Here at Tallwood Custom Built Homes, we’re proud to collaborate with some of the best businesses in the South West to design, renovate and build incredible, luxury homes. One of these exceptional businesses is Laser Electrical, a locally owned and operated company with a passion for providing a “totally dependable” service.
Owned and operated by husband and wife duo Calwyn and Michelle Griffiths, Laser Electrical have worked closely with Tallwood on many projects across the region. Tallwood Director Alex Campbell recently sat down with the pair to chat about life, business and everything in between.
Here’s what they had to say…
TALLWOOD: Laser Electrical has a professional, clean cut, corporate look. How does this set you apart from your competitors?
LASER ELECTRICAL: We believe first impressions count and the way we present ourselves to our clients can mean the difference between winning and losing work. Our image (clean and ironed shirt, tucked in, clean shaven, smelling nice) has definitely helped to attract our preferred client.
A good slice of our clientele are banks, insurance brokers, medical and government offices, restaurants, retail etc and they want us to make a good impression on their clients when we’re working in their space. Our image gives the impression of care factor, trust and being approachable which our team definitely are. If we care about our appearance, then we’ll care about our client’s property.
TW: Your company tagline is ‘totally dependable’, but building doesn’t always go as planned. How do you guarantee dependability and how do you respond when things don’t go as planned?
LE: We run a very tight schedule. Our office team are skilled and well trained at understanding the different types of work we undertake and know how to change a schedule quickly to accommodate unplanned works and maintain our totally dependable tagline. We have a diverse team of skilled and cross trained electricians, which allows us to easily reshuffle a technician to step in where needed when plans change. It’s not always easy but we find that most clients are accommodating of slight changes to date and times if needed.
TW: As a married couple with children running a business together, what challenges do you face?
LE: Time! More time would be nice. Running a business and managing extracurricular commitments and school drop offs and pickups has its challenges but we always prioritise our boys, even if it means going home after school and working there or working into the evening to make sure their needs are met – it’s a sacrifice all parents make.
We try to minimise the boys coming to the office while we work but sometimes it’s unavoidable. We just make it work the best we can. Our team are very child friendly and don’t mind a little shadow following them around at the workshop on occasion, which helps a lot. There are times when as a couple running a business together, we don’t see eye to eye but mostly we complement each other as our strengths are the opposite of each other, which is handy!
TW: Who has which role in the company and what do you see as each other’s strengths and weaknesses?
LE: Our roles are the opposite of each other – Calwyn oversees projects, quoting, maintaining client relationships and business reporting, while Michelle oversees the running of the office. Michelle does the majority of the invoicing which she finds gives her a good overview of what’s happening inside the business. She also looks after the implementation of our safety system, workflows and procedures to keep our team efficient, on track and budget; as well as our marketing and human resources.
Calwyn is definitely the risk taker in the business, driving the business forward with new ideas, innovations and improvements, while Michelle keeps the balance with her attention to detail and keen eye for financials, statistics and data.
TW: How do you balance your work and personal life?
LE: We make sure our weekends are mostly free for precious family time. Sundays are our relaxing day for a movie, good book or some home maintenance. We also make sure we take time during the week and weekend to balance our personal health and fitness to maintain a clear head and stay active. We make sure we eat well most days and get enough sleep as to not burn the candle at both ends. We try to save our business talk for work hours although it’s not always possible. Our boys do get sick of ‘work talk’ so we try to keep it to a minimum when we’re all together.
TW: If you were to start Laser Electrical today, what would you do differently?
LE: We think the way our business has evolved is a very similar story to other businesses and we wouldn’t change the way it has grown. In the early days we didn’t have the work life balance right and work was all consuming but as we’ve grown, we’ve learnt that some things can wait and will be there tomorrow regardless. Stress less and have more faith that it will work out however it is meant to, would be something we would try to be better at next time. Easier said than done, however!
TW: Laser Electrical has received many business and trade awards over the years. What are the benefits for you and your staff?
LE: Recognition for all the blood, sweat and tears is more significant than we probably give credit for. Taking an award home to the team and celebrating together is a cherished moment in time. It definitely unites the team and makes us all feel proud of the organisation we’ve built together and worked so hard for.
From a client’s perspective, we believe it gives them confidence in our service if they’ve not used us before and makes it an easier choice to pick up the phone and make an enquiry if they’re looking for a trade.
TW: What are the major pressure points in your business?
LE: Juggling workload can be a pressure point, especially during the busy times and when it comes to knowing what to give your attention to and when. Maintaining a consistent and quality service during busy times puts extra pressure on the team to sustain the standard our clients have come to expect but we band together and help each other when needed. We encourage our team to speak up when they’re struggling so we can offer help.
Staying price competitive in our industry can also be challenging. We need to cover the costs of running a quality and reliable service, but we also need to remain competitive. We’ve had price driven customers who have come back to pay a little extra for our dependable service. It all works out in the end and word of mouth works very well for us.
TW: Laser Electrical and Tallwood are members of South West Leaders, a business and personal growth organisation in WA. How does this network benefit you?
LE: It’s great to be part of a network with other likeminded businesspeople to share stories, experiences and knowledge. You can’t beat that! Business can be a lonely road if you don’t have a network to lean on. We’re always learning and looking for better ways to run our business.
SW Leaders has access to a group of business experts who have been there and done that and their perspective is always refreshing. If you’ve got a problem, there’s a good chance there’s a contact in SW Leaders with the answer or a good suggestion. We find an afternoon once a month is the perfect time to reflect on our business and look from the outside in. SW Leaders definitely gives us that, but it constantly surprises us with its diverse keynote speakers and their spin on various business and personal topics. We always come away with a nugget that we can use in our business.
TW: Who is your perfect client?
LE: We have built our business on good value for money. We’re not the cheapest but we’re not the dearest so we’d say our perfect customer is one that recognises the value in an electrician who produces consistent quality workmanship, can be relied upon to turn up when they say they will, who uses quality and reputable materials that stand the test of time, who cares about the clients’ property and maintains a clean and tidy worksite.
Having said that – when working with the Tallwood team, it’s clear we value similar things and we believe that’s why we work well together. So, our perfect customer would have to be Tallwood!
TW: Laser Electrical has a really strong television presence, what made you try this form of marketing?
LE: We had the idea from the start that we would try every form of advertising and marketing to find out which one worked best for our business. Not a cheap exercise when we were just starting out, but it worked, and we found that TV (apart from Google) was the best form of marketing for our business. We measured its success by asking how a client first heard about us when booking their work and recorded the data.
TW: Do people recognise you in the street?
LE: People look and smile at Calwyn like they know him all the time! He often gets a double take when walking in the street or at Bunnings, but he gets recognised the most at the supermarket. People are always happy to say hello and have a chat. He often gets “you’re the guy from the ad”. Visiting Albany recently, was the most recognised Calwyn has ever been, of all places!
If you’re in need of a high-quality and “totally dependable” electrician in the South West, get in touch with the team at Laser Electrical today. If you’re interested in learning more about building a luxury custom home in the region, get in touch with the team at Tallwood Custom Built Homes!