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Electricians Guide To Going Self-Employed

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 18th March 2019

If you’re thinking about becoming a self-employed electrician, once you have completed your training, we would always recommend working with an experienced electrician first. This will allow you to gain confidence and experience before going it alone. You can do this by working as an electricians mate, working for an electrical contracting firm, or you may have completed an apprenticeship.

Once you feel confident that you have gained enough experience and are competent to go it alone, you may now be ready to take the next step.

Things to consider before going self-employed

Going self-employed effectively means that you are setting up a business. However, before you go much further there are certain things you will want to consider, which include:

1.  How will I acquire new customers?

2.  How would I cope during quiet periods of no or little income?

3.  Do I have enough money to get set up? – ie. buying new tools and a van/car

4.  Can I get by without having the benefits of paid holiday, sick pay and pensions contributions?

5.  Am I OK working on my own?

6.  Can I manage my cashflow, record keeping and completing tax returns?

7.  What insurances do I need?

8.  Do I need to join a competent person scheme?

What are the advantages of being self-employed?

There are plenty of advantages to being self-employed and these include:

Being your own boss – you get to have a more varied work load as you get to choose the type of work you take on.

Being able to work with more flexibility – you will have more control over the hours you work, which will allow you to arrange your day around any other commitments you may have.

Being able to achieve a much higher income - if you put in the hard work you will be able to earn more. This is mainly because you can charge  hourly or day rates, which can to be higher than some standard salaries. Day rates can vary depending on your experience and region but range from approx. £140 - £350 per day.

Offset your tax liability – there are certain costs that you are able to deduct from income when calculating your tax liability, eg. your equipment/tools, mileage, stationery, etc. To find out more click here

What are the disadvantages of being self-employed?

Of course there will always be some disadvantages to going self-employed and these include:

Start up costs – you will need to have in place some money to get you started as you will most likely need to buy new tools, a van/car, insurances etc.

Finding customers – this can be challenging to start, and you will need to find ways to advertise your services to get noticed!

Income – your income will no longer be consistent. You will need to ensure you can keep up with any bills, loans, mortgages, rents etc. You will also need to bear in mind that during times when you are off work, due to sickness or holiday, you won’t be getting paid.

Admin – when you work for yourself you will be responsible for admin side of your business, ie, scheduling in work, quoting, invoicing, insurance, etc. You will have to ensure that you are complying with regulations.

Sole Trader or Limited Company?

Once you have decided to go self-employed your next choice is whether to start up as sole trader or a limited company.

Sole Trader: An advantage to becoming a sole trader is that it is relatively easy to set up. There are also certain expenses you can subtract from your income when calculating your taxable profit, you can check the government website for more detail, but these include business related travel, business insurances, stock, etc.

Disadvantages are that it could be hard to raise finance as lenders tend to prefer to lend to limited companies. The tax rates aren’t always great especially when you reach a certain level of earning. Another thing to consider is that as a sole trader you are the sole owner of the business and as such have unlimited liability. This means that if your business finds itself in debt then you are personally liable and if things go wrong you could end up losing personal assets.

As a sole trader there are certain things you will need to do:

firstly set up as a sole trader, you can do this via the GOV.UK website

inform HMRC that you are now self-employed as you will now need to pay tax through self-assessment and pay Class 2 and 4 National Insurance contributions. For more info visit Government’s website

arrange your insurances – these could include professional indemnity insurance and public liability insurance. If you employ anyone you will also need to consider employers liability insurance

check whether you need to set up a business bank account. You may be able to use your personal account, however having a separate account will help to keep your business and personal finances separate

put in place a process for recording your profits and evidence of your business expenses – this will help when completing your tax return

if you intend to work from home make sure you check your mortgage or tenancy agreement to ensure you’re not contravening any terms and conditions

consider taking out a private pension to ensure you have money put aside for retirement. The government will still contribute into your pension in the form of tax relief

Limited Company: To set up a limited company you must register with Companies House. This is known as ‘incorporation’. A limited company has its own legal identity and as such is separate from its owners and directors. A limited company has the benefit of having limited liability, meaning that if something did go wrong your personal assets aren’t exposed.

Limited companies are also more tax efficient as you pay corporation tax on any profits rather than you paying income tax. You can also claim tax relief on business expenses. There are more allowances and tax deductible costs that can be claimed against as a limited company. For more info click here.

