What jobs contractors do
Electrical contractors are responsible for providing the electrical items on a construction project:
- lighting fixtures
- panels and switchgear
- switches and receptacles that power cord-connected electrical appliances, and
- the elaborate system of wiring that makes it all operate.
A significant portion of an electrical contractor’s revenue is derived from new construction projects and major renovation of existing buildings. Most of this work is bid competitively. In many cases the electrical contractor is a specialty subcontractor working for the general contractor employed by the building owner, although often the electrical contractor will instead have a direct contract with the owner.
New construction and major renovations work is project oriented, and the duration of the work may extend over months or years. Projects are generally awarded on a contract price, and progress billings are common, based on a percentage of completion of the contract amount.
Service & Maintenance
Many, if not most, electrical contractors provide service and repair of electrical equipment at the customer’s premises. These service operations may consist of a single service electrician to serve only the needs of the contractor’s regular customers, or a fleet of service trucks that comprise the majority of work done by the contractor. Both residential and business customers use electrical service and repair. Most service operations take care of small projects that can be accomplished in a single visit. Service work is usually billed on cost-plus-fee basis or a flat fee schedule.
Some electrical contractors offer maintenance contracts for regular preventive maintenance of entire electrical systems, or for specific items of electrical equipment. Special tools and diagnostic equipment is frequently used for this purpose, and those electrical contractors offering this service use advertising to promote their maintenance business.
Living better electrically has become a reality as more electrical and electronic devices have improved our standard of living. Along with this reality has come an increase in the cost of electrical construction relative to the overall cost of building a home. Our homes now include accent lighting, security and entertainment systems, and kitchen appliances that our parents never imagined. Today’s residential construction project requires an electrical contracting professional that can coordinate and integrate all the intricate and complicated systems that we can’t live without.