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Thread: Practical books and videos on business.

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    Practical books and videos on business.

    Can anyone recommend books and videos that cover the practical aspects of operating an electrical contracting business? Taxes, insurance, supply chain, banking, bidding, staffing, etc..

    I really get a lot out of Mikes videos, as well as the books that include graphic examples to help you learn, but I really don’t see much out there covering the business side, no matter how crappy it is. I took a red vector online course for my CEU his year, and while the code stuff was pretty good, the workers comp section was a stinking slide show of text. Mostly taken out of the code.. maybe there’s not a lot of good material in a workers comp lesson, but dang, it wouldn’t be too difficult to spice it up a bit...

    I live in Florida and download some information on the subject of contractors and sales tax. It’s twelve pages and I only read through it once, so maybe it will be more clear a second time. I’m sure that for a lawyer or an accountant it probably contains all the information a judge needs to convict you of a crime, but it’s not very good for keeping me out of trouble, much less helping me to understand how use it in a way that’s best for my business.

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to your feedback. Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by LPS View Post
    Can anyone recommend books and videos that cover the practical aspects of operating an electrical contracting business? Taxes, insurance, supply chain, banking, bidding, staffing, etc..

    I really get a lot out of Mikes videos, as well as the books that include graphic examples to help you learn, but I really don’t see much out there covering the business side, no matter how crappy it is. I took a red vector online course for my CEU his year, and while the code stuff was pretty good, the workers comp section was a stinking slide show of text. Mostly taken out of the code.. maybe there’s not a lot of good material in a workers comp lesson, but dang, it wouldn’t be too difficult to spice it up a bit...

    I live in Florida and download some information on the subject of contractors and sales tax. It’s twelve pages and I only read through it once, so maybe it will be more clear a second time. I’m sure that for a lawyer or an accountant it probably contains all the information a judge needs to convict you of a crime, but it’s not very good for keeping me out of trouble, much less helping me to understand how use it in a way that’s best for my business.

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to your feedback. Thanks
    Well, as a person with both book-keeping and accounting courses under my belt and several years of tax prep income during the nineties in both Va and Ga, I can tell you that my best advice is to find a decent business tax adviser and get their help in setting up your books on your computer and how your recording of details goes. But be warned, the USA and the state codes are designed in such a way that you can lose even when you should win, which is why you have a president hiding his taxes from sight because he used strategies legal at the time to hide incomes...
    In the nineties I could buy pens and pencils and notebooks and as long as I had the company name on them they were not stationary but advertising.. same with shirts, coats, etc... and so were tax deductible in my business..not sure what the standards are now as have been overseas since 2002... so subject to other USA tax rules.
    So, Just as we in the electrical field want only people who are properly trained to do electrical stuff, use that as your basis for setting up your business stuff... get a good law firm and a good tax firm and get them to set up your systems... or marry someone who does that stuff. I still have a great friend in Richmond, Va but don't have any resources in Florida, so sorry I cannot help any more...
    W
    Student of electrical codes. Please Take others advice first.

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    When you took your master's exam in Florida, you should have studied a book called "Florida Contractor's Manual" which covers all aspects of the legal side of running a contracting business. It's definitely a dry read but all the info is there.

    If you go to Amazon Books and search "Electrical Contracting" you will see a dozen books written by electrical contractors on how to run an EC business. I own six of them and I can't whole-heartedly recommend any of them, but all have some practical advice.

    I am very serious when I say the most important thing you need to figure out is what to charge for your services. For that I recommend "How much should I charge" by Ellen Rohr. Here's a hint: if you call around to see what everybody else is charging and charge the same, your business will probably fail. Ellen also has a bunch of fantastic books on business in general. Search Amazon for her books. She also has Youtube videos that are very informative.

    When you are just starting out, small residential jobs are the easiest to get and do. They are also the most profitable jobs. The bigger the job, the more risk it has, and the lower you have to bid (per labor hour) to win it. Some big contractors exclusively do small residential jobs for these reasons.
    Last edited by Coppersmith; 11-15-18 at 09:44 AM.

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    Thanks Coppersmith.