Despite there being more admin there are other benefits:

1.  Once registered your company name is protected

2.  You will have limited liability

3.  Increased tax-efficiency

4.  You can take a yearly dividend

5.  You will have greater borrowing power

6.  Your reputation and credibility among customers should improve

The disadvantages of a limited company are that there is a lot more paper work and legal fees to consider. These include filing a yearly annual return and annual accounts, which you can either do yourself, or hire an accountant to do them for you.

As a limited company there are certain things you will need to do if you’re changing from sole trader:

decide if you are going to be the only director or whether you want others involved

decide on a name for your company

register your business with Companies House – you will need to create your memorandum and articles of association

inform HMRC that your legal structure has changed – this is important as this affects the amount of tax you need to pay

set up a new business bank account specifically for your limited company

let your insurer know that your legal structure has changed

We would recommend that before you make your decision regarding which route to take, you first speak to a financial adviser or accountant to get some sound tax advice.

Categories: sole trader, ltd company, self-employed, electrician

Case Study - Oliver Lawrence

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 5th March 2019

Name: Oliver Lawrence

Course: C&G 2365

What did you do before you became an Electrician

I worked for larger corporate companies supplying products to the construction industry and various trades in various roles such as sales marketing, operations and management, supplying everything from drill bits and power tools to access equipment and even copper pipe!

Why did you choose to retrain as an electrician?

Having worked for larger corporate companies all my working life I wanted to become qualified in a trade with the long term goal of working for myself and creating a more flexible and balanced work life! I believe that having the right qualifications along with varied, comprehensive experience and on going development is the best way to fulfil this goal, therefore starting with the C&G 2365 at TS4U was the first step on this journey.

The electrical trade had always interested and intrigued me, plus (I shouldn’t admit this) I do like working with rules and regulations!

Why did you decide to take the C&G2365 course and how has this helped you?

I had a long chat with the office at TS4U (as well as with other facilities), they advised on options I could take such as various C&G courses or even an adult apprenticeship. I felt that working through the theory on the C&G 2365 along with the classroom practical’s suited me best, to gain the most solid foundation for working in the electrical industry.

How long have you been working in the electrical industry?

I have been working dedicated to the electrical industry for almost the last 4 years, but I’ve had the pleasure of working with electricians (and other trades) for the last 15!

Have you managed to find employment since training with TS4U?

It is hard work to find work, although I have been lucky as I had a good friend, a qualified electrician who works for a local builder. They happily let me get loads of experience working on site labouring before and whilst I was at TS4U. Since finishing my C&G 2365 I have wanted to work on a purely self employed and sub-contracting basis. I have found plenty of work through local builders and have gained my most valuable experience working for larger electrical contractors on everything from domestic work to larger commercial sites – everything from high end residential properties to a prison and even a cathedral in central London!

I am also a domestic installer with the NICEIC, I think this has been a huge benefit in continuing my development and me finding work.  

How did training with Trade Skills 4U help you?

The training has created a solid foundation for me to start my electrical career.  It has given me the basic understanding and the confidence to operate on site.

Are you planning on taking any other courses?

Yes, the 18th Edition is a must and I am really interested in renewables plus car charging and in due course I want to do my testing and inspection.

What was your overall experience with TS4U?

I think the people really made the whole experience great, not just the tutors who created a good balance between theory and practical but also knew how to adapt to deliver the key subjects in an engaging, meaningful and understandable way, but also the other students who I bonded with, shared the experience and we all helped each through.

What are your plans for the future?

I really want to complete my NVQ and AM2, I am trying to gain experience and continually build my knowledge. Whilst in the long term I want to work for myself I currently get such valuable and fulfilling work with experienced electricians.

What is the best experience you have had so far in your new career?

I can’t place a best experience precisely, I can honestly say I enjoy working everyday, working with my hands, constructing and achieving. I often find myself telling people ‘it doesn’t feel like work!’.

How would you describe the training at Trade Skills 4U?

They are professional and organised, the whole system seemed to run very efficiently from the administration through to the effective classroom based learning plus the practical albeit it in the classroom was challenging and realistic.

Categories: training, electrical course, case study, electrician

2019 Electricians Events Calendar

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 3rd January 2019

Bookmark and share this page for the latest electrical events taking place in 2019.  We will updated the post as soon as more events have been confirmed.

January

Elex - London

Location: London, Alexandra Palace

Date: Wednesday 30th - Thursday 31st January – 10am – 4pm

About: Get some huge deals on the latest power tools, get the lowdown on the latest regulations, try out the latest products, and meet with exhibitors from across the country.

