Tom Laffey began his business, TL Electrical Contractors Ltd, two and a half years ago. His aim was simple: more creative freedom whilst handling a diverse mix of electrical services. Now, with a team of four, the company tackles everything from domestic work through to large-scale commercial and industrial projects across Yorkshire.
The company’s commercial contracts include care homes, special needs schools, and social housing. It gives the team variety and an ever-changing routine. One day, they can be working on compliance for a school, the next on electric vehicle installation.
Before TL Electrical, Tom worked for several different companies. It gave him valuable experience, but he always felt creatively stifled. With his own business, he can now put his own ideas in place and do things differently.
But Tom had another reason for starting his company. He wanted to enjoy more family time.
“I’d been working away for over ten years and, with our first child on the way, wanted to be at home to not miss any of this. I’ve not had my foot off the accelerator since Day 1! In the early days, I’d have my son in one arm asleep, whilst pricing up on my laptop with the other arm. I had a family to support, and this was the biggest drive for me. It’s been non-stop ever since.”
Strategic approach to social media has led to greater visibility and new business
Tom’s willingness to put in the hours paid off. Most of his work now comes through word of mouth and he has a strategic approach to social media, especially on Instagram and LinkedIn. This has led to increased visibility and new contracts.
“I firmly believe that opportunity is born out of luck, it’s awareness of mind that takes advantage. I’m always checking social media for people or companies seeking help. When I reply, they can see our work via social platforms to get an insight into who we are. Social media is like a CV, and it’s this that brings in small jobs which often lead to bigger ones.”
In the early days, TL Electrical ran from Tom’s home. But the business grew faster than expected and space soon became a challenge. This, along with having a newborn at home, prompted him to explore local workspaces.
He checked various options but his visit to The Business Village stood out as the right fit. It offered the perfect working environment and a supportive community.
“I knew the Operations Manager, Lyndsey Maw, and saw the amount of support offered by The Business Village. It’s such a friendly place – it’s fantastic and the management team have opened lots of doors for me. I’ve had introductions to other tenants which has led to work. They really do give their all to help grow your business.”
The flexibility at The Business Village has been essential for growth
Flexibility at The Business Village has played a crucial role in TL Electrical’s growth. The team even did work for The Business Village, installing feature lighting and creating electric vehicle charging points.
Tom’s business has expanded rapidly in the last two and a half years. Within six months, he’d outgrown his first office and he’s now eyeing up a bigger workshop.
“I’ll be getting admin support soon, so I can concentrate on growing the business. But I also want to create a dedicated training area for my apprentice Ryan Batley, who is progressing extremely well. We’re going to need the extra space very soon.”
Once the training area is in place, Tom plans to offer it to other electricians. He’s also committed to supporting apprentices.
“Apprentices are often overlooked or used as cheap labour. My approach is very much two-way so both of us benefit. I want to help more people on their way to becoming an electrician. I’ve worked with second and third year apprentices who are nowhere near where they should be, and I feel this is due to no care or attention to their needs. There’s a massive shortage of skilled tradespeople right now, which means that apprentices are the future. My message to anyone leaving school is that if you get a trade behind you, you can go far – but only if you want to.”
Looking ahead, Tom has big plans for TL Electrical.
These include training for both apprentices and adults. But he also wants to become a one-stop-shop for compliance services and dive into sustainability, helping businesses cut their carbon footprint.
To achieve this, Tom anticipates growing the team to around ten members. He believes this strikes a good balance between expansion whilst maintaining a high-quality service.
“I’m on the waiting list for a workspace at The Business Village. It’ll mean we can create stores, training space, and an office. I considered buying something, but the space here includes facilities and onsite security. Being at The Business Village is good for my overheads and gives me peace of mind.”
Get in touch with TL Electrical Contractors Ltd:
Tel: 07856 075 596