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#158757 08/19/06 07:36 AM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,064
Read this and compare it to all those books and companies who want to make you rich in electrical contracting.

Latest Estimating Cost Guides & Software:
#158758 08/19/06 10:56 PM
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 83
In response to Dnk's suggestion to read the article "Don't Get Suckered by eBay Scams" by Marsha Collier from

I'd like to take a moment to point out a few truths about this article.

In the section Myth #1: “You’ll Make Big Bucks!”

Hidden in these promises for money is an important fact: There's a difference between gross and net sales--something, it seems, that many of the people making these claims can't distinguish between. Business 101 tells us that gross sales means the total amount of money we take in, and net sales equals the money we have left over after deducting our costs of doing business. Ah, there's the rub! An eBay seller can climb their way to $150,000 a month Titanium Power Seller status, but remember: that status is based on gross sales! After deducting all their costs, their actual net sales may be much less.

This is key, you must charge for your services which include all materials costs, labour costs, estimating, overhead, vehicle expenses, insurance, lighting in the office, telephone, and all that other good stuff and Don’t Forget Profit. Does it make sense to work your guts out, let your family life slide, max out your credit cards all in the name of customer service and then have your business fail because you didn’t charge enough to cover your overhead and make a profit to set aside for your retirement?

In addition to that, a Titanium Power Seller (or any eBay seller) could be losing money by the bucketful and not realize it. And often many are!

This is true for many electrical contractors as well. We all know that electricians work hard, but why should they earn less than plumbers, carpenters, oil change techs or government employees? If you are not charging enough to cover your costs and allowing for some profit, you are losing money!

The higher the number of listings and the more money comes in, the more of a chance there is of mistaking busy work for success. Many sellers follow the common theory that they'll grow their businesses by listing thousands of items on eBay and watch the money roll in.

A common joke bantered around is “I’m losing money on every job, but that’s ok, I’ll make it up in volume.” The truth is if you are losing money on every, or even most projects; it doesn’t matter how many projects you do, you’ll never get ahead!

Sellers who actually run businesses in this fashion end up spending money as it comes in, rather than deducting their expenses, paying their bills and seeing what's left. What counts on eBay is your sell-through rate, or how many of your listings actually sell.

You can take the time to learn through the school of hard knocks, finding at the end of the money you still have way too much month left. Or, you can learn from those who have taken the time to learn the skills you need to be successful. It doesn’t matter how many dollars worth of projects you sell, or even the number of projects you sell in a month. What does matter is how much money you make after all the bills are paid. Also, just as importantly, it matters how much free time you have to spend with your family and for yourself.

A tradesperson I know has jokingly developed working philosophy of his own. He says, “We work for free or not at all!” Does this sound like your business? It doesn’t have to be that way.

Myth #2: “I Did It, Now Let Me Teach You!”

Who is this person? Another thing that impresses me when reading these missives is that often the "instructor" is someone who has interviewed many successful eBay sellers but has only sold one type of item (and they've only been at it for a short period of time).

From what I have seen in this and several other forums, you have a strong representation of people you know and trust who are from the trade just like yourselves. I too am an electrician and have had several companies…. Most of which failed because I had not learned the means to quote projects profitably. It was only after I went to work for other contractors who were successful that I learned how to make a profit and then designed my systems to ensure that no matter who I worked for, I could ensure the profitability of my projects. It took me over 14 years to perfect my systems, how long do you want to take?

The companies that are promoting themselves to help your businesses, I believe are primarily focused on the objective of helping others in their industries develop the skills that are needed to be successful…. Skills that they themselves have had a difficult time learning, but once discovered changed their outlook on their industry and dramatically improved their success rate. Does this mean that all are this upstanding, No, but if you take the time to look at what they are offering, you should be able to make your own quality value judgement.

Some might not believe an accountants advice, as he is a “bean counter.” A numbers guy. All he or she cares about is making money and handling it, but doesn’t know anything about running a real business, like yours. Well, just because someone has chosen a different career, doesn’t mean that they don’t have useful knowledge to share …. It is up to the individual to relate the information shared into something constructive for his or her own business.

Are there scams out there? You Betcha!

Are there individuals and companies out there who are trying to improve your business? You Betcha!

I had the opportunity to speak to a successful contractor early on in my trades career and he explained learning in this way. He said, "Find those who are as successful as you want to be and learn from them and their success."

Don’t close your eyes to the possibility of improving yourself and your business. Keep an open mind and question those who offer to help. Why do they think they can help your business? Where does their knowledge come from? Why are they taking the time to share this information with others? Why don’t they keep this information all to themselves so that they are the only ones who have the benefit? Just maybe, you’ll discover that they are just like you…. They have been down the road that you are now treading and they want to help you succeed beyond their own success.

