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    16 Replies Latest reply on Jun 10, 2008 3:27 PM by DFS_COLLECTS

    Bad Rap!

    elsa401 Wayfarer

      Hi everyone, my name is Eric. Five years ago I decided to start my own electrical business. At the time I was working for a very large contractor a nd doing side work in the evening. I was in the service dept. of the company and got an up close view of the money that could be generated on my own. I decided to go into business full time for myself and spent the next two years working literally 18 hours a day and night in the field and another 2 hours a day doing paper work. I know alot of you have probably done the same thing, so I imagine you will apreciate my story.
      During this time my wife and I had two beautiful children. While in the hospital recovering from the delivery of my second daughter my wife realized that her legs were not functioning as normal. The doctors reassured us that it was the medicine used in the spinal and everything would be alright. One month later she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and totally changed our families financial outlook for the future. Finally it got to the point where she was unable to work full time due to mobility and being overly exhausted from doing minmal tasks. At this time I am truly blessed to tell you that she is doing very well but still unable to work full-time. This put alot of pressure on me to support my family single handedly.
      Every small contractor is in search of that solid contact that continually provides you with leads that turn into positve sales. Well, 3 years into business, while doing some local networking, I found mine. It was a very large home improvement store. Home Depot. From that first lead until now they have been my bread and butter contract so to speak. I was fortunate to meet other contractors who had the business ethic as myself. When I decided to go into business for myself I decided right from the start that I would be honest, give the customer the best product I could supply , and the customer was always right. Over the course of these last 3 years , I have been involved in atleast 1500 remodel jobs and rarely ever get a complaint. When we on occassion don't see eye to eye with a customer we try to settle the issue quickly as possible and get on our way. The same goes for the other contractors invloved.
      In November of this year, a disgruntled customer decided to call local media about a dispute she had with a contractor and they televised the expose. In a matter of minutes I literally watched all the hard work that myself and other good contractors have done go down the drain. Since that televised complaint sales have declined dramatically for everyone involved in our little network. Luckily, because of our relationship with past clients we still get a decent amount of work through word of mouth.
      The moral of my story is I wish that people would stop to think of the reprocussions of there actions before they do something like this out of anger. Alot of morally sound business owners are struggling now because of this situation.
      While there are alot of bad things happening because of this situation, some good also is happening. For instance, for 3 years I was basically on auto pilot and followed the flow of work. Now, because I have to throw my cards up in the air again I found this site. I have contacted property management companies and sent thank you notes to over 1000 customers with discounted offerings.
      Does anyone have any other suggestions or advice that may beneficial to a struggling electrician looking for that next big customer? Also, I may be tossing around the idea of getting a home equity line of credit for those slow periods.
        • Re: Bad Rap!
          guru2008 Wayfarer
          Eric my first thoughts are for your family do you have health insurance? I would also like to know if you can remember the television station that aired the bad P/R. I know quite a few small to medium sized electrical contractors and most of the are seeing a decline in thier businesses too. Industrial electricians don't seem to be affected by the slowing construction cycle were in, but are specialized to preform this type of work ,Cost Plus, courtesy hours, filling in for regular staff. And last a line of Credit is a great source for working capital and managed properly can ease the lets say "BUMPS IN THE ROAD"
          • Re: Bad Rap!
            Iwrite Pioneer
            Eric,

            If the complaint was not with you then you may want to talk with the reporter, explain your story and see if they can help. This is a long shot but I have seen it happen. Good press is just as powerful as bad press. And your story is a great human interest story.

