Hiring An Electrician: Flat Fee Or Hourly Rate?

Services involving electrical work can be charged at an hourly rate or a flat fee. For consumers, either option has its advantages and disadvantages. How can you figure out which one is best for your project and choose a contractor who is offering the right kind of fee schedule? Start by taking a look at these pros and cons of flat and hourly fees for electrical service. 

The Pros and Cons of Flat Fees

When you're charged a flat fee, the main advantage is that you always know how much the job will cost you. This can make things much less stressful because you will not have to worry about the job taking longer and then costing even more money. If the project turns out to be much more demanding, you may be shielded from extra costs unless stated otherwise.

In electrical work, it is common for a problem to go out of scope. For instance, your electrician may know that a section of your wall needs to be rewired, but they didn't realize certain obstacles or problems that would need to be addressed before getting to that work. Under a flat fee, the job costs the same amount--no matter how difficult it is to complete. 

However, flat fees have a number of notable disadvantages. For starters, you are required to pay the full amount whether the work takes ten minutes or six hours to complete. A more significant disadvantage is that for certain services, you are unlikely to find someone who charges a flat fee.

The Pros and Cons of Hourly Rates

For a consumer, the downside of hourly rates is easy to point out: you can't know for sure how much the work will cost. This makes budgeting a little challenging.

In a situation where problems are still to be discovered within your home's electrical wiring, you could end up needing your service provider for many more hours than you'd anticipated. If anything goes wrong, or more work is discovered, hourly rates can be an issue. 

The advantage of hourly rates is that the whole task may cost you less than it would have if you'd gone for a flat fee. If your electrical job is simple and straightforward, you might want to opt for the hourly rate. 

How to Get the Best Rate

To avoid overspending, the first thing you should do is hire an electrician with a good reputation. Find out what previous customers have to say about their billing, and whether it is fair.

If you've been given an hourly rate, ask how long the job should take and determine if this is a reasonable amount of time. The internet can be a valuable source for this information. For flat fees, determine if the quote matches the amount of work to be done whenever possible. Contact an electrical service company near you and inquire about their rates and availability.