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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been in Bus for 23 yrs, started out just working for General contractors, in both commercial, and residential . Now at 52yrs old, I've turned more into a service contractor, and enjoy troubleshooting.
Pricing, and having a concious, have always been a hard one for me. But now with the tough economy, I'm in survival mode. I agree with unit pricing, and no more T&M. My rates is usually between $85.00/ hr and $100. I am blown away, by reading what you people are able to get. I am skilled, and can usually diagnose a problem in my head over the phone call. I work from a referral base, but my contractors are all slow, and my service calls are slower, because of the economy.

Any pointers for marketing would be appreciated. I used to run a small ad in the yellow pages years ago, never tried flyers. I've never had a problem getting work, until now ? Located in So Cal.
 

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RIP 1959-2015
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I've been in Bus for 23 yrs, started out just working for General contractors, in both commercial, and residential . Now at 52yrs old, I've turned more into a service contractor, and enjoy troubleshooting.
Pricing, and having a concious, have always been a hard one for me. But now with the tough economy, I'm in survival mode. I agree with unit pricing, and no more T&M. My rates is usually between $85.00/ hr and $100. I am blown away, by reading what you people are able to get. I am skilled, and can usually diagnose a problem in my head over the phone call. I work from a referral base, but my contractors are all slow, and my service calls are slower, because of the economy.

Any pointers for marketing would be appreciated. I used to run a small ad in the yellow pages years ago, never tried flyers. I've never had a problem getting work, until now ? Located in So Cal.

You old Bat..I'm 51..:laughing:

Have you looked into a Google ad,,,,How about a web site,,


Most people just google "Electrician in your town" and start calling around.

The two big books don't work anymore and they charge big bucks for little or no return..

As with any advertising do not sign contracts because if they do not deliver you will still have to pay them in full.

Things are very slow in most states right now so stay in the survival mode untill further notice..Good luck..:)

Welcome to the forum Enjoy the fun..:thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You old Bat..I'm 51..:laughing:

Have you looked into a Google ad,,,,How about a web site,,


Most people just google "Electrician in your town" and start calling around.

The two big books don't work anymore and they charge big bucks for little or no return..

As with any advertising do not sign contracts because if they do not deliver you will still have to pay them in full.

Things are very slow in most states right now so stay in the survival mode untill further notice..Good luck..:)

Welcome to the forum Enjoy the fun..:thumbup:
Yeah the Goggle seach used to work great for me, but the people that Optimize the search engines figured out how to lower me down the list. I still get some from that, and none from a website I have, because I was too cheap to pay the Optimizing monthly fees the host wanted :)

thanks for the greeting, and whats funny, You know your getting old, when you can answer a lot of the younger posters problems and questions.
 

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Resi Service Electrician
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I worked in So Cal (mainly San Diego County) and mainly for contractors who advertised in the yellow pages. I now work for a company who advertises on the internet, yellow pages, penny saver, etc.

I have found that the penny saver is all but a waste of money for the amount vs. money over time invested. Yellow pages, although expensive gives the best bang for the buck along side internet based ads. Most any other kind of advertisements I can think of go after a certain base customer which is usually expecting a lower rate or hand out service.

A few ideas that I will share are as follows.

1. If I find that a certain community has a certain problem (Zinsco, FPE panels, poorly wired doorbell/address sign, or something similar) I will do a small walk through handing out cards from door to door surrounding the customer I just did work at (usually about 12 or so). You might get a call every few times you try this, maybe even a job while you're on that block at the time, or no job at all but it does help and I have got work this way. It helps to just get into a habit of always having cards handed out for every call you go out on.

2. Vehicle being wrapped, or at least labeled with the company name and make sure that ELECTRIC, ELECTRICIAN, or the like is easily readable. Keep a neat truck and leave it wide open when at the local big box store. I have come across quite alot of small calls and a few decent size ones from someone stopping me asking "you and electrician?". Small I know, but it works pretty nice when you're just restocking the van waiting for calls to come in.