NICEIC Tech Talk Seminars

Location: Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff
Date: 23 January 2019

Location: Cheltenham Racecourse, Cheltenham
Date: 23 January 2019

About: Gain valuable advice with over 3 hours of technical presentations on the changes to BS7671 and other technical topics, plus get the chance to network with the exhibitors.

February

NICEIC Tech Talk Seminars

Location: Amex Stadium, Brighton
Date: Wednesday 6th February 2019

Location: Southampton FC, Southampton
Date: Thursday 7th February 2019

About: Delivering over 3 hours of technical presentations around the changes to BS7671 plus other technical topics, plus get the chance to network exhibitors.

Specification Expert

Location: Leicester, Welford Road Stadium

Date: Thursday 28th February – 10am – 2pm

About: A product specification exhibition designed for architects and specifiers, complemented by a series of CPD tech talks, presented by industry bodies, architects and product specialists.

March

National Apprenticeship Week

Date: Monday 4th- Friday 8th March

About: The 12th National Apprenticeship Week is an annual celebration of apprentices and is a great way to highlight the fantastic opportunities that apprenticeships bring to employers, individuals and the economy.

Futurebuild

Location: London, ExCel Centre

Date: Tuesday 5th - Thursday 7th March – 9am – 6pm

About: The focus of the show is on tackling the biggest challenges impacting the built environment. The show offers a great opportunity to gain unrivalled insights and hands-on experience around the latest products, innovations and materials.

Elex - Manchester

Location: Manchester EventCity

Date: Thursday 14th - Friday 15th March – 10am – 4pm

About: Get some exclusive offers on the day, attend the latest regulations seminars, get hands-on with the latest products, and meet with hundreds of exhibitors.

Specification Expert

Location: Cardiff – City Stadium

Date: Tuesday 19th March – 10am – 2pm

About: A product specification exhibition for specifiers an architects which includes a series of CPD tech talks presented by industry bodies, product specialists and architects.

April

Elex - Exeter

Location: Exeter, Westpoint Arena

Date: Thursday 25th - Friday 26th April – 10am – 4pm

About: Try out the latest tools, get some great product offers, get the lowdown on the latest regulations and meet the exhibitors.

Specification Expert

Location: Manchester – Etihad Stadium

Date: Tuesday 2nd April – 10am – 2pm

About: A show which brings local professionals together to discuss specifications for planned developments and projects.

The National Electrical Vehicle Show

Location: Malvern - Three Counties Showground

Date: Sunday 7th April - 10am - 3pm

About: The event features an EV Zone to complement the classic cars on displaya. There will be plenty of exhibitors as well trade and commercial stalls to browse through. Great event for fans of motors.

May

Elex - Harrogate

Location: Harrogate, Great Yorkshire Showground

Date: Thursday 23rd – Friday 24th May – 10am – 4pm

About: Check out the latest tools on the market and get some exclusive daily offers. Meet the exhibitors and try out the latest products.

All-Energy Exhibition & Conference

Location: Glasgow, Sec Glasgow

Date: Wednesday 15th - Thursday 16th May - (8.30 am - 6pm Wednesday and 8.30am - 5pm Thursday)

About: A renewable energy event where you can interact, conduct business, network and learn. Meet with over 300 energy suppliers, developers, technology developers, investors, and policy makers with over 7,000 energy industry buyers.

Specification Expert

Location: Birmingham, Villa Park Stadium
Date: Tuesday 14th May – 10am – 2pm

Location: Berkshire, Newbury Racecourse
Date: Wednesday 15th May – 10am – 2pm

About: Meet experts and suppliers of cutting-edge sustainable building products and solutions. Get advice on how to play your part in creating a sustainable built environment.

June

Specification Expert

Location: Sheffield, Magna Science Centre

Date: Tuesday 11th June – 10am – 2pm

About: Meet suppliers of cutting-edge sustainable building products and solutions and network with experts. Get advice on how to play your part in creating a sustainable built environment.

July

Nothing in the diary yet.

August

The National Electrical Vehicle Show

Location: Oxfordshire

Date: To be confirmed

About: The event features an EV Zone to complement the classic cars on displaya. There will be plenty of exhibitors as well trade and commercial stalls to browse through. Great event for fans of motors.

September

Elex - Coventry

Location: Coventry, Ricoh Arena

Date: Thursday 19th - Friday 20th September – 10pm – 4pm

About: Get some huge savings on the latest tools on the market, attend wiring regulations seminars plus watch some product demonstrations from exhibitors.

