Why would a customer hire a big company over a 1 man shop?

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Rewire

Senior Member
New customers have no idea how large our shop is when they call for the first time . What they get is a live person answering their call in a pleasant upbeat way. Next they get a set appointment based on their convenience and schedule. Then they have someone show up on time who is focused on their needs and how we can meet them taking time to answer all their concerns with no interruptions by phone and no glancing at the watch. Then their project is completed in a timely fashion at the price agreed upon.
 

Gac66610

Senior Member
Location
Kansas
Why would a customer hire a big company over a 1 man shop

thought about this quite awhile read other posts

IMO its because they can .... :cool:

they have the right to choose ... may not be the right choice!

but what can you do
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
In many cases, it's not a matter of halving the hours when there's two people on the job. It's usually less than half.

For instance, if one person can do the job in 8 hours, two will usually complete it in 3?.
my experience suggests that adding a second person to many jobs ends up increasing the total number of hours used by about 50%. a third guy doubles the total number of hours.

sometimes there are jobs that require more than one person though.
 

readydave8

re member
Location
Clarkesville, Georgia
Occupation
electrician
Nothing you say will convince me that my overhead is the same as large company with multiple trucks and employees it's impossible. That's like saying a mom and pop hardware store has the same overhead as home depot it's insane.

Also bigger companies need to have work all week every week to support all the overhead. With a 1 man if I don't work a couple days I don't have to worry about employee wages, bennies, insurance, multiple truck payments, and money for tools collecting dust.
mom & pop overhead cheaper than home depot? and are their prices lower or their profit higher? total overhead dollars may not be causing either result.
 

Fulthrotl

~~Please excuse the mess. Sig under construction~~
Just curious and this is not bashing the larger companies. Just wondering what are the benefits of hiring a larger shop mainly in residential?

By hiring a one man shop the customer can save big time because they don't have to pay for the higher overhead such as a helper.

I can only think of the larger shops having same day service but what else?
some people buy clothes at macy's, some at little clothing shops.

most people don't put that much thought into where they obtain goods and services.
some people think they will get better service from a large firm, some people think
the opposite.

some people don't think at all, and for them, there is craigslist..... :p

american culture is a retail oriented culture. how much? nobody really
want's anything other than an all inclusive price.

that is why flat rate is, in my opinion, the only way to go. if a large shop, with
high overhead, charges $190 per data drop, i'm quite happy with selling those
same data drops at $175 all day long. but a lot of people will prefer to pay $190
and feel more secure going with a large firm. nothing you can do about that.
 

renosteinke

Senior Member
Location
NE Arkansas
Why hire a 'larger' firm? Well, my experiences this past year as a customer might shed some light on the topic.

First off, when I call I need someone to answer the phone. It need not be the actual guy who will do the work - just someone to take my info, and give me an idea when to expect a call-back.

Then, I Do have a scheduler. One guy can only be in one place at a time; while I'm usually able to accomodate, I need a reasonable response. Waiting three months for a service call just won't do.

I'd like the guy who does show up to actually spend his time working - rather than running back and forth to the shop / parts house, on the phone, pulling permits, etc. While these are all necessary parts of running a business, they're parts I'd just as soon not see.

It means something to me that the guy look like he's a pro. That means no torn jeans, a real work truck with real signage, and some tools & materials. It means some proper paperwork and -at a minimum- a business card.

I also realize that some jobs benefit from additional helpers, and some rental equipment. I like seeing work done promptly, and with modern equipment.

In short, one guy just can't do it all. Be honest - even those of you who have run 'one-man shops' for years will admit to having a slew of other contractors that you work with.
 

cowboyjwc

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Simi Valley, CA
I was thinking about my response and Reno hit it right on the head with his.

As a customer, I tore down my fence so all you had to do was come by and install the new one, I got the dog put away and got all of the neighbors on board. What's that? Your kid got sick and your wife has an important meeting you need to go to? What? And you have a big job you have to start on Monday?

Now as a customer you didn't help me one bit, even if you were giving me the fence for free.
 

