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How to start an electrical business

Working as an electrician offers varied workdays, interesting problems to solve, and exciting opportunities. To help you get started, here's our guide on everything you need to know about starting an electrician business from scratch.

Why start your own electrical business?

Holding the enviable position of always being a job role that’s in demand, and with business opportunities in the electrical sector always on the rise, there’s never been a better time than now to start an electrical company.

No matter if you’re a veteran wirer or just starting out on your tradesperson journey, setting up your own business in this field gives you the freedom to become your own boss, while also offering great earnings in a challenging and varied work environment.

But starting your own company offers far more benefits that these, the most important of which include:

  • Setting your own hours – you get to choose whether you work evenings or weekends, and when to take time off
  • Choosing employees – you can choose whether or not to take on new employees, and you get to handpick any new electricians you welcome onto your team
  • Choosing jobs – you get to pick and choose exactly which jobs to take on

Has your interest been peaked? If so, keep reading to find out all you need to know about getting your electrician business off the ground.

Creating your business plan

Regardless of which trade you decide to set your sights on, every single startup or new business needs a plan if it hopes to have any chance of success – even if you have plenty of experience under your belt.

After all, if you’ve never run a business before, how are you going to know what you’re doing?

So, before you think about picking your tools up and heading out, you need to sit down and formulate a business plan which sets out your goals, and the steps you need to take in order to achieve them.

And not only will have to you keep your goals in mind, but a good plan will also help you stay organised, work efficiently and productively, and make it easier for you to make informed decisions.

It’s also a necessary document to have should you need financing to start your company.

With that in mind, here a some of the main considerations you should include when starting an electrician business plan:

  • Make sure you budget for any start-up costs, such as registering your company and buying any necessary tools
  • Think about how you’ll manage your finances. For example, do you need to hire an accountant?
  • Decide where you plan to operate. Remember, operating over a smaller area may make finding regular customers harder, but you’ll save time on the road
  • Work out the best way to reach customers through marketing
  • Choose what hours and days you’ll be working
  • Look into ways to make your business stand out, such as by offering new or better-quality services
  • Consider your relationships with suppliers, as good ones can often lead to discounts and work referrals

There are, of course, more questions to consider throughout the planning process, so if you’d like more help, then you can download our free business template below or read our blog on how to write your business plan.

What qualifications should a UK electrician have?

If you’re just starting out in your career as an electrician, then the law requires you to have a few key qualifications to keep you and others safe during your work. To find out what these are, we recommend you read our article on training to become an electrician.

However, if you’ve been in the industry for years, you likely already have all the necessary qualifications and experience you need to become self-employed. Though if you want to advance your qualifications, you might want to consider the following options:

  • Gaining a master electrician license or higher trade qualifications
  • Taking courses in different disciplines so your company can offer specialised services, plenty of which you can find in our top training course guide
  • Specialising in a specific area of electrical expertise, such as maintenance, again allows you to offer specific services

On top of these, it’s worth noting that many electrician jobs will involve working on a construction site. So, it’s crucial that you also have a CSCS card in your repertoire. It will mean you can handle any job opportunities that come your way.

What important business skills do you need?

While many electricians will already have the qualifications and experience needed to do a great job, it’s certainly worth asking yourself if you have the other important skills necessary to successfully run a company.

It might be that you’re already well-versed in some areas of business management, but we recommend taking a look at the following skill list to see how you stack up, and in what areas you might need to improve:

  • What is your knowledge of building and construction?
  • At what level is your current numerical understanding?
  • Can you competently read technical plans?
  • How good are your attention to detail and organisational skills?
  • Do you have good initiative and problem-solving skills?
  • Have you developed your customer service and interpersonal skills?
  • Do you have the ability to lead and manage employees effectively?
  • Do you have the patience, fairness, integrity, and self-awareness needed for the role?
  • Do you have the enthusiasm and endurance to keep going when things get tough?

These are just a few insights into what is required on a skills level when running your own business, and for more details, we recommend looking at our article on becoming your own boss.

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How to set up your electrician business

So, now that we’ve covered the basic steps required to begin setting up any new business, let’s now focus on exactly what steps to take when starting an electrician business specifically.

Here, we’ll outline the practical steps you need to take when starting an electrical company, including insurance requirements, registering with HMRC for tax, and marketing your business effectively, so you can be sure you’ve ticked all the boxes before you begin.

