Electrician and Electrical Contractor: is there a difference?

by | Oct 4, 2020 | Blogs

If you ever tried looking for a professional to fix the electrical system in your house or workplace, you might have come across the terms electrician and electrical contractor as a service provider for the electrical works you need. Choosing between the two service providers can be confusing when you are not very familiar with their specific job roles. Moreover, these two terms are actually often used interchangeably, amidst the huge difference between the kinds of service they offer, not to mention the conditions on how they should operate.

Electrician and Electrical Contractor is there a difference

Therefore, in order for you to pick the right person to do the job, you must be acquainted with the difference between electricians and electrical contractors. This includes the limitations of the services they can offer and the advantages of hiring one over the other. Knowing all of these things will lead you to a more informed decision. 

Let us start by knowing the below?

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An electrician is…

An electrician is a professional who had undergone four years of training on different electrical works such as the following:

  • Installation of an electrical system
  • Assessment of appliance safety
  • Building switchboard
  • Electrical motor maintenance
  • Replacement of damaged parts like plugs, resistors, etc.
  • Electrical appliances and other wiring repairs

Following Australian Standards for consumers’ safety and public liability, all electricians in the country must have a license for them to operate. The license can be acquired through passing a set of training for electricians coupled with a given condition that the holder must continuously learn on the field to ensure they remain knowledgeable and up to date on changes in the electrical industry. 

Given the above information, we may have the understanding that electricians can do most of the electrical works in our house or in the workplace. However, though their knowledge and skills in handling the electrical system are unquestionable, electricians are not allowed to provide services as an individual entity. Adhering to the work safety standards here in Australia, electricians must get an electrical contractor license or be hired by an electrical contractor in order for them to legally operate. Understanding what an electrical contractor is will make you understand why electricians are not authorized to work on their own.

So what is an electrical contractor?

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An electrical contractor is…

On the other hand, an electrical contractor is an electrician who had undergone more training and assessment and was licensed to operate an electrical business through an electrical contractor license. They are also allowed to employ electricians to work for their business as part of the license they possess.


But how can these electrical contractors operate? What is needed from them by the government?

To start with, we should remember that electrical contractors are first and foremost, licensed electricians. Thus, before you should even think of processing an electrical contractor license, you should first ensure that you, yourself, is a licensed electrician.  

With this in mind, you will understand why some can get the wrong impression between a licensed electrician and a licensed electrical factor. This is because as a licensed electrician themselves, these electrical contractors can, in fact, handle some of their company’s projects despite being the business owner.

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So what can an electrical contractor do?

An electrical contractor license allows the holder to make clients’ invoices, which cannot be done by a person holding an electrician workers license alone.  For this reason, electrical contractors are employing electricians to work for their business when more workers are needed. This is how an electrician can legally operate.

Electrical contractors are allowed to employ electricians given that they provide them with insurance and continuous training. This guarantees the clients that the one who will work for their electrical system is both qualified and insured. 

Furthermore, electrical contractors are also mandated to offer warranty for their clients in case damages are made on a property due to the electrical works delivered by their company. 

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So should you go to when in need of electrical fixes or jobs?

When hiring a professional to work on our household or workplace electrical system, we must consider looking for an electrical contractor, as they have both the knowledge and authority to provide such services. It will not only guarantee good results but will also provide you with comfort knowing that both you and the electrician who will work for you are being protected.