Hiring a professional electrician can be expensive. But unless you really know what you are doing, trying to make electrical repairs yourself can be downright dangerous. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2008 the median hourly wage of an electrician was £14.50. Because of the additional business costs involved, licensed electricians usually charge between £19 and £45 per hour on average.
Electricians who charge a flat rate to perform specific jobs usually charge a service call along with the cost of the electrical repair you request. Even at a flat rate, the cost will be more if you need an electrician to diagnose the problem as testing for an electrical problem can take time. If you are remodelling your home and need an estimate for extensive electrical work, the electrical contractor must come and take a look.
Factors he will consider include the size of the project, cost of supplies, local, state and federal code requirements, type of home construction and accessibility to wiring. Permit costs and local building department inspection fees are separate charges. An electrician may include the cost of materials and supplies when offering a flat rate estimate or itemise the electrical supplies he uses and bill you for them separately. If an electrician has to dig up wires or work from a height, the job will likely cost you more.
Sometimes electricians charge hourly rates, which can vary greatly. Rates depend on general location, nature of the job and an electrician's level of experience and credentials. Hourly rates include labour charges and may include the cost of basic materials needed to complete smaller jobs like installing a light switch.
Generally, electricians charge separately for expensive electrical fixtures and supplies when giving a price quote. The quality of the electrical products an electrician uses can also affect the price. An electrician may charge less than the usual hourly rate if a project is a big one that will guarantee more hours. In other cases, you could end up paying for more than just the electrical repair you requested, especially if you live in an older home. Electrical standards have become stricter over the years; therefore, an electrician may have to do more work to bring your electrical wiring up to current codes.
Trip Fees/Travel Charges
Many electricians compensate for the time they spend travelling to job sites by charging a flat trip fee. Then again, some electricians charge a higher hourly rate for the first hour to cover the cost of travel time. Others charge a higher hourly rate overall to pay for their travel and other business-related expenses. The trip fee helps to cover the costs of an electrician's vehicle, tools, electrical parts and supplies and any state and local licenses that are required.
In some cases, these extra fees help pay the cost of an electrician's general liability insurance. If an electrician doesn't charge a trip fee, she may include these costs in a higher flat or hourly rate to do a repair. Before hiring an electrician to do a job, ask about any additional charges. That way, you will know upfront how much more you have to pay.
Combining Electrical Repairs
If you can, wait until you have several electrical projects you need done before calling an electrician. You can probably save money by having more than one electrical repair completed at the same time. For one thing, you'll save the costs of paying more than one service call and trip fee charges. Many electrical contractors also charge lower rates for bigger jobs. Rates vary depending on location and whether you hire a local electrician or one working for a large electrical construction company.