Career Story: Administrator At An Electrical Contracting Firm

Administrator At An Electrical Contracting Firm

Job Title: Administrator

Type of Company: I work for an electrical contracting firm.

Education: BA, Journalism, University of Rhode Island •• MBA, University of Hartford

Previous Experience: I was an editor and technical writer for a plastics research company and a public relations specialist for AAA.

Job Tasks: I work as an administrator at an electrical contracting firm where my duties include:

  • Job scheduling
  • Confirming appointments
  • Billing
  • Accounts payable
  • Materials ordering
  • Completing town permit applications and filing them with the power company
  • Completing AIA paperwork (rate job paperwork) for labor and billing
  • Organizing payroll information for the payroll company we use
  • Customer contact (answering phones and e-mails)
  • Completing bids
  • Bookkeeping
  • Inventory compilation

Basically, I handle all the organization required to secure, support, and complete electrical contracting projects. I am the first contact and the on-going go-between between clients and employees, forwarding project information, change orders, and deadlines to project managers and our salesman/estimators.

A typical day includes answering the phone, returning calls, pricing out material and labor for a job, completing estimates, releasing lighting packages, entering material invoices, billing jobs, firming up the next day's schedule, and typing up schedules for two days out. I plan for one to two weeks in advance, but finalize work orders the afternoon before.

And sometimes I even play electrician by phone, talking people through resetting their GFCIs, or helping them to determine if the problem is the circuit or their appliance.

Top requirements for this job are multi-tasking and organization.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is the autonomy I have and the ability to make final decisions. The worst part is that I do not just have one boss but hundreds of bosses.

The good is being able to make quick decisions, move forward, and make things happen. There is a real solid outcome for your efforts,

On the downside, you are attempting to please many many clients, which is not always possible, especially when dealing with turnaround times. Sometimes it's like performing medical triage.

Job Tips: Organization is key, as is the ability to remain calm and polite.

Do take business-related courses, as you will be required to mark up materials and labor, and determine where each job needs to be priced to get the job and also make a profit.

Do bring professionalism to your job. Return all calls and address all concerns. Too often in construction, these simple courtesies go by the wayside. Getting the job is not only about price, but takes into account your ability to complete the job and to warranty it. And, in this business, word of mouth is the best advertising.

Finally, learn the materials and have an understanding of how things actually go together in your industry. Women working in the construction industry are taken seriously these days, but you should have an idea of not only how to spell the names of the materials you are dealing with, but what they look like, and how they are used.

Additional Thoughts: You never know where life will take you.

Be open to career opportunities and changes. While I may never have set out to work in the electrical industry, the money was right, the job flexibility good, and the long-term prospects good. Also, my previous experience researching opportunities for the plastics industries had shown me that it takes about 3-4 months to get a grip on a new industry.

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