Professional and personal
Astill’s Electrical Services is a family-run electrical company with extensive experience and an award-winning record. Founded in 2009 by directors Mick and Amanda Astill, the company has grown consistently and considerably over the last decade, in both size and acclaim. They have evolved from a garage in Wondai to two offices in Kingaroy and Maroochydore. From one employee, they have grown to more than 20. And over the past several years, the business has been repeatedly recognised for their professionalism, their embrace of technology, and the development of their staff.
Amanda credits the company’s sustained success to their adaptability. Over the years, she says the wants and needs of the market have changed, and Astill’s has continually changed alongside them.
“We’re always willing to adapt,” she explains. “We were just electrical contractors initially, but as the business has grown we’ve seen opportunities to move into other areas and we’ve capitalized on them.”
For example, six years ago the company expanded into solar installation. There were substantial rebates available for consumers then, and the demand was very high, so Astill’s invested in the proper training for their people and “really seized the opportunity,” Amanda says. More recently, they added refrigeration and air conditioning capabilities for the same reason.
“Keeping across a lot of different areas of work has really de-risked our business. It’s allowed us to take advantage of these opportunities for growth as they’ve come along. Things can change so quickly, what people want can change so quickly – so it’s good we have the ability to change our business to suit.
Today, Astill’s Electrical Services offers a wide range of services across South Burnett and the Sunshine Coast. They provide domestic, commercial and industrial services, as well as install grid-connected solar PV systems and complete air-conditioning and refrigeration installs & maintenance. Their team is equipped to meet the whole spectrum of client needs, from small household problems to large commercial developments.
According to Amanda, clients from across that spectrum choose Astill’s for two reasons – the consistent quality of their services, and the emphasis they place on communication.
The communication part is particularly important, Amanda explains, because it ensures that everyone’s expectations are aligned. The client always knows what’s being delivered and for what cost, and there are no surprises down the line.
“Being able to communicate with the customer about what their needs are and how we’re going to meet them – that’s really vital,” Amanda says.
“It’s important that everyone across the whole of our business is delivering the same message,” she adds. “It’s not just about one person. It’s about us communicating with our customers at every level. Whether you’re talking to the person who answers the phone to schedule your appointment, the tradesman who arrives at your door, or the Managing Director – they are all very clear. They’re all communicating the same way.”
That consistency of communication comes down to their focus on training, Amanda says – and their consistency of quality comes from the same thing.
“We work hard so hard on training, and we have put the systems in place to make sure that nobody falls through the cracks,” she explains.
“Everyone is receiving constant career development. Our employees want to stay for longer because they see that they are on a journey with us, they’re always improving their skills. We have a formalised process that makes sure that everyone is completing regular professional development. Everyone, including Mick and I, is held really accountable for following through.”
“And that’s a massive reason for our quality,” she says. “If everyone has the correct skills, and if everyone is always improving, they are going to get the job done the right way.”
Employer of the year
In 2018, Astill’s Electrical Services was first recognised by the Queensland Training Awards. At the Darling Downs South West finals, they picked up the prize for Small Employer of the Year. The following year, as if in celebration of their 10th birthday, the company was further recognised for their growth – and for the continued investment in their staff – with the trophy for Medium Employer of the Year for all of Australia.
Amanda says that professional development has always been at the core of Astill’s Electrical Services and their mission. From the start, she and Mick believed it to just be “common sense.”
“If you want your business to run well, you should invest in your team so that they can do their job better,” she says. “That seemed obvious to us. Of course, there’s a financial commitment that you have to be prepared to make, but we always looked at that as investment, not just as a spend – it comes back in the form of retaining your employees for longer, so the jobs are done better, so there are less customer call backs, so your customers keep using you. That’s always been our experience.”
“So it’s something we’ve always done,” she explains. “But over the last few years, as our business grew, we saw the need to really systemise what we’re doing. We wanted to make sure there were formal processes. We wanted it to be very clear to people coming into our organisation how we expected them to develop as a professional over their time with us.”
Amanda credits the award recognition to the effort the company expended in formalising those processes. She says the victories – especially last year’s victory at the national level – are “very rewarding.”
She also stresses that she and Mick personally “practice what we preach.” She believes the Training Awards also recognised that.
“We think it’s important that we’re always developing as professionals ourselves,” she says. “We believe we should always be training on how better to deliver for our employees. We should always be growing personally, we should always be learning from other people and other businesses. And when we have the opportunity to give back and share some of our knowledge with other businesses in the community, then we believe we should be doing that too.”
Astill’s Electrical Services’ award-winning culture has translated into some longstanding relationships with employees, as well as some longstanding relationships with clients. In fact, Amanda says that roughly 90 per cent of the company’s work comes from referrals and repeat business.
“We’ve had so much success with word of mouth and referrals,” she says. “We’ve had personal referrals, but we’ve also had a lot of business referrals as well. We serve our clients really well, we go above and beyond and achieve a really great standard, and they are happy to pass our name on to other businesses. That’s been a big factor in our growth.”
The company’s relationships with suppliers and subcontractors also tend to be long-lasting. Amanda says that’s a credit to hers and Mick’s belief that “it’s almost always possible to have a win-win relationship.”
“It doesn’t have to be win-lose in business,” she says. “That’s something we’ve learned over the course of our professional development. There are so many opportunities for all parties to come out on top. When it comes to suppliers and subcontractors, it’s important to create as many win-win situations as possible. It’s important to communicate clearly, and when things get tough, to find solutions that will serve both of you. That makes a massive difference.”
Moving forward, Astill’s Electrical Services goal is to continue making that difference, and continue forming long-term relationships with stakeholders at every level. They also want to continue growing, and continue to maintain their award-winning culture even as they add staff and apprentices.
And they want to continue improving the lives of their team members – Amanda says that’s maybe the company’s most important goal.
“We love the fact that what we do can change people’s lives, and we know from experience that it can,” she says. “Professional development doesn’t just make you better at your job. It makes you better at communication and conflict resolution. It can improve your relationships with your children or your spouse. It doesn’t just serve you at work. That’s really important to us.”
“Mick and I, we both have the philosophy that what we do has to be adding some value to the world,” she adds. “We have to be making the world a better place. I think that’s what we’re doing, and it’s what we’d like to see ourselves doing more in the future.”
For more on Astill’s Electrical Services, their range of capabilities, and their award-winning – and to get in touch with their team – visit https://astillselectrical.com.au/