Getting your start in any business can be tricky, but it helps when you practically grew up at your future place of work. David Klingenfuss, a true construction site veteran, started spending time at building sites when he was just 13 years old. His stepfather, a general contractor, often let him tag along. “He taught me the value of hard work,” says Klingenfuss.

Growing up this way, he had the chance to see all the different trades people hard at work. He had a hands-on opportunity to learn about the entire construction and building process, from start to finish. One day on a job site during his high school years, he saw the electricians hard at work, and just knew it was what he wanted to specialize in. “I thought they had it pretty good.”

Seven years after first setting foot on a construction site, he decided to go to Job Corps in Reno, Nevada for intensive pre-apprenticeship training. “It was really interesting. I learned a lot.”

With his Job Corps certification under his belt, he returned to the Bay Area of his native California to do his electrical apprenticeship. While at his first big job, he met Rick, a supervisor who would become his friend and mentor. He learned a lot from Rick and from the hands-on training. His progress didn’t go unnoticed; once his apprenticeship was complete, a contractor he was working for who was moving suggested Klingenfuss get his contractor’s license so he could take over the business.

In the end, the contractor decided to stay put, but Klingenfuss, encouraged by the suggestion, got his license. Not too long after, he started his own electrical contracting company. That was 30 years ago. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Klingenfuss considers his first big accomplishment to be wiring an entire 3,500-square-foot house from top to bottom. He worked his way up to the massive task, first taking jobs fixing lights and replacing circuit breakers. He has also worked on classic kitchen and bathroom remodels.

But the jobs that excite him the most are the ones where he gets to research new installation techniques or building protocols. One of his most interesting contracts was working at a biotech lab where ongoing AIDS and hepatitis research was happening as he was installing lighting and wiring. “It was very interesting to be around all of the experiments. I had to use HEPA vac filters to avoid making any dust.”

The thing that puts the biggest smile on Klingenfuss’ face, though, is fostering lasting relationships with his customers. If they’re not thrilled with the job he’s done, he isn’t either. “Having over 30 years of experience is what sets me apart.” Klingenfuss says it helps that he keeps his business small, only hiring extra workers if he can’t do an entire job himself. This means that unlike in larger contracting companies, communication between himself and the client never gets lost in the process. “I’m a one-man shop.”

To learn more about David Klingenfuss and his electrical contracting business, check out his website at

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Success Coach, Business Development Consultant, Strategist, Blogger, Traveller, Motivational Writer & Speaker