1. Registering your business

For any business to operate legally in the UK, it must be registered with HMRC for tax purposes.

This means settling on a name for your business, which you can learn more about in our guide on choosing an electrical company name, and deciding whether or not your new business will be recognised as a sole trader or a limited company.

Both of these company types come with different tax requirements and regulations that you’ll need to follow, so be sure to research these options fully to decide which will work best for your business.

landlord electrical responsibilities

2. Getting electrician insurance

Once your business is fully registered, the next step to take when starting an electrical company is to acquire the necessary electrical insurance required for you to carry out your job effectively.

Electrician insurance specifically offers you, and your business, your livelihood, and any third parties financial protection from any losses or damages caused by unexpected events during the course of your work.

It goes without saying that work in this field, while rewarding, can also be quite dangerous, and mistakes can have serious consequences. So, it’s important you’re fully insured to lessen the financial impact this could have on your business.

Why not read our blog on picking the right tradesperson insurance for more information?

3. Accounting and bookkeeping

One of the most common reasons for new businesses failing is poor cash flow management, which means it’s very, very important for you to keep an eye on your incomings and outgoings.

Doing this effectively will go a long way towards helping you to manage your finances efficiently, letting you easily track whether invoices have been settled, and claim relevant business expenses in preparation for your self-assessment tax return.

We go into far more detail on how to do this in our article on small business accounting, and we highly recommend reading this when you get the chance so your business stays profitable.

tools for an electrician

4. Buying your electrician tools and equipment

With all that out of the way, it’s now finally time to think about buying all the tools you’ll need to carry out your job effectively, as branching out on your own means you’ll no longer have access to the tools provided by your previous employer.

Below are just some of the key tools you should look at buying before you start work:

  • A multi-function tester
  • Insulated screwdrivers
  • A spirit level
  • A multi-tool
  • A drill
  • A tape measure
  • Fish tape
  • An electric wall chaser
  • Pliers
  • An approved voltage indicator
  • A torch
  • Wire strippers
  • Wire cutters
  • A hammer

For more information on exactly what tools to buy, why not browse our article on essential electrician tools? And remember, if you sign up as a Checkatrade member, you’ll benefit from amazing discounts on equipment, vans, insurance, and more.

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How to grow your electrician business

With all the basics out of the way for starting your own electrical business, and you have a steady flow of local work coming in, it’s only logical that you might now be thinking about expanding your area of operations.

And that means you need to think about marketing.

So, to help you get off on the right foot in this area, and avoid any pitfalls, we’ve put together some of our top tips for marketing your business by expanding your network and making use of the digital world.

Wires used by electricians

1. How to scale your business

Before you go wild generating more leads and booking more jobs, it’s important to understand that growing your business isn’t just about getting more work.

Instead, you want to scale your business at a pace you can keep up with, letting you expand while still offering a high-quality service. This means you’ll need to do some or all of the following:

  • Streamline your business – to scale effectively, you need to be running like a well-oiled machine. So, make sure that every aspect of your business is working well, from your admin and supply chain to any IT software you use
  • Check your finances – if you plan to grow your electrical business, you need to make sure you have the cash flow and available finances to back it up. If you need extra funds, look into investment options or business loans
  • Focus on quality and consistency – one common mistake that expanding small businesses make is letting standards slip. The quality of your work has got you this far, so it should continue to be a priority for your business at all times
  • Build a brilliant team – Bringing people on board will be one of the single most influential factors in how well you can scale your electrical business. So, hire talented and proactive people who will add value to your business, and consider hiring apprentices who you can train to become invaluable

2. How to digitally market your business

There’s no denying that any successful company needs to have a strong online presence, so you’ll want to dedicate regular time towards working on proactively marketing your business in your local area through the use of digital assets.

Here are some digital marketing ideas that you can use to get started:

  • Build or update your website – if you don’t have a website already, then it’s essential that you make one as soon as possible (you can find out more about this in our small business website article), and once you’ve built one, you need to keep it up to date. Most new potential customers will find you online, so you need to make sure all your information is correct, the site functions correctly, and you’ve read through its copy to check for spelling and grammar mistakes
  • Post regularly on social media – just like your website, your social media accounts are a great way to attract new customers. Regularly posting high-quality photos and videos of your latest jobs with their locations tagged will show people how good your work is and make them more inclined to use your services. You can read more about this in our article on how to market your business on social media
  • Join online directories – millions of homeowners still use online directories to find reliable tradespeople in the UK, and if we might quickly toot our own horn, Checkatrade is one of those directories which helps thousands of small businesses reach more customers and book more jobs every day. So, why not give us a look and see how we can help?

