5 Tips For Saving Money On An Electrician

Hiring an electrician is an important task for many homeowners. Electrical wiring is a tricky project and approaching any electrical work in the home should be done with the utmost caution. Lemere Electric notes that almost 400 electrocutions are reported in the United States every year, with about 70 fatal instances, surrounding DIY electrical work.

This means that the average homeowner should only engage in the most basic of electrical-based tasks in the home (changing lightbulbs, replacing a fuse in the circuit breaker box, etc.), and hire an electrician for anything that might expand even a fraction beyond their comfort zone. But hiring electricians can be expensive – Angi notes that typical and basic electrical services can run between $150 and $500 when hiring a professional to conduct the work.

Homeowners should always be looking for ways to reduce their expenditures, but taking on a task that is potentially hazardous just to save a few bucks is quite reckless. Fortunately, there are many other ways to shrink the cost of professional electrical services.

With these five tips in mind, you can reduce the budget of your wiring project without placing yourself in harm's way — a win for everyone involved.

Source multiple quotes

The first thing you must do when looking to save money on the services provided by an electrician is get quotes (the Federation of Master Builders recommends three quotes for most home improvement work). Your project might be small or large, but sourcing multiple quotes remains a priority for anyone looking to get the best deal on professional services of any type. A reputable professional electrician will be more than happy to visit your property and discuss the specifics of your job, providing a quote at the end of the conversation. This is a great opportunity for you to get to know service providers in your area and compare a few different electricians to find the best match for your needs.

Getting a few quotes is important because it allows you to select a professional that provides the best value for your money overall. On the one hand, a number of quotes for the same job will help you gain a better understanding of the cost of the work: Specifically, more than one quote will help you weed out any electrician that may be trying to overcharge you on the project. But speaking with multiple professionals also gives you the ability to ask questions and get to know them and their work in the process. Quote gathering is a time of discovery that will help you make a confident decision when it comes time to hire a professional.

Speak with electricians about your expectations, budget, and needs before signing a contract

During the quote-gathering process, you'll want to speak with an electrician about the job specifics. But this isn't the only thing that you need to discuss with anyone you may be considering hiring for the job. When speaking with an electrician, you're given the opportunity to talk about your expectations and needs for the project. For instance, you may be on a tight budget or time-related deadline. Bringing up these limitations or expectations during the initial consultation will help you get a sense of what is possible surrounding your specific requirements and desires.

Of course, it's never a good idea to go into a quote meeting with concrete expectations and an unwavering list of demands. Undercover Architect notes that homeowners often anticipate a timeline and budget of roughly half that of reality. Yet, speaking about your needs and expectations with any electrician who comes into your home will help them understand what you're hoping to achieve, and it will help you gain a sense of the feasibility of your particular project. As well, speaking candidly about your needs will give your electrician the information they need to make suggestions and offer advice about the scope or layout of the project.

Maintaining a clear line of communication with your electrician ensures that you get the service you require, and they have the clarity of mission to deliver on the project at all key milestones.

Buy key materials directly

Another good means of reducing the cost of your project comes in the form of material purchases. You might be looking to install custom lighting units or a specialized switching device for your entertainment room, for instance. If you have a good sense of what the project entails, then buying materials yourself can help save on the overall cost of the installation (via How Stuff Works).

Specialized equipment will always come at a premium when purchased by your electrician. Most contractors (regardless of industry) won't gouge you on the price, but they will upcharge a homeowner for the cost of acquisition. This is only natural; as a supplier and installer, the electrician has a little more work to do in order to get the job done, and they pass this cost on to you as the consumer. Instead of relying on your electrician for all material purchases, you can buy some of the required elements in advance of the work or after discussing the project specifics and agreeing on a contract. Procuring supplies is often a fairly simple process, but it can save you a potentially significant markup on the overall total bill if you take the time to do it yourself.

Prepare workspaces for easy and safe access

Preparation is a key element in any workspace, and when working with electrical equipment, it becomes even more important due to the risks associated with electric shocks. The first thing an electrician will have to do upon arriving at your home involves preparing the workspace. This can take a few minutes or a few hours, depending on the specifics of the work site. But because electricians typically charge per hour, an elongated preparation timeline means a considerable addition to the overall expense of the project.

Clearing away debris, furniture, and any other elements in the home that might get in the way of your electrician while they're performing the update or modernization work can save valuable time and reduce the cost of the final bill by a significant amount in the end. Preparing the workspace in advance of your electrician is a smart move for any homeowner and something that everyone can accomplish. Love Chic Living notes that in the DIY world, prioritizing safety and confidence in the stability of any workspace is an essential starting point for any project — the same goes for jobs performed by professionals. Moving furniture away from a wall that will be worked on takes no technical skill and can make a huge difference when trying to save money on electrical services.

Maintain (or create) your home's circuit breaker diagram

Lastly, one thing that homeowners often fail to maintain is an updated diagram of their circuit breaker box. This is incredibly easy to do, according to InspectApedia, but can take a bit of time if it hasn't been looked after in a while. In the same way that preparing the space for work to commence can change the calculation of the final tally, when an electrician has to explore each and every fuse in your circuit breaker panel, they waste valuable time that could be spent on the installation. Understanding what every fuse supports is an essential component in the overall safety of an electrician's work; if they can't confirm that they are working on a disconnected circuit, then they have to put in the time themselves.

Creating or maintaining a diagram of these fuses will speed along the process, potentially by a few hours. This small amount of foresight and preparation work can save you a lot of money when hiring an electrician, and it will protect the health and well-being of that professional in the process, too.