How to start up an electrical installation business

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Electrical contractors install wiring and fuses, maintain current wiring and upgrade electrical systems as needed for construction, commercial or residential properties. They are highly trained, with years of classroom instruction, on-the-job training or a combination of the two. To start your own contracting business, you'll either need to become certified or hire certified electricians.

Obtain the necessary licenses to operate on your own, if you are already employed or trained as an electrician. Otherwise, hire qualified electricians who hold current licenses. Most states require that electricians hold a contractor's license, in addition to an electrician or master license. Your state may require that you have a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. Additionally, you will need to demonstrate knowledge in electrical theory, the National Electrical Code, and local electric and building codes. You'll also need to provide proof of liability insurance and a current business license.

If you've fallen behind with industry regulations, enrol in a training course. AVO Training Institute offers dozens of courses including the National Electric Code course, which is designed to help electricians meet state and federal requirements.

Purchase commercial insurance, bonding coverage and workers' compensation. Aflac and Aspen Insurance Agency are two insurance companies listed on the Electrical Contractors Business Association's (ECBA) site.

Hire electricians. It may be much more cost-effective to hire an apprentice or trainee. Implement a safety training programme to show to new hires.

Purchase a commercial vehicle, safety gear, uniforms and tools. The nature of the electrical work will dictate the type of tools needed but basic must-have tools include pliers, screwdrivers, nut drivers, wire strippers, fishing tools, measuring tape, labelling machines, power drills, driver, hammers, drills and power saws. You'll also need circuit breakers, panelboards, switchboards, enclosures, lighting and fuses. Establish relationships with the managers at local home and garden stores. For cosmetic supplies such as lights and fixtures, clients will probably direct you to Home Depot or Lowes.

Learn how the bidding process works in order to be able to bid on and win contracts. Ensure that you have enough manpower, tools and equipment to get the job done in the time allotted. Also make sure you understand the severity of the job by reviewing wiring plans, the current state of the wiring and the necessary fixtures. Purchase bidding and project management software solutions for electrical contractors designed to help you create accurate and winning bids. Or check out books "The Sweets Electrical Cost Guide" and "National Electrical Estimator" to help you get a better idea of creating accurate estimates and writing a professional proposal. For a basic and free bidding overview, visit

Introduce yourself to site managers at construction sites and ask about hiring you for their electrical work. For residential work, contact landlords in your area. Network with other contractors and agree to exchange services and clients.

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