Becoming a solar installer is a secure job with fantastic potential. Renewable energy is becoming more popular every day. Professional solar installers and cleaners are needed with both residential and commercial solar panel systems in hot demand. Owning your own company can help the environment while affording you financial security.
Luckily, if you live in or near an urban or suburban environment, you should have an endless supply of clients looking to save the environment or save some cash on electricity bills. With solar energy becoming a viable and affordable energy source, homeowners are becoming more attractive. While the initial costs of the solar panels can be expensive within a certain amount of time, the home or business owner will get their money back on energy savings.
Let's get started with the basics on how you can get your solar panel installation company up and running.
Every business needs a plan. It's the first step to getting your ideas off the ground. While it can seem overwhelming at first, it can also be a lot of fun! You'll need a detailed plan that perfectly outlines all revenue, costs, timelines, supply chain issues, etc.
You need to set up your business model to indicate your general expenses and revenue. Here are a few questions you will need to answer when thinking about a business plan.
If you can't answer these questions immediately, you can answer them as you go. As you learn more, you may need to re-evaluate what you are doing completely. It's a normal part of the process. Start with a generalized business plan and slowly narrow it down by adding more details as your experience in the industry grows.
If you are going to install solar panels, you will need to sell solar panels. You'll need to know your stuff. From how much they can save on energy costs to the minute details about the types of solar panels and how they operate.
You'll be dealing with a high ticket item that won't be an easy decision for most. Your job is to educate and build trust so that by the time you're done talking, the individual is not only excited about solar but trusts you to get the job done as well.
Installing solar panels takes time and study. You will be required to understand each step and help your client choose between products that best fit their application. Here is the general outline of what goes on during the installation process:
Researching the population near you can be a big help in determining your target market. Are you selling to a rural audience? What about office buildings? Are you in a residential area mainly?
Installing solar panels for a factory is a much different project than a residential home. If you can identify your target area and target demographic, you can quickly market products that serve their unique needs. This process saves you time trying to master every solar panel system application. Becoming an expert at a lucrative niche will help you advance your career quickly and make you appear as an authoritative industry expert.
If you're accepting money and providing a service, you'll need to register your business in your state. Registration is required for tax purposes and for gaining necessary building and interconnect permits with the city and the local utility.
Due to the nature of working with complex equipment, the costs involved, and the risks, you'll most likely want to register as a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC). This will limit the personal risk you have, so your assets aren't at risk if things go south.
Business insurance will protect your business if something goes wrong or you damage someone's business or roof. While an LLC will protect you personally from bearing the financial burden of a mistake, business insurance will protect your business.
An unfortunate but necessary step, business insurance will keep your life running smoothly if there is an accident on the job or if a client ends up unhappy.
The cost of starting a solar company depends on the level of sophistication when the business begins. You can start the installation company with relatively no initial investment as you will be buying the panels and other equipment only when you need to do a project. You won't need to have a stock of solar panels on hand. The initial expense will be a solar measurement tool that tracks how much solar output is available in each location. This will then be input into solar design-specific software for refinement and project build.
Unfortunately, you can't go down to your local hardware store or big box store to get solar panels and installation equipment. Instead, you will need to find vendors that sell the type of solar panels you want to offer your clients. Luckily, plenty of solar panel vendors online are ready and willing to give you a contractor price on panels.
You need to advertise and build a brand around your company. Creating an image takes time and effort. It could include building a website, making online advertisements, buying ad space on the television or billboards, or even sponsoring a sports league. Regardless of what you do, getting your name out into the community is key to corporate growth. People won't stumble upon your company if they aren't looking for it.
Figure out what sets your business apart from the rest, whether it's a satisfaction guarantee or the new technology you have. It will help grow your brand and make it easier to market your organization.
Your revenue must exceed your costs, based on general business savvy economics. So, you need to understand the equipment prices and the cost to install the system at the facility. Usually, you can build in overhead to help pay for office space and employee salaries.
Finally, it would be best if you determine your profit margins. After all, you're in this business to make money.
The best way to market yourself is to have your clients do it for you. Offer a discount if the household recommends other businesses on the street. If you're working with businesses, you can do the same thing. If someone is buying solar panels, they're likely motivated by saving money and helping the environment. Helping you spread the word could accomplish both.
Solar is a competitive industry, but using Google and Facebook advertising to gain traction and get more customers can be a big help. Make sure you focus on buyer intent and customers interested in solar. Spending money on educating your potential customers can drain your budget quickly if you're starting a new advertising campaign.
Starting a solar panel installation business can be a daunting task at first, but is highly attainable for anyone willing to put in the time and effort to learn about the solar panel industry. If you have a love for renewable energy, electrical engineering, construction, contracting work, or general money investment, the solar panel industry is for you.