With increasing public awareness of electrical safety and ever-tightening health and safety regulations, the demand for qualified electricians is likely to grow over the next few years.
So, whether you are looking for a change of career or you want to start up your own business, setting up as a self employed electrician can offer excellent benefits. Our guide explains the basics of becoming a self employed electrician.
Skills needed to be a self employed electrician
If you are considering becoming a self employed electrician, you should have some basic personal skills. You should:
• Be good at using your hands
• Have perfect colour eyesight
• Be good at problem solving
• Be logical and methodical and good at following procedures
Apprenticeships for self employed electricians
For most young people, the most common route to becoming a self employed electrician is through an apprenticeship. Most apprentices in electrical installation are aged between 17 and 19 although there are also plenty of mature students.
To be accepted onto an apprenticeship you will normally:
• Have to have GCSEs (or the equivalent) in Maths, English and a science at grade C or above
• Have to have an ability to understand technical drawings
An advanced apprenticeship will typically mix on-the-job training with college attendance. You will learn theories in college which will be put to use in a practical way. Such a course takes between 3 and 4 years and the end aim is to secure a NVQ Level 3.
Qualifications that you need to be an electrician
If you are looking to change your career you may not be able to join a full time apprenticeship. You may have to balance your existing work with study to become a qualified electrician.
In this case, you may want to study electrical courses in your own time. The qualifications you should be considering are the City and Guilds 2391 Certificate in Inspection and Testing of Electrical Installations or the City and Guilds 2382 Certificate in the Requirements for Electrical Installations BS7671.
Setting up as self-employed
Once you have all your qualifications and some on the job experience, you then have to set up your own business.
Firstly, you will need to source all the equipment you need for your work such as specialist tools and a van.
Secondly, you will have to establish a client base. You may do this through advertising in a local newspaper or publication or by placing business cards in the window of local retailers. You may also want to set up a website for your business.
In addition, you have to register as self-employed with HM Revenue and Customs in a timely fashion in order that you can begin paying National Insurance contributions. Hiring an accountant may also be useful as you will have to complete your own Self Assessment tax return every year.