Everyone at some point has put up with a short circuit or a localised power cut. It’s annoying, isn’t it? But what happens when it needs more than a new light bulb or resetting the circuit breakers? You’ll then need an electrician to diagnose the fault and fix it.
A typical electrician charges around £40/hr, sometimes more. Or, a day rate, of between £200 and £250/day. Also, they usually charge a call–out fee, which will be a higher rate for the first hour. And, if you have a true emergency which can’t wait, expect to pay as much as £80/hr or more for the callout.
But, electricians’ prices being what they are, you don’t want this to happen very often. So, what do you do when an electrician’s day rate is so high?
In this article we will learn:
- A typical electrician’s costs.
- How electrician’s hourly rates and charges are calculated.
- How much you can expect to pay for an emergency electrician’s call–out fees.
- And, how to find the right local electrical professional in your area.
Electricians Prices List
In the following electrical jobs table, you’ll find a full list of a domestic electrician’s prices, which you can expect to pay (excluding VAT). The figures presented here aren’t exact, because we’ve compiled the table by calculating the averages across the UK. Finally, remember that electricians’ rates in London and the southeast will usually be about 15% to 20% more than elsewhere in the country.
|Electrical job||Estimated cost|
|PAT Testing||£1 to £2 per appliance with a minimum of 50 items|
|Rewiring a House||£2000 for a 2-bedroom house to £7000 for a 5-bedroom house|
|Install Access Control / Door Entry||£500 to £800 per door|
|Aerial / Satellite Dish Installation (new)||£120 to £200|
|Install Air Conditioning||£1000 to £6000|
|Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector||£80 to £130|
|Install Smoke Alarm||£80 to £130|
|Electric Cooker Installation||£40 to £80|
|Electric Underfloor Heating Installation||£50 to £80/m2|
|General Electric Installation Testing||£80 to £300|
|Emergency Electrician||£80/hr minimum|
|Light Fitting||£40 to £60|
|New Fan Fitting||£250 to £500|
|Consumer Unit Replacement (Fuse Box / Circuit Breaker Panel)||£400 to £500|
|Electrical Inspection Condition Report (EICR)||£100 to £170|
|Socket Replacement (Supply & Fit)||£100 to £150|
|Fitting Wiring For Electric Shower||£100 to £250|
|Fitting Electric Shower incl Plumbing||£150 to £300|
|Earth Bonding Water & Gas Pipes||£150 to £250|
|Replacing existing Extractor Fan||£120 to £230|
|Supply & Fit a Central Heating Room Thermostat||£75 to £110|
|Supply & Fit Cylinder Thermostat||£100 to £130|
|Supply & Fit Central Heating Control Clock||£90 to £150|
Local electricians will price electrical work depending on multiple factors. For example, a typical electrician’s quote will incorporate:
- Where you live.
- Whether the job is an emergency.
- The amount of time taken.
- The amount of materials needed.
Electrician Call Out Fees & Emergency Costs
Although electricians have a specific day rate that they charge for standard work. They also have other fees they charge over and above the standard electrician’s cost.
Every electrician must cover their transport costs and other overheads. Which means that every job must pay for itself. So, to prevent a customer asking to have a plug on a kettle replaced (typically, a 10–minute job), and only paying for the 10 minutes! Electricians have a call–out fee. Typically, the first hour of any job will be charged at about double the usual rate. And, the first hour will be the minimum charge. Thereafter, the electrician’s cost per hour reverts to its normal rate.
Emergency call–out fee
Electricians, like plumbers, might be called out any time of the day or night for emergencies. Suppose for the sake of this example, that the light switches in a home all start to fizz and smoke at the same time. It’s clear, this is an emergency that must be sorted immediately.
If the homeowner didn’t know how to turn off the lights at the consumer unit or had to vacate the building for safety. Then, an electrician must drop whatever he or she is doing and rush to the job. This could happen at any time of the day or night and on any day of the year. Therefore, the electrician charges much more for this privilege. The emergency call-out fee is at the discretion of the electrician but can be up to 2.5 to 3 times the standard rate. If you dispute this amount, the electrician will just say that you must make an appointment for the visit, possibly next week.
