5 handy tips for a versatile electrical business

Clipsal - by Schneider Electric

Friday, 10 September, 2021

5 handy tips for a versatile electrical business

In Australia’s trades playground, now more than ever, electricians need to be agile and versatile to successfully operate year round. Today, the ability to adapt to the changing needs of the market are a must.

“If recent times have shown electricians anything, it’s that the market can change dramatically without warning. For some areas, government restrictions have seen work dry up, but for others it has created huge opportunities,” said electrical contractor and Stoddart Electrical business owner Ryan Stoddart.

“Changing with the times is nothing new and we’ve always remained agile to meet seasonality in the market, new legislation, rising tech trends and more.”

Stoddart has several key insights that electricians can use to foster versatility in electrical businesses — from identifying opportunities, to getting the information they need to stay ahead.

1. Identify the workflow peaks

“Observing the seasonality of the market, we’ve noticed that commercial jobs happen before the end of the financial year, then Aussie homeowners begin to think about home improvement after their tax return and in the lead-up to Christmas,” Stoddart said.

“Study your customer base — are there any trends in consumer behaviour year on year? What products are selling well? Are customers energy efficiency or design driven?”

Maintaining a steady workflow can be difficult for small to medium businesses given the current climate. Stoddart recommends remaining versatile by offering a multitude of services including commercial, residential, industrial, solar, communications or security — as having a broader range can help sparkies stay in work.

2. Know your gaps, as much as your expertise

“As an apprentice, my dad would tell me ‘If it’s not right, we’re not doing it’ and I still stick by it today,” Stoddart said.

“Your business should only flex as far as your skills allow. It’s better to walk away from a job if you can’t give it 100%. Having the courage to walk away from jobs that aren’t a good fit will show you where you can flex and where you need to learn for the future.”

3. Listen and learn from everyone

“As experts in our field it’s important to realise that we should still be learning. Where possible, I like to talk to a wide range of people, as understanding our industry from a range of perspectives helps to find new ways to adapt and remain versatile that I simply wouldn’t have otherwise seen,” Stoddart said.

“It’s like I always tell my team, ‘you’ve got two ears and one mouth — use your ears more than your mouth and listen to those around you’.”

4. Keep your finger on the industry pulse

“Growing up with Stoddart Electrical, I’ve seen the industry move through regulatory changes, upgraded safety protocols and the move to cutting-edge green technology — the list goes on,” Stoddart said.

“It’s important to keep a good network of peers and ensure you have access to industry-leading information sources. For instance, through a Club Clipsal scholarship program, I travelled to Hobart for the Master Electricians conference and toured Clipsal facilities in Adelaide. By being around like-minded sparkies and industry leaders, we are armed with the information we need to adapt to changes as they arise.”

5. Embrace new technology

COVID-19 isn’t the only big change in the industry — the rise of smart home technology has changed the way we look at properties, and is expected to more than double from a $1.26 billion market in 2019 to $4.8 billion by 2024.

“By embracing new tech like Clipsal Wiser Smart Home, we’ve opened up our business exponentially. We let customers know we can add to their smart tech system progressively with building block tech like Iconic switches and sensor ranges. More often than not, as we finish the job, customers will come back with a list of new places for installations to create a more interconnected system,” Stoddart said.

“We’ve found versatility empowers our business to ride the peaks of each season and every job is a chance to grow and set the industry bar high.”

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