Guide to hiring an Electrician

What does an electrician do?

An electrician specialises in the safe installation, repair or maintenance of electrical systems. Such electrical systems can include wiring, switchboards, safety switches, lighting, power points and electrical safety checks. Electricians need to be qualified, licenced and insured, and you should always ask to see an electricians licence before undertaking any electrical work.

Common tasks undertaken by electricians include:

Whilst some ambitious do-it-yourselfers may think that they're able to undertake such tasks, it is essential that only qualified licenced electricians undertake these tasks. The primary reason for this is safety, electrocution can kill. Secondly, it is illegal to undertake such tasks if you're not an electrician. Thirdly, it can be very difficult to sell your home if you do not have certificates of compliance for all electrical work completed in your home.

Do you actually need an electrician?

Quite often electricians are called out when people think that there is a problem with the wiring when in fact they have a minor electrical problem causes by something else such as a light or appliance. This can be easily fixed by the householder, saving you the cost of an electrician, and saving the electricians time as well.

Some common electrical problems that are easily fixed include:

  • A light doesn't work: Check that the light globe hasn't blown or needs replacing.
  • Powerpoint doesn't work: Plug something else into that powerpoint such as a lamp. Often it is found that the appliance is the problem and not the powerpoint.
  • Electricity goes out when an appliance is turned on, or the circuit breaker is continually tripped meaning you need to go to the switchboard to turn the electricity back on: This is often caused by a faulty electrical appliance as well. The best solution is to unplug all of your appliances, then plug them in one by one. When you plug in the faulty appliance it will trip the safetyswitch and you have identified the faulty appliance. Then either fix or replace the faulty appliance and your homes electricity should be back to normal.

Tip: When checking faulty electrical appliances people often forget the stove & oven. These often use electric starters which are often the causes of faults.

Note: If you are unsure about any of the above or do not feel safe, please contact an electrical contractor. Of if the circuit breaker keeps switching itself off then its a sign to call in the professionals. Always choose safety first.

What does an Electrician Cost?

The cost of an electrician varies per job. Given that electricians can be hired for anything from installing a powerpoint to a complete rewiring of a home there is quite a broad range of costs for an electrician.

There are, however, three standard elements of an electricians fees:

  1. Call out fee. This can average at about $75 for an electrician to arrive at your door.
  2. Hourly fee. Electricians normally have an hourly rate that varies from electrician to electrician. This can range from $70 upwards, and is usually charged in 15 minute increments after the initial call out fee.
  3. Material costs. Electricians will normally charge for the materials (i.e. powerpoints, cabling, etc) used to complete your job).

Note: These prices are a rough guideline only. The cost of an electrician can vary a lot depending on who you ask and where you live.

How do you find an electrician?

Service Central makes it easy for you to find a local electrician that is ready and willing to do your electrical job. By posting a job request with Service Central, Service Central notifies local electricians in your area of what work that you require. The electricians that are available and interested in completing the work will call you.

Get quotes from Electricians here: http://www.servicecentral.com.au/electricians/

How do you choose an electrician?

Always make sure that you're speaking to a licenced electrician by asking to see his/her licence upon arrival.

If you are looking to hire an electrician for substantial works involving a large sum of money it is recommended that you properly scope out what is required and obtain three separate quotes from different electricians. It is important to ensure that you have a clear specification so as to ensure that you are comparing like to like when the quotes come in. Also, it is normal practice to ask for testimonials from their previous clients. Also, if the electrician is registered with Service Central you can view their online profile to see feedback posted by consumers that have hired them in the past.

Some questions to ask your electrician include:

  • What guarantees and warranties will you provide?
  • Does the price include GST?
  • Are you fully insured?
  • Does the quote include the whole project, including materials?
Discussion Rate article:
· 4 ratings
Comments
  • Typical tradie, no way they should charge $75 call out. They should be low to average income earners but rip the public off because of unions.

    over a year ago by Sally
  • Why should tradies be "low to average income earners?" Tradies are highly skilled in their areas of expertise, and undertake 4 year apprenticeships - the equivalent time it takes to do a uni degree, but longer hours and hard physical work. Why shouldn't they charge a $75 call out fee? It takes into account the time it takes them to get to your property / place of business. They need to make a living - they are not charity workers! And what do unions have to do with it? Many tradies are self-employed.

    over a year ago by Amy
  • Sally's comment is typical of people who think that if you don't work in an office & wear a suit you have no value. An electrician is responsible for making sure your electricity doesn't kill you or him. He has studied for 4 years and has to know much more technical data than "where the red wire goes". I pay much higher fees to other professions & I have to go to them. They don't take responsibility for my families safety and they don't do house calls!

    over a year ago by Elizabeth
  • As an Electrician I hear all the comments.In short If I work for Sally she wont pay her account.Her comments reflect this.I do not charge a call out, nor do I charge $75.00 per hour.I wonder somedays if it is all worth it.The hidden costs of an Electrical contractor are reasonably high and these need to be addressed.So if you contact an Electrician reflect on the real costs to him when he tells you his rate.

    over a year ago by Jim
  • Sally is a douche.

    over a year ago by Anthony
  • I agree with Jim, as a fellow electrician who certainly understands what fun it is to deal with a purely ignorant customer such as Sally. Tradesmen and women are certainly well deserving of being treated like the proffessional people that they are. At the end of the day you get what you pay for, and as such can only hold yourself responsible for the sort of service you get from a tradesman.

    over a year ago by Matt
  • As a non-tradie, office-worker I can say that I am stunned by the amount of money that I have to pay (for example, recently had some plumbing work done; two cistern outlet valves - ~$950).

