If you’re newly qualified and decide to go it alone, then pricing up your first few jobs can be tricky if you don’t plan properly.

We’ve collated some processes to consider before dealing with customer requests. This will help you with your pricing structure and make sure you as the electrician are not left out of pocket.

Consumer Unit Change Over

When asked by the customer for the consumer unit to be changed – it is always a good idea to carry out a Periodic Inspection or at least the ‘dead’ tests on the existing wiring.

It could actually end up costing you money if you fail to carry out the correct tests. If you have already agreed the change of a unit price and haven’t allowed for any unforeseen problems that need to be rectified post board change, you could be out of pocket, as adding on additional costs once you’ve agreed a price with a customer never goes down well. On top of this, you’ll most likely end up running over on your own allocated job time – and you know what they say?! Time is money!

Pre-board Change Over

Ze and Insulation resistance readings are always a good start with domestic properties. If the Ze is too high then this will need to be brought to the attention of the energy provider before you carry out the work. It would then be up to the energy provider to rectify any problems with the existing earthing to the building, this will need to be explained to the customer.

Remember always work safely and use the safe isolation procedure.

Hidden Problems With Electrical Wiring

As mentioned before, insulation readings are important, but even more so when changing a re-wireable BS3036 consumer unit to the modern split load RCD consumer units.

A fault to earth could have been there for a long time on the old fuse board, but with sensitive RCD’s being installed in the new consumer unit these existing faults could cause nuisance tripping. The saying ‘well it worked before’ could be the next thing you hear from the customer. In this instance, always ensure any repairs to the existing wiring are dealt with before the consumer unit change goes ahead. Remember you are the qualified electrician certificating the installation, the customer needs to take advice from you.

Price Accordingly

When pricing up a job, try and get as much information as possible from the customer when you carry out the initial visit. This information will help to ensure you adequately price the job and that you can allocate the right amount of time per job whilst ordering the correct materials and equipment. Another handy tip is, if you don’t know how long a job is going to take i.e. when fault finding, it might be beneficial to charge per hour rather than price for the complete job, this will provide you and the customer with an indication of a price.

So remember, planning, preparing and ensuring the correct electrical tests are completed before you get into the job will enable you to set a price that will in the long run save you time and money.