Q: We aren’t able to compete on structured cable installations anymore; what should we do?
A: That’s really pretty common for the last couple of years. The companies that have been so successful just doing category cable installs and terminations haven’t been as busy as they once were. Their rates have actually lowered in the last few years. Most of our members do the wiring as only a small part of their overall business and not as a stand-alone profit center. You might be better off hiring the company to which you keep losing this type of work as a sub-contractor on your future projects. In some locations, when a job involves large amounts of repetitious work — devices, terminations, cabling, mounting fixtures, outlets, etc. — sometimes, it just makes more sense to have an electrician or cabling installer do that.
Some of these very small companies price their work and have very high productivity that most systems integrators (with a very different overhead and business model) just can’t compete with on pricing alone. The other observation I have is that many of these cable installers have been downsized from larger companies and are out freelancing this work. Remember, they are “working for wages” and you can’t compete with that (on price alone). — CW