3. Turn on the professional, friendly electrician guy at all times when you're in the work vehicle or walking around town with a company shirt on. This is also small but gets work on it's own. I turn into the coolest guy in the world when I put my shirt on and jump in my van, and people notice; I let everyone cross the street in front of me, I let most everyone into my lane when they want over and I generally take it easy and am very courteous wherever I go.

As far as price goes; It really just boils down to what you KNOW you're worth and what the job is worth. If you are troubleshooting it doesn't matter how easy the job is for you to fix you have to consider what the average electrician with general experience would go through trying to find the problem and take pride in knowing that you're always going to find it faster and therefore need to get paid more hourly to find it because you will take up less of their time in doing so.
Another thing with service that gets me the most work I think is to never ever leave the job without recommending at least one thing that the customer needs, possibly wants, or you think they would like. I get more out of doing this than I do out of all other things put together. A customer only knows they want or need something when you let them know, so don't walk away from work... let them know! You are doing them a dis-service if you do not, in my opinion.

Know that there are electricians, and SERVICE electricians and the two are separated by a few things and all of which point toward service guys getting paid more. I take offense to being lumped up with the 'common electrician' personally. No offense guys. :jester:
 

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Resi Service Electrician
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You old Bat..I'm 51..:laughing:

Have you looked into a Google ad,,,,How about a web site,,


Most people just google "Electrician in your town" and start calling around.

The two big books don't work anymore and they charge big bucks for little or no return..

As with any advertising do not sign contracts because if they do not deliver you will still have to pay them in full.

Things are very slow in most states right now so stay in the survival mode untill further notice..Good luck..:)

Welcome to the forum Enjoy the fun..:thumbup:
The electrician (insert service area) google search is very good. Yellow pages to me is worth the money if you are at least one of the bigger catchier ads, otherwise it is not worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I worked in So Cal (mainly San Diego County) and mainly for contractors who advertised in the yellow pages. I now work for a company who advertises on the internet, yellow pages, penny saver, etc.


As far as price goes; It really just boils down to what you KNOW you're worth and what the job is worth. If you are troubleshooting it doesn't matter how easy the job is for you to fix you have to consider what the average electrician with general experience would go through trying to find the problem and take pride in knowing that you're always going to find it faster and therefore need to get paid more hourly to find it because you will take up less of their time in doing so.
Another thing with service that gets me the most work I think is to never ever leave the job without recommending at least one thing that the customer needs, possibly wants, or you think they would like. I get more out of doing this than I do out of all other things put together. A customer only knows they want or need something when you let them know, so don't walk away from work... let them know! You are doing them a dis-service if you do not, in my opinion.

Know that there are electricians, and SERVICE electricians and the two are separated by a few things and all of which point toward service guys getting paid more. I take offense to being lumped up with the 'common electrician' personally. No offense guys. :jester:
I do have a clean marked van for years, and got work from it, need to hand out more bus cards, never do that one, I hate the Pennysaver ads, the competition is usually, the starting out guys, and you wont win a price war there. I do have a problem smiling all the time though ! I am 52 yrs old, whats there to smile about ?
I need to definitley follow your last statement, reguarding suggesting work, I never do that !! And all mechanics do. it's like would you like fries, with that burger mentality. Good deal for both parties, Thanks for the tip, and I agree, a service Electrician usually has seen a lot ! I keep burned wiring, and such in my van, to show customers, what can happen, when the wrong guy, who doesn't care, does the work.
 

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Resi Service Electrician
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I do have a clean marked van for years, and got work from it, need to hand out more bus cards, never do that one, I hate the Pennysaver ads, the competition is usually, the starting out guys, and you wont win a price war there. I do have a problem smiling all the time though ! I am 52 yrs old, whats there to smile about ?
I need to definitley follow your last statement, reguarding suggesting work, I never do that !! And all mechanics do. it's like would you like fries, with that burger mentality. Good deal for both parties, Thanks for the tip, and I agree, a service Electrician usually has seen a lot ! I keep burned wiring, and such in my van, to show customers, what can happen, when the wrong guy, who doesn't care, does the work.
Oh, yes, and you reminded me of another good one; take pictures! Old crap burnt up, nice looking panels of all kinds, lighting jobs etc. Customers buy what they can see, if you show them what the panel will look like that you are recommending then they are more likely to go with it, if people see pictures of what has went wrong in the past to a certain type of wiring or device, they are more likely to picture it happening to theirs and they would rather have it fixed. The latter is not as common but having pics of jobs that are done (even if they're not your own but look like what you are recommending) can really help.