October

The National Electrical Vehicle Show

Location: Malvern - Three Counties Showground

Date: Sunday 13th October - 10am - 3pm

About: The event features an EV Zone to complement the classic cars on displaya. There will be plenty of exhibitors as well trade and commercial stalls to browse through. Great event for fans of motors.

November

Elex - Surrey

Location: Surrey, Sandown Park

Date: Thursday 7th - 8th November – 10am- 4pm

About: Try out new power tools, make some great show savings, meet exhibitors from around the world and attend a free seminar to keep up-to-date with the latest rules and regulations.

December

Nothing confirmed yet.

Categories: events, sparkie, exhibits, trade show, electrician

Case Study - Liam De Vine

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 6th December 2018

Name: Liam De Vine

Courses: C&G2365 Level 2 & 3 and C&G2391 Inspection and Testing

 

What did you do before training to be an electrician?

I worked in the catering industry and ran a street food business before coming to take my course at Trade Skills 4U.

Which courses have you taken with Trade Skills 4U and why?

I enrolled on the C&G2365 Level 2 & 3 course as it seemed to offer the most comprehensive training for what I wanted to achieve. I then went on to complete my C&G2391 Inspection & Testing as I was advised by others in the industry that it would be beneficial to have.

What was your training experience like at the Warrington facility

I enjoyed my time at Warrington immensely. The tutors were very knowledgeable and helpful. The course was intense but spread out so as to make it achievable. Facilities were great and everyone I met from walking in the first day were happy to help along the way. There is a lot to learn but this shouldn’t come as a surprise. My certificates came with a sense of achievement and the intention of continued learning. I know that there is a lot to learn now that I am out there working, classrooms can only show you so much. However, what I did learn is invaluable.

Tell us about your current role?

I was employed by an agency one day after posting my CV online. I have three months works as an electricians mate installing electrical systems in a pharmaceutical plant. I have also set-up a PAT test business which will grow to include testing and inspection as I gain experience in the industry.

Are you planning on taking any other electrical courses?

I have registered for my 2357 NVQ and AM2 exams which I’m working towards completing in 2019.

What has your experience been like working in the industry?

I’m really enjoying the work at the moment. There seems to be a great deal of work out there if you have the right attitude. The work I get is varied, I’m involved in everything from designing trunking runs and cable requirements to the actual on site installations. When I was interviewed for my first job I was told that being willing to invest in myself had helped me to standout and has shown that I obviously wanted to have a career in the industry.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to enter the industry?

I’m still new to this to be offering advice but if I were to say anything it would be that you get out what you put into the course. If you show an interest, turn up and make the effort, the staff at Trade Skills 4U will really help you to achieve your goals. I have no regrets at all (apart from purchasing too many sausage butties!).

How would you describe the facilities at Trade Skills 4U?

The facilities and equipment are top notch. The real value is in the quality of the training and the tutors. They are very knowledgeable and are happy to help, supported very well by the admin staff! If there is any further training I need in the future, Trade Skills 4U will be my first port of call.

Categories: qualifications, case study, trade, electrician

18th Edition Video Questions Answered

Posted by Michaela Elcoat on 13th November 2018

We recently published a video in partnership with Prysmian on Facebook. The video has had an immense response and there were a number of questions raised by viewers of varying levels of experience. So, we thought it a great idea to bring all of those questions together into one blog post.

If you want to know the key dates effecting you check out this blog post here.

1. When do the regulations come into effect?

From January 2019, this means electricians need to have gained the updated qualification by then.

2. What does it mean for RCD breakers and how do they work?

The RCD is broken into two devices with no overload protection, it also has a built in circuit breaker. An RCBO combines a circuit breaker characteristics with additional protection given by the residual current device (RCD), which in turn monitors the earth fault leakage. An RCD on its own will not offer overload protection.

3. Differences in Inspection & Testing?

Inspection is simply a visual assessment of the electrical installation, whereas testing involves using measuring equipment to verify it is safe to into a service.

