For Dennis and Elisa Conrade of Mister Sparky of Little Rock, being an electrician is in their blood. Dennis’ father, uncles and several cousins were all electricians, setting the stage for him to assume the mantle. After an apprenticeship and years in the business, he and Elisa took the reigns of Conrade Electric Co., originally founded by Dennis’ uncle and aunt in 1959.
All that experience more than prepared them for the challenges of the industry and the opportunity to own a Mister Sparky franchise. “We focused our energy on building a commercial new construction and electrical contracting business for several years,” said Elisa. “In 2008, we received a postcard from Clockwork Home Services. We responded to the card and went to a Profit Day. We were sold on the model and believed in the success from that day forward.”
The Little Rock market was not available at that time, so the Conrades purchased an affinity membership and started a residential service and repair department within Conrade Electric. At the time, they had several large commercial contracts that required a lot of attention. But they still hired an electrician and CSR that were dedicated to the service department. Plus, they attended all the Success Academy training that was offered and slowly began to build the service business.
In 2012, the Little Rock Market became available and the Conrades purchased the Mister Sparky franchise. “We began to put more effort into converting our business from commercial new construction to residential service and repair because we knew that is where the profits are in the electrical business. We continue to grow and, today, our business is 85% residential service and repair. The top line numbers are lower, but profit margin is much better.”
What makes Mister Sparky of Little Rock so special is not only the experience that the Conrades bring to the table, but also their attention to customer service. “Our mission is ‘We believe unparalleled customer service is a duty, not a choice.’” This is evident in all they do.
Dennis and Elisa use regular training to make sure all team members understand that they are in the customer service business, and they happen to be electricians. The Conrades feel training is the key to success and they meet with their team at least twice a week. They continue to utilize Success Academy and look to fellow franchisees to address areas that need improvement.
This attention to customer service, in addition to their business model, upfront pricing and focus on training, is key in providing their customers with the very best service. And as local business owners, Dennis and Elisa recognize the importance in giving back to their community - by participating in the annual Summer Cereal Drive, sponsoring ball teams, and donating to the Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
“We believe it is much easier to build that good reputation than to try to overcome a bad one. Even when we were focused on commercial new construction, we always tried to be upfront and do what we said we were going to do, when we said we were going to do it. We make sure the team understands the goals and standards we have for the company. Ongoing training helps to make sure the reputation of the company is protected. Should we have an issue with an unhappy customer, we deal with it immediately.”
“I feel that immediate attention to the situation often times turns that happy customer into a cheerleader,” continued Elisa.