What Does It Cost To Hire An Electrician?
At some point, most of us will need the services of a professional electrician, be it for an electrical emergency, new installation, or routine repair work. Regardless of the size or type of work involved, you’ll want to have a budget, hence the need to find out how much an electrician costs. Here’s a detailed look at what you can expect to pay for electrician services.
Although getting a handle on the cost of labor and materials is an important first step, making sure you engage the service of a fully qualified electrician is equally important, and for good reasons.
Qualified electricians will ensure:
- Safe installations and compliance with the latest electrical regulations.
- Fully verified, inspected and tested electrical installations, complete with signed electrical certificates that validate the job.
- Submission of work to inspectors and council authorities where necessary.
Potential cost should be your next most important consideration.
It’s common for a hard working electrician to spend an entire day quoting without winning a job. Electricians can end up broke in a week because of the money spent on petrol driving between locations. To avoid time wasters, most electricians will charge a call out fee. While the price will vary from one electrician to the other, the general range is between $50 and $100. It’s important to note that most electricians will absorb this call out fee into the first 30 minutes of actual work. As such, the charge shouldn’t be a concern if you complete the job.
Experienced and trustworthy electricians will charge per hour, but the pricing might vary depending on the job. Because you wouldn’t want to have 15 or 30 minutes of work rounded off to one full hour of pay, make sure you ask if they charge in 15-minute increment blocks. To ensure you make an informed decision, here’s an electrician cost breakdown based on job size, the level of difficulty and materials involved.
Typical Electrician Costs
- $75-150 to install double power points
- $50-75 per point to install new LED downlights
- $35-50 per downlight to swap the existing downlights for LED downlights
- $80-200 to install owner supplied ceiling fan
- $150-300 to supply and install a white, four blade timber ceiling fan with or without light
- $450-800 for general kitchen electrical fittings including oven and cooktop connection plus five power points
- $90-180 to install an extra TV point
- $70-160 to install an extra phone point
- $80-120 to install USB double power point in place of double power point
- Around $150 to replace a fuse or circuit breaker with an RCD safety switch
Installing double power points – Cost $75-150
Owing to the increasing number of electronic devices used in everyday life, finding an extra power point is becoming harder. Although many people opt for power boards, this practice is not safe and has been known to cause an overload, especially if you use more than one on a given socket. Double power points offer a way to overcome such issues. Even so, factors such as wall and ceiling accessibility, location, type of under floor, and style of power point can affect installation prices. Installation takes 20 minutes to one hour.
Supply and installation of LED downlights – Cost $50-75 per point for new and $35-50 to swap
Thanks to the more advanced LED lighting fixtures, quality is now far better than before. Incandescent, fluorescent or halogen lighting fixtures are not nearly as superior. LED downlights are more cost-effective and energy-efficient. Additionally, most LED downlights provide up to 50,000 hours of lighting and come with a 3-5 year warranty. The number of fittings, size or style of downlight, current circuit protection, ceiling access, and age of existing wiring are some of the factors that can affect pricing. Installing new LED downlights takes about 2-3 hours per room and swapping will take 5-20 minutes per light.
Installing a ceiling fan, $80-200 for owner supplied and $150-300 to supply and install
When it comes to air movement, ceiling fans are still the most cost-effective option. They can help to reduce the stifling effects of summer’s heat and circulate warm air in winter. With remote and wall-mounted switch options, ceiling fans can be installed in various rooms or to replace an existing light fixture. The standard of wiring, ceiling and wall access, style of fan, and current wiring are some of the factors that can affect pricing. Installation takes 1-3 hours.
General kitchen electrical fit out – Cost $450-800 assuming the installation includes five power points
This job involves the wiring and connection of kitchen appliances and installation of five power points. Depending on the installation size, most electricians will complete a fit-out over two visits. The process often involves pre-wiring before the installation and fitting out upon completion. The style of your kitchen, under-floor and ceiling access, wall material and current circuit protection are some of the factors that can affect the price. Installation takes 6-8 hours.
