How Much Does An Electrician Cost?
How much can you expect to pay if you need an electrician for emergency repairs or fixes around the home?
I can't believe that I have never touched on this topic over the years, especially one that happens every single day where call-outs for emergency repairs or to repair electrical fixes in the home are commonplace. The reason I'm touching on this subject today is that I received an enquiry asking the above and questioning what was charged for a pretty basic call-out. For the purpose of this article, we will name her Mrs. X.
Mrs. X did an online search for an electrician in her area. She told them it wasn't an emergency but that she needed two light switches to be checked because they weren't working as well as a light added in the bathroom. The company she contacted advised her that she would shortly receive a call from one of their contractors.
Not even 20-minutes later the contractor called her and made arrangements to pop by later in the afternoon and they - 2 people - arrived at her home. She was a little concerned that they arrived in a car that had no advertising on it, as is usual with electrical contractors. That would have got my nose itching to find out more before letting them in my home] but Mrs. X just wanted to get the job done as quickly as possible and directed them into her home and to the faulty switches.
Mrs. X informed the electrician that there were two faulty switches and that they had been faulty since her son had replaced the covers with more modern switches and she was almost sure that he had done something wrong when wiring the switches. Turned out this was the case with one of the switches but the other was due to a faulty switch. I can't stress enough that you need to know what you are doing when tackling any electrical job by yourself. Wiring things wrong could end in disaster. So, if you're not sure - ask someone qualified to do it for you!
To get to the crux of the matter, the electrician took approximately 10-minutes to locate the fault on both switches. Mrs. X then pointed the electrician to the bathroom to where she also wanted a light installed. The electrician advised that they could easily do the job and that they would place a wire in the existing channel to the one damaged switch and run the cable over the ceiling and down to where she wanted the light fitted and he would add to double switch to replace the single switch.
WHAT ARE THE RATES FOR AN ELECTRICIAN?
Emergency call-out R450 – R700
Electrician Average Hourly Rate R450
Mid-level Electrician R350
Top-level Electrician R600
The electrician then consulted with his assistant/partner/sidekick and asked him to phone the office for prices so that he could provide a cost for the repairs and installing the light fitting. Upon his return, he advised that the total cost of the job would be R3,900. What!!!! That much for fix 2 switches and install a single light fitting? Oh and by the way, when I phoned the original service that sent out the electrician, they informed me that they didn't handle any pricing and that this was done by the contractor. I even left a message for someone to phone me back for clarification but no one even bothered to do that.
When Mrs. X told them to forget about the cost of fitting the light in the bathroom they came back with a price of R1,500 to fix the two switches. Now, I'm no expert, but R1,500 for 15-minutes work and to replace a single switch seems like an awful lot of money to me, even if you factor in the average hourly rate for an electrician..
If you factor in the cost of the 2-way light switch at double the price = R270, that leaves R1,230 as a labour cost.
While I normally urge anyone wanting electrical repairs done to ask for quotations, it isn't always possible for this to happen in certain situations and when you call out an electrician, even if you don't have to pay a callout fee, once they do the fault finding and open everything up it is easier to let them complete the job. Although Mrs. X didn't know the average hourly rate at the time, I do suggest that you do your homework before having to fork out too much money for a simple repair job.