Rewire

Senior Member
1. Answer your phone
2. Show up on time
3. Dress professionally
4. Have clear well prepared estimate forms
5. Do the job in the time frame promise
6. Clean up after yourself
7. Do the job above code
8. Believe you are worth your price

One man shop or large operation these are steps that will benefit the customer most and get you those important referrals
 

satcom

Senior Member
1. Answer your phone
2. Show up on time
3. Dress professionally
4. Have clear well prepared estimate forms
5. Do the job in the time frame promise
6. Clean up after yourself
7. Do the job above code
8. Believe you are worth your price

One man shop or large operation these are steps that will benefit the customer most and get you those important referrals
Many of the one man shops, do not believe they are worth the price they charge, and loose out to the big guys, when the customers with the money see the cheap price, and feel they are going to get, less then a qualified person. the little guys, that charge more usually bring in more work at better prices
 

B4T

Senior Member
I have never lost a job because I am a one man shop.. the exact opposite is true..

One of my selling points is I have no employees and do all the work myself..

That guarantees a perfectly installed job for the customer and my name gets passed on to family and friends..

I never had a complaint about how long a job took to be completed either.. never worked T&M.. :happyno::happyno:
 

brantmacga

Senior Member
Location
Georgia
Occupation
Electrical contractor
Nothing you say will convince me that my overhead is the same as large company with multiple trucks and employees it's impossible. . . . . .
You've only seen the spectrum from one end. You need to pay attention to what is being said here.





Back to the OP;


As a contractor, I'm more likely to call the largest outfit in town vs. a one man shop. I know if something happens to the tech that was supposed to come over, or something has come up on another job, they've got someone else to send. As a contractor, I know that some things just can't be pushed back and some customers can't be told "no". I don't have to get put to the back of the line because of an emergency elsewhere. Also, when I call, someone is going to answer the first time. I don't want to get your voicemail; I want someone on the line getting a tech lined up to come out and fix it. I don't have time to play phone tag, and I can't change my schedule when you suddenly can't make it.


Also, I never felt that the one-on-one between the customer and owner of the company really works to your advantage when doing service work. I learned to not tell someone I was the owner unless they asked me point blank.

When the customer finds out you're the owner, they suddenly feel the need to negotiate the prices. When your just the tech, you can blame it on the boss or the book, and the customer realizes it is what it is.
 

KVA

Senior Member
Location
United States
You've only seen the spectrum from one end. You need to pay attention to what is being said here.





Back to the OP;


As a contractor, I'm more likely to call the largest outfit in town vs. a one man shop. I know if something happens to the tech that was supposed to come over, or something has come up on another job, they've got someone else to send. As a contractor, I know that some things just can't be pushed back and some customers can't be told "no". I don't have to get put to the back of the line because of an emergency elsewhere. Also, when I call, someone is going to answer the first time. I don't want to get your voicemail; I want someone on the line getting a tech lined up to come out and fix it. I don't have time to play phone tag, and I can't change my schedule when you suddenly can't make it.


Also, I never felt that the one-on-one between the customer and owner of the company really works to your advantage when doing service work. I learned to not tell someone I was the owner unless they asked me point blank.

When the customer finds out you're the owner, they suddenly feel the need to negotiate the prices. When your just the tech, you can blame it on the boss or the book, and the customer realizes it is what it is.
I never leave a customer for an emergency that someone else has. When I'm hired i stay at that job until the job is complete.

I know for a fact I wouldn't want a "tech" doing my electrical work. Sounds like a term for a geek at BestBuy. If I need electric work done on my property I want nothing but electricians working on it keep the techs in the computer joints and jiffylubes:lol:

Having the owner do the work gives the home owner piece of mind knowing it's done right and not screwed up by a "tech"
 

brantmacga

Senior Member
Location
Georgia
Occupation
Electrical contractor
So a technician with a journeyman card or electrical license is not as qualified as the owner?

you don't put a helper in charge of a service truck. Don't degrade someone's ability simply because they don't own the company.
 

