Electrifying ideas…Some basics
With rare exception most of us entered the business with decent mechanical skills but electricity was another matter. It was typically uncharted territory and if we’re being totally honest, kind of frightening. Unlike a leaking fitting or a clogged wash arm, electricity is potentially dangerous. Then add the dizzying range of terms: 120, 240, 440, single phase, three phase, L1, L2, L3, Common, Ground. Whew!
There are two types of electrical current: direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC). DC current flows in one direction, while AC changes direction at a rate that’s referred as its “cycle”. North American electricity changes direction 60 times per second, ergo our 60-cycle current.
With 120-volt circuits there are two insulated wires and a bare copper, (or possibly green) ground wire. The black wire is referred to as the “hot” lead and the white one is the “neutral”. That white neutral wire provides the return path for the alternating current that’s being delivered by the hot black wire. The ground wire is used to ground the device we’re powering and will cause the circuit breaker to trip if either the white or black wire is shorted inside that device.
240 volts can either be Single Phase or Three Phase (there’s no two phase). The difference between them is in how the three wires (black, red and white) are used (or more correctly in single phase, not used). With single phase 240 the two 120 volt (each) red and black wires are normally used separately to power two 120-volt devices (for example a motor, and a heater). There, only two wires are needed because L1 and L2 are 180 degrees out of phase and take turns being the return wire. When current from L1 is flowing one direction, L2 is acting just like the 120-volt white (or common) wire. And when the current reverses, they swap roles and power flows in the opposite direction.
In a three-phase 240-volt circuit L1 & L2 and L3 are used together by attaching each to its’ respective connection point to provide 240 volts. BTW, a 240-volt circuit (either single or three phase) will always be protected by a two-pole circuit breaker. It’s just two breakers positioned side-by-side with the arms of them mechanically linked. That way if either is leg shorted the power to both sides is cut off.
Next up: Some electrical do’s and don’ts.
Pie and growth…Bigger is better
Yep, it’s 2020 and the just maybe it’ll be your best ever year in the business. With perhaps the strongest economy in our lifetimes our current customers are prospering, And right now there’re probably more prospective customers who’re enjoying more activity for our services than any time we can remember.
Add in the fact that pretty much wherever you look, there’s new construction underway to include; restaurants, health care facilities, lodging and education. Yep, it’s clear this is the year to both cash in on the vitality of the business we already have, and to grow that base dramatically.
Frankly the state of the economy pretty much removes any excuse for your not making this your best year ever. So, the only real question is how we’ll do it. Clearly the starting place is a robust list of the prospective opportunities we’ll target in this first quarter. Then we have to establish what will entice them to consider us – and then fashion that idea into an actionable plan.
Finally, (and most importantly) we have to get on with the execution and those initial calls.
That all sounds easy (but won’t be) and given the fact that we probably have a lot of year over year built in growth in our current customer base, there’ll be the temptation to sit on what we have and avoid all that hard work. That would be a really bad idea. Remember what goes up eventually comes down and unless we increase the size of the pie now while the getting is good, we might regret that decision when it does.