January 3, 2024

How to Set Apart Your Commercial Electrical Contractor Business in Today’s Energy Landscape

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7 Min. Read

The U.S. is entering a new energetic era shaped by investments in domestic production, widespread adoption of renewable energy sources, and an increased need for electricity linked to the rise of EVs and other electrification trends.

For commercial electric contractors, this new era is synonymous with business opportunities. To take advantage of these opportunities and thrive in today’s energy landscape, commercial electric contractors must modernize their practices and stay ahead of the latest trends and technologies. In this article, we’ll explore methods to set apart your commercial electrical contractor business in today’s rapidly evolving energy landscape to stay ahead of the competition and on top of the latest industry developments.

Evolving Trends in the Energy Sector

The energy sector is changing quickly, but the need for qualified commercial electric contractors is an ongoing challenge. As a generation of skilled electricians seeks to retire, new technologies with new installation and service requirements hit the market, and a younger generation enters the labor market at dwindling rates, this issue will only continue to become worse.

Growth and Investments

The Inflation Reduction Act has introduced unprecedented measures to drive domestic energy production and support electrification. These measures include investing $8.8 billion in rebates for home electrification and energy-efficiency projects and $13 billion to develop a clean energy infrastructure in rural areas. The IRA also has provisions for creating 1.2 million public EV charging locations by 2030.

The current administration is also actively investing in grid-scale renewable energy projects. Solar and wind energy could account for 39% of all energy produced by 2050, contributing to a projected increase of up to 15% in energy consumption.

A Two-Fold Challenge

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is predicting a 6% growth for electricians. Commercial electric contractors will also face projects with a large scope, jobs requiring advanced expertise, and a demand for diverse specialization areas.

There is a two-fold challenge to address. The first is a widespread shortage of skilled workers, with 80,000 new electricians needed for the clean energy transition annually. The second challenge is a skills gap among existing commercial electric contractors who need to update their skills to work with renewables and other energy transition technologies.

Building Expertise in Renewable Integration

Solar energy production has doubled since 2018 and will continue to grow as the infrastructure adds an estimated 63 GW by the end of 2024. Wind also evolves quickly and could represent roughly 12% of all electricity generated by 2024.

This emphasis on developing domestic energy sources results in an uptick in grid-scale projects, an increased interest in residential adoption, and the emergence of advanced solutions like microgrids or nanogrids.

Why Expertise Matters

As a commercial electric contractor, demonstrating expertise in renewable energy will open new doors for you.

You can position yourself as a trusted partner who can help businesses or property owners pick the right electrification solutions to optimize savings and achieve ESG goals. With a reputation for designing safe and effective electrification projects that align with the NEC and additional local codes, you offer greater value to customers who demand reliability, efficiency, and safety.

By establishing yourself as a local leader and creating a positive reputation within your community, you will build a long-lasting business, establish long-term customers for repeat business and referrals, and positively distinguish your business for more competitive opportunities.

Training and Certification Opportunities

Earning additional certifications from an organization or organizations clients are familiar with can go a long way in establishing trust and positioning your company as a credible energy solutions provider. Pursuing training and certification opportunities for commercial electric contractors also teaches you about best practices for designing and installing safe, durable, and efficiently performing systems to ensure you remain up-to-date with the latest technology and product installation needs and recommendations.

Here are a few options to explore:

Leveraging Technology for Efficiency and Precision

Technology is a cornerstone for modern contracting businesses. Adoption of new technologies requires updating key processes and leveraging training to become comfortable with these new tools, especially as the technology continues to rapidly evolve.

For instance, a growing number of commercial electrical contractors are leveraging AI tools to deliver more accurate estimates—saving time and increasing efficiency. Early adoption puts contractors in a unique position to explore innovative use cases boost efficiency and offer better experiences with AI.

Lead Generation

From installing an at-home EV charging to investing in solar, modern electrification projects are complex and can result in a lengthy sales cycle. Automation is an effective way to generate leads, deliver educational material, and keep prospects engaged until they book a job.

Customer Experience

CRM solutions, automated communications, and project tracking tools can enhance customer transparency and create a better experience. Leveraging technology to deliver regular updates and stay in touch with customers will increase your customer satisfaction score, resulting in repeat jobs and word-of-mouth marketing.

Acquisition

In 2023, the average price of electrical conduits increased by 12%, while the lead time for some electrical equipment can reach 80 weeks.

Adopting a modern inventory management and acquisition solution can build a more resilient supply chain and cut costs.

Project Management

As projects increase in scope and complexity, a centralized project management platform can give you an edge. This approach will provide you with better visibility, help you control costs, and result in more accurate quotes and time estimates when communicating with clients.

Prioritizing Sustainability and Future-Focused Practices

Commercial electric contractors can create a sustainable path to growth by adopting practices that account for the future needs of the business and community they serve.

Value Through Sustainability

Adopting sustainable practices results in lasting solutions that require less maintenance and repairs. Building electrification solutions that last creates unique value for customers and the community.

A Unique USP

You can gain a competitive edge by emphasizing your sustainable business practices. Showing the long-term benefits of the energy solutions you offer, connecting these solutions to unique pain points your target audience is experiencing, and highlighting the durability of these solutions can set you apart.

Reducing Your Environmental Impact

Connect with like-minded customers by adopting green practices. You can source materials with a low environmental impact, recycle waste at the end of each job, and actively look for ways to improve energy efficiency when developing residential or commercial solutions.

Training and the Next Generation

One of the most critical things commercial electric contractors can do is offer apprenticeship and training opportunities to address the ongoing electrician labor shortage. Onboarding apprentices and creating a clear path to professional development will ensure that the next generation of commercial electric contractors is ready to continue the energy transformation.

Reaching out to the community and offering job shadowing experiences to high school students could also help address the stigma associated with the trades.

Building Strong Client Relationships Through Transparency and Strategic Partnerships

Customers look for trust when choosing a contractor. Establishing trust means customers will see you as a reliable source of information about electrification. Delivering on your promises will also enhance the customer experience and support repeat sales and word-of-mouth marketing.

Technology for Transparency

Project tracking, reporting tools, and digital resources can support trust by showcasing your expertise while keeping customers current. Use these tools to deliver detailed quotes and timeframe estimates, break down costs, and share progress reports.

Partnerships

The right partners can support critical processes while making you more reliable and trustworthy, whether providing a convenient online job booking experience or acquiring materials on time and with dependable or reduced cost.

Establishing new partnerships can help modernize your business while supporting a positive image. You can also broaden the scope of the services you offer to create more value for your customers, for instance, by partnering with a third party that can offer affordable financing to make electrification more accessible.

Build a Modern Business With Qmerit

Commercial electric contractors are at a turning point. The market offers new opportunities, but contractors must modernize their businesses to thrive in this new environment.

The right partnerships can make a significant difference and Qmerit has established one of the leading electrification networks in North America.

Since its inception in 2016, Qmerit has become the leading and most reliable partner for electrical contractors providing home installation services. Our reputation extends across various client groups, including residential EV owners, commercial entities, and managers of EV fleets.

Joining the Qmerit Contractor Network is the first step toward modernizing your business. With access to exclusive training including the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program, pre-sold jobs, business coaching, workforce development opportunities, and more, Qmerit helps electrical contractors become local electrification leaders in their community and will support you are you grow your business into the new year.

Find out how we help commercial electric contractors explore new opportunities in the EV charging market – contact Qmerit today to learn more!

Author: David Santillo David Santillo Senior Vice President, Contractor Support