Think about the range of services that you will offer and the types of job you will take on. You may decide to specialise in a particular type of work, for example shop refitting. Or you might take on a wide range of jobs - although this will depend to a certain extent on your skills, experience and qualifications.
These jobs make up the bulk of work undertaken by many small electrical contracting firms:
- installing wiring systems and fixed appliances in newly built houses
- repairs to, or replacement of, the wiring system in older houses
- maintenance and testing of electrical appliances
- wiring checks for residential landlords
- installation of showers, extractor fans, lighting systems, power points and so on
- installation of burglar alarms
- outdoor work such as installing garden or security lighting, electric gates and garage doors
- installation of microgeneration technologies such as solar photovoltaic panels and small wind turbines
You might carry out Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICRs) and Periodic Inspection Reports (PIRs) for customers who need them if you have the necessary skills and qualifications. You could also offer your services for signing off notifiable electrical work done by people who can't sign off their own work under building regulations - you'll need to be registered with an approved third-party certification scheme to do this.
Much of the work in commercial properties will be similar to that undertaken in domestic properties. However, additional services you could consider offering include:
- CCTV systems installation
- burglar alarm and security lighting installation
- maintenance of electrical systems in hotels or nursing homes
- specialist electrical and safety systems installation and maintenance in petrol stations, and at other sites where there is a high risk of fire or explosion
- network and data cabling in offices
- low voltage systems, including emergency lighting
- air conditioning and ventilation systems
Industrial work is less commonly undertaken by small electrical firms as specialist equipment and knowledge is usually required. Industrial services include:
- control system installation
- high voltage and three-phase systems
- high capacity fibre-optic data cabling
- installation of lighting and machine power supplies
- installation and maintenance of generator systems and uninterruptible power supplies
- testing, inspection and safety certification
- installing fire and security alarms and emergency lighting
Depending on the level of resources and manpower you have available, you might decide to offer a facilities management service to organisations like local authorities, emergency services and businesses with multiple sites. This generally involves providing 'reactive' maintenance services - troubleshooting and repairs - and can also involve testing and modification work when needed.
Other types of work
Many of the jobs you undertake will give rise to other work that will need to be done, for example re-plastering and making good, tiling and plumbing work. Depending on your skills and experience, you may decide to do these yourself. Alternatively, you might engage a sub-contractor to do it for you.