            Have you talked with Home Depot? Address the issue with them.
              • Re: Bad Rap!
                elsa401 Wayfarer
                Thank you for your input.
                I don't know what store or contractor this particular person used but when there is an issue with one of our clients the problem is solved quickly. As I stated in another forum post, I think I am just frustrated with trying to run a legitimate and honest business in Maryland. It is so expensive. As a homeowner as well, it is almost unaffordale to hire a licensed and insured contractor to work in your home. Hopefully there is a little relief out there in the future.
              • Re: Bad Rap!
                moogrdotcom Wayfarer
                Good contractors are hard to come by and electricians more so. The problem i have experienced is many electric contracting companies just seem to pump & dump - hirring students from local vo-tech schools, pump them into a project and dump them in the end. I mean it hasn't been just one or two major electric contracting companies but almost EVERY ONE of them i've dealt with. I know people IN the industry and they're doing EVERYTHING they can to get out or go solo. Its like these companies thrive off creating a disasterous work ethic merely to keep labor costs down and profits high.
                  • Re: Bad Rap!
                    elsa401 Wayfarer
                    You and are partly correct about the "pump and dump" scenario with LARGE contractors. Some will accept a project that is too large for their workforce and fill out it with bodies. I have been a victim of this myself.
                    I am a small company who really does have interest in whether or not the customer is completely satisfied. I want to establish a long term relationship with my clients.
                    This was my first posting and was a little concerned aout whether or not I could convey my thoughts into text and get my point across. I guess I am just alittle frustrated with how tough it is operate a legitimate business in Maryland in general. I find myself trying to explain why it costs $100.00 to put in a .30cent outlet more and more often. I think it is ludicrus too but everyone has their hands in your pockets and as a business owner you have to pass the costs to the customer.
                  • Re: Bad Rap!
                    DomainDiva Ranger
                    You need to get on the phone and call everyone you did work for and get some atta boy letters. Then make a reference book with those letters. Theres also Lowes as well as HDepot. What about some of the smaller hardware stores? What about putting up some info at the Senior Citizens Center? Seniors are always looking for someone they can depend on and that is a referral system worth its' weight in gold.

                    You could make up an 8x10 flier with your info and some of the atta boy comments on it. Put those everywhere. Make postcards and get your friends to help you blanket neighborhood(s) with them on doors (it's how we found our dog groomer).

                    MS is devastating. I have RA & DBD in my back...after the Vioxx and Celebrex did not work I decided on diet and nutritionals against the doctors orders but I am still not in the wheelchair that he predicted I would be in 3 years ago. Have you investigated any alternative remedies to go along with the medicines? Good nutrition never hurt anyone.
                      • Re: Bad Rap!
                        elsa401 Wayfarer
                        Thanks for responding! I am sorry to hear you are dealing with a life altering disease as well. We try to keep our heads up and keep on gettin it!!! My wife is a very strong woman and pulls more than her weight. She does a little billing from home as well as raises our two daughters. She just doesn't have the stamina to hold down a 9-5 job.
                        Thanks for your advice. I have done all the obvious tricks to drum up business. Iam just trying to stick in there and let things unfold.
                      • Re: Bad Rap!
                        LUCKIEST Guide
                        elsa, Every business has a story and every businessman can tell you a tale or two.
                        Good Electricians will survive. Everybody is always looking for a good, Accountant, Lawyer, Electrician,
                        Plumber, Painter. You get the idea. GOOD Professional business people are in demand.
                        You have to overcome the Bad Rap and maybe even turn it around and use it to your benefit.
                        Do you know about SCORE. SCORE can help you FREE prepare a Business and Marketing Plan.
                        Good luck, LUCKIEST

                         

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                        • Re: Bad Rap!
                          Remodeler Newbie
                          Eric,
                          I own a small remodeling business and I contract with several electricans to perform residential remodeling projects. Over the holidays, my wife's kidneys quit and she was in the hospital... it was very frightening for a few days. My prayers are with you. She is much better now and on the way to full recovery. Thanks to modern medician!
                          I was in the corporate world for 25 years and after getting laid off, I decided to start my own small remodeling company. I have witnessed first hand the need for effective business management in the construction industry, so I put together a program to help small remodelers. I realized that the program can also help the sub trades as well. I am pleased to report that Remodeling Magazine has published my program on-line and it is free! Please go to www.remodelingmagazine.com and click on web videos, then go to "The Balanced Business" link. The program is 16 minutes long and it explores every aspect of running a remodeling company. Most of it applies to you as well. Please take a look and see it it helps you. Please let me know. Best of luck.
                          • Re: Bad Rap!
                            FCPainter Adventurer
                            Are things picking up? Anything we can do to help?
                              • Re: Bad Rap!
                                DFS_COLLECTS Newbie
                                Prime Time Electric (Eric) did work for my wife and I in a condo we had in Columbia, MD. Very professional and straightforward pricing, not to mention excellent work. I am sorry to hear of the bad rap and downturn in business. We recently moved to Bel Air, MD. I will be giving Eric a call within the next few weeks as we have a bit of electrical work that needs to be done in our new home. It is good to have solid contractors you can trust and you know are giving you a fair deal. I will do all I can to recommend you to our neighbors and friends. You will be hearing from me soon.

                                I actually did a Google search to find Eric's number which is how I came across this site. Decided to sign up myself as I am in the process of starting my own Commercial Collection business. Also figured I would give a compliment to Eric & Prime Time Electric.