Working to Create Opportunities
Interview with Darren Wright
Like many tradespersons, Darren Wright wanted to be his own boss. Instead of quitting a job and then starting a business, Darren bought the company he worked for.
Nine years on, the job of operating his company continues to be as interesting and challenging as he hoped it would be:
In 2007, after working as a journeyman electrician in England for almost twenty years, I moved to Canada because I wanted better opportunities for my kids.
We planned to live in Winnipeg but that changed when I came to Brandon for a job interview. As I drove into the city, I thought, ‘Yes, this would be a great place for my family.’
I got the job with All Points Electric, and eighteen months later, bought the business.
It was a steep learning curve going from employee to owner but I did get a bit of mentorship from the former owner.
A couple of years later, Jeff Roziere from Siere approached me because he could see the company was growing and thought I might want some business coaching.
At first, I was very hesitant because of the unknown. I thought, ‘How could they help me, they don’t know my business.’
But decided to go ahead — I was with them for two years. They really helped me learn how to manage a growing business.
I never went to business school, in fact, I didn’t graduate from high school.
I’m dyslexic and the teachers had no idea how to support me, so I left when I was sixteen years old to train as an electrician.
It’s really frustrating when people think that if you have dyslexia you’re stupid.
Thinking I had something to prove, I decided to go to university for a Bachelor of Science in Computer Systems Engineering.
After I got my degree, I realized I didn’t have to prove anything to anybody. I was just trying to prove it to myself.
I struggled with my degree, but you can’t give up, you have to keep going. Now technology has removed so many blocks.
It has helped me with the business — there are features like spell check, and I can even ask my phone to spell words for me.
I oversee the operation of our commercial and residential divisions.
When I expanded into the residential market I found that the billing model was opposite to what I was used to.
With commercial work, I identify jobs to bid on, cost out the job, then give the customer a price.
If they accept it, we do the job. But, residential customers didn’t know how much they would be paying until they received a bill after the work was done.
That was frustrating for me and for my customers. So, I created a straightforward pricing system that enables our technicians to tell customers exactly how much it’s going to cost before any work is performed.
We’re constantly doing staff training. People think training is an expense but it’s an investment in the business.
Our technicians are happy because they want to improve themselves.
And, I will soon bring a new apprentice into the business — my son, Kelvin, just completed Level 1 of the Construction Electrician Apprenticeship training.
— by Brandon Now