Facing the Challenge
Whether you’re an experienced sparkie or brand new to the trade, one of the challenges you’ll face is the process of charging for your work, especially if your jobs have been wage-based.
It’s one thing to be hired by an employer and work for a set rate, and it’s another to set that rate for yourself while considering a bunch of other factors.
Many tradies in Australia run their own businesses, and getting the hang of electrician prices and rates was one of the first things they did when they started out. For good reason, too, as it tied into the estimates and quotes customers received, their business’s margins, and how they achieved positive cash flow and ultimately profited from early work!
Electricians can start by becoming familiar with the electrical prices for different jobs and the factors that go into deciding these rates.
If you’re starting your journey in the trades, AroFlo’s Guide to Electrician Apprenticeships has everything you need to know about the electrical trade and why it could be the fit for you.
But let’s get back to discussing what you need to know to understand an electrician prices list.
Average Electrician Costs
First, let’s compare the average cost of an electrician in each state.
Experience and specialisation are the main factors in deciding the hourly rate of an electrician, which we cover more in our Electrician Salary Guide. For this reason, these are averages that cover apprentice, journeyman and master electrician prices and rates. These rates reflect not only the base pay of an electrician but additional costs and charges for the types of jobs that are undertaken.
H3 Per hour:
As you can see, the price varies from state to state. This doesn’t mean operating in one state or another will automatically make an electrician more money, but it reflects the factors that affect electrician prices and rates.
What are the Factors?
Ever gone to buy something you really need, then it’s on sale the next time you’re at the shops? Or you go to a different store, and the exact same item you wanted is cheaper? Or you’re on holiday in a beach town, and the cereal you’d normally pay 6 bucks for is 10 dollars at the only supermarket?
It’s the same with electrical pricing for jobs or getting quotes. As with any service or product, prices will change depending on behind-the-scenes factors. We’ll go over some of the factors that determine electrician price lists.
These are bread and butter fees for any electrician prices list. Different businesses charge different fees: some businesses charge a flat callout fee on top of the hourly rate for a job, while others don’t have callout fees but instead charge more for the first hour or charge a higher hourly rate.
Out-of-hours/Emergency businesses charge higher fees for the premium of their out-of-hours services, and this is another decision you will need to make when considering electrician prices and fees for your business.
For more about the ins and outs of starting your own electrical business, check out our Starting an Electrical Business article.
Not to sound like a real estate agent, but your location is another important factor when considering electrician price lists. Demand ties into this: some areas will have plenty of businesses available to take the work, driving prices down, whereas others will have fewer options, driving prices up.
It also depends on where the project is located; is it easy to reach? Does it require a lot of travel? If a job is away from your usual area of work, you will need to factor that into your electrical pricing as well.
Even in the same location, the market will always be changing. It’s always good to check what the competition is offering and the prices in your area, then adjust your electrical prices accordingly.
Longer, complex projects mean higher labour costs and the opportunity cost of possible other jobs. The time investment needs to be reflected in the electrician prices list, as longer jobs also represent an opportunity cost.
The longer a project takes, the more room for error or chance for something to fall through, so electrician prices need to reflect that.
Complex projects could require different specialised electricians working with different tradies, such as plumbers and builders, all of which require more admin time to plan and ensure everyone is on the same page. Always remember, it can be a lot of work to start the job itself!
Simply put: the more working parts, the greater the chance something can go wrong. Depending on the size/scale of the project, electricians may need to factor in time to iron out any issues/problems with the system to ensure everything is working as it should.
If a project requires specific certification or approval, the cost will likely be increased to cover the fees and time required.
A licensed electrician must undertake every electrical job to ensure the safety of the work and that it is up to code. Lower-than-average electrician prices may reflect a lack of proper licensing or certification for the particular job. Depending on the state, licenses must be renewed every 3-5 years, but really if you come across any peers offering bargain basement prices, there are often corners being cut.
Also, insurance only covers work licensed electricians undertake - better safe than sorry!
For most small-scale electrical projects, material cost will not be a large factor in the price.
But when it comes to requiring certain materials/the customer having a specific design for their job, costs will be higher, both for the cost of the order and the margins you need to turn a profit. Lingering supply chain issues can mean extended waiting times for orders or higher prices than the customer might expect.
When coming up with a price list or estimate for installation jobs, customers might need to adjust their expectations or pay a premium.
Pricing Common Electrical Jobs
These are some common jobs to be found on any electrician prices list.
Every business will find its niche/area of expertise, which will streamline the estimates and quoting process with more experience, but it’s good to compare jobs to see how the above factors affect the pricing.
Fire Alarm Installation
A hard-wire fire alarm installation job is, on average, between $140 to $180, depending on the difficulty of the job or the condition of the home. The longer or more complex the installation, the higher the price.
A typical power point installation/replacement can cost between $140 to $180, including labour and materials.
This is a pricy job on the electrician prices list. The cost of a home rewiring is affected by all the factors covered and can run between $3000 to $6000 for a medium-sized dwelling.
If the house is newer and more accessible to electrical work, it will be a lower price than an older home with tricker spaces and less access. The materials in the home will also affect the work: working around double brick will take more time and labour than single brick, for example. If the home is in bad condition, more steps will need to be taken to ensure the safety of the installation and occupants.
Electricians undertaking jobs like these will need to review the layout of the house and price accordingly.
Test and Tag
Test and tagging can be done on a range of household appliances and goods to ensure they’re safe to use. Test and tags, on average, range from $130 to $230, depending on what is being tested.
A switchboard replacement can cost anywhere from $500 to upwards of $1500, depending on the quality and amperage of the switchboard. This is an all-inclusive price.
Security System Installation
A security system can be anything from a doorbell camera to a CCTV setup for residential or commercial clients.
Security systems require additional training to install, and a business can choose to specialise in the area. Depending on the system and requirements, a new installation can cost anywhere from $100 to $300 for residential systems and $300+ for commercial systems.
Security systems are becoming ever more popular and are no longer restricted to commercial installations, with higher demand leading to higher electrician prices and rates, which means more cash flow for businesses.
Downlights are a popular choice for many homes, both new and old. These can cost between $60 and $75 per light on average.
Streamlining Quotes with AroFloGO
Electricians have many options when choosing to specialise or decide on the area of expertise for their business. Knowing your niche and gaining experience means pricing will become easier. However, an electrician prices list should be competitive, depending on the market and your costs.
This can add stress to the estimates and quoting process, something you need to get right for customer confidence and your reputation.
You want to ensure you get on track with your quotes; the quicker you get a quote to the customer, the better! Businesses need to ensure their prices are both competitive and fair: reputation and trust are the foundation for your customer base to grow.
AroFlo’s No Fuss Electrical Quoting article covers tips and solutions to start streamlining your quotes. Interested in more? Check out AroFloGO for a free trial and instant access to our quoting software.