copper chopper

Senior Member
Location
wisconsin
what happens when the 1 man shop gets sick or goes on vacation and his customers need him, or how does a 1 man shop find time to get training to stay upto date on codes, or saftey issues,cpr training, seminars on things related to our industry. this is what makes a 1 man show not so good in my eyes.If he has time to do all of this, then he isnt working much.This is why residential is all that 1 man shops will be good for and the poeple that he works for are cheap asses and want the cheapest guy they can find not the best.:rant:
 

480sparky

Senior Member
Location
Iowegia
what happens when the 1 man shop gets sick or goes on vacation and his customers need him, or how does a 1 man shop find time to get training to stay upto date on codes, or saftey issues,cpr training, seminars on things related to our industry. this is what makes a 1 man show not so good in my eyes.If he has time to do all of this, then he isnt working much.This is why residential is all that 1 man shops will be good for and the poeple that he works for are cheap asses and want the cheapest guy they can find not the best.:rant:
Many 1-man shops maintain a good relation with other 1-man shops. I have at least 5 others I can 'call in' if I am awarded a good-sized job. No way could I do the job myself, but getting 3 or 4 others there, even for a day or week, makes a good show.... especially when they're ALL JW's or Masters. When I'm unavailable, I can usually get one of these other guys to 'cover' for me... and I do the same for them.

I'm a one-man shop, but I've done plenty of commercial jobs that you say can't be done by a one-man shop.

Nor do I cater to the bottom-price feeders. If they want cheap, they can look at Craigslist.
 

Rewire

Senior Member
Wiring a new house the one man and the large shop are pretty much equal were the larger shop excels is in service calls . A large shop can dedicate several techs to run service calls were as the one man show either leaves the job he is on hanging to go reset a breaker or he just doesn't do service.
 

KVA

Senior Member
Location
United States
what happens when the 1 man shop gets sick or goes on vacation and his customers need him, or how does a 1 man shop find time to get training to stay upto date on codes, or saftey issues,cpr training, seminars on things related to our industry. this is what makes a 1 man show not so good in my eyes.If he has time to do all of this, then he isnt working much.This is why residential is all that 1 man shops will be good for and the poeple that he works for are cheap asses and want the cheapest guy they can find not the best.:rant:
I work solo and I do work in hotels, houses, small offices, stores, apartment complexes etc..

If I get sick I call one of 2 guys I know that are also solo ECs.

I work for people with so much money they can buy your life and your wife:lol: I get occasional cheapo's just like every other electrical company does. It doesn't matter if your solo or have 100 guys in your company, no company is immune to cheapies.
 

KVA

Senior Member
Location
United States
Wiring a new house the one man and the large shop are pretty much equal were the larger shop excels is in service calls . A large shop can dedicate several techs to run service calls were as the one man show either leaves the job he is on hanging to go reset a breaker or he just doesn't do service.
Yep if I'm on a job I flip the call to another solo EC that i know and I get a cut. Yep I lost a call but I didn't lose money because I'm already on a job making money so it's all good plus the referral cut i get.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
what happens when the 1 man shop gets sick or goes on vacation and his customers need him, or how does a 1 man shop find time to get training to stay upto date on codes, or saftey issues,cpr training, seminars on things related to our industry. this is what makes a 1 man show not so good in my eyes.If he has time to do all of this, then he isnt working much.This is why residential is all that 1 man shops will be good for and the poeple that he works for are cheap asses and want the cheapest guy they can find not the best.:rant:
Well, it is easier to schedule for one person than for many to start with. When things do slow down you don't have to lay people off. If you get a big job where help is needed you can hire temporary help, people you know or trust - have worked with before are good places to get temp help, sometimes even recently retired or semi retired electricians can be a lot of help. I have even had HVAC guys or plumbers that will help me occasionally or I may help them sometimes.

There are not too many jobs in this area that need much more than 4-6 electricians on site anyway and even more that only need 2 or 3. The jobs that do need more than that I am not likely to get involved in, and 99% of the time a contractor from out of the area gets the job, as well as general contractor from out of area.
 
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