Luis Gonzales is a Master electrician, owner and founder of Lightwave Electrical Contractors in South Florida. Lightwave is a family-operated business, specializing in power and industrial work. Fundbox customer Luis has pursued the electrical trade for decades, and brings his many years of experience along with his commitment to integrity and quality, to every job. We spoke to Luis about how he runs his business, and got his insights about what he most wishes he had known when he started.
Q: What kind of business do you run?
We (Lightwave) are electrical contractors, which of course involves electrical work. Specifically, we bring in power into the buildings and specializing industrial work around Dade and Broward County.
Q: Why do you do what you do?
I’ve been an electrician since I was 18. I like working with my hands. So, 5 years ago I decided to create my business to give the best service to the good people of Dade and Broward county. There are always delays in construction so we believe in giving our customers the best value through quality service.
Q: What is your guiding philosophy behind your business?
Here at Lightwave, we were trained by the union and believe in an old school way of doing business. We really adhere to the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I don’t look at my customers as dollar signs. The customer is not our enemy. We do business in an honest and authentic way.
“I don’t look at my customers as dollar signs. We do business in an honest and authentic way.”
Q: What makes your business unique?
As mentioned before, we do business in an honest, authentic way to deliver the best service to our customers. We listen to the customers needs and we know that they don’t want to be scammed. Nobody likes going to the mechanic to fix one little thing for $50 and come back and suddenly the bill is $500 because they found something that wasn’t on your radar.
We listen to our customers, understand their needs and based off of that we try to see how to solve the problem in a realistic way. There is always delays in construction so we try to give a realistic time frame for our customers. In a way, we treat them like they were our own relatives. I wouldn’t want to hurt my own grandparents, parents or siblings when I’d be doing business with them, so why do that to our customers? It’s not fair for them and it would just be bad business for us.
Q: Do you believe that’s why your business has been so successful?
I do. We don’t tend to advertise. Yes, we have a website that we need to do some update from time to time, and a few social media pages, but no big advertising campaigns. So our customers are our best advocates for the way we do business. If you’re honest with them and do right by them, people become the best advertisers. Thanks to them, we were selected the 2017 Klein Tools Electrician of the Year in the Southeast.
“Our customers are our best advocates… If you’re honest with them and do right by them, people become the best advertisers.”
Q: What do you wish you knew when you first started your business?
I wish I knew more about payroll taxes, workman’s compensation, dealing with contracts, making sure everything is written down and clear.
When we started five years ago, we didn’t know the costs of doing business. For example, we used to buy a ceiling fan for our customer for $50 and install it for $75, which wasn’t sustainable for our business. We have four employees, including my wife and I, and payroll costs thousands of dollars a quarter. So, me and my wife decided that we were going to do things right from the get-go. Thanks to Fundbox, we have had success in continuing our operations!
Q: How has Fundbox helped your business?
I feel comfortable using Fundbox. You guys have the same philosophy we have towards our customers. There are no surprises and no hidden costs. If it says that I’m going to pay X amount in 24 weeks with this X amount of interest, that’s what I’m going to pay without any surprises. I don’t even think twice before clicking the button [on the site]. They’re gonna do what they say they’re gonna do and that helps my business have more strength to continue.
In I WISH I KNEW, we talk to business owners about their career paths, their business growth, and the lessons they’ve learned along the way. Want to share your small business lessons or stories? Tweet us @fundbox and use #IWishIKnew.
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