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An electrical extension

image Deryck Zellner, owner of Zellner Electric

SAN ANTONIO - When Deryck Zellner was in the Army, he knew that he represented his branch of service and his country to the public, especially when he was overseas in Bosnia.






    Now, as owner of Zellner Electric, his employees must do the same when they make a house call.
    “If they don’t make me look good when they’re out,” Zellner said, “then those people aren’t going to call me back. So, my employees really have to be an extension of how I deal with my customers and how I treat them.”   
    Zellner started his company in 2011. He had worked for another electrical contractor for a spell in sales, not knowing the trade himself. The owner wasn’t well versed in the art of sales or customer interaction, so while Zellner taught him that, the owner taught Zellner how to be an electrician. From this experience, Zellner started his own company, bringing all his toolbox set of skills into his new venture.
    “I learned in the field, hands on, with somebody teaching me,” he said. “Everything I’ve done in the past has helped me get to where I am today.”
    When it came to not just being an electrician but a business owner, Zellner said, “It wasn’t too hard. It kind of came naturally. I got my time under my belt and my master’s license, and I went out on my own.”
    Because of Zellner’s experience in sales and customer interaction, people knew him, thus making being a new company easier. “I’ve done well with word-of-mouth advertising,” he said.
    Zellner Electric employs five other electricians in the field and one person in the office. That person happens to be his mother. Zellner laughs when he says, “She’s retired but I put her back to work.”
    Zellner’s territory is New Braunfels in the center but reaches from Austin to San Antonio. He has gone as far as Corpus Christi, but that was only for a regular customer who had a second home there and he requested Zellner personally.
    Zellner Electric’s workload is 90 percent residential and 10 percent commercial. “On the commercial side,” he said, “it’s more service related than it is new construction. I don’t have the manpower to take on a school or really big commercial projects - they take up too much time.”
    Zellner also doesn’t do new residential construction except for people he knows who might be building a custom home.
    When it comes to service work on older homes, Zellner said, “It’s not surprising what we see anymore. We see a lot of stuff that’s not how it’s supposed to be, even then.” Zellner’s guys will also do holiday lighting.
    “Anything we do is about relationships,” he said. “I treat customers in a way that they’ll call me from here on out.”
    When it comes to the future, Zellner wouldn’t mind getting a little bigger, but not at the expense of the personal touch. “I really don’t have a desire to have 30 electricians in multiple cities,” he said. “I like being small and being family-oriented.” If he does get a few more folks, Zellner has thought of having an audio-visual branch to do home theater installations.
    Zellner likes to take care of his employees as much as he does his customers, such as taking them to a Cowboys game this month.
    “I just enjoyed it,” he said of starting his own electrical company. “I’m out in the field probably more than I should be.” By using all his learned skills and experiences, Zellner and his team are extending their electrical savvy to grateful customers.
    Zellner Electric is an electrical contractor in New Braunfels. -dsz

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Author Info
Dan Zulli dan@constructionnews.net