How to Start an Electrician Business

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So you’ve completed your apprenticeship, decided you’ve had enough of working for others, and are ready to strike out on your own.

Starting your own electrical business isn’t a far stretch if you’ve learned your profession and have a good set of gear.

In this tutorial, we’ll help you get started as a self-employed electrical contractor with some top tips for getting things up and running. 

Licensing, company structures, branding, and, of course, insurance will all be discussed.

Licensing

The first thing to think about before beginning your own electrical business is whether or not you qualify for an electrical contractor’s license.

Before you apply for your license, you’ll need to figure out your business structure and insurance. The insurance risks and coverage for working as a sub-contractor or for a company is very different to working as your own company or employing sub-contractors. Make sure to compare policies online and pick the right electricians insurance for you. 

However, you must first ensure that you are qualified for a license.  Boise Idaho Embroidery

Because the rules and methods for obtaining a license vary by state, we’ll focus on the essentials for now rather than getting into too much depth.

In certain areas, a trade certificate alone isn’t enough to get a contractor’s license.

In Queensland, for example, you may be required to attend a business course at a TAFE or other approved training institution.

We recommend contacting the licensing office of your state government for further information about your eligibility for a license. The people who can help you can be reached at the following addresses:

Queensland WorkSafe 1300 362 128
NSW NSW Fair Trading 133 230
VIC Energy Safe Victoria 1800 815 721
SA State Government of South Australia 131 882
WA Energy Safety 08 6251 2000
TAS Department of Justice
ACT Environment and Planning
NT Electrical Workers and Contractors Licensing Board 08 8936 4079

After you’ve determined your eligibility, you’ll need to choose a company structure and have some insurance in place.

Although it may appear that you’re putting the wagon before the horse, several states require you to provide information about your business and insurance with your license application.

Organizational structure

It’s critical that you understand the consequences of various business structures. Although you have the option to modify the business structure afterwards, there may be tax implications.

The majority of electricians who establish their own business do so as a sole trader. This is the cheapest and most straightforward choice, but it is far from the only one. Research the options that are available and the associated benefits and drawbacks before you make a decision.

When it comes to launching an electrical contracting firm, there are four primary options:

  • A sole proprietorship
  • A partnership
  • A company
  • A trust

Choosing the right business arrangement for a new electrical contracting company might be the subject of a whole post in and of itself, and we don’t have the room to go over all of the features and benefits of each choice here.

However, around 62 percent of business owners choose to operate as a sole trader, 30 percent as a corporation, and 8% as a trust.

In comparison to other trades, electricians are more likely to employ a business or trust structure, according to broad statistics. While just 28% of trades employ a firm or trust, this number jumps to 38% for electricians.

When compared to other trades, why do more electricians favour the corporate or trust structure? We don’t know, but it’s possible that as a higher-paying trade, there’s a stronger incentive to choose a more flexible framework.

Whatever route you pursue, consult with an accountant before you take the plunge.

Insurance

Depending on the state in which you apply for your license, you may discover that electricians insurance is a prerequisite.

For instance, if you intend to operate in Queensland, you’ll need public liability insurance and consumer protection insurance.

You’ll need at least $5 million in public liability insurance.

Some customers may want $10m or $20m coverage after you get started (particularly for major commercial works), but this has no bearing on your license requirements.

Many people start with the bare minimum of $5 million to earn their license, then increase it as required.

Revisiting Licensing

It’s back to the license application procedure once you’ve set up your business structure and paid for your insurance.

The application procedure is actually pretty simple if you have all of the relevant papers in order.

You’ll need to contact the state office in charge of licensing in your state, which we discussed previously.

Marketing & Branding

It’s great to have your electrical contracting firm up and running, but it’s useless if you don’t have any customers on your books.

As an electrician, the extent to which you need to care about branding and marketing is determined by your company goals.

If you plan to subcontract to your existing contacts in the construction sector, marketing is probably not on your mind.

You probably won’t even bother with a logo or stationery in this situation.

If you want to get out there and pursue electrical work from both home and commercial clients, you’ll need to have your branding in order.

An eye-catching logo, as well as business cards and a functional website, are excellent starting points for marketing your business.

A few organizations provide design services specific to trades enterprises, as well as outsourcing choices.

So that’s a brief overview of how you can progress from apprentice to business owner. There are three major professionals you may wish to consult with in the process of launching your business:

  1. An account: an accountant can advise you on the type of business structure that is best aligned with your needs. He or she can also educate you on the type of financials you need to be keeping track of and what software will be best for you.
  2. A marketing professional: If you are serious about advertising and promotion, it may be useful to enlist the services of an expert marketing agency.
  3. A licensing expert: Make sure you are fully compliant with all local requirements. Consult the local licensing bodies to confirm what steps you need to take.

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