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To Be or Not To Be Self Employed. That is The Question?

Posted by Kirsten Beckwith on 1st June 2015

silhouette man and sunset

For many training to be an electrician, the dream is to be self-employed, out on the road and king of your own empire. However before you take the leap have a think about whether or not it is right for you. We have looked at some of the Pro’s and con's below:

Pro’s 
Varied working hours. Not 9-5 and work when you want. 
Fantastic earning potential if you work hard.  
You are the boss of you. No one to answer to apart from your customers.  
Take holiday when you like as often as you like. 
Greater variety of jobs day to day. You are not just an electrician you are a marketer, project manager, and accountant / debt collector. 
Potential to grow your company and move into a more managerial role. 
Con's
It’s not 9-5. You may work longer days, evenings and weekends. 
No overtime and lots of things such as accounting, marketing and quoting are not chargeable. 
It comes down to you and you alone. No one else to blame if things go wrong.
You don’t get paid when you are off. This can mean you have to work extra hard when you get back. 
You can’t simply switch off at the end of the day. There will always be something to do.
You could end up responsible for other peoples jobs.


This might be an exciting concept for those hard working ambitious individuals who want to choose their own destiny and shape their futures. We’ve already established in a previous blog post that there is a shortfall of skilled labour in this sector.

self employed tradesman needing a bigger van

Advantages to becoming a self-employed electrician

The idea of choosing your own working hours is often one of the main reason why electricians decide to go self-employed. You can decide to sleep in until 10am, no one is going to shout at you. The idea of no-one shouting at you (apart from your spouse or clients) is another key reason for going out on your own. Many people simply don’t like being told what to do!

If you like to work hard and play hard then being self-employed can give you the freedom and finances to do just that. As long as you have a day rate that takes into account all the extra jobs you will have to do such as quoting and marketing then you should find yourself better off than being employed. Also expanding your business could really boost your profits and if you start employing junior sparks and apprentices you will be contributing to the trade whilst generating greater profits. By taking on an apprentice you will be giving something back and this could be extremely rewarding.

If the life style of a self-employed electrician is really appealing we’ve got a number of articles to help you including ‘pricing up work’, to the ‘do’s and don’ts when working in a customer dwelling’ and ‘setting up a Google local listing’ in your area. All of these posts could help you become a master of your trade and ultimately make the money to match.

working from home

Disadvantages to becoming a self employed electrician

The grass will always seem greener but before you take that jump we thought we’d make you aware of the possible disadvantages you could face when becoming a self employed electrician.

Winning the work will involve additional hours outside of your working day visiting potential customer homes to price up future work. You’ll be required to do your own paperwork, marketing and accounting. This might be quite a daunting process for those electricians who aren't used to office administrative duties, however for those interested in a varied work load could hugely benefit from these extra responsibilities. 

You’ll be required to keep your van on the road with general maintenance, tax, and insurance, and remember your van represents your company.

You will also be responsible for purchasing and maintaining your tools, plus investing in your registration fees to be a part of a competent person scheme with NICEIC or NAPIT.

You might be the best electrician in your area however if your not effectively marketing your business no-one will know who you are. You’ll also be required to pay legal costs for your business and if this isn’t done it could have devastating consequences, you could be penalised for not paying your taxes on time with heavy fines and even prison sentences in some cases. Likewise if your business insurance lapses you could face court appearances for mans slaughter or worse should something happen that you’re not insured for.

The key thing is to ensure that you are happy with all of the extra duties and you price up a job accordingly taking into account the extra duties to make sure it's worth you're while.

So should you or shouldn’t you?

At the end of the day many of the pro’s and con's of being self-employed or employed come down to the type of person you are. For many who want a stress free life with a regular income the prospect of being employed seems best, whereas those who are striving for that extra level of income and seek the benefits and freedom of a different lifestyle then being self-employed will pay off. There is a saying that fortune favours the brave and for most who have gone self-employed this is very, very true. However look before you leap, think about what you want and what you are best at, before making the choice.