Ever since I started service, which was only about 3 years into my apprenticeship I never looked back. Service is always new and exciting, even though most jobs are similar they're never the same. Why smile? You're a service electrician, the pride of the industry, and you have a laid back schedule with people thanking you on a daily basis (well most of the time anyway :rolleyes: ). Are you going into every service call with a "damn how am I going to fake my way through this" mental state? I doubt it, you are a damn good electrician and believe it or not most electricians suck at fixing stuff and if you're good at it there is a reason to smile right there. :thumbup:
 

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Since you've been in business a long time you should have a large customer base. Do you hever email, mail or otherwise remind them that you are still in business and ready to do work for them? Just something I've heard about on here from time to time.
 

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Start with yourself and then expnd out. Look in the mirror what do you see? Are you clean cut? Do you have a neat appearance? Do you have a nice shirt with you company Loso on it?

Now look at your service vehicle is it a clunker or is it clean? Do you have a full Logo on the sides?

How are you getting your name out now? What have you done in the past and what were the results?

A service company needs phone book adds so you need to be in the major book the next few service calls ask them what phone book they use.

Leave magnet business cards with your customers to put on the fridge.

Start tracking your calls so you can tell what is working.

Start collecting money . a service call should pay on the spot. Start taking credit cards.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Since you've been in business a long time you should have a large customer base. Do you hever email, mail or otherwise remind them that you are still in business and ready to do work for them? Just something I've heard about on here from time to time.
I do have a large customer base, with repeat customers, I'm used to combining that with the builders. The builders are slow. I will have to do a mailing, reminding people that I'm still here.
 

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I do have a large customer base, with repeat customers, I'm used to combining that with the builders. The builders are slow. I will have to do a mailing, reminding people that I'm still here.
Get some AM radio adds going. Pound your name into peoples heads over and over. Oh yeah and one more thing. Double your rates, your walking right over money you leave on the ground for somebody else to collect at the rates you are charging, its not enough to hardly break even on. Price all your work upfront.
 

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I do have a large customer base, with repeat customers, I'm used to combining that with the builders. The builders are slow. I will have to do a mailing, reminding people that I'm still here.
The builders are a waste of time every one man shop is courting builders and they know it focus on the service end.
 

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Get some AM radio adds going. Pound your name into peoples heads over and over. Oh yeah and one more thing. Double your rates, your walking right over money you leave on the ground for somebody else to collect at the rates you are charging, its not enough to hardly break even on. Price all your work upfront.
Am is the biggest waste of advertising dollars unlessd your target market is farmers. Spend the extra and hit the FM stations many offer low cost sponsor adds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Start with yourself and then expnd out. Look in the mirror what do you see? Are you clean cut? Do you have a neat appearance? Do you have a nice shirt with you company Loso on it?

Now look at your service vehicle is it a clunker or is it clean? Do you have a full Logo on the sides?

How are you getting your name out now? What have you done in the past and what were the results?

A service company needs phone book adds so you need to be in the major book the next few service calls ask them what phone book they use.

Leave magnet business cards with your customers to put on the fridge.

Start tracking your calls so you can tell what is working.

Start collecting money . a service call should pay on the spot. Start taking credit cards.

Mr rewire, Appearance is fine, but I don't look like your profile picture with the tie, and hat.

I'm ok on some of your points. I used to track calls. The hard part, as many of you know, is dumping a chunk of your working capital on advertising. Years ago, before the net was so big, I ran a Yellow Pages business card size ad, basically broke even on a monthly basis, but built some strong contacts, I still have today.

My website gets beatin down the list, by the crafty google ad people, who use your name, and when it gets a hit, it shows guys from 50 miles in alll directions. (My bus. name is of my area)

These same people want me to pay a monthly fee, to "Optimize" my bus name. It's about an annual couple grand fee. This will keep your name near the top.

