Jeff Longley - Mr Electric Franchisee
Jeff Longley, a franchisee of Mr Electric, tells us about the exciting prospects he has for his business.
I'm not an electrician. I bought the business because one of my sons started his electrical training at the age of about 22, and all the way through it, we were going through the recession, so it was hard for him to get a job. He finished his training about 25; he got very good exam results, but no experience, so no one would take him on.
I had the choice of either starting up my own electrical business to give him a job, or buying someone else's business and I thought well if I get in with a franchise, I'd get a bit of help and support in a field that I'm colour blind. So, it's a field I know nothing about!
Obviously I've worked with the Dwyers before, so I knew it wasn't a fly by night company that I was dealing with and it was a respectable brand. So, I was happy to get in with it; you know, I knew quite a bit about the company.
A recent thing that happened was they asked me to go to America, to look at the brand in America, and they had a bit of a training day. It was Five Levels of Leadership and I did this, and it taught you the different levels of leadership - level one to two, three, four level. It made me appreciate that you may have been in business for 20 years but you know next to nothing, and it inspired me to go out there and learn a bit more about actual business, rather than just running a business. Actually technically learn what I'm doing about leadership, profiling people, how to actually arrange your one-to-ones.
Tradesmen are notorious for learning their trade and thinking that they are God and the customer is happy to have them. Mr Electric turned that on its head and say no, the customer is God, you are lucky to have the customer and you've got to give customer care, and there's a totally different ethos.
On the practical side, good things have been I've got a contract with Home Serve, I got that through being with Mr Electric. I get 500 jobs a month through that. I've got another one with Western Power, again I got that on the back of Mr Electric. That employs two people, three some weeks, but two people full-time, just with those two contracts alone. As an independent, people wouldn't get in as an independent.
When we had audits from Home Serve, the auditor always says 'Mr Electric audits are easier' because we've got systems and a lot of what he's checking, is looked after by Mr Electric and they've encouraged us to do certain things that show up well in our audit. We had our audit with Home Serve and we got a fantastic 98% and they've asked us whether we'd take on gas work as well; they're so impressed with what we've done with the electrics, they want us to carry on with gas work.
Then, also Home Assistance UK can in to see me. They're on trial with British Gas to do all their call outs and I'm operating out a trial in the Midlands for those. That will bring in untold amounts of work at the moment, but as Fred Bloggs Electrics, they would not have been interested. It's only the reputation that we've built up with Mr Electric, these people are coming in to see me.
If you're an electrician, forget about being an electrician. I wouldn't have got where I am, if I was an electrician. I run the business. I work on the business, not in the business, and if you do come in, realise you're not coming in to something small. You're coming in to something that might be small now, but it will be large and it will be large very quick. So many opportunities that we're going through now.
If you're looking to come in to a small, one man band and do a bit of household electrics, just start by yourself, don't bother us. But if you're looking to come in and run a business and serve bigger crowds and learn how to do things properly, because, I say I always used to think I knew how to run a business, but since I've had the coaching from over here in America with the Dwyers and back home, I realise I've got so much to learn and if you're coming in with an open mind and you want to learn, be a good businessman, you'll be the ideal man.