Richard Reed launched Reed Electrical Solutions at the onset of the pandemic in January 2020. Despite the COVID crisis, his business is thriving.
“My wife and I put together a business plan,” Reed says. “We knew there was a demand for skilled trades.”
Reed, who previously worked as an electrical contractor, developed an interest in electrical work beginning in high school.
“I took four years of electronics,” he relates. “I also took shop and drafting in school; I use those skills every day.”
Reed’s original plan for his business was to keep his day job and pursue his electrical business part time.
“By the end of February, the demand for electrical work was so high I wasn’t able to work two jobs,” he relates.
Subsequently, Reed set up a home office and went to work on his own.
“Technically I knew what I needed, but I didn’t know everything I needed to know about running a business,” he adds.
About that time Reed connected with the Longwood Small Business Development Center (SBDC) through Startup Martinsville. This program, which is a Patrick Henry Community College and Martinsville Henry County Chamber of Commerce led initiative, includes an intensive eight-week entrepreneurial boot-camp program, and at the completion of the course, participants are invited to present a business plan and vie for grants.
“I got into the startup course at the last minute,” Reed recalls. “My wife is the one who told me about it.”
The team administering Startup Martinsville included Longwood SBDC Business Analyst Michael Scales.
“Mr. Scales was previously a road contractor, so he knew a lot about state regulations and other things I needed to know for my business,” Reed comments. “He was a big asset.”
The eight-week boot camp featured a variety of speakers on various business-related topics.
“They covered all the highs and lows of everything you might need to know when starting your own business,” Reed relates. “They did a terrific job of covering a lot of ground. It was all very helpful.”
At the completion of the eight-week course, Reed pitched his business plan and scored a grant for $9,800.
“That grant helped buy power equipment and some of the larger industrial tools I didn’t have,” Reed says. “That allowed me to get into the industrial environment a lot faster.”
In addition to residential work, Reed’s business services industrial and commercial clients.
“I have a fairly large residential client base, but the commercial side is good as well,” he adds. “I had a few slow weeks, but then business picked up. Currently there is a shortage of skilled tradesmen in this country — especially electricians.”
Future plans for the Reed Electrical Solutions include setting up a dedicated office space, hiring more employees and expanding marketing venues. Reed recently began using yard signs to advertise his completed projects and purchased a billboard space in a well-traveled area.
“We’re already in Phase 3 of our marking plan,” he notes.
As his business expands, Reed plans to keep an open line with Michael Scales and Longwood SBDC.
“If I have a question I know that I can always pick up the phone and call Mr. Scales,” he says. “It’s good to have someone like that to bounce ideas off of.”
Reed has already recommended SBDC to several acquaintances interested in starting a business.
“Things have gone a lot faster for my business than I thought they would,” Reed comments. “I’m already having growing pains, but it’s all good stuff.”
Reed credits Startup Martinsville along with the help he received from SBDC.
“SBDC has so many resources,” Reed concludes. “SBDC helped steer my business the way it needed to go.”