4. How are the changes to the way the PFC is measured and the changes in the certificate?

Chapters 61, 62 and 63 have all been deleted and replaced by chapters 64 and 65. No major changes to our approach to inspection and testing except ring final circuit conductors now fall under the “continuity of conductors” regulation 643.2. Supply polarity 643.6 needs to verify before the system is energised. PFC 643.7.3.201 is still required at all relevant points of the installation and appendix 12 goes into further details of the requirements and features for domestic installations. Regarding the new model certificates in BS7671 a few new columns have been added to the schedules of test results such as a maximum circuit Zs value, insulation resistance test voltages applied and a column for AFDD for functions tests (if applicable). A few other details have changed in the EIC, EICR and the schedule of inspections. The biggest change has to be the minor works certificate where more information is now required.

5. Why are the regulations updated so often?

The regulations are updated so often due to innovation and new and emerging technologies. The UK is a member is of Cenelec, a European committee who set the standards for electro technology which we are legally obligated to abide by. The likelihood is, we will remain in this commission post Brexit. The BSI (British Standards Institution) and IET (Institution of Engineering and Technology) play a part in setting the new regulations. The IET collate new information and write the latest regulations and the BSI publish the documents.

6. When can we expect the 19th edition?

The likelihood is the first amendment will go ahead in approximately three years. Generally, looking at past editions a new edition will be published every 10 years.

7. Will the UK introduce flat twin and CPS with all conductors the same size and all insulated throughout their length?

The uninsulated CPS cable design developed and used in the UK for many years and we are unaware of any interest in changing it.

8. Are ‘YY type’ cables allowed for fixed installations?

In BS7671, it states all equipment we install should have a BS or BSEN specification standard. YY type cables have no specification, BS or EN so their use is discouraged. Technically this would be a departure from the BS7671 and must be recorded accordingly.

9. Are AFDD – Arc fault detection devices recommended?

In section 421.47 the Arc Fault is only recommended for providing additional safety against fire. However, it isn’t necessarily required for domestic properties but could be useful in the following types of premises:

- Any type of sleeping accommodation

- Fire propagating structures

- Properties such museums and art galleries with irreplaceable goods in

An AFDD will identify any Arc faults and they will isolate the circuit if any arc faults are detected to prevent fire.

10. SPD’s – what are they?

An SPD is a Search Protection Device. You have to install one of these devices when conducting an installation.  If you don’t, as a qualified electrician you have to provide a risk assessment as to why you don’t need to do this. An SPD detects current surges within an electrical system, these surges are monitored/picked up by SPD’s to protect the electrical installation. This is installed to reduce the risk of fire and protecting equipment.

11. What are fire resistant fixings?

These are generally steel or copper cable supports fixed directly to the structure of the building so that in the event of a fire cables remain in place for as long as possible. Before this clause cables were fixed with plastic which would not resist the fire and fallen cables would become a hazard to fire fighters. Four fire fighters died in two separate incidents as a result of their entanglement in the prematurely collapsed cables.

 

If you would like to watch the video head over to the Trade Skills 4U Facebook page: 

Also, if you would like to book onto an 18th Edition course we have a range of courses happening throughout the country as well as weekend courses. For more information click here:

Categories: electrical, training, 18th edition, electrician

Case Study - Dan Wainwright

Posted by Michaela Elcoat on 16th October 2018

 

1. What did you do before you trained to become an electrician?

I was a self-employed industrial door engineer, working many hours a day. It wasn’t an exciting job and the day to day duties became too repetitive.

2. Why did you decide to take the 2365?

I chose to train as an electrician because I wanted to challenge myself and gain a nationally recognised qualification. From the research I did about the Level 2 & 3 2365, I knew it would be the best way for me train and learn in-depth knowledge of electrical systems within the right timeframe.

3. Have you taken any additional courses with TS4U? If so, which ones and why?

Yes, I have taken the 2919-01 EV charging course. I wanted to add this additional qualification on because I think EV charging is a rapidly growing industry which I want to be a part of.

4. What was your overall experience with TS4U?

I really enjoyed my time at the Warrington centre. The staff and tutors were excellent and professional from start to finish. Also, because you are studying with the same group people for a long length of time, you make some great friends who all help each out and see one another succeed.

5. What did you enjoy from the course?

That there was always something new to learn. I felt every day was different, and I was so impressed by the amount of knowledge passed on from the tutors. The practical sessions were always the best for me.

6. Did you struggle with any parts of the course?

Yes, I felt I struggled the most with the maths & science topics. However, the tutors are extremely helpful and they make sure you have a full understanding of the theory side of the course.

7. Have you managed to get any on site experience whilst studying? If so, what is this?

Yes, I’ve been wiring industrial doors on site. I feel I have become more confident as the course has gone on and feel more skilled to work on other projects now too.

