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How much does it cost?

We contacted Which? Local-recommended traders to find out how much standard jobs should cost and how quickly they should be completed. Armed with this information, you’ll feel confident about hiring traders and be better equipped to spot when things aren't right.

Issue 7 - Electricians: how much should you pay?

We surveyed recommended electricians to find out how much you should spend on 15 common jobs and how long they should take to complete.

Plugs in socket

We asked Which? Local-recommended electricians to complete a survey about the cost and completion time for 15 standard domestic electrical jobs.

Armed with this information, you'll know what questions to ask, roughly what price you can expect to pay and how long jobs should take when hiring an electrician.

Electrician prices and completion times

All of our prices include labour and materials but exclude VAT.

JobDetailsTypical price quotedPrice rangeTypical time to complete job
Survey conducted in July 2012
Replace light fittingRemove standard rose and replace with new light fitting supplied by customer.£37£30-£500.5-1 hour
Perform an electrical inspection reportSafety check on electrical wiring in standard three-bed semi detached house.£150£120-£1804–8 hours
Replace consumer unitSupply and fit a new consumer unit for standard three-bed semi-detached house.£350£300-£4330.5-1 day
Install electric showerSupply and fit an 8.5kw electric shower.£300£240-£3800.5-1 day
Install a light in loftSupply and fit light in loft with switch outside loft hatch. Assuming no light already exists.£95£70-£1402–3 hours
Replace old strip lighting in kitchen with LED downlightersn/a£330£250-£4005–8 hours
Install an outdoor power socket Fit a double socket on an external wall.£100£79-£1251-3 hours
Install two extra double sockets in loungeSupply and fit two double sockets (white).£120£100-£1602–4 hours
Replace standard light switch with a dimmer switchn/a£50£35-£600.5-1 hour
Fit an electric cookerFit a single fan electric oven. Assuming all power is already in place. Customer supplying oven.£45£35-£601 hour
Repair a damaged power cable on vacuum cleaner or other similar appliancen/a£40£30-£500.5-1 hour
Install an external security lightSupply and fit an external security light – movement sensitive.£100£79-£1301–3 hours (dependent on how close light is to electrical supply and length of cable required)
Completely rewire average two-bed terraced houseRemove old wires and fittings, install new wiring and fittings – six rooms including kitchen and bathroom.£2,500£2,183-£3,0005–8 days
Completely rewire average three-bed semi-detached houseRemove old wires and fittings, install new wiring and fittings - eight rooms including kitchen and bathroom.£3,200£2,838-£4,0006–10 days
Completely rewire average four-bed detached houseRemove old wires and fittings, install new wiring and fittings - 10 rooms including kitchen and two bathrooms.£4,000£3,400-£5,00010–15 days

Electrcial jobs: trader tips

In addition to the pricing and completion time information, the recommended electricians who particpated in our survey also shared some helpful advice.

General

Most job prices include testing and certification.

Jobs are more straightforward in new houses where existing wiring and fittings already meet regulations. In older houses, work may be more costly and time-consuming.

Job: replace light fitting

Many electricians will have a minimum charge (often the rate for one hour) for small jobs like this. It could work out more cost effective to get them to do several jobs at once. 

Some electricians will charge a call-out fee for small jobs.

Job: perform an electrical inspection report

Time taken will usually include an inspection of the property plus one or two hours in the office to write up the report.

Job: replace consumer unit

A good trader will usually include full testing with all installations. 

If any faults are found during testing it could take extra time to diagnose problems and fix them.

Job: install electric shower

Fitting an electric shower requires electrical and plumbing skills. Some electricians are qualified to do plumbing work so have included this in their costs. Others are only qualified to do the electrical installation so you would need to employ a plumber separately.

Job: install a light in loft

This job is made easier if the loft is not boarded out as wiring can be accessed more easily.

Job: install two extra double sockets in lounge

Expect to pay at the higher end of the range if you want wires 'chased' into walls (hidden). Bear in mind that this will take longer and may require plastering afterwards. Surface trunking is quicker and cheaper but won’t look as good.

Job: replace standard light switch with dimmer switch

Minimum charges may apply to a small job such as this. It would work out more cost effective to have several small jobs done at once.

Job: repair a damaged power cable on vacuum cleaner or other similar appliance

Not all electricians undertake appliance repairs so you may need to find a specialist appliance repairer. Call-out fees may apply as this is a small job.

Job: rewiring

It will take much longer to rewire an occupied house than an empty one.

Rewiring usually takes at least two people. If more staff are used, it may be done more quickly but costs (total man hours) are likely to be the same.

Research methodology

In July 2012 we sent a survey to all Which? Local traders in the Electricians category with a rating of three stars or more and an email address.

110 electricians responded to the survey. Using their experience and expertise, they answered questions about the cost of popular domestic electrical jobs, and how long they should take to complete.

Read more about the methodology

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