The foundation of success for an electrical business is having a good mix of clients, including residential and commercial clients. For many small businesses, gaining residential customers often seems like an easier task than securing contracts with larger companies.
There may be some truth to this idea, but there is a formula to gaining commercial clients. When followed correctly, you can expand your customer base and increase your earnings potential.
1. Look the Part
“Fake it until you make it” is a common saying to keep in mind when trying to attract large commercial clients. In terms of appearance, there should be no difference between your small business and a larger electrical company. Good branding, crisp uniforms and the right equipment establish a sense of professionalism and creditability.
On the opposite end, a poor image can look like a risk. In addition to a good on-site appearance, maintain a positive look online. A positive online presence can also position you as a more established and trustworthy business, which are important factors for commercial clients.
2. Offer Service Packages
While residential clients like simplicity, commercial customers will demand it. In addition to electrical services, they are dealing with HVAC contractors, IT professionals and landscapers, among other service professionals. Commercial clients have a lot to think about, and they don’t have a lot of time for guesswork. They have a need and require a quick and total solution.
When you offer service packages, you efficiently satisfy this requirement. Service packages can range from diagnosis and repair services to annual inspections. In addition to servicing the client, these service packages can also protect your cash flow as they often come along with an annual, quarterly or monthly payment.
3. Engage in Good Communication Practices
A disheartening fact about your business is that there is always someone waiting in the distance to do what you failed to do. Commercial clients are less likely to track you down than the average residential client. A small electrical business that fails to return calls within a proper window or doesn’t follow up to ensure job satisfaction is displaying poor communication practices.
Excellent communication shows you don’t just care about securing contracts but also care about satisfying customers. Regular communication also says you’re available. When a customer has a future need, they are more apt to remember the business that was readily standing by and available.
4. Be Realistic
Yes, you were encouraged to fake it until you make it. However, there is a balance with this idea. You can look the part of a large electrical business, but don’t make false promises. For example, if you’re a small, five-person team, draft a proposal that is based on the realistic labor abilities of a team this size.
If you promise a completion date that would require a team at least twice this size, you’re setting yourself up for failure. A commercial client would be far more pleased with you stating that the project is going to take ten days than promising seven and delivering in ten. Remember, you often only have one chance to do it right.
5. Maintain Long-Term Relationships
Once you start securing commercial contracts, work hard to keep a good relationship with these businesses for as long as you can. When it comes to the products and services they offer, businesses are highly competitive and want to stand out from the pack. However, when it comes to fundamental things like electrical needs, they are more apt to follow the lead of a competitor.
This idea is especially the case if the electrician did great work for the other business. Keep a portfolio of past commercial work to show each new potential client as a reference and validation of your experience and knowledge.
A focus on training and following these tips will help your business excel and attract more commercial clients. Contact IEC of Greater Cincinnati for more information on our training programs.