After a few years, the wiring circuits in your home become faulty or become superseded by safer and more modern components.
It’s a fact that we use far more electricity in our homes today than we did in the 1970s or 80s. Just look at the number of power sockets available in an older home and the number you need now. The wiring used in new houses back then was designed for the electrical demand at that time. So, it makes sense that as times change, you will need updated wiring more suited to the modern–day along with the safer components now available.
A typical rewire for a 1 or 2 bedroom property will take between 4 to 7 days and cost between £2000 to £3000. Furthermore, a 5 bedroom house will cost between £4500 and £7000 and might take from 10 to 15 days to complete.
Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is a regular inspection of portable appliances. You know, items like a kettle, television, computer, table lamp etc. In fact, anything that you can plug into or unplug from a mains socket. Over time, the plug might become damaged and cracked. Or, the flex becomes pinched or cut. Both these faults, and more, are very dangerous and require fixing before someone gets hurt.
Therefore, an electrician will check every portable appliance in the house, using a standard checklist. Any appliances with faults can either be repaired or removed from service depending on your preference and how much it costs to repair. If an appliance passes with no problems, it is entered into a register and has a label attached.
Regular PAT testing is compulsory on portable equipment in commercial premises. But, even though it’s only optional in your home, it is still a good idea to have everything checked.
An electrician will probably charge between £1 and £2 per item assuming there is a minimum of 50 items to test. However, electricians usually prefer to charge per hour as this allows them to carry out any repairs. So if a PAT testing engineer charges around £40 to £45/hr, he can potentially check around 50 items in that time, or less if they need repairs.
Electric Underfloor Heating
Electric underfloor heating mats provide low-cost heating, without cluttering up walls with radiators. They come as an insulated mat or roll with electrical elements already sandwiched within the mat. The mat lies beneath a floor covering such as vinyl or tiles. A typical mat covers anything from 1 to12m2 depending on the size you buy. So, a room larger than this will need more than one roll of matting. Once laid, the mats connect together and to the control panel, mains electricity supply, and thermostat.
The price to install the complete system works out at about £50 to £80/m2. However, you will need more than an electrician to complete the work. You’ll also have to include the cost of an appropriate floor covering and the labour to install the flooring.
Consumer Unit Replacement
Sometimes an EICR inspection will highlight problems with the consumer unit. Previous to modern circuit breakers, a consumer unit held an array of replaceable fuses of the appropriate rating for the circuit.
An old fuse box used iron or large brittle plastic switches. Also, ceramic fuses or fuses with replaceable fuse wire. Old fuse boxes were commonly made from plywood. The cables around the fusebox and meter were covered in fabric, lead or rubber. All in all, the entire system was prone to many faults. And, the fuses took an appreciable amount of time to disconnect the supply in the event of a short circuit or earth fault.
Modern consumer units are completely enclosed in plastic and have spaces to slot in circuit breakers of specific ratings. The circuit breaker panel will also have an RCD (Residual Current Device). This detects earth faults and disconnects the supply immediately if you touch a bare wire or if there are any wiring faults. New consumer units are far safer than before and circuit breakers react far more quickly than a traditional fuse.
To replace a typical fuse box with a modern circuit breaker costs between £400 to £500 and takes about a day.
Electrical Inspection Condition Report
The EICR is an important part of ensuring you have a safe electrical system in your home. You should have an electrical inspection done every 10 years or on change of occupancy in a private home. But, rental accommodation has different requirements. And, a qualified electrician must carry out the inspection and complete the report. The homeowner then receives an EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report). This details the condition of your electrical mains circuits, switches and sockets. From this, the electrician will advise you on any work that might need doing. In an extreme case, your home (or part of it) might need to be rewired, and you’ll need a new consumer unit.
A typical EICR will cost between £100 and £170 depending on the size of your home and the complexity of the circuitry.
