Pursuing A Dream
JLC Electrical Contractors LLC builds strong business on solid reputation
Michael “Mike” Boeke worked for the same company for 17 years before deciding to strike out on his own. Today, he leads an electrical contracting company in New Jersey that continues to grow based on a reputation of integrity, transparency and quality customer service.
JLC Electrical Contractors LLC (JLC Electrical), headquartered in Manalapan, New Jersey, offers residential and commercial electrical services, including generator installation and service, electrical repairs, service upgrades and ground-up design and installation. The company installs residential and commercial site lighting, wiring for new construction and fit outs for commercial businesses, and offers warehouse and industrial electrical services.
Mike started the company in 2007 after working as a mechanic for the same elevator company in New York City his entire career. “After high school, my uncle got me into the union as an elevator construction apprentice. I started with an elevator company, working my way up the ladder from apprentice to mechanic to foreman. But I wanted to do more,” he says. “While working in conjunction with the electricians, I watched as they worked, bringing the electrical wiring and conduit to the elevator motor rooms, which is where I took over as elevator mechanic. The electricians seemed to have a career that was more conducive to raising a family and more promising in longevity. That was when I decided to obtain my electrical license and open my own business.”
Mike and his family moved to New Jersey, where he worked to receive his electrical license. He then began offering electrical services on weekends, working out of his garage while still maintaining his 40-hour-a-week job. His company name, JLC, represents the names of his family: daughters, Jaden and Lauren, and wife, Cheryl.
“I built my business by word-of-mouth,” he says. “I remember I was running late to a customer’s house, and I called her to tell her I’d be 10 minutes late. She said she had never had a contractor call like that before if they were running late. If I say I’m going to be there, I’m going to be there.”
Mike’s reputation for customer service got around, and soon he expanded from residential service upgrades to small commercial fit outs. “Then I started to do restaurants and retail stores and began to hire employees, buy another truck and so forth,” he says. Today, the company has more than 55 employees and is still growing. Commercial work has expanded to include ground-up electrical services for restaurants, office buildings and industrial warehouses, and the company’s service area has grown from several counties in Central New Jersey to the entire state. “We even have a job in Delaware,” he says.
‘Get It Done’ Reputation
While Google referrals have helped grow the company’s residential business and advertising in The Blue Book Building & Construction Network® has boosted work on the commercial side, Mike says customer referrals continue to be a key reason for his company’s growth.
“When we say we will get it done, come hell or high water, we do it. We keep to our customer’s schedule, which is most important. We’re just team players.”
The company has three divisions: residential, commercial and its generator division. Harsh winter weather, with high winds, lightning strikes or ice buildup, often causes overhead power lines to break. Many homes and businesses in New Jersey use portable generators to keep appliances and heaters running during a power outage.
JLC Electrical helps homeowners and businesses select and install the right generator for their needs and also provides maintenance and repairs. “If electricity goes down, our business customers can lose hundreds or even thousands of dollars in revenue. We are on standby to plug in generators, rain, sleet, snow or shine.”
And for one customer, HelloFresh, one of the largest meal home delivery companies in the U.S., loss of electricity to a refrigeration warehouse could mean millions of dollars in lost revenue, Mike says. JLC Electrical recently wired the company’s 300,000-square-foot cold storage facility in Newark, New Jersey. The company has also provided commercial generators for HelloFresh facilities and other large customers, providing emergency electrical power for facilities as large as 500,000 square feet.
The company’s commercial electrical service business continues to grow. JLC Electrical is currently providing ground-up electrical services for five self-storage facilities located across New Jersey. And the company was recently awarded the electrical work on a prototype store for a major big-box retailer. “I can’t share the details right now, but it’s a huge stepping stone for us that will open up a lot of avenues for the company,” Mike says.
“When we say we will get it done, come hell or high water, we do it. We keep to our customer’s schedule, which is most important. We’re just team players.” Michael “Mike” Boeke, President, JLC Electrical Contractors LLC
One Big Family
Mike credits his business success to his team. “My office staff is like a big family. You would think everyone is some sort of owner by the way they treat customers,” he says. “We have a phenomenal group of electricians, many who have been with me for years. My supervisors, job foremen and project managers have all been promoted from within. My electricians learn the way we like to do things for our customers.”
Employee safety is a key concern. “We’re hardnosed on safety,” Mike says. Besides providing safety equipment and training, the company has toolbox safety talks on the job site and monthly foremen’s meetings to discuss safety issues.
All electricians have received their Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 30 certification, as well as OSHA-authorized aerial and scissor lift certification training.
To attract and keep quality employees, JLC Electrical offers incentives, including sign-on bonuses, and helps out when life presents hardships. When one employee lost his sister in a car crash, Mike continued to pay him during a bereavement period. When a foreman with immune issues was concerned about COVID-19, Mike kept him on the payroll until the employee felt safe returning to work. “We’re like a big family. I’m loyal to them; they’re loyal to me. We get the jobs done, our clients are happy and my team members get paid so they can go home to their loved ones.”
Mike’s giving spirit carries over into his work in the community. The company sponsors charitable golf outings and Mike donates to local schools and his church. A big New York Yankees fan, he also supports the efforts of former Yankee legend Mariano Rivera in restoring a 107-year-old church for Refuge of Hope.
“During Christmastime last year, Mike found out one of his customers was suffering from kidney failure and needed dialysis. He gifted and installed a generator for the customer’s home so he could continue treatment in the event of a power outage,” shares General Manager Adrianna Selestrin. “Having a generator is a luxury for some; no one wants to be without electricity or Wi-Fi. But for a lot of families with medical problems, it’s a matter of life and death.”
The company’s reputation for integrity and transparency is what attracted Adrianna to the job three years ago. She recalls spending time on the phone with Mike after answering an ad for an administrative assistant position on Indeed. When she came in the next day, it was JLC Electrical’s 12th anniversary. She accepted the job and started the next Monday. “It was my first job back to work from being a stay-at-home mom for 12 years. I couldn’t have picked a better company to work for,” she says.
“JLC is like having an extended family,” she says. “I love working with our customers—every day is different. Between the residential customers, townships and general contractors, I enjoy working with them all. I enjoy the new relationships I have developed.”
That level of service keeps customers calling, and Mike anticipates doubling his business over the next two years. “We recently just bought a new building and will be moving into it in January. I can definitely see us getting to over 150 employees. I see a lot of growth here.”
And as for Mike, once that happens, “I’ll be myself, doing what I do every day: meeting new clients, putting out fires, dealing with customers and making sure everyone is happy.”