Being your own boss sounds ideal, right? Many people pursue trades training in the hopes of one day opening their own business.
Electrician students are no different. There is tremendous opportunity in specialty contracting, and if you have the right skillset, there’s no limit to how successful you can become as an entrepreneur.
But what is the “right skillset?” In addition to training and experience, what else will you need to launch and grow an electrician business? What should students know in advance about pursuing this career path?
In this post, we break down some of the pros and cons of starting an electrician business—and the key steps involved in making it a success.
Starting an Electrical Contracting Business: Benefits & Challenges
One of the greatest benefits of starting your own electrician business is obvious: being your own boss. You’ll set your own standards of excellence, decide how much work to take on, create your own schedule, and determine your own business goals. Best of all, you’ll reap all the profits of your hard work.
On the flip side (ironically), these main advantages of entrepreneurship are often the greatest source of stress! Being in charge means taking on much more responsibility, and extending your skills far beyond those required for electrical work.
Electricians who go solo must be ready to embrace risk, and prepared to build a brand new skillset that includes marketing and communications, business strategizing, accounting, and more.
Keeping a new business afloat and growing it at a healthy pace is challenging work. There will be ups and downs in terms of profitability, particularly as you compete with other electrical contractors, and deal with the ebbs and flows of the construction industry.
The truth is, you’ll work longer hours and harder as your own boss, than you did while working for someone else.
However, if you have leadership skills, a willingness to learn, and are ready for a challenge, starting your own electrical business could be the best career move you ever made. Think you’ve got what it takes?
Read on to explore the practical steps involved in getting your electrician business off the ground.
Key Steps to Launching an Electrician Business
First of all, you’ll need to complete mandatory electrician training and certification before even considering starting a contracting business.
In Ontario, this means taking some form of pre-apprenticeship training, completing an electrician apprenticeship, passing the Certificate of Qualification Exam for electricians, and registering in the Ontario College of Trade’s Journeyperson Class.
You may also want to earn a Red Seal designation for electricians, to add to your territorial certificate. The Red Seal stands for a high standard of excellence, which is recognized all across Canada, and could help your future business stand out.
But before you consider going out on your own, it’s advisable to gain a few years of experience working for a contracting business or construction company. This way, you’ll continue to build your skills while learning some of the logistics of business management.
Once you’re trained, certified, and have a few years of experience under your belt, you’ll be ready to go solo. These are some of the key steps you’ll need to tackle next:
- decide whether you’ll purchase a franchise or build your own brand from scratch
- determine which federal, provincial, and municipal permits and licenses you’ll need for your business
- create a business plan (which will include both short and long-term goals, a budget, strategies for attracting clients, where financing will come from, and information on your target market)
- develop marketing strategies (you will need a website and one or two social media profiles, perhaps some online advertising, and an email communication strategy)
- find electrical suppliers that provide quality products at reasonable prices
- get insurance for your business
- if you plan to hire, make sure you know your legal obligations as an employer
This is a daunting to-do list for any fledgling business owner. That’s why it’s essential to get some help. Before you make a move to start your own electrician business, talk to other successful contractors. Get their advice, learn from their mistakes, and ask for useful contacts.
Ultimately, you may need to hire someone to help with the marketing side, particularly when it comes to setting up a website, social media presence, online ads, and other digital tactics.
You may also need part-time help with accounting and tax preparation. The mentors you connect with should be able to point you toward the best people to hire.
Most importantly, ensure you have the support of close friends and family. Entrepreneurship sounds like a solo endeavor—but it’s really a team sport. You’ll need good people behind you to make your new electrician business a success.
Consider the Pre-apprenticeship Training (PAT) Institute’s Construction and Maintenance Electrician Program, delivered at both the Cambridge and Toronto locations.
Click below to visit the program page, browse a list of electrician courses, learn about admissions—or chat live with a friendly advisor. We’ll help you get started!