Adrian Barnes Electricians Limited

Sound business management equals peace of mind

  • Adrian-Barnes-web

    Adrian Barnes (left) with foreman Rob, and office manager Jen, who together keep the business buzzing.

Adrian Barnes started his electrical apprenticeship when he left school in 1976. Training on the job at Wanganui fertiliser company, Kempthorne Prosser was an excellent foundation, he says.

But in the 1980s, he, along with other staff, was laid off. Adrian then went to work for an electrical contracting firm for four years before deciding to set up his own electrical business.

“At first, I did a lot of jobs for friends and family – that lead to more jobs. Before I knew it, I began to employ staff and took on an apprentice and it grew from there.”

Adrian dedicated seven days a week to his growing business. “Back then you did what you needed to, when the work demanded it. Because I was a sole trader I didn’t have the restraint of a boss or an 8-5 timetable, so I worked all the hours I could.”

By the mid to late 90s his business had grown to the extent that he decided to form his company, Adrian Barnes Electricians Ltd. Adrian now has a staff of seven, which includes an administrative assistant and two apprentices.

From the outset, Adrian has relied on good advice. One of the first things he did when he started out was to go to a lawyer who told him, ‘Find an accountant and get yourself a cheque book.’

That accountant (recommended by the lawyer) was Warwyck Dewe of Moore Stephens Markhams in Wanganui. He has been Adrian’s’ business advisor ever since. “Warwyck has seen us through the sole trader years and into our transition as a company.

“He has always been very helpful and given me excellent advice. He has been a mentor at various stages during the growth of my business; ensuring that we had steady cash flow, efficient systems in place and good management. Personally, I need to know what my costs are and always felt confident that if we did the job right, at the right price, people would pay. Consequently, bad debt has never been an issue for us.”

Adrian is proud of the fact that he has built his business from the ground up and through maintaining high standards, has established a loyal client base. “We are lucky to have a regular flow of work,” he says.

“We do mostly commercial, some industrial and all domestic type jobs as well. In a small town you need to have your eggs in a lot of different baskets.”

Adrian was an early adopter of technology to help organise his business. “Right from the word go, I was keen on computerised accounting systems.”

He uses Accredo accounting software, which he says allows them to keep “a handle on everything each month”.

Two years ago Adrian suffered a stroke. It was a bolt from out of the blue and fortunately, because of the sound administrative system he had in place, business was able to keep going while he recovered.

“I was lucky that my office manager, Jen and my foreman Rob stepped up and took over the reins. Both have been with me for 15 to 20 years. The systems we had in place assisted the business to continue.

“The phone was still ringing and the guys were there waiting for the jobs. Definitely the relationship with Warwyck and Jen kept things going over that critical time.

“Since then, Warwyck, Jen and I have been meeting to discuss how to create a new management structure for the future. This will ensure my business keeps going and lighten my load while I rehabilitate.”

Adrian, his partner Julie and their two daughters, Aimee 19 and Jemma 12, are all interested in motorsports. Adrian used to race stock cars but no longer does. “It’s still a passion of mine,” he says. He is very proud of the fact that Aimee recently won a national award for speedway racing in the Youth Ministock class while Jemma has just started competing.

Published Winter 2014.

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