I just wished that I had gotten into this field a little sooner than I did. The BA/FA installing helped me in my later years as an EC. Also wished I had gotten my AHJ lic. sooner. But over all, very happy with my decisions to date.
Well said Tesla, it still amazes me how many people think being an electrician/contractor is easy. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard "I should of used you, it ended up costing about the same yet the quality is not there". I have even been brought in to make changes after final inspection. I've made more money then the original contract, doing repairs and corrections. Still frustrating.
My wife came into the "hospitality" (Running a gated community and country club) business from the construction business and she has proved many times over that using real contractors is cheaper than having a club "handyman" do it. Things are done right, on time, permitted/inspected and in the end cheaper. There are a lot less problems down the road. It does help that she has guys who will work for golf games tho.
This is specific to my experience and may not apply to all but I feel these are policies we have seen direct positive results from.
Here are some basic rules we swear by at our company. We usually remove employees that can't comply.
1) Ensure your quality is noticeably better than all others. I reject my own workers workmanship and make them redo. Everything must always be straight. Sometimes this can cost extra.
2) Ensure that your workers are clean and are polite and respectful of customers always. One bad opinion travels fast.
3) Make your safety efforts highly visible so your customer notices and feels at ease and always leave your worksite, unless it's someone elses responsibility, as clean as it was when you started.
4) Diversify your business to many sectors of the economy. Do not have only one type of customer. When they slow so do you. This is a big trap when you have only a few large customers especially GCs.
5) Have 6 months worth of cash in the bank (gold if you are in the US) on top of what you need to run your business and take your book keeping seriously. Everybody can save if they are disciplined. I do it by paying myself as the company owner no more than journeyman rate. The corporate profits almost always goes to savings or capital expenditures that will strengthen the company.