Never accepted credit cards. Could try that, but never had a problem with checks. Only had collection problems in the past, with the Builders as I'm sure many of you had, when things went sour, between the owner, and builder. Most services, purchases etc, run a credit check, young contractors have a hard time dealing with this aspect of the business.

A service plumber is always busy, because people have no choice, but to fix the problem. With some power issues, they can just run a cord for awhile, until the handy man, or gardener/I can anything guy is around. But that's a whole separate issue. Thanks to all, for the responses.
 

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Well I guess you want a peeing contest so here we go. Am radio audience- homeowner's . Fm radio audience- *******'s on crack mostly listening to rap music, and kids who want a nose ring, not an electrician to come over and fix the parent's problem electrical system...........
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Get some AM radio adds going. Pound your name into peoples heads over and over. Oh yeah and one more thing. Double your rates, your walking right over money you leave on the ground for somebody else to collect at the rates you are charging, its not enough to hardly break even on. Price all your work upfront.
Yeah, and I have corporate tax due, and liabilty insurance all due now ! I see your located in Hawaii. Is your target, commercial, or residential, or both ?

I recently paid an A/C Heating repair man $95.00 for diagnostic, then the bill worked up to $275. as he cleaned out the FAU, replace a thermal something. The biggest joke was, he wanted $175. to change the T-Stat ! A 15 min job, and a $65. Part ! But he wasn't shy to charge.
 

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Conduit Extraordinare
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Well I guess you want a peeing contest so here we go. Am radio audience- homeowner's . Fm radio audience- *******'s on crack mostly listening to rap music, and kids who want a nose ring, not an electrician to come over and fix the parent's problem electrical system...........

I have a friend in a different industry. He advertises on 5 am stations in our area. It has worked tremendously for him.

You are spot on.

O.P -
The kind of customers (demographic) you WANT listen to the am stations. Who is your "Target Market?" The am listeners are business owners, homeowners, etc. Now, that is a general statement, but, it is generally true. You have to play the percentages.

Look at the 4 "p's" of marketing.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The builders are a waste of time every one man shop is courting builders and they know it focus on the service end.


"Focus on the service end" Agree 100% !!!!! My Plumbing friend has been telling me that for years.


The builders also have no problem making you drive 1 hr to put a couple plates back on that the painters have lost ! Also just had another make me do a drive back, to inspect a wire, that got nailed by the stucco people. The nail missed all conductors, and just pierced the jacket. So I lost about 2.5 hrs with drive time. No one will pay for that one. If I charge, they will just give the next few jobs to the other contractor, that they use.
 

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Resi Service Electrician
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I feel your pain. I think once you start recommending stuff like panel replacements when needed (most are outdated or need work), circuit reconditioning/device replacements, new circuits etc. you will bring in the extra money so you get more out of your y/p ads. Also think of who is calling the small ads vs. the bigger ads because Anytime I have worked for a company with the bigger ads I have stayed busy but you have to first be prepared to maximize every call before you can start advertising that way or you will be burning money.

When advertising for a service company the biggest advertising that works usually means you have to spend money to make money unfortunately. You might even want to consider hiring someone that has done service work where he made decent sales (that's what profitable service is mainly, sales). Even a down economy with a okay tech should at least average $10,000mo. when it is slow (this varies of course from area to area) but after 2-3mo. I'm sure that will pay overhead and the y/p ad just from service calls.

Right now I'm in a new service area that our company just started advertising in so it's slower since not all the book are out yet and internet is just starting to show up. I average about $15,000mo. (only guy in my area might I add) with only part of the advertising dropped and I was just told last night that internet ads are up now (as I look over and see one of our ads on the sidebar under 'Ads by Google' :thumbsup: ) so business should be picking up even more so my numbers should at least jump by 50% within the next month or so. Man I miss the 90's to mid 2000's when $25,000 was considered slow for a good tech. :(
 

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Well I guess you want a peeing contest so here we go. Am radio audience- homeowner's . Fm radio audience- *******'s on crack mostly listening to rap music, and kids who want a nose ring, not an electrician to come over and fix the parent's problem electrical system...........
you can't argue that logic gee I guess you win.:rolleyes:
 
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