Installing an RCD safety switch in place of your circuit breaker or fuse – Cost $150
Commonly referred to as a safety switch, a residual current device (RCD) serves by cutting off electricity when it detects an electrical fault. This device is usually in the electrical box, installation of which is required by law. Safety switches are safer and more convenient than traditional ceramic plug-in fuses, almost all of which necessitate manual replacement of blown fuse wires. The type and size of your switchboard enclosure, the standard of your wiring, and location of the main switchboard are factors that can affect pricing. Installation takes 1-2 hours.
Installing extra TV points – Cost $90-180
Professional electricians can install extra TV sockets in any room or space. Under floor and ceiling access, and distance from the antenna are some of the factors that can affect pricing. Installation takes an hour to one and a half hours.
Installing an extra phone point – Cost $70-160
If you have issues such as a crackly line or static noise, or you simply need a new phone socket, you should hire an electrician who is fully licensed to carry out any residential cabling work. Underfloor and ceiling access, and distance from existing phone sockets are some of the factors that can affect pricing. Installation takes 1-2 hours.
Installing USB double power point in place of double power point – Cost $80-120
As electronic devices turn to USB charging, products that feature this power source are becoming available on the market. Today, you can install double power points that feature USB ports for charging and connecting your devices. To reduce the cables plugged into your wall sockets, you can choose to replace the existing power points or install this type of outlet where suitable. The type of power point you choose might affect the price. Installation takes 15-30 minutes.
Compared to older properties, electrical jobs are usually quicker in new homes. The plaster and large wooden slats featured in many old homes reduce wall and ceiling accessibility, making the re-wiring process a lot harder. You should, therefore, be prepared to pay extra if your home was built in or before the 1980s and the electrical system featured has not yet been upgraded. Below are other considerations to keep in mind when thinking of an electrical project.
Planning your electrical system
If you are renovating your home or building a new one, you need to consider a few practicalities about your electrical system and the required functionality. These include:
- The type of lighting necessary for each room.
- The number and position of power points, data outlets and light switches in every room.
- Whether you want or need an automation system installed.
- Whether you want or need a security system.
Hiring an electrician
Choosing the right electrician does not have to be scary or confusing, and neither should you live with a potentially dangerous electric situation for fear of hiring the wrong one. When choosing a contractor, make sure you hire a qualified, experienced, and licensed electrician who can provide a written quote and references to ascertain their work and reliability. Make sure they are insured to work in your home and find out who will be liable in case of property damage.
Why state matters
The average cost of hiring an electrician varies according to state. Western Australia is presently the most expensive state to engage the services of an electrician, with a mean price of $86.29 per hour. The average cost in the other states is as follows:
- $79.33 per hour in Tasmania
- $78.02 per hour in the Australian Capital Territory
- $75.22 per hour in Queensland
- $75.21 per hour in South Australia
- $69.38 per hour in New South Wales
- $68.86 per hour in Victoria
Licensing and regulations
Apart from being illegal in Australia, unlicensed electrical work is a serious threat to the health and safety of your entire household. Although the classes and regulations may differ slightly from one state to another, only appropriately qualified and licensed electricians are allowed to perform electrical works in all states and territories. As such, homeowners can only perform tasks such as plugging in an appliance and changing a light bulb.
License classes define the type of electrical work an electrician is allowed to carry out by law. Trainee electricians should work only under the supervision of a fully licensed contractor. An electrician’s physical license details his/her name, number, class, registered address and the expiry date. Electricians are required to provide homeowners with a signed certificate of compliance validating the job.
You will most likely encounter sparkies who advertise themselves as master electricians. These are members of Master Electricians Australia (MEA), a leading accreditation body that’s responsible for setting the national criterion for electrical excellence in Australia. To help them maintain high standards and deliver superior services, MEA members have access to the latest advice and expertise. Compared to other electricians, master electricians can, therefore, be better informed. However, both groups have the same license.
To get a better sense of how much your project might cost, you can get quotes from three or four of the licensed electricians in your locality and compare their prices. This way you can easily compare prices. Remember, if the project you’re looking at involves electrical work, always hire a licensed electrician.
Remember, you can save money by combining several jobs at the same time, including those you have been putting off.
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