Cable contracting companies not only install cable, they also provide maintenance and repairs. With this business model, you can start small, right out of your truck, and grow your business at your own pace. Your customers can range from residents of the suburbs to the U.S. Navy, which often installs complicated networks in its ships. As long as you keep your knowledge of the industry and the technical aspects of cable wiring up-to-date, you can be competitive and enjoy a lucrative business.
Create a business plan. In it describe local customers that would most likely hire your company, such as homeowners, apartment dwellers, apartment building owners, or new businesses that are opening in the area. List possible obstacles that could keep your cable contracting company from getting off the ground, such as competition or the lack of a sufficient cable and satellite coverage area. Calculate your costs to start the business and run it for a year without profit.
Determine the types of jobs you will accept. You can install cable and satellite television, and install and service telephone land lines as well to increase your chances of gaining customers. Add to your list Closed Circuit Television installation and maintenance. Choose to specialize or be a jack of all trades. Follow your strengths as a cable contractor.
Apply for a business license by requesting an application from your state’s department of revenue. If your state requires professional licensing as well, submit that application at the same time. You may need a cable contractor's license or a telecommunications contractor's license.
Apply for a bank loan for your business. Submit your business plan to the bank. If its loan officer does not approve you for the full amount, ask for a lesser amount or a secured loan to cover the van you will need to store your installation equipment and travel to your customers.
Buy a motor vehicle, preferably a van. To cut costs, search the classifieds or auto magazines to find a used utility van. Load up on equipment you will need, like wire cutters, tool belts and cabling wire.
Start small by keeping your office in your van. Purchase a laptop with a wireless card. Subscribe to a wireless Internet service so you are always connected. Buy a cell phone to use for business only.
Insure your tools, your van and yourself. Contact a state-authorized insurance agent to discuss coverage options for your business property. Also ask how to insure against something happening to you before you earn enough to hire additional help.
Provide free cable and wiring for nonprofit organizations and churches to build up your referral list. Get your business name out there in any positive way you can think of.
Become an authorized dealer or an affiliate with the major names in cable and satellite like DISH Network and DirecTV. You may need to submit your business plan and references before you are able to join. Network with telephone companies and security companies as well.
Market your business by advertising in the local newspaper. Contact the paper's advertising sales representative. Negotiate a long-term ad rate to save money. Print business cards and pass them out freely. Build a website to which you can direct new customers so they can learn more about your services.
Bid on government contracts. Search for announcements in newspapers and on municipal websites. Submit proposals in response to local, state and federal requests for bids. Hire a professional writer to help you with the proposals.
Sam Williams has been a marketing specialist and ad writer since 1995. He has been published in magazines such as "Reaching Out" and "Spa Search." He served in various sales and marketing positions with major corporations such as American Express, Home Depot and Wells Fargo. Williams studied English at Morehouse College.