't bother courting them naturally. I Have a heavy background in custom homes and the like before going out on my own and to spend my time doing service calls and smaller renos feels like a bit of a waste, although there's nothing wrong with any of that, I just feel less fulfilled professionally.

I understand peoples concerns with those difficult reps that will readily sandbag you rather than just deal with a shifting project, but I feel like open discussion at the start of the process should circumvent a lot of that. There's one GC in my area that has a sub-contractor handbook that lays out all the expectations and requirements of working with them. It's about 30 pages long and while I was assured it wasn't a contract, had everything a contract would require on it down to dates and signatures, the whole bit. It was a bit disconcerting to begin with but proved to be ironclad. It was unique, but in the end protected everyone.

None of this really answered the question about how to approach a prospective client. Referrals by other trades, sifting to find that one decent employee, these things are self evident, although I thank everyone for their contribution to the max of course.

Telsa and Nobot came closest but I'm still curious, just what is the most effective method in the groups experience for getting something going on a cold call/email? What is it I should say/provide?
OK buddy, I think I got what your asking now.

TBH, I personally would knock on doors, do cold calls or something along those lines. Straight face to face, shake hands type of stuff. However, thats how small time guys do it.

I worked for a guy who was very involved in "smoozing & boozing" his prospects (customers). While it did prove to be incredibly effective, it bothered me quite a bit. No matter how you looked at it, his customers really only cared about working with him cause he paid their tabs and took them out for swanky lunches. I didn't stay there long and Im glad.

If custom homes is what you know inside and out, then go introduce yourself to some custom home builders. Show up looking nice, but not too nice. Have a price book available to give him and talk about some projects you've been on an whatever. Shoot the bull. Ask him if his current electrician is swamped and if he needs a 2nd tier guy to handle what his other guy can't.

And forget about talking to tract home builders! But I'll assume you already know that.
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Old 02-10-2020, 08:17 PM   #24
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OK buddy, I think I got what your asking now.

TBH, I personally would knock on doors, do cold calls or something along those lines. Straight face to face, shake hands type of stuff. However, thats how small time guys do it.

I worked for a guy who was very involved in "smoozing & boozing" his prospects (customers). While it did prove to be incredibly effective, it bothered me quite a bit. No matter how you looked at it, his customers really only cared about working with him cause he paid their tabs and took them out for swanky lunches. I didn't stay there long and Im glad.

If custom homes is what you know inside and out, then go introduce yourself to some custom home builders. Show up looking nice, but not too nice. Have a price book available to give him and talk about some projects you've been on an whatever. Shoot the bull. Ask him if his current electrician is swamped and if he needs a 2nd tier guy to handle what his other guy can't.

And forget about talking to tract home builders! But I'll assume you already know that.
When I was starting out, I used to go onto Custom home building sites, and introduce myself, and ask to bid. Also called a lot of the regular builders that did that type of work. I did alright with some of these guys, and got screwed by some.

Now I run from it.
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Old 02-11-2020, 12:01 AM   #25
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OK buddy, I think I got what your asking now.

TBH, I personally would knock on doors, do cold calls or something along those lines. Straight face to face, shake hands type of stuff. However, thats how small time guys do it.

I worked for a guy who was very involved in "smoozing & boozing" his prospects (customers). While it did prove to be incredibly effective, it bothered me quite a bit. No matter how you looked at it, his customers really only cared about working with him cause he paid their tabs and took them out for swanky lunches. I didn't stay there long and Im glad.

If custom homes is what you know inside and out, then go introduce yourself to some custom home builders. Show up looking nice, but not too nice. Have a price book available to give him and talk about some projects you've been on an whatever. Shoot the bull. Ask him if his current electrician is swamped and if he needs a 2nd tier guy to handle what his other guy can't.

And forget about talking to tract home builders! But I'll assume you already know that.
Well I'm pretty sure that simply dropping in is going to be inefficient. I was thinking sending out some tracked emails and calling those that I could see have opened it.

"smoozing and boozing" won't work. I don't drink.

I'm already in touch with a couple of custom builders that's looking pretty good. I'm not sure what a tract home builder is though. I live in Canada, and I'm originally from the UK so there's a couple of hoops to jump through there.
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Old 02-11-2020, 02:13 AM   #26
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And forget about talking to tract home builders! But I'll assume you already know that.
Never mind, I looked it up. I'm not certain that's a style of building going on in my local market. Spec and custom, that would cover it. I'm absolutely certain it would be very difficult to make any money from tract builder.
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Old 02-11-2020, 02:50 AM   #27
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Get a boat and join the Yacht Club. My dad taught me that trick when I was a little kid. He wasn't in construction or electrical, but he got tons of connections and sales out of joining the yacht clubs. Better clients mostly as well. Well off clients. We were in the Windsor Yacht Club, and later the one downtown Ft. Myers Florida.
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Old Today, 02:59 PM   #28
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Avoiding the GC or no GC debate - the best thing to do is simply to send them an email with your W9, COI, WC insurance, and simply state that you are an established business that has heard good things about the work they do and if possible would love to offer your electrical services and work with such a great company.

Give them the info they will need, butter them up and move in for the kill.

A couple DON’Ts

Do Not offer or perform work for less than what you would normally charge for the sake of building a relationship with the contractor.

Do Not go into any work without a written contract detailing a specific scope of work and one that also addresses anything outside the scope of work.

I keep 1 or 2 good GC with great community relationships in my back pocket. They think that I’m in their pocket but I call the shots and reap the benefits of referrals and good profitable work. I do not take every job they ask me to do. A good GC has several electrical contractors he works with. They won’t place all their eggs in one basket and you shouldn’t either.
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Old Today, 05:08 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by LibertyRising View Post
Avoiding the GC or no GC debate - the best thing to do is simply to send them an email with your W9, COI, WC insurance, and simply state that you are an established business that has heard good things about the work they do and if possible would love to offer your electrical services and work with such a great company.

Give them the info they will need, butter them up and move in for the kill.

A couple DON’Ts

Do Not offer or perform work for less than what you would normally charge for the sake of building a relationship with the contractor.

Do Not go into any work without a written contract detailing a specific scope of work and one that also addresses anything outside the scope of work.

I keep 1 or 2 good GC with great community relationships in my back pocket. They think that I’m in their pocket but I call the shots and reap the benefits of referrals and good profitable work. I do not take every job they ask me to do. A good GC has several electrical contractors he works with. They won’t place all their eggs in one basket and you shouldn’t either.
Boom!
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Old Today, 06:24 PM   #30
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It's all about timing. Many good contractors work with the same subs for years. Hearing that a sub is retiring or having problems is the right time to meet them.
Taking this to the next level: work up a data base WRT your peers.

Flag the ECs that are well along in years... and their associated GCs.

Often enough, their seniority can be deduced by way of their contractor's license number.

Obviously, look for small shops with old numbers.

And, bad health can strike at any time.
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Old Today, 06:46 PM   #31
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It takes time to get to know people, but you need to start somewhere.
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