What's the Difference Between an Electrician and an Electrical Contractor?
The terms "electrician" and "electrical contractor" are related, but each has a distinct meaning. "Electrician" refers to a person who has been trained to install, fix, and maintain electrical systems. On the other hand, an "electrical contractor" can either be a self-employed person or a business entity that offers electrical services. Most states have different requirements for electricians and contractors.
What Do Electrical Contractors Do?
An electrical contractor performs specialized construction work that includes designing, installing, and maintaining electrical systems. Their job is to ensure the safety, sustainability, and effectiveness of these systems. An electrical contractor can either be an individual running their own business or a company that employs electricians.
There are several types of contractors. "Outside" or "line" contractors make sure that the energy generated by a power plant is safely distributed to homes and businesses. "Inside" contractors provide electricity to the inside and outside of a building or structure. “Integrated building systems” and “Voice/ Data/ Video” contractors work with low-voltage systems like fiber optics, wireless networks, and climate controls.
What Do Electricians Do?
Electricians are individuals that carry out tasks related to the building and maintenance of electrical systems. They are trained and usually licensed professionals who might either be employed by a bigger organization or work as self-employed contractors. Most electricians start as apprentices, becoming journeymen once they have completed their education. Some keep on studying and eventually become master electricians.
Should I Become an Electrician?
If you'd like a job that doesn't require a college degree but pays a good wage, look into becoming an electrician. The average salary in this profession is between $25 and $26 per hour, but it varies depending on your location, experience, the kind of company you're employed by, and your skill level.
Once you've completed your apprenticeship and gained some experience, you can set out on your own as an electrical contractor. Self-employed individuals and those running a small business have a lot of control over their time and income because they decide which customers to work with, how much to charge, and when to schedule appointments. They can also hire others to work for them and, therefore, further increase their income.
Is It Easy to Find Work As an Electrician?
In many areas of the country, electricians are in high demand. This means that you'll be able to find work wherever you go, and you're not bound to a specific location. If you move to a new area, make sure that you know what the licensing requirements are and whether you need to pass any additional exams.
Because many of our systems are becoming more dependent on electricity, this job will likely remain important in the future. Historically, the electrical industry has grown by more than 2% yearly. Experts estimate that there will be around 80,000 job openings for electricians annually in the next decade.
What Qualifications Do I Need?
People who would like to become electricians first need to complete high school or get their GED. Focusing on relevant subjects like math, English, and science is a good idea. You might be able to get an apprenticeship straight out of school, but since competition is fierce in some areas, many people first attend trade school for six months to two years.
An apprenticeship takes several years, but many aspiring electricians get paid for their work during this time. You'll then pass an exam and get licensed as a journeyman electrician. The process is slightly different in each area. Once you're working full-time, you might want to look into getting additional certifications, so you can work as a master electrician or a specialist.
How to Maximize Your Income as an Electrician or Electrical Contractor
Research all employment opportunities in your area. Some companies, especially bigger ones with lots of resources, might be able to offer you a higher salary and better benefits than others. If you believe you have the necessary skills to run a successful business, setting out on your own could drastically increase your income because you'll no longer have to share your profits with your boss. However, running a company is harder than you might think, so make sure you know about all the
resources available to you before you start, and speak to other electricians who have done the same. They can tell you more about where to source cheap materials, how to advertise your services locally, and how to make sure your customers always have a great experience.
How Does Home Service Software Help Contractors?
One of the best ways of reducing your costs and speeding up operations is to purchase home service software. A program like ServiceBox allows you to store all your customers' data in one place and update it when necessary, keep track of your schedule, and manage your advertising channels. You'll also be able to quickly create new quotes, turn them into work orders, allocate the tasks to your employees, and turn existing work orders into invoices. Because everything is automated, you'll have to spend much less time doing admin-related tasks.
ServiceBox can be purchased for as little as $25 per user, per month, and there is a free demo available. There's no reason not to try it out. Electricians and electrical contractors are both terms from the electrical industry. But while the former is a person who performs electrical works, the latter is a person or organization that specializes in installing and maintaining electrical systems.
Call us at ServiceBox to find out more about starting a career in the electrical industry. Our software helps small businesses and independent contractors to maximize their efficiency.