Look at Mahlere, Romex Racer, LK, and all the others who are always sharing advice and at the same time, they are always asking questions. They are looking for new ways to improve their businesses and at the same time checking out individuals who claim to be offering to improve your business. They understand what is needed, what needs to be done, and what scams are. Ask for advice and don’t be afraid to try that advice… some will work for you and some won’t, but you are the only one who can discover the truth of your own success.

Don’t be afraid to try something because there are a few very vocal sceptics. Take the time to ask questions, to learn and improve. And if it works out for you, try the people who offer to help. There is no harm in trying, but there can be considerable costs in not learning.

Wishing you all the best in your businesses!

And when your success comes, share it with others. Why, because it feels really good to know that you are helping others to improve and in so doing it improves the lively hoods of countless others in the form of better customer service, better employee relations and fellow tradespersons and business people who can better support their families and charities. I guess that is a little selfish… taking pride in helping others… hmmmm! Just some food for thought.

[This message has been edited by ExpressQuote (edited 08-20-2006).]

#158759 08/20/06 09:29 AM
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 507
Thanks expressquotes. I can't speak for anyone but myself. I haven't noticed too many people coming on here looking to sell anything. The few that have, have been run off real quick by the moderators. I personally believe in karma. I believe that if I help someone now, that good will come back to me. If I don't help, then the bad will come back.

I have also stated that there is nothing new out there. All of the information is public domain. The question is whether you want to spend years of your life acquiring this information, or if you want to pay someone to do it for you.

As I have also stated, any of the information that I've ever passed along (except for a few small ideas and opinions) are not my thoughts. They are things that I have learned from people much smarter than myself. People like Frank Blau, Maurice Maio, Ellen Rohr, Al Levi, etc. If you've never heard of these people, it's because they are all plumbers. Pick up a copy of Plumbing and Mechanical magazine (or go to and be prepared to learn more about running a service business in 30 min, than in your 10+ years of strictly electrical training.

The electrical industry is so far behind the times in regards to res/lt comm service work, there is no way we could possibly come up with anything new. We are behind everyone. Open up your local yellow pages. Look at your ads for electrical contractors. Now look at the ads for HVAC and plumbing. Now save these ads. In about 3-5 yrs, compare those electrical ads to this years HVAC and plumbing.

You can easily dismiss anything you don't agree with. But like expressquotes said (paraphrase) 'you can learn from the school of hard knocks, or you can learn from other peoples bumps and bruises'

Me, i'm too pretty to have a bunch of bumps and bruises, so i like to learn from other peoples mistakes.

However, realize that any system is only as good as it's operator. But there are basic business truths that apply to all of us. Know your costs and make more money than your costs. Whether you choose to determine your costs first, then earn enough to cover them. Or earn first and cut your costs so that they are covered is up to you. I choose to earn enough to cover the costs that let me live how I like.

Now, if everyone would just paypal me $100 I will share all the secrets to fame and fortune. You will have girls throwing themselves at you. 100 cars in your garage. Houses on every continent. send it to ''

But seriously, if you read the boards and keep an open mind, you will find a wealth of information. If you don't want to spend $, spend your time looking at the information that is shared. Who want's to take a side bet?

I'll offer 2 -

1) 80% of the viewers of this board (not just posters- but viewers) have never heard of P&M Mag.

2) 80% of the people who read this post, won't take the 30 mins out of their day to go to P&M's site and read the editorials.

Who wants to take the over-unders?

#158760 08/20/06 10:08 AM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,213
Thanks for the tip, mahlere, I just signed up for a free subscription [Linked Image] Our ME just retired, and due to our lack of ME work at the moment, my boss wants to hold off hiring his replacement, and is leaning on me to pick up the slack... Not that I've had time to read the ECMs piling up on my desk, but the intention is there, right?

[This message has been edited by SteveFehr (edited 08-20-2006).]

#158761 08/24/06 05:58 AM
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 507
anyone besides steve look at the P&M site yet? If you are a residential/lt commercial service electrician (contractor) it would be a tremendous education. And it's FREE.

#158762 08/24/06 10:23 AM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 717
Well yes, as a matter of fact you turned me onto this great source about 3 years or so ago. I check it on a regular basis. Thanks again, you guru you.......

#158763 08/24/06 05:23 PM
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 507
yeah, but you already forgot more than I know. You're just smart enough to stay quiet. I'm still too young [Linked Image]

do you find it useful for the service side of what you do?

#158764 08/24/06 06:37 PM
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 34
CDS Offline
Not familiar with P&M
What and where is it
Searched internet , is it a plumbing mag ?
Excuse my ignorance

#158765 08/24/06 07:47 PM
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 507

plumbing and mechanical mag, but it's geared towards resi/lt commercial service contracting.

#158766 08/24/06 09:34 PM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,429
LK Offline
The plumbing and mechanical guys, you know, the ones that have nice trucks, live in nice homes, and take real vacations, the odd balls, they are a bit nuts, they actually think their work has value.

[This message has been edited by LK (edited 08-24-2006).]

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