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#156842 - 07/18/05 11:16 PM Home Automation Installer  
Squintz  Offline
Junior Member
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 9
Harford, Maryland
I need some advice and assistance from you guys. I am wanting to start a business in Harford, Maryland. The business would specialize in the installation of a specific brand of Home Automation devices. These include Light Switches, Outlets, Thermostats, and Data Networks.

I contacted the harford county reps for licensing and they told me that in order for me to do any work on anyones electrical system that I need a master electricians license.

Problem is that I already have a good job with the Department of Defence as an Electronic Engineering Technician and I am not able to go work directly with a master electrician full time for 7 years in order to get my license.

So the above brings me to the topic of subcontracting. Is it a normal practice for me to do work under the supervision of another Master Electrician who is not directly related to my company?

Do states or local authorities ever grant waivers for specific types of work. I have about a total of 9 year experience working with electricity. 4 years working with a master electrician in Technical High School. 2 years of College education in electronics, computers, and telecomunications, and 3 years experience working for the DoD(Army) as an Electronic Technician contractor.

The bottom line is that I have all the skills I need to do that work that I want to do and I want to do it legally but I am bound by the license issues.

Who should I be talking to in order to overcome this obsticle?

[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited 07-18-2005).]

Business, Office, Estimating, Legal:

#156843 - 07/19/05 10:23 AM Re: Home Automation Installer  
growler  Offline
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 65
Marietta, Ga. 30060
SQuintz, You can sub-contract the work out to an electrical contractor. Most of the money will probably be made by designing and selling the system and sub-contracting will keep the overhead down. If you want to go in whole hog and be the installer also you can hire a master electrician full time ( not a bad idea to have some one on the job that knows what they are doing, Code wise). Afer working with this master for a few years you can get your own license ( nights & week ends). The state will probably give you some time for your experience but you will have to put in a certain amount of time in the field actually doing the work.

#156844 - 07/22/05 06:14 AM Re: Home Automation Installer  
Pat@Amber  Offline
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 106
Gaithersburg, MD USA

You may be able to get a "limited masters" with your experience and training. You'll have to check if that type of license would allow you to perform the work you are planning on.

Sounds like you are just planning to work on this nights and weekends, so hiring a full-time master would get expensive. There may be other possibilities [Linked Image].

240 876-6540

Power to the people

#156845 - 07/23/05 08:44 PM Re: Home Automation Installer  
e57  Offline
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
Have you thought of a "Parts and smarts" biz?

I know of a few Solar, Controls, and Fire Alarm specialists that basically run consulting for specialized work to Contractors. They run the sale to to a Electrical Contractor, and provide plans, parts and technichal assistance. They inspect the progress, and walk away with a check...

However, there is then a fine line between Electrical Designer, and Electrical Engineer, that shouldn't be crossed.

Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason

#156846 - 07/23/05 10:50 PM Re: Home Automation Installer  
luckyshadow  Offline
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 307
Maryland USA
Squintz -
Try and get in contact with the Harford county electrical board at 410-638-3056
220 Main St. Bel-Air Md. 21014
Clerk of board: Brigette Hardesty
Chairman : Clement Mainolfi
explain your experience with them.
Another place would be Cecil County just up 95 from Harford.
Cecil County Electrical Board
Clerk of Board: Joan Sabatini
President: Philip Bathon
Head Electrical Inspector: Walt Granger Jr.
Walt is on the board also and very informative.Make sure you ask for Walt JR.
These people should be able to guide you after you explain your experience. Let us know what happens and Good Luck

#156847 - 07/24/05 06:56 AM Re: Home Automation Installer  
Scott35  Offline

Broom Pusher and
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 2,708
Anaheim, CA. USA
As "E57" stated:


However, there is then a fine line between Electrical Designer, and Electrical Engineer, that shouldn't be crossed.

Look upon this as the "Golden Rule" as regarded by the DCA (Dept. of Consumer Affairs).

If you currently hold an Active "P.E." License (Professional Engineer), and it's in the Field of Electrical, then you may include the term "Electrical Engineer" on legal documents.

If you work for a Firm, which has an RMO or other responsible person with an Active P.E. License in the Field of Electrical, and you are able to perform work that gets stamped by that person, then you may use the term "Consultant" or "Consulting Engineer".

Otherwise, just use the term "Electrical Designer" or "Electrical Systems Designer".

This is SOP / Protocol in Californication, which may differ in your State.
Along with the "Injun-ear" stuff listed above, if any Contract type work is performed, Licensing per class involved would also be involved - much of which depends on the situations, but without any doubt is required for persons soliciting work.

Just an FYI


Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!

#156848 - 07/24/05 02:35 PM Re: Home Automation Installer  
e57  Offline
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
Actually the line is pretty broad, but I was being nice about it. I get nasty when I get "lighting designers" telling me how to load circuits.

And yeah, it is pretty much SOP here...

Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason

#156849 - 08/01/05 08:20 AM Re: Home Automation Installer  
Squintz  Offline
Junior Member
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 9
Harford, Maryland
I am scheduled to go in front of the board of master electricians for harford county this Wednesday. I am taking with me my high school diploma along with a report card which shows the name of the master electrician I was working with. I have 4 photographs showing the module class room that I wired.

I am also taking my A.A.S degree along with my college transcript. I also have a letter from my current employer on official letter head stating that I have been working here since January 2002. That letter goes along with an employee profile that shows how fast I have advanced from a entry level to a level four tech (there are 5 levels).

I am attempting to get a letter from the P.E. that I have been working with here at work.

Do you guys have any advice for me before I go in front of the board?

#156850 - 08/04/05 11:28 AM Re: Home Automation Installer  
Squintz  Offline
Junior Member
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 9
Harford, Maryland
The meeting went fairly well. They said that a license limited to the type of work I want to do does not exist but they are going to make one for me so long as the law department says that its legal for them to do so.

Basically they will create a license that allows me to change out existing devices and all I will have to do is pass a test designed specifically for that license. Sounds simple enough.

Now I need to decide if I should wait around for that license before registering my business name or if I should go forward now so that I can start claiming things on this years taxes. Tools and Training are on my list of things to do and would be tax deductable if it were for my business. I am just not sure how the IRS would look at it if I didnt even attempt to make a profit the first year? I need to consult a lawyer first.

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