Central Heating Repairs
Even though most central heating boilers use gas or oil as a fuel, they still need electricity. This powers the controls, pumps, thermostats and other components. All modern boilers also have a sophisticated computer system built into the control panel. Moreover, this regulates and balances the amount of hot water and the heating system. If anything goes wrong with the control system in your boiler, perhaps your first reaction will be to phone a plumber. But, if one isn’t available, you can ask an electrician to help with certain components.
- Supply & fit a room thermostat costs between £75 and £110.
- Supply and fit a cylinder thermostat costs between £100 and £130.
- General diagnostics of the central heating system and identification of problems will cost from £40 to £100 for the first hour. Usually, the diagnosis will be complete during this time, but not always.
- To supply and fit a control clock will cost between £90 and £150.
Electrical Certification & Qualification Requirements
How much is an electrician expected to learn before being good enough to work on anything electrical?
Qualified electricians need to have either a recognised apprenticeship or have passed NVQ Level 3 in one or more of the City & Guilds Diplomas.
Once someone has these basic courses under their belt, they need the following to become a qualified electrician:
- 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations BS 7671:2008 (Requirements of Electrical Installations – City & Guilds 2382-18 Level 3).
- C&G 2391-52 Level 3 Award in Initial & Periodic Inspection and Testing of Electrical Installations.
There are also many other specialist qualifications that electricians can earn depending on what section of the industry they want to move into.
All a bit complicated, isn’t it?
Competent Person Schemes
But, there’s no need to be confused. You only have to be aware that it’s best for the electrician working in your home to be ‘Part P’ registered. This means that the local authority has registered them as being competent to self-certify their work. Specifically, to comply with Part P of the UK Building Regulations. If the electrician isn’t ‘Part P’ registered, the quality of work must be inspected by a local authority Building Control Office.
If you find someone who is a ‘Part P’ electrician you can be sure that they are competent, and have the skills and experience to do a good job.
You can find a registered electrician using the search tool on the Electrical Competent Person website.
You will also find that companies providing competent electricians include those belonging to the following schemes:
- Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA)
- National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC)
You will find that a Part P electrician, able to self certify their work will also belong to one of the following trade associations:
Always, the deciding factor will be whether the electrician has the skills and qualifications to do the job. And, an up-to-date official ‘competent person scheme’ registration will prove they have.
What To Ask When Hiring a Professional Electrician
When you want to hire an electrician, it makes sense to ask a few questions beforehand to get to know what they’re like.
How long have you been trading?
This is a simple way to find out the electrician’s experience. If they have been trading for a long time, they have a lot of experience.
Do you have the correct insurance and are you registered?
You will usually find that one goes hand in hand with the other. If the electrician is registered then they will already have public liability insurance. You’ll also find that the trade organisations insist on their members having insurance anyway. Ask to see the insurance policy and don’t be frightened to check the insurance is still valid. You can phone or email the insurance company. And, all insurance companies have a number you can call to check up on tradesmen.
Do I need permission to do this job?
A qualified electrician will know if your job needs local authority approval. Regardless of what the answer is, it’s always worthwhile checking with your local authority as well. You can never be too careful, and the householder is ultimately the only one responsible.
Does the job need a safety inspection?
All but a few minor electrical jobs need to be checked by an expert. If the electrician is ‘Part P’ registered, then they are trusted by the local authority to self-certify their work. If they aren’t, the local Building Contol office must certify the work. Don’t take their word for being registered. Find out for yourself by using the online tool and entering their name. If they are on the register, you can ask for a certificate at the end of the work to prove everything complies with the Building Regulations.
Have you done this type of work before?
A good electrician will keep a portfolio of jobs they’ve done before. And, will give contact details so you can check the standard of work and their professionalism. Look for neat wiring, labelling, well–placed switch boxes and sockets.
Do you offer a guarantee or warranty?
Find out what they are prepared to guarantee. This is a good way to see their confidence in their work. You also want to know if they have insurance in case anything goes dangerously wrong.
Who will be doing the work?
Sometimes, the person you are speaking to might not be doing the work. This is because it is quite common for an apprentice to learn on the job. There is nothing wrong with that, as long as the registered person checks the work before you pay. This is an accepted way of training an apprentice so don’t be put off.
