How a more modern process took an electrical contractor’s fast-growing business to the next level
Electrical Contractor | Vancouver, BC
Established in 2014, Castle Electric is a fully licensed electrical contractor serving clients in the metro Vancouver area and beyond. They handle both residential and commercial work, with services ranging from EV charger installation to home remodels, commercial tenant improvements, and much more. Castle Electric has built a strong reputation in Vancouver for being professional, reliable, and easy to work with.
Service templates make it incredibly fast and simple to send professional, accurate proposals to clients – often without ever visiting the client’s location.
- Continuous optimization of profit margin on existing jobs
- Cut down on administrative work and focus on more important things
- Create lasting impressions with customers to earn repeat business & referrals
- Service templates
- Professional proposals & invoices
- P&L reporting
A business built on perseverance and observation
When Michael Haff entered the workforce as an apprentice electrician, he primarily worked on commercial projects throughout a booming Vancouver market. Enjoying the work and quickly honing his skills, there seemed to be a clear career path ahead for Michael. Then the 2008 recession happened. Like so many other small businesses at the time, Michael’s employer was hit hard by the recession, and he was eventually let go.
Always one to bounce back quickly, Michael took various jobs in the commercial space, working his way up to become a journeyman electrician and eventually transitioning over to residential work. In these roles, Michael began to see patterns – identifying recurring strengths and weaknesses across the business he worked with and for. He enjoyed his work but became increasingly curious as to why no electrical contractors seemed able to strike the balance between skilled workers and efficient business processes.
In 2016, Michael decided he had seen enough. In an act described as both exciting and absolutely terrifying, Michael left his existing role behind and went on to start Castle Electric.
“There has to be a better way”
Starting off strictly from referral business and word of mouth, Michael’s business started to develop a reputation in the Vancouver area as being professional, reliable, and communicative. With a stellar reputation and Vancouver having one of the hottest real estate markets in the world, Michael’s business exploded – he had more jobs than he knew what to do with but was struggling to keep up with the paperwork and hiring needed to accommodate further growth.
Things were moving fast – Michael had built a solid team that he felt confident in and the work was pouring in – but increasingly, Michael felt like he was being stretched too thin. The second half of his vision – efficient business processes, seemed out of reach. He tried countless free and paid software, but they weren’t designed for trade contractors and were never quite enough to give Michael the time and security he needed to focus on other aspects of his business. Michael found himself working incredibly long days, spending most of his time out in the field with his team in a project manager role.
Despite Castle Electric’s consistent success and growth, Michael remained hesitant to hire new employees. Without the time to properly train and onboard new employees, Michael didn’t feel comfortable expanding his team further, which meant he would have to carry an ever-growing workload himself. Tired and frustrated, he sought out other successful electrical contractors in his area to hear their experiences and hopefully find a more efficient way to run and grow his business.
Skilled teams meet data-driven process
In one of the first conversations Michael had with a fellow electrical contractor, he was recommended Knowify. “My eyes lit up when I first saw Knowify – my first impression was that it seemed modern and easy to learn, but still had all the features I was looking for.” That same day, Michael started his free trial of Knowify and started adding his team, clients, and materials list to the platform. The impact was almost immediate.
With Knowify in place, Michael’s team was able to start and finish jobs faster and with better communication. Instead of needing Michael on-site to communicate project information, he was able to share important details with his team through the Knowify mobile app, and his team was able to do the same. Back in the office, Michael was now saving countless hours on what was previously unbillable work – tedious data entry and configuring clunky spreadsheets.
Today, Michael is looking toward what’s next for Castle Electric and his role in the business. With his team and process clicking, he’s able to hire more employees and take on more jobs. With every job they perform, Castle Electric gets additional job costing information and is able to continuously optimize future bids. More jobs and more accurate bids mean more profit, and a brighter future.
See Knowify in action
Michael’s advice for other contractors who are building their businesses?
“Don’t be afraid to invest in systems. In the early days of a business, it can be a little bit scary to spend on process, but it’s well worth it in the long run, and will pay for itself many times over.”
Ready to save more time and increase profits on every job? Take a walkthrough of Knowify with a product expert and see how you can grow your business, just like Michael.