Why Are You Wearing Your Tools?

In Electrical Contracting Articles, Electrical Contracting Articles, Electrical Estimating Articles, ramblings by David Parden1 Comment

People start businesses everyday. Some people are driven by visions of grandeur or wealth. Others want freedom and flexibility that they perceive comes with owning their own company. Some are simply thrust into the situation without a lot of choice (yes that does happen)! The vast majority of the new electrical contractors are people who passed the test to receive their Master Electrician Certificate. Most likely they were high achievers within the trade and excellent electricians but being a good electrician has absolutely nothing to do with being a good electrical contractor.

A common denominator among an overwhelming percentage of new electrical contractors is failure to recognize the role of the Founder within the organization. I have said this many times before and it’s worth repeating. Several of the most successful companies I’ve worked for the President did not even possess a Master Electrician’s Certificate. These people would be successful regardless of whatever endeavor they pursued!

Businesses are successful because of the passion and determination of their President. It has nothing to do with their ability to bend pipe or recite electrical codes. The very first thing you must recognize when you start a business is that you are now a business person who happens to be in the business of Electrical Contracting.

If you are out pulling wire on a project, you aren’t doing your job! Your job is first and foremost is to bring new business to the table. You have to be the very best salesman your company has! That means operating with confidence. Confidence comes with knowing your sales pitch. If you do not know your sales pitch shame on you! Your sales pitch shouldn’t be bullshit but truthful information about your company and how the company does business.

The best way to get new business is to bid work, bid more work, and continue to bid work. It never stops….ever! Bidding work is like going to the casino and playing the slot machines. If you feed it enough quarters eventually something will land, but you can’t win if you don’t play. Mid size electrical contractors are bidding jobs daily. During the best of times most estimators only experienced about a 20% success rate. That’s one in five! If you bid one job a week that’s one job every five weeks. Unfortunately theses are not the best of times and you likely will have to bid more. Many more! You will not be able to do that if you are in the field running pipe.

To make matters worse estimating requires a fresh mind. I would recommend getting started earlier in the day. Estimate from 4:00 AM to 800 AM. Do not accept phone calls during this time. You will be amazed at how much work you can do with some peace and quiet coupled with a fresh mind. You might be getting an hour late start in the field but that is much better than neglecting your primary job!

Being in business is tough and it’s not for the faint of heart. If you conduct yourself as a business person first and not an Electrician, you will have much better odds of success.


  1. AMEN BROTHER!! Took me 3 years to get this into my head! With your training and guidance I can now start to run my business the way it’s supposed to be!

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