A Tradie’s Tale

Want to know what it’s like to be a tradie and start your own business?

This is the story of our very own Miles Astley, from his days as an apprentice to starting and growing Miles Astley Electrical Services to what it is today.

Apprenticeship

Miles started when he was 18. He spent the first two of a four-year apprenticeship doing more mechanical than electrical work. He worked for a company that installed back-up generators. That company eventually changed direction so Miles finished his last two years in a chemical factory, where he got a lot of his control and mechanical electrical experience from. After finishing his apprenticeship, he started working with a small electrical contracting company that had just started up and was thrown straight into residential work and it’s been his primary focus for the last 38 years.

Starting MAES

Miles was working for a small electrical contracting company for 10 years after his apprenticeship. Miles was very interested in the technology side of where electrical was going: audiovisual, Internet of things, etc. He and his then boss eventually went into business together and started a specialised and service orientated electrical contracting company before he started MAES. He used his name in the business because people already knew him and he wanted to keep that client base. MAES would then grow to be a business that put a lot of importance in keeping clients for life.

Growing MAES and business advice

While MAES used to survive on word of mouth advertising alone in the old days, the business eventually knew that this was no longer enough. Over the years they only advertised in the yellow pages, and now use social media full time to get the business out to a lot of people.

To have a thriving business, Miles says that you can be the best electrician but it won’t matter if you’re bad at the business side of things. “It’s not just what you do with the tools. You have to pay your staff, yourself. Knowing your numbers is the most important part of business.”

He also stressed that  taking courses to keep up with ever changing technology. His eldest son Aaron insisted they learn how to market their business with social media. It has allowed them to be top of mind with their clients. MAES now posts on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn from Monday to Friday. This doesn’t just get them clients but shows them MAES are real people. People have to be comfortable with letting you in their house. 

Another thing a business course taught them was the importance of  using operating systems. Miles was a pen and paper guy up until only two years ago. Quoting, job sheets, etc. would take a lot of time. A company called Tradify reached out and streamlined all their paperwork. It worked so well and saved a lot of time.

The MAES team

Miles’ 2 eldest sons Aaron and Ben, step son Jono and wife Jacki all work for MAES along with other employees, but everyone is treated like family. Nowadays, Miles’ role is more of a mentor than boss. He knows the business is in good hands with his sons. He also contributes to the industry in general by training other apprentices. He says seeing these young blokes go through the other side of the trade, get their license and either start their own business or move on to other businesses knowing they got their experience from MAES, is something he’s really proud of.  

To hear more of Miles’ advice and wisdom on being a tradie and starting your business, listen to him on the Tradie Avante Garde podcast.

For your electrical needs, contact Miles Astley Electrical Services. We have the strictest COVID-19 protocols for your and our team’s safety.