Point 1 Electrical Systems Inc. in Livermore, Calif., employs 25–30 people. The company, started in 1998, focuses exclusively on low-voltage work.
Unlike many contractors that perform low-voltage work and specialize in only one or two areas, Point 1’s work is evenly distributed among all of the types it provides, according to Shane Stoltenberg, director of construction.
The company provides a comprehensive array of low-voltage services, including networking (voice, data, fiber optics, video and satellite); communications (public address, intercom/paging, CATV and satellite master antenna TV); audiovisual media (video conferencing, presentation media, pro sound and sound masking); fire/security/safety (fire alarm, intrusion detection, access controls, closed-circuit TV surveillance and temperature controls); and patient/resident care (nurse call, infrared tracking, infant abduction and fall care).
“While we do all of these various types of work, the economy often dictates what we do more of at any given time, and, these days, we are doing a lot of fire alarm and security work,” he said.
As such, one of the company’s keys to success is to continually maintain experience in all areas of low-voltage work. As demands shift from one type of work to another, the company is always prepared to meet these changing needs, which allows Point 1 to thrive. Again, this is a different strategy than many other low-voltage contractors employ; those contractors are left to languish and try to regroup when demand is high for contractor services that they don’t specialize in.
Worker training has never been a problem for Point 1. Workers receive apprenticeship and additional training from the union hall, and the company also takes advantage of the many certification training programs that the equipment manufacturers offer.
The company does little marketing and advertising to find new clients because it doesn’t need to. “Almost all of our business is relationship-based,” Stoltenberg said.
The company regularly works with a selected few general and electrical contractors. Most of these relationships developed by chance, according to Stoltenberg.
“For example, we might be on a job with an electrical contractor that we have worked with before, but the project may have a general contractor we haven’t worked with before,” he said. “However, once the general contractor sees how we operate and the kind of work that we do, we are often able to begin working with that general contractor on other projects in the future.”
Point 1 also has close working relationships with some architects and consultants who help to bring in new business.
“We also strategically align ourselves with certain manufacturers,” he said.
Besides being qualified to handle all types of low-voltage work and thus being able to survive as customer needs change and the economy fluctuates, there are some other reasons that Point 1 continues to thrive.
For one, it makes itself available for all kinds of projects (new construction and remodels) and of all sizes (small buildings to large high-rises), with a very wide range of customers, including industrial, commercial, healthcare facilities, schools, retail, sports arenas, churches and more. For another, management maintains a sense of optimism.
“When we are bidding a job, we go in with the assumption that we are going to get the work,” Stoltenberg said. “As a result, we bring in the right partners and team for the job at quote time. We then stick with these partnerships through the contract process.”
The company has an excellent reputation among customers.
“We live on our word,” he said. “We do what we say we are going to do. Customers like that type of honesty.”
Along the same lines as honesty is reliability. The company offers 24/7 maintenance and troubleshooting. Point 1’s reputation tends to pay off.
“We recently completed a sizable security installation for a local emerging technology company, which has been in business for five years and is in an extreme growth pattern,” Stoltenberg said. “We were brought in by a consultant, and we ended up doing a great job.”
As a result, Point 1 was brought in not only to handle the maintenance of the installation, but also to start handling its security infrastructure on a global basis.
While Point 1 frequently works with customers that are growing by leaps and bounds, what is its attitude toward its own growth?
“We are currently satisfied with the size of our business, but, as the economy continues to improve, we are considering some growth,” Stoltenberg said.
One thing that Stoltenberg enjoys about this business is that everything is always changing.
“There is never a dull moment,” he said, adding that customer needs are always changing. “In addition, this business is based on technology, and the technology is changing all the time.”
As a result, every time there is a new challenge, there is always a new technology to address that challenge.