Unless you’re living in an Amish community or have neglected to pay your energy bills for a few years, you rely on electricity to bring life to everything from your lights to your laptop.

But would you tackle a household electrical job yourself? A recent report from the Electrical Contractor’s Association (ECA) showed that almost three-quarters of homeowners would not, which makes sense when you consider just how dangerous the stuff is. In fact, recent research also highlights that in one year alone, over 350,000 people in the UK received a serious electric shock and 28 people died.[i]

So unless you’re really sure you know what you’re doing, it makes sense to turn to a qualified electrician for those domestic electrical jobs.

What they do

An electrician is a skilled tradesperson whose skills include:

  • Carrying out safety tests, installations and maintenance on electrical systems.
  • Assembling, installing, testing and maintaining electrical equipment and appliances.
  • Diagnosing malfunctioning systems, apparatus and components.
  • Testing to assess the continuity of circuits in electrical wiring, equipment, and fixtures.

What they charge

Most domestic electricians will quote per job and not by the hour or day. This means that from fitting a new light socket to installing lights on your new patio, you know exactly what you pay, with any materials and fittings usually included in the price.

If you do receive a time-based quote, expect to pay £200 – 300 per day for a qualified domestic electrician’s time

We’ve gathered a few average costs for some of the most common jobs. These prices may vary depending on location and complexity of the task, but expect to pay in the region of:

  • £100 – 150 to have a new double plug socket fitted
  • £50 – 120 for an exterior security light
  • £2,500 – 3,500 for a complete rewire

What to ask

Make sure you’re switched on by asking a few pertinent questions at the outset to avoid getting any shocks later down the line:

  • Check which trade bodies (see below) your chosen electrician has chosen to join
  • Find out which type of electrical work they specialise in
  • Ask if they are insured
  • Ask about their last few jobs and if you could contact the householders
  • For bigger jobs, ask if they will be subcontracting any of the work

Trades to trust

Bright sparks will always check that their preferred electrician is registered with a government-endorsed scheme to ensure that the job will be competently carried out they’ll benefit from extra protection and assistance if not. Logos to look out for are:

  • NAPIT (National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers)
  • NICEIC (National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting)
  • ECA (Electrical Contractors Association)

You can find out more about safety and legislation (which differs in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) from Electrical Safety First, the leading campaigning charity and technical authority on electrical safety.

The law

Registered electricians in England and Wales must comply with Part P of building regulations. They should also work to the UK national safety standard (BS 7671).

Ready to hire?

3 is the magic number

As always, try and get three quotes from three different electricians to ensure you pay a fair price for the job.

Certification and references

Don’t be shy about asking for any relevant certification, proof of public liability insurance and references or photos from previous jobs. If the electrician is trustworthy and competent, they’ll be pleased (and proud) to show you both.

[i] http://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/what-we-do/policies-and-research/statistics/