If you’re inclined to try to save money by doing your own electrical projects around the house, you could be playing with fire. DIY electrical projects can be downright dangerous for an untrained person to attempt, and most projects require a licensed professional to handle the job.
“Electricians provide services including electrical repairs, appliance and outlet installations, electrical panel upgrades, wire servicing, and more,” says Dan Mock, brand manager of Mister Sparky.
So, hand over your tools and step away—you need an electrician stat! But how much does it cost to hire an electrician?
Here’s what you need to know to make sure the job gets done safely and correctly the first time around.
What does an electrician do?
Electricians are licensed and trained professionals that are skilled in the installation, maintenance, and repair of electrical systems. Most electricians have at least four to five years of training under an apprenticeship and then get licensed by their state.
“Electricians should be able to do projects like electrical safety inspections, child-proofing outlets, electrical code updates and corrections, as well as wiring upgrades,” says Joel Worthington, president of Mr. Electric.
Other common home projects that electricians can tackle include the following:
- Electrical panel upgrades
- Smart home technology installation
- Electric vehicle charger installation
- Ceiling fan repairs and installation
- Home generator installation
- CO2 detector and smoke detector installation
- Lighting repairs and replacement
How much does an electrician cost?
The cost of an electrician can vary widely depending on the service needed.
“The cost to rewire a house will be different from repairing an electrical outlet,” says Worthington.
These costs can also depend on the needs of the customer and the structures in place within the home.
“Electrical panel upgrades can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000,” says Mock. “Homeowners can expect to spend upward of $200 to $500 for lighting upgrades. And for smart home technology installation services, costs may range from $200 to $5,000.”
Other electrical project costs:
- Outlet and switch installation: $100 to $300
- Replacing an electrical breaker: $100 to $160
- Updating the house’s electrical wiring: $6 to $10 per square foot on average
You also need to factor in the cost of labor. The hourly rate for an electrician can range anywhere from $50 to $100.
Questions to ask an electrician
No two electricians are the same, so you will want to do your homework before hiring someone. To make sure you hire an experienced electrician, ask the pro the following questions:
Are you licensed?
Your state’s local licensing department can confirm whether an electrician is licensed to work, or you can contact your state’s Department of Labor. Make sure to check that the electrician’s license is valid and has not expired.
Are you insured?
Always ask about contractor liability insurance coverage, which will protect your home if things go south during or after the work is finished. Though limits can vary by policy, they typically include a $1 million per occurrence limit, according to Angi.
Do you need permits?
Ask about permits for a specific job, and if the pro can get these permits when needed.
Do you have references?
Ask for examples of previous work done and at least three references that you can contact.
Can you give me an estimate?
Find out what the electrician can and can’t do, and ask what the estimate includes, such as repairing drywall after the electrical work has been completed.
Additionally, you’ll want to make sure you hire service professionals who respect your home while they work.
“Do they put on footwear that protects the home? They should put on shoe covers as well,” says Worthington. “A good electrician should have a mat they place down and keep tools organized so they don’t make a mess of the home.”
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