8. Have you managed to find employment since training with TS4U?

I managed to find employment towards the end of my course. Through my new qualifications I have been offered and job with Chargemaster plc.

9. Where do you hope your qualifications will take you?

With the knowledge gained, I hope my new employer will make me a specialist in my choice of field.

10. What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of want to become an electrician?

Don't ponder it, just do it! The qualifications can take you through any route including domestic, commercial, EV and electrical design. Retraining as an electrician has been one of the best experiences I have had and I would highly recommend it to anyone. 

Categories: qualified, electric vehicle, career, electrician

Case Study - David Murby

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 31st July 2018

Electrician Case Study

Name: David Murby

Company: Prospect Electrics

Course: Bronze Package, C&G 2377, C&G 2391

What did you do before you trained to be an electrician?

I left school and went to university to do a degree in physics. After graduating I started working for the then TSB Group as a programmer. I spent 25 years working with software for various companies in banking, warehousing and then for many years in motor insurance. I progressed up the career ladder from programmer to manager to IT Director, finally ending up as the Managing Director of a division of a FTSE 100 company. As I gained ‘promotions’ I moved further and further away from the activities I enjoyed, so I decided to go self employed as a contractor and interim manager. After completing one long contract, I was trying to figure out what to do next as I was getting a little frustrated working on long term projects that I managed but didn’t produce anything directly myself.

I have a very close friend from school, Norman, who after many years working for a bank became an electrician about 10 years ago, so I was inspired by his change of career. I was fortunate that I had a little money in the bank so was able to take some time to train and then invest in the business to set myself up.  After the initial training with Trade Skills 4U I was able to spend some time with Norman to learn many of the real-world practical skills that it’s almost impossible to learn in a classroom.

Which courses have you taken with Trade Skills 4U and why?

I took the Silver Domestic installer package initially as my aim was, and still is, to focus on the domestic installation business.

After about 6 months I took the 2391-52 Inspection and Testing course as I felt this would greatly improve my testing and inspection knowledge as well as allow me to carry out EICRs, which has been really useful to my business.

What was your training experience like with Trade Skills 4U?

I thought the set-up in Gatwick was excellent. The facilities are very good and very professional. The instructors are really knowledgeable and approachable and the support team that back them up are very helpful. When I was looking to do the 2391-52 I looked briefly at other facilities nearer to me in Reading but very quickly made the decision that it was worth the travelling to go back to Trade Skills 4U.

Tell us about your electrical business and how these course have helped you?

My business is just me and it has built up well over the 18 months since I started. I’m fortunate that I have been able to build up the projects I’ve done over time from simple light fitting changes and socket installations, right through to outdoor garden lighting projects and a three-story extension full wiring first and second fit.

The courses I’ve done have given me all the theoretical knowledge I’ve needed to do all of this, although I do find myself regularly going back to the books of course. Building up the practical knowledge carefully, making sure I don’t take on anything I was unsure about my capability for and having my old school friend Norman around as a sounding board, has enabled me to do the practical stuff that the courses equipped me for.

What are your plans for your business?

I’m happily going to stay on my own, building a solid business with a good reputation. Word of mouth has been very helpful to me already and I think many of the skills I had before I changed career have positioned me well, complementing the electrical knowledge I’ve gained. Skills like organisation, communication and customer focus that are common to any business regardless of industry.

Are you planning on taking any other courses to add to your revenue stream?

I thought about doing the Solar installer course but that not is so much of a job for someone on their own. Also I decided that at 50 I’m a little old to be climbing around on roofs! I may well do the Electric Vehicle Installer Course but at the moment I seem to be busy enough with the core domestic work.  Clearly, I’m going to need to do the 18th Edition updates and future revisions to keep up to date.

What has your experience been like working in the industry?

I get great pleasure from the feeling of completion I get from finishing something every week, and sometimes every day. Coming from software projects that can drag on for months and sometimes years without any obvious major output milestones this is very refreshing. When you get to the end of the day, press the switch and the lights come on and the customer is very happy, it is a great feeling.

I’ve also found it interesting coming from an industry where I could be involved in multi-million-pound projects where there is very individual accountability when things go wrong. In this industry you can go and do a project that could take as little as a day and be of the order of a couple of hundred pounds and, if it is done wrong, there is real danger to the customer and true accountability for the contractor (you can go to prison in the extreme). Part of the job is educating the customer because what seems simple to them can often involve a lot more than they think and I now see why the public often undervalue the skilled trades. This is where being a member of the NICEIC has been useful to me and I see that NAPIT, ELECSA and other trade bodies are trying hard to get the public to understand the needs to have correctly trained people carry out work.

