Mastering Fair Pricing: 7 Strategies Every Electrical Contractor Should Know

Do you need help finding the right balance in pricing your electrical contracting services?

It's not an easy task, but don't worry! Our network of experienced electrical contractors has shared invaluable insights and strategies to help you navigate the tricky pricing maze. Keep reading to discover how to create equitable pricing for you and your clients.

Team of electrical contractors discussing together

Understanding Your Costs

Knowing your costs is the first step towards pricing your services right. And we're talking about more than the obvious expenses like materials and labor. You must also factor in indirect costs like insurance, taxes, vehicle expenses, and your time on non-billable activities like invoicing and job walks. 

For example, suppose you spend half of your week running errands and doing miscellaneous tasks. In that case, you must ensure you're not shortchanging yourself when you do billable work. Ignoring these hidden costs can seriously hurt your bottom line.

But that's not all. You also need to consider the costs of running your business, things like licensing fees, software subscriptions, uniforms, and website maintenance. As your business grows, these costs will only increase. Hence, it is essential to stay on top of them and invest them into your pricing strategy. Don't let hidden fees sneak up on you - be proactive and stay ahead of the game.

Calculating Your Billing Requirement

Let's figure out how much you need to charge to meet your income goals! Say you want to make $150,000 a year, working 50 hours a week with 30 billable hours per week. You have $80,000 in total costs, including self-employment taxes, insurance, fuel and maintenance costs for driving 500 miles per week, truck payments and insurance, and tool expenses. To hit your income target, you'll need to bill a total of $230,000 per year.

That billing requirement should also take into account the markup on materials. If you mark up materials by 15% and your weekly material cost is $2,000, you'll make a gross profit of $15,000 per year ($2,000 x 50 weeks x 15%). When you subtract that from your total billing requirement, you get $215,000 ($230,000 - $15,000). Then, if you divide that by the total number of billable hours in a year (1,500 hours), your bill rate comes out to $143.33 per hour.

Adjusting for Employees

When hiring employees, it's essential to consider all the costs involved. Let's consider hiring an apprentice at $22 per hour for 50 hours per week, 52 weeks per year. Their annual salary would come out to $57,200. But remember, there are other costs, like insurance (10% of gross pay) and taxes (8% of gross pay). When you add it, the total annual cost of employing the apprentice comes to $67,496. 

When you divide that by the number of billable hours in a year (1,500), you get an hourly cost of $44.99 for the apprentice. But that's not all! You also need to consider your own bill rate. If you add the apprentice's hourly cost to your bill rate, you'll get $188.32. 

So, if you want to cover your desired income and the cost of employing an apprentice, that's the rate you'll need to charge for your crew's labor. It's essential to ensure the numbers add up so you can adjust for employees and make your business successful.

Finding the Right Customers

Finding the right customers who are willing to pay your rates is vital. We spoke to one contractor who shared his secret to success - he found his most reliable customers through word of mouth and Google searches. Interestingly, he discovered that these customers were more likely to accept his pricing than those recommended by friends and family.

This shows how important it is to establish a solid reputation in the industry and market yourself effectively. Providing top-quality work and exceptional customer service will help you build a strong word-of-mouth reputation, attracting the type of customers who truly value quality and are willing to pay for it.

The Value of Troubleshooting Skills

One way to increase your value as an electrical contractor is to expand your skill set and focus on troubleshooting skills. These skills can be a game-changer for smaller jobs often overlooked by larger companies. 

Imagine being able to handle everything from installing PLC cabinets to repairing 100kV power transformers. That range of expertise will catch the eye of potential clients who require these services but need help getting them from bigger companies that only focus on larger projects. So, don't underestimate the power of troubleshooting skills - they can open up a whole new world of opportunities for your business.

Managing Cash Flow

As a small electrical contracting business owner, you know how important managing your cash flow effectively is. One delayed payment can disrupt your finances and make things difficult for your business. That's why planning your payments is crucial to minimize the money you must pay out of your pocket.

Here's an example: if you have net 30 payment terms with your clients and creditors, any interest or late fees can eat into your profits if your clients don't pay on time. So, managing your cash flow correctly ensures your company's financial health. By staying on top of your finances and keeping your payments organized, you can give your business the best chance of success.

Navigating Payment Terms

Dealing with payment terms when working with manufacturers can be quite a challenge. It's always a good idea to be transparent about what is required to complete the job on time. If you need to order any special equipment or materials, consider asking for a deposit or upfront payment to cover these costs. This way, you can avoid any payment issues or misunderstandings down the line. Setting clear expectations from the get-go can ensure a smoother and more successful project outcome.

Maximize profits with fair pricing strategies


Pricing your electrical contracting business can be a tricky task. Still, you can develop a fair strategy for you and your clients by carefully considering costs, billing requirements, employee management, customer targeting, troubleshooting skills, cash flow, and payment terms. Spread the word and share this article with other electrical contractors who could benefit from these tips. Stay tuned for even more strategies tailored just for you!

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