Electrical contracting is a huge industry that has an income of about $130 billion per year.
There are about 70 000 electrical contracting firms around the country and they have about 650 000 electrical workers.
These companies are responsible for the delivery of electricity and communications to businesses, public facilities, and homes all over the USA.
In this sphere, there are both companies and individual electricians that perform various duties such as installation, service, maintenance, and/or repair of electrical systems.
Electrical contracting is a popular option among experienced electricians who want to work for private employers.
Article Table of Contents
- 1 How Electrical Contracting Companies are Organized
- 2 The Large and Small Scale Projects Electrical Contractors Handle
- 3 How to Become an Individual or Business Electrical Contractor
- 4 How to Obtain an Electrical Contractor’s License?
How Electrical Contracting Companies are Organized
Electrical contractors are specialists that design, install, and maintain various communications and electrical systems.
Among the available electrical contracting businesses, there are both small companies and large, multi-area firms.
You also can work on your own if you want.
Usually, companies that work as electrical contractors fall into one of the realms listed below:
- Outside/Line Contracting related to high-voltage power transmission and distribution lines. These contractors work for power plants, high-voltage lines, and substations.
- Inside Contracting related to wiring buildings, homes, and other structures and is focused on electrical and cabling design, installation, and maintenance.
- Integrated Building Systems (IBS)/Voice Data Video (VDV) related to low-voltage installation, maintenance, and repair and is focused on the integration of systems such as:
- Back-up power;
- Climate control;
- Security systems;
- Fiber optics;
- Wireless networks;
- Energy-efficient lighting;
The Large and Small Scale Projects Electrical Contractors Handle
As an electrical contractor, you are going to work on various projects that can be related to small residential repairs and large commercial projects.
Commercial and Industrial Projects
Electrical contractors that work in commercial and industrial settings usually work on different big projects in schools, hospitals, buildings, factors, and plants as well as distribution centers.
The list of their duties includes design, installation of electrical systems, wiring, panels, and other related equipment.
Just keep in mind that working in this sphere you should be able to bid competitively if you want to get a good job.
Usually, commercial electrical contractors are work as subcontractors and have the main contractor.
However, in some cases, they may work directly with building owners that look for qualified electricians to perform some tasks.
Some commercial projects may last for months and even years so these specialists always have some job to do as well as a stable income.
Service and Maintenance Jobs
Speaking of service and maintenance projects, electrical contractors usually work in both commercial and residential settings.
Usually, they are responsible for the repair and maintenance of electrical systems and have some single visits to resolve a certain issue.
They work on a fee or cost-plus-fee basis.
In some cases, these specialists may have regular contracts with some of their clients that look for a person that can maintain the electrical systems.
Numerous electrical contractors give preference to residential projects and settings as this area is pretty lucrative.
Also, they are constantly in demand as most modern homes are equipped with a bunch of different systems including entertainment and security systems.
Usually, these specialists are responsible for the upgrade of residential theaters and offices.
These specialists install and maintain different types of equipment such as automated environmental controls, upgrading electrical panels, relocating electrical receptacles, and installing new lighting.
How to Become an Individual or Business Electrical Contractor
In most cases, to be able to work as an electrical contractor you need to be a licensed master electrician.
However, regulations and rules may vary from one jurisdiction to another.
You should be able to adhere to certain laws and requirements to become an electrical contractor.
There are some common steps that you need to follow to get an electrical contractor license.
Step 1: Complete an Electrical Apprenticeship
First of all, it is necessary to complete an apprenticeship that involves 500-1000 hours of classroom training and 8000-10000 hours of on-the-job training under the supervision of a qualified professional.
Step 2: Obtain a Journeyman Electrician License
According to the requirements in most states, you need to complete the minimum training that includes both theory and practice.
After it, you need to pass successfully a written exam on electrical theory, the National Electrical Code, and local codes.
Step 3: Earn a Master Electrician License
Usually, as a journeyman, you need to complete about 2 years of training if you want to sit for a master electrician examination and obtain your license.
As a master electrician, you’ll be able to perform such duties as permits pulling, electrical systems design, job site supervision, and so on.
Also, master electricians are elegible to apply for electrical contractor’s license.
How to Obtain an Electrical Contractor’s License?
Applying for an electrical contractor’s license, you need to keep in mind that it is a business license.
To obtain it, you firstly need to get a master electrician license that is a professional license.
However, there are some exceptions that should be mentioned.
For example, in some states such as Texas, you can apply for an electrical contractor license if you have at list one master electrician among your employees.
In Colorado, any master electrician and any company that is owned by a master electrician completely or partially can apply for this license.
In some cases, firms that want to get an electrical contractor’s license are obliged to employ a master electrician in a supervisory capacity.
Also, you need to know that in most states you need to address state agencies to obtain this type of license.
However, there are some states such as Illinois that give an opportunity to get a license at a local municipality.
As you understand, you need to meet certain requirements to become a licensed electrical contractor.
In some cases, you need to pass an exam and meet some requirements related to working experience.
For example, the government of New Jersey provides electrical contractor’s licenses only for those companies and professionals that have at least 5 years of working experience in electrical installations and constructions.
There are states that offer numerous job options for electrical contractors.
For example, in Florida, electrical contractors can get their licenses locally or get state certification.
In the first case, they need to provide evidence of a current license, meet the requirements, and pass the local examination.
In the second case, they are obliged to pass the state licensing examination.
After obtaining certification, electrical contractors can work all over the state.
In most jurisdictions, you need to get a business permit as well as have the appropriate liability insurance in order to work as an electrical contractor.
In Texas, for example, electrical contractors are obliged to carry:
- Minimum $300,000 per occurrence;
- Minimum $600,000 aggregate;
- Minimum $300,000 aggregate for products and completed operations.
Usually, you need to renew your electrical contractor’s license every two years.
Also, you should be able to meet some requirements including a certain amount of training in specific areas.
For example, in Florida, to renew your license or certification, you need to complete at least 14 hours of training applying for a Board-approved program.
Usually, 7 hours should be dedicated to tech issues, one – to worker’s compensation, one – to workplace safety, one – to business practices, and one – to an advanced course.
Read the full guide: How to Become an Electrician