When it comes to DIY, most people draw the line at electrics. In fact, a study by the ECA found that almost three-quarters of homeowners wouldn’t attempt electrical work themselves. There’s a clear market out there for professionals and a rather lucrative one at that. With more and more of our lives becoming dependent on switches and circuits, and less and less of us being able to attend to this need, electrical contractors have the power to charge the rates they want.
Becoming an electrical contractor isn’t something you can do overnight – it takes training and some marketing to get yourself out there. If you’re interested in electrics and you’re eager to get your foot in the door, here are some of the steps you can take.
Various courses are available in electronics. Depending on your target market and the complexity of electrics that you want to deal with, a degree can even come in handy. Generally, though, a basic access course should be enough to get you some work experience.
It’s during work experience that you’ll gain the bulk of your knowledge. Whilst many electrical companies take on experienced staff, many are also willing to take on trainees, as many jobs aren’t so much complex but take a lot of hours to do.
To start your own electrics business and become an electrical contractor, you will need to be registered. License laws differ all over the world (particularly in the US, where each state has its own rules), but generally require you to have worked for a certain period of time and demonstrated a certain aptitude in the trade. From here on, you can then start your own business, start charging your own rates and choosing your own jobs.
You will need to network with other handyman companies, such as builders and plumbers, who can recommend your services when you are needed. Having a strong online presence is also important with few people using phonebooks to book up electricians any more – some companies specialize in electrical contractor website design and will be able to help with your needs. Feel free to pursue other forms of marketing such as leafleting and news ads, as these are also common ways of discovering handymen.
Working for yourself, you will need to invest in your own tools including pliers and screwdrivers. You will also need your own vehicle for getting from job to job and enough space to put any tools (ladders, safety cones). Buying these gradually before taking the step to become an electrical contractor can cheapen the startup cost.
Eventually, you may wish to employ your own employees in order to expand your business. You will then be responsible for various insurance and licensing that you may need for your staff. Make sure that you can afford all this before taking the decision to hire someone else to avoid a shock on your bank account.
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