Starting a Low-Voltage Cabling Company and the Tools Needed
When you’ve been working in low-voltage cabling, there’s always a temptation to start your own business. However, the process can be difficult, with a wide range of tasks to be undertaken. New employees or outsourced services need to be hired, legal requirements met, marketing planned and operations to manage. To ensure your company will be a success, you’ll need to build a checklist to help you track all the details. Here’s a quick look at some of the overarching needs that you’ll have to consider when starting your own low-voltage cabling company.
Starting a Low-Voltage Cabling Company and the Tools Needed
Plan it Out
To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, failing to plan is planning to fail. Having a solid business plan is a vital necessity to ensure you’re considering all the aspects you’ll need to have under your control for your business. Spend at least a few hours considering what your perfect company will look like. Will you only do low-voltage cabling? Will you provide a number of other services, such as electrical or security? Are you going it on your own, with a partner or as a corporation with several service professionals under your banner? What will your ideal client be, a homeowner, college, business, industrial complex? Knowing the kind of work you want to focus on can help you determine other aspects of your new business.
What kind of experience do you have? Because you’re familiar with that type of work, it will often be your most profitable, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with that facet of the industry. Will you run a one-man shop from your vehicle? Do you have family members who are willing to help out when the workday gets busy or you need bookkeeping or correspondence handled? Are you planning on setting up a dedicated office, sales staff, bookkeepers and assistants to help keep everything running smoothly?
After you’ve had a chance to think about these details, you’ll need to lay out a business plan. Fortunately, there are any number of easy-to-use templates available online to document your work history, the business’ operation and organization, marketing and sales plans, projected income and expenses and similar information that will help direct your path as you get started as well as secure financing to get your new enterprise off the ground.
Legal Requirements and Considering Certification
After you’ve laid out the basics of your business plan, you’ll need to know what legal issues you need to handle before getting started. Your local Small Business Administration office can provide a great deal of help and information for this process, making it much easier to get started. If you’re going to use a separate business name, your state’s Secretary of State office can help get you started. Will you incorporate or create a partnership? A lawyer’s services may be needed. What about business licenses, permits or similar paperwork? You’ll probably need to consider whether a sales tax ID is needed as well.
Other legalities include filing for an Employer ID number from the IRS if you’re hiring employees, getting worker’s compensation and unemployment insurance. You’ll need to consider the options available for healthcare and other benefits as well as other legal requirements for employers. In addition, liability insurance should be part of your startup package, as it will help protect your company from any potential liability down the road.
Though not required in some areas, there are other options to consider. An RCDD certification helps provide you with credentials for your new clients, especially when you don’t have a lot of references when getting started. Does your area require a specific license for low-voltage cabling? Is there a local trade union or trade-specific organizations that would be helpful or required as you open your company? Take a few minutes to do an internet search to see what’s available in your immediate area or check with more generalized trade organizations to see whether they are aware of other groups you’ll need to contact.
Get the Tools You Need
Now let’s take a look at tools. You probably have a good grasp of what your materials will roughly cost as well as the cost of equipment. Remember that you’re going into business for the long haul, so be willing to spend a little more to get quality tools that will stand up to abuse in the field. Are you planning on using your personal vehicle or getting a new truck, van or SUV to handle your commute to and from the job site?
What about office equipment? A decent computer and a multi-purpose machine that can handle printing, scanning and similar tasks provides most of what you need. What about a place to work, whether that’s a spare bedroom in your home or a dedicated office space with room to move? Fortunately, the demand for space has gone down drastically as digitization has swept through the trades.
Digitization lets you get more work done on less equipment in less space. It lets your company stay flexible to changes in the industry. Having solid digital assets makes all the difference between a professional appearance and looking like the last guy who worked out of his truck, lost his paperwork and never had it together. It allows you to streamline your backoffice tasks as well with Software-as-a-Service options allowing you to avoid a single large investment.
A solid package will include the ability to do on-screen takeoffs from a single screen without changing windows. Analytics let you discover what your most profitable job types are, so that you can focus on your best market options. Automated follow-up emails help you keep in touch with regular customers, making you more likely to be hired for their next big project. Esticom has the best options available to streamline your workflow and enjoy your best business now, with no big investment. Sign up for a free trial and see how easy running your business can be.
As a former Director of Sales & Estimating, Chris Lee has over 10 years of experience building high performance sales and estimating teams focused on increasing revenue and profit by winning large commercial projects