Cost conundrum sparks a bright business concept

KNOWING how much it costs to get an electrician to change a light bulb has created a business opportunity for Carol King.

Mrs King is the managing director of Tubechangers, a three-week old company that is already proving a hit with facility managers and WA Government departments.

The concept is simple. Instead of sending around an electrician who will charge a call-out fee plus an hourly rate and travel costs to change a couple of fluoro tubes, the business charges a $35 flat rate plus the cost of the replacement globes.

Ms King said her business offered a 38 per cent discount on the cost of calling an electrician.

Market research showed the business could operate 115 vehicles around Australia and still not meet the full demand.

“It’s not just one-off fluoro changes. We can cater for a couple of globes up to 60,000. We offer a same-day service and a priority service. If a client needs something urgently we can get it to them within the hour,” Mrs King said.

Tubechangers operates on a similar “open-book” management system to electrical contracting business Kings Park Electrical, which Mrs King set up with her husband, Peter.

It allows staff to share in profits and shows them how the business needs to be run.

While there are no requirements for Tubechangers’ technicians to be licensed, they are sent to the College of Electrical Training to complete modules relevant to their work. Qualified electricians are included in the business’s staffing mix.

The company’s business plan estimates a $2 million market for its service in Perth. Australia wide the tube changing market is worth about $15 million.

There are plans for the business to set up in Sydney in the next couple of months and other Australian capitals after that. Its name is registered in New Zealand and there are plans to look to Asia.

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