Musa Abdus-Saboor knew how to be an electrician. He learned at his father’s knee, helping to carry his tools and tagging along to job sites with his brothers.
“I’ve got the technical expertise,” says Saboor, founder of Saboor Construction, sitting at a table in one of the 70 Glenrose Gardens apartments he and his team are rewiring in South Atlanta. “My father was an electrician; I’m a licensed master electrician. My two brothers are also electricians.”
As soon as Saboor graduated from high school, he joined the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, getting lots of hands-on and technical education. He then worked for an electric contractor for 14 years but “really wanted to steer my own ship and my own life,” he says.
A father of three married to his high school sweetheart, attorney Kinda Abdus-Saboor, he knew he had the talent and drive. And, with his father and brothers, plenty of family support as an electrical contractor.
What he didn’t fully understand were the intricacies of running a business: managing subcontractors, keeping up with federal regulations, setting price points and accurately estimating company overhead, coming up with a marketing strategy.
“That’s why Start:ME was invaluable,” Saboor says. “Smaller contractors can go under pretty easily. You don’t want to bite off too much too soon.”
Saboor was part of the 2018 Southside cohort and keeps in touch with many of the mentors and fellow small business owners he met through the program. “We’re like a family, our network has people from accounting, marketing, so many different fields and areas of expertise,” he says.
Working toward his dream has many rewards, even though workweeks can be long—70 to 80 hours—and challenging, says Saboor, who wears a “Team Saboor” black shirt along with each of his crew members.
His Start:ME cohort continues to meet once a month to share challenges, troubleshoot, celebrate victories, and vent. “It’s very therapeutic,” he says. “The love in this program is amazing.”
"As an electrician, I consider myself a superhero, surgeon, and rock star. A superhero because we save lives—there are thousands of electrical fires every year, some of which result in deaths, and we catch that before it happens. A surgeon because the electrical current flowing through the wires of a building is similar to the blood flow in the human body, and we help keep it healthy. And a rock star because we put on a show every single time."
- Musa Abdus-Saboor, 2018 Start:ME cohort, Southside