What advice would you give to someone looking to train as an electrician?

Get a good mentor – I could not have done this without my friend Norman who has been an inspiration and sounding block throughout the whole process. You need someone you can discuss things with and learn from. Also, have a good financial plan so you know what you are getting into as the set-up costs are not small if you want to do this properly.

How would you describe the facilities and training at Trade Skills 4U?

Firstly, all the instructors I dealt with were first class. They explained everything clearly and sometimes from two or three different approaches to allow for the different learning styles of different class members. They have great experience (and great patience) to draw upon.

The facilities are very good for learning. There is plenty of practical application and opportunity to get on the tools as well as the theoretical learning. The balance between the two in the Silver course I did was really good.

We would like to thank David for sharing his experiences with us and wish him well for the future.

Categories: qualifications, case study, trade, electrician

Top Tips on Quoting Electrical Jobs

Posted by Michaela Elcoat on 21st June 2018

Estimating the cost of a job depends on a few factors whatever trade you may be working in. It becomes easier to price jobs once you have more experience under your belt. Being able to quote jobs correctly ensures your company will continue to run efficiently. It’s key to remember to get the balance correct in not overpricing or under-pricing jobs, where you as the tradesman could potentially be left out of pocket.

An electrician can be put under pressure from potential customers to provide a quote on the spot as people are generally time poor. Ideally, an electrician would visit a job and provide a cost one or two days later. However, with people wanting quotes immediately combined with the amount of competitors out there vying for business, it’s important to have an idea of cost of materials and your hourly rate. This way you can prepare and calculate effectively without the added pressure.

To help you offer the best prices for customers, we have put a guide together.

Price of Resources

As mentioned before, it’s a good idea to have rough knowledge of the prices of parts and materials and the length of time it takes to work with these parts. Also, considerations need to be made for bulk buying prices or purchasing in smaller amounts from suppliers as this will have an effect on prices.

Remember to keep in mind materials can fluctuate in price all the time. Copper wire can change over time and geographically. Keep a number of suppliers in mind to see who offers the best price for materials in line with the particular job.

Competitors

This should always be at the forefront of your mind. It’s good business practice to not just know who you’re competing against but also what they are charging and quoting customers.

If a customer has been shopping around, asking them outright what they have been quoted can give you figures to work with and lets the customer also receive the best price for the quality of work they will receive. Don’t be afraid to ask this question as it could put you in a better position and shows you have their best interests in mind.

Location

Factoring where you will be based for the day or coming weeks will have an impact on your travelling costs too. Make sure the price of fuel or transport is included in the costings so they are covered.

Scale of the Job

Assessing the scale of the job is important. Knowing whether it is too much to take on or if the job will take a few weeks can have an impact on the price. Within this, it’s essential to consider whether tools will need to be hired for the job as these will need to be factored into the price. Judging if the job will require an extra pair of hands will need to be filtered in as you will need to include the following; pay, employer’s liability insurance and workplace safety.

Market conditions

Understanding market conditions will help you offer the best price. Looking at the economy in general to see if customers are spending money or if they are cost-cutting will enable to you price according to their budget.

Having awareness of the local and regional electrical market will give you the upper-hand when providing quotes. If you are the only electrician in the vicinity you will have a majority share of the market and will hopefully be in demand! However, if the market is saturated with electricians your pricing will need to reflect this and be competitive.

Other considerations that will drive your prices up and down will be the potential changes to tax import duties, employment law (if required) and changes in regulations.

Handling your Time

Managing your diary will enable you to handle your jobs effectively. This will generally come with experience as you start to understand how long each job will take you. However, it’s good practice to tell your customers when you will be able to work on a project and if for any reason you get a cancellation you can bump your next customer up. This will show that you’re keen to work on the job and get it completed for them.

Experience

Take each job as a learning experience. Once you have quoted and worked on a few electrical jobs you will begin to gain a better understanding of your own pricing structure.

You will learn what jobs are the most profitable and the length of time it will take you to complete different workloads. As time goes on, you will become more confident and will be able to provide correct quotes to customers and know which jobs to turn down if you have to.

Within this time, you should be able to build a good solid reputation for yourself and your business which should always mean you’re busy!

