It’s not every day you find a tradie with real star power – but when you hire Justin Stiles from Omzen Electric, that’s exactly what you get! Despite only starting his business in 2013, earlier this year Justin was approached by the hit show The Block to put his skills in the spotlight. Omzen are now the official electricians for Dan and Carleen – and they’re bringing a real spark to the screen.
To achieve that sort of recognition after such a short time just goes to show what an amazing business Justin has built. As the self-proclaimed “friendliest electricians” in Melbourne, they always go above and beyond to make sure every customer is happy with their service. Whether that’s changing a couple of extra light bulbs, or fixing a problem for free, they won’t be satisfied until you are! That kind of service is truly shocking (pun intended).
Whether it’s electrical installations or fault fixing, Omzen Electric will get the job done. We had a chat to Justin to find out more about what powers his business.
Hi Justin, thanks for having a chat to us. What do you love most about being a tradesperson?
One of them is the little victories – like when I’m sitting in traffic and seeing one of my vans drive past. It’s an achievement. Getting approached to do The Block was massive too. It’s third-party endorsement and validation, and recognition of the great job my team has been doing.
I also love that I get to meet new people. I regularly go to networking events and it really suits my personality, because I’m super chatty. I’m the only tradesperson who attends and I’ve learnt so much – it makes me feel like a school kid again! I’ve also made heaps of friends and we get along really well.
What makes your business unique?
We market ourselves as Melbourne’s friendliest electricians – our speciality is customer service and it’s all about the experience.
I live and breathe this business, and have trained all my apprentices from day one. I’ve created the culture and I employ people that are a good fit, and by doing so I’ve built a little team that works in harmony. They’re like my family – they all have a key to my house and we get together every morning to discuss the day before we head out. I make sure I buy all my team Christmas presents because they have to work hard over festive periods. They are loyal to me and my business – it means a lot.
What is your top piece of advice for someone about to start up a small business?
If you’re starting a business, you’ll be the poorest you’ve ever been and then the richest you’ve ever been – but only if you commit to it. So you need to get your finances in check before you do anything else. When I started I made sure I was debt free, even though it meant eating baked beans a lot more than I’d care to admit.
Once you’ve got the foundations set, give yourself a wage, so you can track your incomings and outgoings correctly. If you’re planning to grow, set yourself up as a company and not a sole trader. When times are lean, you’ll know what’s coming in and what’s going out.
Doing this means you can find out where losses are being made. For example, it allowed me to see that we clocked up a heap of parking fines ($3,500) in a year – enough to know that I needed to have words with the team. Suffice to say we haven’t had any since.
You also need to pick a name that means something to you. I wanted to create an entity with a mantra – ‘om’ ‘zen’ is putting out the right energy and then receiving it. Not everyone is going to play it like that, but the name has to mean something to you if the business is a representation of you.
Asking for reviews can be tricky at times. What are some of the ways you ask your customers to provide feedback?
We always go above and beyond. If there’s something else that we can do for our client – like changing any extra light bulbs for free while we’re on site – then we do it. We also make sure we’re very clean, and leave the job site in better condition than how we found it. We’ll even take the rubbish with us so it’s not clogging up their trash.
Then, when we’re sure the client is really happy with our work, we ask them for feedback directly. Sometimes I ask customers why they chose us, and it’s always because of the reviews. Then I tell them it’s a big part of our business and it’s important to share their feedback with other potential customers.
One hundred percent of the people I ask leave reviews – every person I have ever asked has done so. Sometimes it takes six months, but we get there. It’s a good way for them to express their appreciation of our work.
What advice would you give to other local businesses who might want to increase their online reviews on platforms like True Local?
We have mostly five star reviews on our True Local page. It’s not because we’ve always done everything perfectly, as it doesn’t happen that way, but what it shows is that we’ve done as much as we possibly can for our customer. We might fix a problem for free if the situation permits, or go that extra mile to ensure they are happy with our service.
We’ve had a bad customer experience before where the customer was very unhappy with a small issue, so I arranged to fix it quickly. He wasn’t expecting that service from a tradesman, and he assumed that as we’d been paid, he didn’t have any leverage. So he went for malice and bad words to force me to do something I was very prepared to do in the first place. Now he is one of my best customers and best referrers of our work. Everyone can be turned around by over-delivering on the work, follow-up and resolution.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of mediocre tradespeople out there. But all that means is that you can stand out amongst them. If you go in and you’re friendly, you ask how their day is and you’re genuinely interested – you’re going to get a review.
My favourite customer – her name is Jac – called me up one day for my first job. We’re now genuinely good friends, and I believe anyone can achieve that if they approach their clients with the right attitude.
Why are online reviews and feedback valuable to you?
There are hundreds of electricians just in Melbourne, so having a genuine review system where you can see what sets us apart is priceless.
It’s a third party validation – you can’t buy that. For it to be consistent, you have to be consistently providing awesome service. That’s what sets us apart. There are heaps of electricians that can change a light; but our services are complemented by the quality of our work. We go in with personality and what we leave behind is a great experience and great workmanship.
What types of content do you upload to your True Local listing? How often do you upload things?
It actually needs to be updated, because even though the reviews are currently speaking for themselves, I haven’t updated my description in a while and I need to.
Early on, I put up a photo of our van and quality work but that was it.
We’ve recently got onto social media to show the level of our work and the projects we work on. I think it will be challenging to build it but we will get there.
What else are you working on?
We’re looking at an automated work system that gives additional alerts so when we scale up, our customer service isn’t lost. This will give us access to client systems to predict when issues arise, and they’ll be able to book, confirm and manage their jobs through this. They’ll have a touch point at every step of the process.