When do I need an electrician?

19 November 2018

There are many ways to improve your home without having to pay for the help of a professional, whether it be doing your own painting, landscaping or decorating. Electrical work on the other hand, is never something you should attempt yourself unless you are a qualified professional.

Aside from the fact that attempting electrical work yourself is illegal in Australia, it’s also extremely dangerous. You will also want a Compliance Certificate with the work done which can only be offered by a professional.

On the other hand, there are some electrical jobs that you can do yourself, such as changing lightbulbs, setting up your computer or hanging up Christmas lights. If you’re not sure whether you need an electrician or not, speak with your local council as to what you can and can’t do, and if you’re still unsure, call a professional.

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What kinds of electricians are there?

Depending on the type of job you need done will mean calling a different kind of electrician. There are dozens of types of electricianswho specialise in different areas. But there are usually three types that may come to your home.

Domestic Electricians

Domestic electricians are the typical sparky you will normally deal with day-to-day. These are the tradies that will install a new light switch, add a power point or maintain existing wiring. There are, of course, electricians that specialise in each task (such as installing a solar panel systems), so if you need a specific job done, consider if there is a specialist for that job that can complete the task more effectively.  

There are domestic electricians that are available 24/7 in the event you have an emergency, such as a blackout, and you need immediate help. These services usually charge a premium, especially after hours.

Construction Electricians

Construction electricians are usually tasked with doing the original wiring of a new house. This will mean setting up the framework and running the cabling throughout the house. They will also install the power points and light fittings before you move in.

Though these electricians are highly skilled and knowledgeable, they are not the ones to change your lightbulbs once you move in.

Green Electricians

As more and more people are becoming environmentally conscious and try to cut down on the power use, the demand for Green Electricians is rising.

These specialised electricians have completed additional courses on green energy and power usage so they can advise you on how you can cut back. This may be as simple as changing to LED light globes or more complex solutions such as solar power.

If you are wanting to do your bit for the environment, these are the people to call.

How much will an electrician cost?

Like most tradies, the amount an electrician will charge you will be based on their level of experience and your locality. Just remember to ask your electrician how their fee structure works before hiring them for a job as many have different rates and methods of charging.

Some domestic electricians will charge a flat call-out fee, then charge for their services by the hour on top of that. Some electricians will charge by 15-minute blocks. Other electricians will charge for a flat fee for a job, but that may change if they come to your home and find the job is much more difficult than you explained it on the phone. This doesn’t mean it’s your fault, just that there may be issues you weren’t aware of when you first called. The usual rule of thumb for electricians: time is money.

As a figure, according to tradie-finder specialists hipages, you can expect common domestic electricians to charge a flat call-out fee around $70-$130. This of course will vary depending on how far the electrician will have to travel to get to you. On top of that call-out fee, you can expect to pay roughly $70-$95 per hour.

What should I ask my electrician?

If you have electrical work in need of an electrician, there are a few things you should know before you start getting quotes and getting electricians to come to you.

Are you licensed?

Before the electrician of your choice begins working on your home, ask to inspect their licence and registration cards to prove they are qualified. Registrations are state-based, so make sure they are allowed to work in your state.

Also, make sure your electrician has public liability insurance. This is very important in the event something goes wrong or the electrician does a poor job that results in damage to your home.

What’s the plan?

If you are renovating an area and want new power points, for example, make sure you know how many you want and where you will want them. Also consider how many outlets in each power point and what will you need them for. An experienced electrician will be able to advise you on what you will need and where, but it always helps to have an idea in your head first.

Are you in my budget range?

Be upfront with your electrician and explain that you have a budget to adhere to, especially if you are managing a major project such as a renovation. If the electrician knows what your budget is from the get-go, it will avoid awkward confrontations where they will perform work you can’t pay for.

Don’t be discouraged if a sparky won’t take your job because you can’t afford them, there are plenty more out there willing to take your business.

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The information is intended to be of general nature only. Subject to any rights you may have under any law, we do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss or damage, including loss of business or profits or any other indirect loss, incurred as a result of reliance upon the information. Please make your own enquiries.