    However ...

    I chose to call out the tradesman instead of doing it myself. I could have called for quotes but I chose not to. In other words, I accepted the cost (didn't make it any the less painful when I did, though).

    What people have to remember is that the cost is proportional to the supply of services and the demand for those same services. If tradies can charge $75/hour, and people like me are willing to pay $75/hour, then why shouldn't they. On the other hand, some people can't afford it. So, for those folk, I suggest that getting a number of quotes is the best way to do it. The tradies simply have to be aware that its a competitive environment and 'sharpen their pencils'.

    The problem that I have is when a tradie says he/she will turn up and then doesn't even have the common courtesy to cancel - simply just doesn't show. That's rude and frustrating.

    over a year ago by Steve
  • There is NO trade except plumbers and electricians/electrical that charges call out fee.
    It is rip off!
    Everyone else who want my business does a free quote.

    over a year ago by leon
  • So many sterotypes here. I also am an Electrician, I do not charge a call out fee, I charge 60 p/h and it is some of my customers who are not home when I turn up. With mobile phones there is no reason to leave customers in the lurch. If your tradesman does not show up let them know you will not use them again and where possible tell others not to use them. I do however charge travel time, as my accountant says, if you turn up without tools you cannot work, it costs me to get my tools to the job.

    over a year ago by Denis
  • Leon
    Dentists charge you to look at your teeth then tell you how they will repair it, that could be considered a charge out (in) for a quote. If you don't want to pay for electrical work do it yourself its simple and easy, when you get it wrong and you burn down your house or electrocute some one $70 per hour might seem cheap. Lets face it how hard can 3 or 4 coloured wires be?

    over a year ago by David
  • I don't begrudge paying a tradie what he is worth. What grots me off though is when they get to your job and spend most of the time answering the mobile phone sorting previous jobs or touting for new ones. It is unprofessional, rude and a rip off when you are charged for two hours and only 40 minutes are spent not on the phone.

    over a year ago by Steve
  • My home security system made strange noises few times during day. Early in the morning and middle of the night. It woke up the whole family. After many calls to my electrician who promised to come and fix the security system but failed to turn up again and again. It took 5months, my Electrician finally came to fix the security system. It costed me about $24/month on my phone bill because the security system kept making dialling to the security monitoring control room. the electrician said it was the battery. He replaced the battery. He said I owed him 5months security monitoring fee plus another invoice for replacing the battery. I said "what security monitoring fee, the system has not been working for 5 months and you never came to fix it. it costed me $132 on that 1300 call charges. I am not liable to pay you another monitoring fee and you should pay me back the call charges." He said " well, we'll sort it out next time when I come back to fix the downlight" Then he left. During the last two months he rang me couple times and told me the dates he would come and finish off the work but he never showed up. Today I received his invoice for replacing the battery. $45+gst for the battery and $190+gst for service call fee. it took him about half an hour to do the job. Can someone told me if his charge is reasonable please? Should I change electrician? He is very unreliable and never gave me a quote for the job every time I asked him before the job is done.

    over a year ago by klem
  • I am an electrician I had read the above and fully recommend all reader of this tread to visit another similar forum http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/1710423

    I ask the reader to understand , Running an electrical buisness is not easy
    I don't have to repeat what other had said but new ones

    Please also consider the cost of OH&S, What if the apprentice got seriously injured
    I a huge penalty

    please also read the WORK COVER BULLETIN , you may learn that many new electrician had major injuries or killed at age around 26 year old.


    TOOLS AND TRAINING
    I had to take up training and accredited in various tasks that I do
    and buy special tools for the task.

    Conclusion I think $80 to $90 call up fee plus $80 per hour is very reasonable
    Pls remember We can"t works during bad whether , I get somethings like 40 weeks per year

    over a year ago by EZE
  • Also an Electrician, I can understand the comments above and the reason why people may feel ripped off when they receive a call out fee. It is important to remember a good electrician is vital when dealing with something as hazardous as Electricity, it is imperative Australian Standards are adhered to and no corners cut in order to preserve property and most importantly lives. There are electricians out there that will charge less but this will naturally result in a short fall of quality and quite possibly recurring problems which may cost you (and your property) more in the long run.

    When reviewing your electrical quotes, be sure to assess on the basis of quality and not on cost alone. Don't be afraid to ask the electrician (or any trade for that matter) questions and if available, it may be possible to review some photos of installations they have carried out. Although somewhat of a generalisation, you get what you pay for with any trade work, particularly Electrical.

    The National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA) have published a study on what you should expect to pay for electrical works. This study although released in 2009 is still helpful (you may just have to apply indexation of approx 3% pa). This study can be found at http://neca.asn.au/useruploads/files/public/pdf/090101-electrical-contractor-charging-in-australia.pdf

    If you have any questions on electrical works (even if you are not in Victoria), please do not hesitate to contact me. My details can be found in the Service Central business directory under Quality Electrical Solutions. Alternatively, NECA are happy to answer any questions you may have.

    Regards,
    Lachy

    over a year ago by Lachy
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