Marketing Your Residential Services

13 replies [Last post]
meby's picture
Joined: 2012-04-17

Patrick Kennedy of Mister Sparky believes your annual marketing budget should be based on the following:

  • If you want to maintain your existing level of business, spend 7% to 8% of sales.
  • If you want to grow your business, spend around 12% of sales.
  • If you want see aggressive growth, spend approximately 15% of sales.

Do you agree with this line of thinking? If not, what percentage of your annual sales do you direct toward marketing efforts?

houst2's picture
Joined: 2014-01-06

Given that Mr. Sparky has been in business for, oh a while, and he is not only in one state or county, I would have to say his numbers would be accurate. My question is where do you spend the 12% to grow the business? TV, Radio, Newspaper, Yellow Pages, Google, etc.? Seems as though everywhere you look or listen, you are being bombarded with advertising. I know this has extended the original question, however, I think it is something that could be turned into another discussion topic.

robzalewski's picture
Joined: 2014-05-22

Folks, I've been an advertising and marketing professional for 25 years. I work for a distributor right now but here's how I would approach this. For a large part, big decisions like these should benefit from some sort of data. For instance, who is your customer? How do they make a buying decision? What is the best to reach THAT person?

Getting yourself registered with Angie's List should be the first thing you should do.

I'm guessing women are driving a lot of these decisions when it comes to general electrical problems or upgrades to the home. Mass market advertising (radio, TV) get you numbers but I don't think it's a good way to spend your money because you're paying to reach MAYBE 1% of the numbers of exposures they sell you. Instead, I would work my way into grocery stores with floor stickers, cart ads or any number of other in-store vehicles. You should also target certain neighborhoods that are demographically good targets. These are just two ways to spend TARGETED dollars on messaging to homeowners that have some sort of disposable income for electrical upgrades and repairs.

Also, how can you get in front of realtors who could recommend you to people who HAVE to get electrical repairs done as a condition of their sales agreement. Establishing those kinds of relationships could pay handsomely.

This is just a few minutes of thought so I'm sure there are plenty of other good ideas out there but my suggestion is to work this in a smart and organized manner so you don't waste money and get frustrated. Gather demographic information on your customers and plot down how they made their buying decision. From that information you will find it a lot easier to make some decisions on how to proceed.

bluelogic's picture
Joined: 2014-09-05

It should be around 20% of GP in all situations.

CWill5's picture
Joined: 2016-07-15

I do believe with that line of thinking because you have to put a percentage out that would make your company more profitable. Wanting your business to grow will require you to do nearly double the marketing you did that got you to where you're at. It's all about how you take actions with the marketing plans and how to execute your plan successfully.

okieelectrician's picture
Joined: 2016-07-18

I also agree with Mister Sparky's numbers. But to elaborate more on what Rob said.. marketing online has benefited us well. By getting a website optimized and ranking on the first page of Google, our sales has jumped quite a bit. We ended up paying a local guy to maintain our site and he really knows what he is doing.

ElectricianBham's picture
Joined: 2016-07-19

I agree with both okieelectrician and Rob. Online marketing is far better than any other advertising medium in my opinion. One tidbit I can add is people get so worked up about how their website looks and forget the main focus of a website, which is to bring in Leads and Business! Keep it simple. Have original content and do the back end stuff or find someone to do that for you. That will help you rank in Google. My site is young and so basic, but it's starting to rank in my local area.

Hope that helps.

Electric Guy PA's picture
Joined: 2016-08-29

We are currently at about 8%, up from 4-5% in previous years. We are trying to grow and since switching to more of a service business model our average job size has gone down a little bit so we need to increase our call volumes. We do very little print marketing, mostly only to our customer base. Online is where it's at and that is where we have the majority of our spend for getting new customers. In my opinion to be done correctly you need to hire a professional, and make sure you make a good decision because there are a lot of companies out there that don't know what they are doing. Make sure they are Google certified as a start. After all, it's Google's sandbox and we are just playing in it so you need someone that knows the game.

Fredericksburg Electrician's picture
Joined: 2016-09-08

Here is a simple way to start the company with little to no advertising budget. You will need to get onto the search engines (google, bing, yahoo) which takes a good website. You can build a free starter website on,, or any of the other ones out there. The key to making your website is writing the content that goes onto the page. Your home page should be over 1,000 words and it should use things called "keywords" which is a way of saying words that people search for on google, yahoo, etc. You've also got to go to each of the search engines to confirm your business as a real business.

Tons of people don't do this stuff because they think it's hard, but not feeding the family is harder. It takes time, but you'll invest less than $150 to get this stuff up and running. Once people see you online, they will start calling you.

Other tips, use your cell phone at first (change this once you can to avoid disturbing your private time), get the $10 business cards on vista print (it's actually $30 so be ready for that), and go to local networking meetings that DO NOT charge money. There is always someone looking for electrical work or someone that knows someone looking.

You can see what we did on our website, and it cost us less than $200 when it was all said and done. We get 2-5 calls everyday and we don't pay for them.

Good luck.

electrician kansas city's picture
Joined: 2017-01-05

His numbers are good. The best advise I can give anyone to grow their business is USE THE INTERNET! if in this day and age you don't have a website you are behind. The best way I have found to do this is hiring a good web solutions company. I used a good one here in Kansas City. They did an awesome job with my site and it is currently moving up the ranks in search engines.

If you have any questions about this or want me to share the company I used let me know. Thanks!

JeremyServices's picture
Joined: 2017-03-07

I think the biggest thing is making sure you are investing in the right type of advertising. I would venture to say 10% of sales would be wise to invest if you are focusing on what works well.

For example if you are in a larger metro area, online marketing, website development and optimization are a good way to go. If you are in a fairly small town or city it may be good to have more grass roots marketing going for you. Definitely make sure you show up for people searching on Google in your city either way though.

Rodney Koop's picture
Joined: 2017-03-16

Good advice here. I'd first check my customer retention rate. If I am not getting repeat business then my budget will be higher. Capture the low hanging fruit for sure. Get data, know your market.

Dominicb's picture
Joined: 2017-03-18

In becoming an electrical contractor or worker in the field, what are some things that needed to becoming successful?

Dominicb's picture
Joined: 2017-03-18

When becoming a contractor or worker in the field, what are some things to watch out for when trying to become successful?

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