Want to be a Contractor? Sign up Now for IBEW’s Contracting Class


January 31, 2014


IBEW members who become electrical contractors have the advantage of knowing not just a trade and an industry, but how to unleash the powerful contributions of the men and women who work on their projects.


Today, there’s a compelling need to better train and prepare new entrepreneurs—members who are starting their own contracting businesses and who are willing and able to respond to the major changes afoot in the electrical industry.

To fill that need, IBEW is launching a new program, Market-Driven Contracting. Delivered by a faculty comprising generations of experience in contracting, the program’s two week-long sessions will not only offer the basics to get started in one’s own business, but ongoing coaching to avoid the inevitable pitfalls of new owners.

The first session, limited to 32 class members, will offered on May 18-24 at the IUPAT Residence Suites and Conference Center in Hanover, Md.

Week 1 Curriculum

During Week 1, of on-campus instruction, students will gain in-depth exposure to accounting, financial and legal subjects encompassing business administration concepts that every contractor should know.

Return Home to Start the Business

Then, students will return home for six weeks to complete a rigorous set of take-home assignments to start their new businesses, including filing for incorporation, selecting accounting, legal and insurance firms, beginning a banking relationship and developing a business plan.

Week 2 Curriculum

Instructors will concentrate on best practices in both pre-construction and construction activities, with an overarching theme of balancing well-planned material management with the effective use of multiple classifications of electricians.


The pilot program will start on Sunday evening and conclude on Saturday at noon. The cost per attendee is $1,000 per week for a total of $2,000. Included in the cost is food and lodging at the IUPAT Conference Center. Travel costs will be the responsibility of each attendee.

Not just Entrepreneurs, but ‘Intrapreneurs’

“We are looking for entrepreneurs who have decided to make the leap and set out on their own to go into business. But we are also looking for “intrapreneurs,” who--through the sponsorship of existing union contracting firms—start up and manage affiliate companies that are capable of adopting new approaches,” says Fred Sargent, former CEO of Sargent Electric Co., a highly-successful IBEW employer since 1907, who is helping to establish the training program.

Built-in Peer Relationships

“Our goal is to offer subject-matter experts to help new contractors through the early stages of starting a business—the critical time when they are most vulnerable,” Sargent says. “They will study together and prepare for classes.  And, since most will be from areas where their classmates are not immediate competitors, they will have a built-in future peer group to brainstorm and succeed with.”


Online registration will be set up soon.  If you have questions, please contact IBEW Education Department Director Amanda Pacheco at 202-728-6104 or at Amanda_Pacheco@ibew.org.

Read More in the Electrical Worker

 A story in the March issue of The Electrical Worker will discuss Market-Driven Contracting training in more depth, how it can lead to important breakthroughs for local unions and contractors who want to thrive, not just survive in a difficult economy.


Photo used a Creative Commons license from flickr user Local 300 photostream