Your Business



Articles in this section are intended to help electrical contractors grow and improve their businesses, from financial and legal advice to creating a service and maintenance department. You’ll find articles on estimating projects and more below. 

As the landscape of electricity generation in the United States evolves, natural gas continues to account for an increasing share of the mix.

If you have kept up with the 2017 Nobel prizes, you know three Americans won the prize in physiology or medicine for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm.

Here’s an undeniable truth I’ve learned over the years: When one chapter ends, another is right around the corner. That’s especially true now for me and the National Electrical Contractors Association.

This month, I expand on “Do You Trust the Drawings?” by talking more about establishing the scope of work included in your estimates. Let’s start with verbal instructions.

More on Your Business

Editors' Pick
Mobile Technology and the Electrical Contractor

Smart phones and tablet computers enable on-the-go access to information and key applications, especially considering 98 percent of Americans have an available 3G network (and 4G increasingly in certain markets).

Tool Trends 2011

The evolution of Basic tool types occurs slowly (think screwdrivers and measuring tapes). Then there are times when a new tool technology (or the advancement of an old approach) rapidly changes a market segment (e.g., lithium-ion batteries for professional hand tools).

Does Not Follow Directions

While conducting an investigation recently to determine why a piece of equipment in a telecom center was resetting occasionally from a perceived low-voltage condition, I actually was able to review the facility’s electrical drawings. Sometimes, the operations manager has no clue where they are.

A Vicious Cycle

Six years ago, I wrote, “[estimating] software technology is not going to dramatically change” (“Smart Buys,” Electrical Contractor, September 2005). Wow, was I ever wrong about that. It has changed quite dramatically.

Outliers and Black Swans

A century before electrical contracting existed, Victor Hugo wrote, “There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” Rapidly changing technology requires more progressive thinking today, but the powerful idea that appears as an outlier often goes unrecognized.

Mini Bar Exam - The Answers

I posed nine multiple choice questions in my September 2011 column. The following are answers and analyses. As you review the problem analyses, keep in mind that, if you gave serious thought to the questions, you have gone a long way to being right regardless of your answer.


Financial planning and strategizing during chaotic economic times is like white-water rafting without a paddle. As you bounce between rocks, holding tight and hoping your craft doesn’t spring a leak, you analyze your situation.