With over ninety years of experience, Bigman Brothers, Inc. has become a name to be trusted in the New York electrical contracting market. The company has established a reputation as a specialist in the service and installation of electrical systems for commercial, institutional and industrial clients.
Founded in 1925, Bigman Brothers is now operating under its third generation of Bigman family leadership. The company has undergone many changes over the years, but one thing has remained steadfast: Bigman Brothers’ growth and success.
Under the leadership of brothers Scott and Michael Bigman, the company’s list of clients has greatly increased. It offers clients longstanding industry expertise paired with a comprehensive knowledge of both new and old technologies, by drawing on the company’s intimate familiarity with all aspects of the critical systems upon which its clients depend.
“The company was incorporated in 1925. It was founded by our grandfather and his brothers. It was originally a hardware appliance store, and it evolved into the electrical contracting industry over the years,” explained Scott Bigman, president. “Michael and I are third generation. We took over the business management of the company and day to day in 1993 and eliminated the retail business. Since then, we’ve changed the company from a fifteen to twenty employee company to 100 to 125 employee company, now strictly as an electrical contracting firm.” Both Scott and Michael hope to define a new era for the family business.
“We both spent many summers working in the hot warehouse, loading and unloading trucks and sometimes even driving the trucks for deliveries,” Scott recalled. “We learned the material as young guys, but it was strictly a choice; neither one of us were forced into the business. We both elected to join the company.”
To accommodate its growth, the company is undergoing an office fit-out and renovation. “We need this because we have more employees in the office than we have ever had. We’ve outgrown the space,” Scott stated.
For Michael Bigman, CEO, “It represents part of the change in the company from a mom and pop company – where it was our grandfather and his three brothers and our grandmother who served as the bookkeeper/secretary at the time – to more of a corporation and its functioning. We’re striving to make the office environment as professional as possible to maintain and attract top talent.”
The company offers 24 hour emergency services, free project estimates and an extensive warranty and maintenance program for its institutional, corporate, retail, high-rise, office, industrial, security and residential clients. Whether the job requires new construction, installation or servicing, Bigman Brothers has it covered.
“Michael and I decided that we needed to diversify our client base and grow our client base. Pretty much verbatim from my father when we came into this business, ‘You can come in, but the company can’t afford you, so go and create a business for yourself.’ So we hit the streets and found new clients, and we got into very different sectors of the business,” Scott said.
Bigman Brothers has undertaken significant projects, examples of which are the American Girl Place and the Bloomingdale’s SOHO projects. Other clients of note include Macy’s, Bloomingdales, CBS Broadcasting, AIG, and NYU-Medical Center and College. End-users are drawn by the company’s commitment to service and high-efficiency, cost-effective systems and solutions.
“Our goal is to be an end-user based contractor. So what I mean by that is – the world’s largest retailer – we’re on their preferred list. We’re on the preferred list for one of the world’s two largest advertising companies, one of the world’s largest insurance companies, two of the country’s major national broadcasters, one of the biggest hospitals in the city here,” Michael said.
The company is also licensed by New York City and New York State to install security and fire alarm systems to be able to serve its clients’ complete electrical needs.
“We perform a diverse amount of work within the markets that we are comfortable in. We install low voltage systems; security systems; medical, retail and office fit-outs. It’s given us the ability to diversify and helps to attract and maintain our talent and employees because they are always facing a different aspect of a project. It never becomes boring for them,” stated Michael.
Bigman Brothers is an IBEW Local 3 affiliated contractor that prides itself on the delivery of quality workmanship, value, superior service and integrity – all the things that go hand in hand with family ownership. Both the company and the family’s reputation is at stake with every project and those stakes are too high not to deliver.
Its relationship with IBEW Local 3 enables it to flexibly address demands for skilled labor to meet variable project requirements and it maintains a team of experienced electricians. Bigman Brothers will not accept or entertain projects on which it is unable to meet the cost, timeline or project objectives. Safety is also a major consideration.
All employees are OSHA 10 certified, and all forepersons are OSHA 30 certified. “In addition to that,” Michael said, “We constantly review our own safety manual here, and we try to stay afloat to all changes in the industry. For example, we have a major effort going on right now to remove all standard ladders in our inventory.”
Standard ladders are being replaced with newer podium and platform based ladders which are deemed to be safer. As Michael said, “In ninety-plus years of operating, we’ve never had to make that phone call to anyone’s family.” Regularly documented safety meetings are held to ensure safety procedures are thoroughly understood on the jobsite.
Bigman Brothers emphasizes continuous improvement through the investment in the development of its team of professionals. “We’ve been improving our staff that supports us here in the office and in the field, with more experienced estimators, project managers and foremen,” said Scott.
“As we’ve grown, we’ve tried to maintain that team and family spirit so that everyone feels positive to our growth, so it can benefit our employees, the company and our client base,” Scott said. At the heart of this is an accountable leadership team that is highly responsive to clients’ needs.
“Michael and I are hands-on with the company,” Scott said. “Our clients always have access to us. They don’t have to break through the barriers of different levels of management, they have direct access to us and are accustomed to seeing us on job sites and can speak to us if there is an issue. A lot of our top employees have been with the firm fifteen to twenty-five years – growing with us as the company has grown – so there is consistency in the employees that our clients speak with and see.”
Bigman Brothers’ work culture and talent allows it to deliver project results consistently. Quality workmanship, technical knowledge, expertise and leadership has built solid relationships with repeat clients and a reputation that gains referrals.
“Staying on clients’ preferred lists and getting repetitive work,” is one of the greatest rewards for Scott and Michael, as is, “the opportunity to bid and perform other projects.” Even when the firm isn’t the lowest bidder, it is often chosen for projects because of the value and peace of mind its work brings.
Moving forward, the goal of Bigman Brothers is to maintain its high level of service, while moderating its growth to ensure that expansion does not occur at the expense of quality. There is effort being made to keep the family-owned character of the business.
“The goal is to maintain the company at a moderate growth level but to continue to provide that high level of quality and the interpersonal relationships with both our employees and our clients that has been a hallmark of at least our last twenty years or so of operation,” Michael said.
Bigman Brothers not only survived economic challenges, but grew through the Great Depression, a number of cyclical industry downturns and the most recent global financial crisis that sent markets around the world spiraling into recession.
Most impressive is its ability to do this without a single dollar spent on marketing or advertising. For clients, project results speak volumes to the company’s ability to meet project expectations with the highest levels of quality, safety and compliance with industry standards.