    A little background: I've been an industrial electrician working in manufacturing facilities most of my 33-year career, including a stent working for an OEM designing controls for their larger industrial systems. Many years ago, I started working for a large OEM and helped them relocate their manufacturing facility into the US. After the move they made me the maintenance manager and I worked on endless building expansion projects and equipment installs and upgrades. Our product was electrical in nature and ran at 380, 400, 460, and 575v and drew from 150-450 amps. We constantly had both production and R&D testing going on requiring all kinds of crazy wiring. Toward the end of the relocation project the head building official had a meeting with us about how we'd proceed with the never-ending changes we had planned. He basically said that all work needed to be inspected, and it had to be done by licensed contractors. I had been supervising electricians for a long time and had never bothered with getting a state license, but he said if I panned to supervise electricians I needed to hire someone with a license or get one for myself. I chose the latter. That was about 12 years ago.

    I left this company a while back and have been trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. My wife is a CPA by trade and our finances are in great shape, so I'm blessed to be in a position where I'm not under a lot of pressure to do anything quickly. The most important thing for me is to be careful and not do anything stupid. Currently, I'm doing a little work for a plant that's recently gone out of business. I'm really doing it more as a favor and may or may not ever get paid. The good thing is that it's forcing me to take care of a few things like workers comp, a bank account, and setting up accounts with a few vendors. All this is good and leaves me in a better position to move quickly on things as they become available. That's why I'm asking questions about this business stuff. I have my 2004 Florida Contractors Manual sitting next to me, but it's redonculous! You're right, except for being a little dated it probably does contain everything I need to know to keep me out of jail, but it just sucks. Maybe I'll have to break down and give it a chance... I’d love to find some good books or videos on the subject.

    I'm also planning to work with a company doing equipment installations that will require pulling electrical permits. Unfortunately, I can't really go into any detail about our plans right now. It's a good opportunity and I don't think I'll have any technical problems, but I really don't have a heck of a lot of experience dealing with inspectors. It's important that the from the inspectors’ point of view the work appears to be perfect from the very first job. In fact, it's so important that I'd like to find someone to consult with for a while that could make sure everything goes smoothly. After the first few jobs it should mostly be copy and paste. I plan to do the first few jobs under my license, and if everything goes as well as expected I'll qualify the other business and it should really take off... If not, maybe I’ll open a hotdog stand.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by LPS View Post
    I have my 2004 Florida Contractors Manual sitting next to me
    I suggest you get a 2018/2019 version. A few things probably have changed.

    Quote Originally Posted by LPS View Post
    but I really don't have a heck of a lot of experience dealing with inspectors. It's important that the from the inspectors’ point of view the work appears to be perfect from the very first job.
    Don't expect perfection. There's no shame in failing an inspection. You just fix the problem(s) and reinspect. It's the only real way to learn how to pass inspections. Don't be afraid to call inspectors and ask questions. It's cheaper than doing it wrong and making corrections.


    Quote Originally Posted by LPS View Post
    I plan to do the first few jobs under my license, and if everything goes as well as expected I'll qualify the other business and it should really take off
    Be very cautious pulling permits/qualifying for anybody except your own company or a company you are employed at. Lots of people will ask you to do this. They will offer you money. Don't do it unless you are involved in the job. You are liable for the installation. Also don't grant permit pulling privileges to others unless you are closely supervising the permits pulled. They will pull permits and not tell you making you liable.

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    Thanks for the advice. I'll be veryinvolved with the company, not sure if it will be as an employee orpartnership... We'll see what the lawyers say. Like I said, I plan to dothe first few jobs on my license to see how it goes. That way both parties will have a lot more information and confidence before we decideto ramp things up together. If it doesn't work out for some reason we haven'tlost anything, and I've gained some experience.

    Per your recommendation, I’m looking at thefollowing books on Amazon.




    Where Did the Money Go?: Accounting Basics for theBusiness Owner Who Wants to Get Profitable (Maxrohr Business BasicsSeries) by Ellen Rohr


    How Much Should I Charge? by Ellen Rohr


    The Bare Bones Biz Plan: Six Weeks to an ExtraordinaryBusiness by Ellen Rohr

    Also…

    ElectricalContracting: Third Edition by Michael Sammaritano

    Electrical Contracting: Third Edition by Michael Sammaritano

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