Client Story - Electrical Installations LLC
Client Name: Jim and Chuck Fritz
Business Name: Electrical Installations LLC
Business Website: https://www.eii-hq.com
Industry: Water/Wastewater Automation & Electrical
Location: Moultonborough, NH
SBDC Advisor's Name: Ed Miles
Electrical Installations is a successful family-owned business, started by brothers Jim and Chuck Fritz in in Moultonborough, NH, along with their father Charlie and his wife Darlene.
In those early days, they had just four or five employees and one office. Today, as they celebrate their 36th year in business, they and their 31 employees service municipalities all over New England. Between their offices in Moultonborough, NH and Westport, MA, Electrical Installations handles a multitude of projects for the water and wastewater industries from as far north as the Canadian border down to Connecticut, as well as into Cape Cod and Vermont. On their website, Electrical Installations describes themselves as “a systems integrator / designer / installer specializing in control communications, telemetry, and automation for the water and wastewater treatment markets.
A successful business indeed. Jim says, “what's really kept us able to do this for so long is we've stayed specialized. We don't do things that other people can easily do.” Electrical installations has both the skilled team of electricians and the instrumentation needed to offer a combination of electrical and control systems to a customer or a general contractor who’s looking to get everything from one trusted company.
The Fritz family has worked hard building Electrical Installations to be the strong business it is today, and now their goal is to see its success continue for the next generation. With Charlie and Darlene Fritz now enjoying retirement, Jim and Chuck have assumed full responsibilities of running the business, but they too are looking ahead to their well-deserved retirement in the next ten years or so. Transitioning a business into the hands of their sons is something they want to do thoughtfully and carefully to ensure the company’s and their sons’ continued success.
All Master Electricians, their sons already work for the company, but Jim and Chuck know that owning and managing the business is a different game altogether. As Chuck explains, “we worked hard at this from day one. We don’t want to see it fail because they don’t know what it took to get to this point.” Through laughter, Chuck goes on to say, “We tell the kids, ‘You were born on third base. You didn’t hit a triple.’ They just see the fruits of third base. We want to make sure they’re not going to fail.”
With that in mind, Jim and Chuck contacted the NH SBDC for guidance in building their ten-year succession plan and began working with NH SBDC Business Advisor Ed Miles. “It was a lot of coaching, and it was really helpful,” states Jim.
Chuck describes having Ed as being like having a mediator between them, their father and the kids.
“It’s a little bit different when it comes from somebody outside the family who can look at the whole big picture."
Ed helped the Fritz family to better understand what to expect, what to do, and what to avoid throughout a succession planning process. He shared examples of other family businesses he had worked with who underwent the same types of transitions. Jim explained his appreciation for the way Ed could explain it to the Fritz sons in plain terms, so they would have a better understanding of how business works. Jim shares, “they all have good heads on their shoulders, but we need to have some meetings with an outside source like SBDC, that can help us along.”
Ed was also valuable in assisting the Fritz family with exploring the various ways one can go about building a succession plan. He was able to explain each method in more detail, and for any ideas the family had, Ed was there to share the pros and cons of those ideas. “He’s not trying to sell anything,” says Jim. “He’s there to help you. It was really valuable to have somebody that had an unbiased opinion.”
Jim adds, “he gave us a lot better understanding of the options we may have, and it made it a lot easier for us to make choices that were smart for our situation.”
The Fritz brothers expressed their support for the continued funding of organizations like NH SBDC. Jim shares, “people need these resources. There are so many small businesses, and a lot of people don't have the knowledge or experience, and need to have somebody to turn to.”