We hope this guide is useful and you will go out into the industry prepared and ready to work on different electrical projects.

Categories: pricing, quotes, customers, business, electrician

Case Study Kenny Whittle

Posted by Michaela Elcoat on 24th May 2018

 

Course: 2365 Level 2 & 3

1. What did you do before you started training to be an electrician?

Before training at Trade Skills 4U, I worked in asset management. 

2. What was your reason for training?

I chose to train as an electrician because I had grown tired with working in an office environment and travelling to the same place of work day after day. I wanted abit more variety.

3. Why did you choose the electrical field?

Before becoming an asset manager, I worked in a factory producing vehicle wiring harnesses, thus, electrical work was the obvious choice. Also, working as an electrician would allow me to work in different locations and earn good money at the sme time so it met my needs.

4. Are you working as an electrician whilst studying?

I started working as an electrician 2 months into my level 2 course, for a company that maintains the electrical systems in a newspaper printers whilst also taking on various other contracts.The 2365 course allowed me to come into the industry and prove useful to the team on day one. I also noticed that as I progressed through the course, I could continue to take on more responsibility and tasks.

5. What do you enjoy most about the course? 

As a fan of science, particularly physics, I enjoyed learning about the theory behind electricity and how to carry out cable calculations.

6. Are you struggling with any of the topics?

So far, I haven't struggled with any of the topics or modules.

7. How would you describe the facilities at TS4U?

TS4U facilities are excellent. At no point did the group lose out due to facilities not being adequate.

8. Do you have any plans to gain more electrical qualifications?

I will use TS4U in the near future to get my inspection and testing certificate. Doing the course, and it being so diverse has made me realise how much I enjoy the theoretical and designing side of the industry. So I am contemplating further qualifications in that field.

9. What advice would you give to others thinking of taking the 2365?

Just sign up and change your life for the better. The course is over before you know it and then you are away. I am disappointed with myself I didn't do it sooner.

10. What are your plans for the future?

I will spend a few years on the tools as was my initial reason for starting the course, but eventually I would like to go into designing installations and perhaps teaching later on.

Categories: qualifications, case study, trade, electrician

New Yorkshire Facility Opens with Great Success!

Posted by Michaela Elcoat on 11th May 2018

On Wednesday 9th May, we officially opened our brand new Yorkshire facility on Hawthorne Park, East Leeds. The event opened with an inspirational speech from CEO Carl Bennett, who spoke about his journey to forming Trade Skills 4U in 2005 and the reasons he did so at the age of 40. Carl continued to speak about the positive impacts electrical training courses can have on people’s lives and the excellent company values we possess.

After Carl finished his speech, we heard from Leeds City Councillor Mohammed Rafique the Executive Member for Employment, Enterprise and Opportunity. Mohammed gave a warm welcome to the new centre, and stated how excited he was to introduce us to the city and regional area. He went on to mention the rate and speed Yorkshire is growing and how there is a great need for electricians and fellow tradesman in the area. He also said these newly skilled people will contribute greatly to the region.

Councillor Rafique finished by thanking us for investing in the city and said that he is looking forward to hearing about the progress students make at the centre going forward.

 

Click below to watch the video:

 

 

Once the speeches had finished, guests were invited to explore the centre and speak with tutors and staff about the various courses available. Others ventured outside to watch the Tesla car do its dance! Or have a go on the power tools supplied by Hitachi. Quest electrical wholesalers were also in attendance to speak to those who needed any advice. 

Inside the building there was a chance to win a KT63 by completing the giant Buzz-wire in the fastest time. The quickest time we recorded was an incredibly fast 35 seconds by Haider Nawaz, so a tester will be on its way to him soon! 

Throughout the afternoon there were various seminars and interactive sessions taking place that our guests were welcome to join. These included an 18th Edition Preview, Electric Vehicle charging seminar hosted by Rolec and an interactive practical and Interactive Science session. 

We are extremely happy that the day ran very smoothly and hope that our guests enjoyed the activities on offer and free food supplied by KK Catering Ltd. We’d like to give a massive thank you to everyone who attended and we hope to see you back in the centre very soon. We’re very excited for the new courses to begin on the 14th May 2018 and wish all prospective students the very best.

If you would like to visit the centre for a tour or to and speak to a tutor please contact us on: 0800 856 4448 alternatively, if you are interested in booking a course, please Click here for a full list of courses on offer at the new Yorkshire facility.

Categories: training, yorkshire, leeds, electrician

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