You mentioned what you charged for your repair on the "little shop of horrors." Is this typical for what an electrician would charge? And on that same note, what do electricians typically charge per hour? (in approximate U.S. dollars of course. (What is the pound/dollar exchange rate these days, anyway?)
Finally, what are the licensing and certification requirements, if any?
The exchange rate has been around £1 = $1.50 in the last couple of years, although it's dropped nearer $1.40 in the last few months.
Average pay is a bit of a tough question for me to answer, because I'm only out on wiring work less than half my time and as most people want an estimate before any work is done, I tend to price each job separately.
I usually take cost of material plus about 10% to 15% to cover expendibles and contingencies, then figure my labor against my estimation (guess?) of the hours involved. I reckon a reasonable average for my jobs comes to around £10 (approx. $15) per hour, more for a one-afternoon job, a little less for an big ongoing job over several days. That's almost all residential, with just one or two light commercial.
With gasoline here costing around U.S.$4.75 per gallon, I'll add some for travel expenses if it's more than a few miles away. (I also tend to bump the price up if it's a particularly nasty job or for somebody who annoys me.) There's a 17.5% sales tax to add on to the final bill as well; customer pays it to me & I pass it on to the government.
I can't honesty say what the other self-employed guys charge as I've never had to call on one . As for those who are employees, I've seen quoted salaries varying from under £10,000 per year to over £50,000 depending on the company and the location, so it's difficult to quote an average wage. The higher end is most likely industrial work for the big oil/gas plants or similar. Sorry to be somewhat vague on this, but I just haven't been involved on this side of things enough to know any more details.
Licensing/certification I can be more specific about. As far as pure legalities go, there is no electrical license in the U.K. and anyone can set-up as an electrician with no formal qualifications whatsoever. (And for residential wiring, it is not even a legal requirement to follow our IEE Wiring Regulations, though highly recommended, of course.)
That said, there are several certifications available from trade organizations, and most companies recruiting for a "qualified electrician" would probably demand one. It's also unlikely that a non-certified self-employed sparky would get a contract for a big commercial/industrial job without one.
Re: Electrician's pay in England#133091 04/27/0203:12 PM04/27/0203:12 PM
I was chatting with a GC this afternoon, and it looks as though I may have been short changing myself a while.
He reckons I should be looking at earning myself a minimum of £80 ($120) per day on a self-employed basis. He also told me that our local plumber won't take on any job now unless he can net £100 ($150) per day.
Re: Electrician's pay in England#133092 04/27/0206:51 PM04/27/0206:51 PM
It's down to $1.40 now? Wow! It was about $1.60 when we were there. I guess its a good time for Americans to go abroad.
You might be curious to know that the work you did in the "shop of horrors" would probably go for double, perhaps even triple what you charged there.
So anyone in England with a screwdriver and a wire stripper can call themself an electrician? Do you encounter a lot of unsafe wiring as a result?
About 25 states don't have any licensing requirements for electricians, so we're not much different in that regard.
You've done an excellent job describing how residential wiring is done in England. Do you know much about the commercial/industrial methods? I guess I'm most curious to know if you use the common "pipe and wire" method we use, among other things.
Re: Electrician's pay in England#133093 04/27/0207:59 PM04/27/0207:59 PM
I just checked the current exchange rate and it's at $1.46 at the moment. When I was last in America in 1996 it was around $1.65, but I remember it almost reaching the magic $2 mark some years ago.
Trivia: Back in the 1960s the old British half-crown coin was often colloquially called "half a dollar," as the exchange rate at that time meant it was approx. equivalent to 50 cents.
I think pay rates here vary tremendously around the country. I've heard of electrical contracting firms in London charging upwards of £50 per hour. Where I live (a rural part of eastern England) most people just couldn't afford those sort of rates. But, as I said above, I think it's about time I raised my rates a little on some quotes and see how it goes.
Yes, I see a lot of unsafe wiring. Cables not fixed but just draped loosely across the attic is a favorite around here, along with splices using "chocolate block" connectors and not enclosed in a junction box. And some of this I know was installed by "professionals."
Light commercial for small shops, offices, and so on most often uses PVC conduit or trunking (raceway) these days. The latter has become particularly common in offices in recent years as the divided trunking can also be used for telephone/data wiring etc.
Big industrial works usually use heavy-gauge steel conduit and equivalent fixture boxes, all screw fittings and available in black enamel or galvanized finish. As you may have seen elsewhere, the standard 3-phase supply is 240/415V Y. (Or a very large site may have its own xfmrs and take its service as an HV delta supply, 11kV or 33kV.)
Rules are stricter in these environments, as factories and the like are subject to inspections by the HSE (Health & Safety Executive). The health & Safety at Work Act means that commercial installations ARE required to comply with IEE Wiring Regulations, whereas for residential its not mandatory.
Re: Electrician's pay in England#133095 06/02/0201:03 PM06/02/0201:03 PM
Paul: The exchange rate is only $1.50/Pound, the last I remember was the time I was in Malta, and at that time it still belong to Great Britain it was $2.85 / pound, of course the Beattles had just come out so that tells you how long ago that was. But we made some friend with the British Marines and Sailors too, good bunch Ahh for the good old days. -Mark-
Re: Electrician's pay in England#133096 06/02/0201:26 PM06/02/0201:26 PM