How do I know if my house has an electrical fault?
The only sure way is to have a qualified electrician carry out an EICR on your installation. This will highlight any problems you might have.
However, there are certain things you should look out for that will guide you to the decision of whether to have the report done.
Usually, a new appliance will always give off an unusual odour when it’s first switched on. This is quite normal. But, if a power socket or light switch smells odd, turn it off and call an electrician.
Counterfeit electrical products cause many fires in the home. Beware if you see very cheap extension leads, light fittings and other similar items. They might be unsafe imports and be very dangerous. Only buy your electrical appliances, fixtures and fittings from established retailers. These will have a British Standard Kitemark on them.
All electrical sockets and switches should be silent when in operation. If you notice a buzzing or fizzing noise, turn them off and get them checked.
Flickering lights are often a sign that the wiring in your home can’t keep up with the demand from the appliance. It might be time to consider having your home rewired so call in an electrician and have an EICR done first.
An electrical outlet or switch might work intermittently or stop working altogether. If so, it’s probably a sign of loose wiring or faulty connections. Both these are a fire hazard and should be fixed immediately. Additionally, they can cause electric shocks to users when plugging in or unplugging an appliance.
You should regularly check the area around a light fitting to see if you can feel any heat coming from it. This can mean you are using a bulb exceeding the recommended wattage. Either change the bulb to one of lower power or better still, change the light to an LED version.
Rodents such as rats and mice love to chew on electrical insulation. If you notice droppings in the loft, garage or basement, check the electrical fixtures for signs of gnawing. Damaged wiring like this will cause electrical fires and can be extremely dangerous.
Regular consumer unit trips
The idea of a circuit breaker in your consumer unit is to trip when the power demand of a circuit overloads a safe level. Once or twice might simply be caused by an overload with the circuit breaker doing its job. However, if this becomes a regular occurrence, call in an electrician to find the reason and fix it. Incidentally, if the RCD breaker trips, indicating an earthing fault, have the electrician look at that as well.
Why do electricians charge so much?
Many people often complain about the high rates that electricians charge for their services. But, if you just stop and think about the reasons why their charges are so high, you will soon understand.
Firstly, working with electricity is dangerous. Not only for the electrician but also for the householder. The electrician has trained for many years and has qualifications designed to ensure their work is safe. This takes time and they invest in their future by passing the exams to the required level.
Most domestic electrical work involves repairing faults on circuits that might be many years old. And, repaired by different electricians over the years. It takes a lot of skill to unravel the problem and solve something arising from another person’s work. This will probably take much longer than you might expect, and you will end up footing the bill.
Training, tools & other overheads
Next, electrical safety standards improve all the time. While the fixtures and fittings change and improve. This means that the qualified electrician must continually train. And, understand new technologies and safe working procedures. Once again, this takes time and costs them money.
Electricians use many tools and items of equipment that cost a lot of money. Without these expensive tools, they cannot do the job safely.
An electrician must have transport and fuel to travel to and from their place of work. The transport costs are the same whether the job takes 1 hour or 8 hours. So, the hourly rates must be calculated to take this into account.
Electricians must hold extensive insurance policies. This is to cover mistakes which might cause property damage, or injuries and fatalities. Even if the electrician is completely safe and has never made a claim, they still must have the correct insurance, or they won’t be able to legally trade.
Finally, something that might at first seem a small job. For example, changing a buzzing light switch. This might turn into a major job of which the light switch fault is only a minor symptom. No-one knows until the electrician is on–site and checks the existing wiring. It’s only then that major problems show up. So, your bill might be more than you expected.
Get Local Electrician Quotes
Most homes have electricity supplies to power the varied electrical appliances necessary for our modern way of life. But, to keep the supply safe and efficient, requires regular inspections and repairs by qualified and registered electricians. Finding a suitably skilled person can be difficult if we don’t follow simple and straightforward search procedures.
Probably, the simplest way to do some electrical work in your home is to complete the form on this page. You’ll then receive 3 or 4 quotes from local qualified electrical contractors who, we have already vetted. Lean what the costs of electricians should be near you.