Cost of simple electrical work?

Phemie 10 November 2010 24

To-day, I got an electrician in to replace 5 light fittings.  No wiring required.  Easy access.  Simple fittings.  He gave me a verbal quote for the job over the phone of “about $100”. He was in the house for just over an hour  – after arriving half an hour late and then he hit me with a bill of $500! He said that he had meant $100 for each fitting.

My surgeon didn’t charge $500 an hour when I had to have an operation last year.

I have looked up electrician pricing sites and I think that his original quote of “about $100” is about right.  What do Riotact people think?

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24 Responses to Cost of simple electrical work?
Renovator Renovator 4:32 pm 02 Dec 14

A number of electricians and plumbers in Canberra overcharge if you are not careful. They use tricks like refusing to quote up front (not even giving an hourly rate) and then charging what they think you can pay. Even if they quote, they often omit telling you that GST is extra.

This is not to say that there are not a large number of honest, hardworking and reasonably priced trades people in the ACT – you have to just shop around and go by word of mouth.

We could always consider agitating for regulation of what tradespeople charge per hour? It would need federal legislation but might save a deal of heartache. Upper and lower limits (or ranges) per job or per hour would be good.

Mothy Mothy 11:02 am 02 Dec 10

dundle said :

I suppose it’s just luck of the draw. I had one come over to check my switchboard, turned out the issue was so small it was done in under 5 minutes, I wasn’t charged at all!


I have a switchboard problem and I want to know who your guy was!

While he’s there, there’s a down-light that needs looking at too.

dundle dundle 1:04 am 13 Nov 10

I suppose it’s just luck of the draw. I had one come over to check my switchboard, turned out the issue was so small it was done in under 5 minutes, I wasn’t charged at all!

Sammy Sammy 10:07 pm 11 Nov 10

doesn%u2019t know how or where they are wired

The OP said it was to “replace 5 light fittings”. How exactly do you think they’d be wired?

Fluges Fluges 6:03 pm 11 Nov 10

You were ripped off!

justin heywood justin heywood 7:21 am 11 Nov 10

Unlikely. I suspect there is more to this story.

1. A sparky ain’t going to do a house call for $100.00.

2. ‘Replace 5 light fittings’ could mean a range of things. A sparky ain’t going to quote ‘$100.00’ over the phone to replace 5 light fittings when he has not seen them, doesn’t know how or where they are wired, and doesn’t know the client.

3. How DO you change a light fitting ‘with no wiring involved’?

Pandy Pandy 11:19 pm 10 Nov 10

First: tell him he is dreaming.

$100 and hour is about right for the 1st hour. Its what maynor and Cochrane charge so tell him that.

If he persists, ask him for his license number and contact Bepcon or whatever the electrical authority is called these days. Ask to check if he is registered in the ACT. and oh ask him for the required Bepcon electrical completion form and for a tax invoice show his tax file number. If he persists, say mate $100 cash and wink wink

farnarkler farnarkler 8:11 pm 10 Nov 10

If no wiring was involved and access was easy, why didn’t you do the work yourself? Electrical DIY books are easy to find or search for an electrical forum. As for the rules, they were made to be broken.

The cat did it The cat did it 7:37 pm 10 Nov 10

In New Zealand, homeowners are allowed to work on their own houses’ electrics, so the OP could have done the fairly minor work themselves and saved some money, as long as he/she was confident they had a reasonable idea what they were doing. But not in Australia, where electrical contractors are given a government-backed monopoly; note that you can be a fully qualified electrician, but you need a contractor’s license before you can work legally. You could have a Degree in Electrical Engineering, but unless you’ve got that contractor’s license, the law considers that a barely qualified tradie is a safer bet.

The elephant in the room in all this is that do-it-yourself minor electrical modification is a thriving activity. You don’t think all those guys crowding the electrical hardware aisle of Bunnings every weekend are sparkies doing weekend work do you? If the government was honestly concerned, they would restrict sale of such items to those who could produce their contractors’ license number. And don’t believe all the smokescreen about ‘safety’. If it was an issue, we would have heard already about an avalanche if do-it-yourself electrical deaths in NZ. And if the government was really committed to economic reform, they’d allow anyone who could pass the requisite tests to do their own work. But the Contractors and the Electrical Trades Union wouldn’t like that.

chris820 chris820 7:01 pm 10 Nov 10

Were any upgrades to your meter-board required? An RCD on the light circuit for example?
But still, $500 does sound steep.

Phemie Phemie 6:42 pm 10 Nov 10

I supplied all light fittings. No wiring was required. It was a verbal quote and I will ensure that all quotes on the future are in writing.

troll-sniffer troll-sniffer 3:20 pm 10 Nov 10

We haven’t had the OP come back and say whether or not any fittings were supplied by the electrician… so c’mon, back up your post with some requested facts…

banjo banjo 1:14 pm 10 Nov 10

I was quoted $1100 for the electrical work to have all lights replaced in a 4 bedroom home including 3 external lights and the installation of a tastic in a bathroom. This does involve wiring on every light but it is a light for light replacement so existing wiring and light positions are used. Pretty happy with that quote and it is work I can’t do myself.

Pitchka Pitchka 11:54 am 10 Nov 10

DeadlySchnauzer said :

Oh and another thought. Ask him to provide a written invoice outlining the costs that make up the supposed $500. ie x hours of labour at $y/hour, $z call out fee etc.

You do realise that invoices can simply state: Light Installation, $500 incl GST… There is no law that dictates that you MUST itemise each aspect of the work undertaken…

Lets not forget people, there are always 2 sides to the story!!!

The amount of times Ive heard cry me a river stories on forums, only to hear the ‘other’ version, only to find the OP hasn’t been totally honest… Im not saying this is the case here, but we are just going by what the OP is telling us…

Peace out Roiters!

DeadlySchnauzer DeadlySchnauzer 11:41 am 10 Nov 10

Oh and another thought. Ask him to provide a written invoice outlining the costs that make up the supposed $500. ie x hours of labour at $y/hour, $z call out fee etc.

madamcholet madamcholet 11:25 am 10 Nov 10

We had some work done recently – 2 ceiling fans installed, replacement of powerpoints in the kitchen and installation of a new fan in the bathroom. $600 all up. Paid cash, but that wasn’t a condition, just his preference. Did a decent job and there were two of them there for around 2 hours I suppose. Did not include cleaning up their mess though!

Peewee Slasher Peewee Slasher 11:00 am 10 Nov 10

Contact ACTPLA – Electrical Inspections. Supply said name of electrician and ask whether they have recieved a Certificate of Electrical Safety from him. If he hasn’t suppllied one, he can be fined.

Pitchka Pitchka 10:52 am 10 Nov 10

Always pays to get something in writing.

ConanOfCooma ConanOfCooma 10:42 am 10 Nov 10

Neither the hour, nor the light fittings, are worth that much.

screaming banshee screaming banshee 10:10 am 10 Nov 10

I assume you supplied the light fittings?

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