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#44824 11/12/04 06:17 PM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 697
Dave55 Offline OP
It looks like my commercial work isn't going to happen until next spring. The general hasn't got the foundations in yet, so it looks like it's back to residential work. It was a busy summer, so it's not the usual no-money, cold-days, but rather the "can you give me a free estimate for a $150 job" thing. They're 15 miles away and you know they've called ten other people.

All the tools are organized, I can see my workbench again for the first time in months, and I've played my 10,000th game of Free Cell.

I can always tell it's slow when I get more calls from out-of-work electricians than potential customers. It's also the thing where it feels so much better to be making the big deposits than to sit around waiting for the phone to ring. I usually end up getting depressed.

So...what do you do when it gets slow???


#44825 11/12/04 07:10 PM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 17
Call Electrical contactors

#44826 11/12/04 07:59 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 46
Can't help you there.
Been in business for myself since 1998,never been slow, never had less than a 1 or 2 week backlog of work to do(even in the winter). If you can't depend on GC's for winter work try to expand your service work direction.Especially on the commercial end.If not try calling other Ec's to see if they need any subs.These Gc's who aren't getting the foundations in?Are they working on some other project(indoors?) this winter that you can gget in on?

[This message has been edited by andyp95 (edited 11-12-2004).]

#44827 11/12/04 08:08 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 947
twh Offline
Join an organization where you can meet possible business contacts, like the local Chamber of Commerce, or even a charity. Free Cell is probably the worst thing you can do.

#44828 11/12/04 08:31 PM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,429
LK Offline
You have to keep that phone ringing, you may have to increase your ad budget, we run about 1 or 2 weeks booked all winter, with service calls and small jobs, and we try not to take a commercial job, unless we get the ongoing maint work.
All the small jobs, are service calls, no free estimate on small jobs.

[This message has been edited by LK (edited 11-12-2004).]

#44829 11/13/04 12:30 AM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 687
I was just thinking the same that there is not much time for the concrete to be poured on for some of the next possable jobs. Does it have to be only above 32 deg during the day or both day and night?

The small job estomates I will shot from the hip over the phone and leave myself a way out. At least I qualify them to pay $xxx before I make a call. I have also told people we don't do free estomates for jobs under $xxx. I don't want to spend $5 in fuel and maybe $1 in tolls for a nothing job. The exception would be if I'm near by.


#44830 11/13/04 07:04 PM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 697
Dave55 Offline OP
I'm really happy for you guys who have very steady business, but mine is more like a sine wave. I have times when I'm working 7 days a week, and other times when I work a few hours a week. In 20 years I've learned to survive the slow spells. BTW Tom, the print says under 40 degrees they need to use special cold-weather measures, probably a 12,000 square foot tent (not likely).

I haven't advertised in years, LK. Refered customers are so much nicer to deal with than who you get from advertising (in general). When I did run an ad I felt like I was working for it instead of it working for me.

It's not that I need to chase after work, I know the work will come. It's more about the boredom. I guess I'll go tool shopping.


#44831 11/19/04 09:24 AM
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 84
well we just started out on our own so we are probly not going to be that busy this winter, but we also do hvac so that will keep us a couple a days a week. we have plans to working on our marketing and improve our skills and over all knowledge of the trades

#44832 11/19/04 06:55 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 193
Dave and Tom: Usually the concrete plants can't start up until the out side temperature has hit 28° and rising. It will also need to be about 32°+ for a few hours to make for a good pour. On another note, they add calcium to the concrete to get it to set faster. There are some other variables that come into play also, but that is the basics.

Just a little FYI from a former mixer driver turned electrical apprentice.


***Edited carse I caint speel tooday

[This message has been edited by GA76Apprentice (edited 11-19-2004).]

"If common sense was common, everyone would have it"-not sure, someone here

#44833 11/19/04 09:00 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 518
This time of year, I bake lots of holiday cookies.

OK, I'm an electrician, not a baker- but regular customers really enjoy it when you stop off for a friendly chat, and deliver some cookies. Many times, the conversation turns to "what if..", and business can develop. After all, I can actually research things I don't do that much of.
I also visit related trades I've worked with; quite often they might have something small that they'd just as soon have you do (HVAC, landscape contractors, etc.)
And, don't forget all those people who asked if you did side jobs.... never hurts to follow up. (I'm part of a two-man company; I couldn't do a 'side' job if I tried!)

This also can work if you've got new baby pics, puppy pics, etc.

Finally, this might be the time to go to a seminar, get cat-6 certified, take a course, etc.

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