Find a local electrician

3. How to advertise your electrical business

When it comes to advertising, there’s no one right answer for how to market your business, and there are many types of advertising you can focus on. However, the following are the ones that we’ve found to be most effective for those starting up an electrical business:

  • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising – PPC ads are the top results that appear at the top of Google, putting you first in line for potential customers. With the help of a PPC expert, they can be a very effective way to generate quality leads for residential and commercial electrical work
  • Branded company signs – you can be your own advertising platform by making sure any company vehicles are clearly branded with your business contact details and website address
  • Sponsor local events – sponsoring local sporting or charity events can help get your business name out there in your local community, and when you’re out and about, always wear branded clothes to further promote your business

4. Other online marketing ideas

In addition to advertising and boosting your online presence, here are a few other marketing activities that you can use to help you win more customers and expand your electrical business:

  • Encourage customer reviews – online reviews help show potential customers the quality of your electrical work. After each successful job, ask your customers to leave a review (ideally on Checkatrade or Google)
  • Build your local network – getting to know other local businesses can be a great way to get your business name out there. Take the time to get to know local estate agents, property developers, and construction specialists so you have a base of contacts who can refer customers to you
  • Register on Google My Business – make the most of Google’s free listing service by registering with them and start appearing in local search results for customers looking for services in your area
  • Join Checkatrade – joining Checkatrade is an excellent way to market your business, as we offer free marketing materials and your own unique profile page. You can use your profile to add photos of your work and really talk to your customers. Best of all, they can call and message you for a quote, and you can build a good reputation with customer reviews

Of course, the marketing doesn’t end there, and for further tips and tricks, why not download our free marketing guide below?

How to get more electrical work


With all that additional advertising out of the way, if you’re now confident that you’re ready to scale and grow your electrical business, it’s time to get booking more jobs.

Here are our tips on how to get more electrical work:

  • Accreditations and certificates – showing that your electrical business is qualified and reliable will massively help customers trust you. If you haven’t already, look into schemes such as the Registered Competent Person Electrical or BSI accreditation
  • Encourage recommendations and repeat business – happy customers are key to growing your electrical business, both for recommendations and hiring you again. Focus on doing a great job and treat every customer with respect
  • Specialise in certain electrical work – If you can tap into a niche market that’s under-served in your local area, you could quickly boost your business leads. For example, green energy is on the rise, so you might want to become an expert in sustainable energy installations

One important point to remember, however, is that every electrician business is different, so try things out and see how you get on. You might find you get a lot of leads coming from your website or social media, or local networking might be the key to expanding your electrical business.

Case study – How Checkatrade helped promote E. Jauncey Electrical

While we’ve now touched in great detail on every area you should look into when starting up an electrical business, we wouldn’t want to leave you without offering you a firsthand account of someone who has been through the startup process with Checkatrade.

With over 20 years of experience, Elliott Jauncey was looking to reach new customers, promote his business, and keep his stellar reputation for excellent work intact as he grew. But with no website or advertising, Elliott needed a way to reach potential customers.

So, he joined Checkatrade. And with his own profile page, visible customer reviews, and handy search metrics, Elliott was suddenly in a brilliant position to kick-start his company.

1. Starting a new electrical business

E Jauncey elecrical

In 2012, E. Jauncey Electrical was founded. With no marketing experience, Elliott was unsure where to start when it came to promoting his company, an issue faced by many new businesses. Which is why he turned to Checkatrade for help.

We were able to help him get started marketing his business by setting up a space where customers could view his past work, see reviews, and get in touch with him directly for a quote.

2. Building trust

Elliott knew getting his name out there and building trust in his customer base was essential.

“With me, it’s important that my potential customers know I can look after them,” explained Elliott.

“My reputation means everything to me, and when setting up the business with my own name on the side of the van, I had to guarantee my reputation as a trusted tradesperson”.

Elliott wanted to show his customers that they came first and that the work would be top quality, and he was able to do this through his Checkatrade account and reviews.

3. Building a website

Creating a website is a huge task that can cost a lot of money if done wrong.

Elliott said, “I needed a way to ensure that I could get my message across to my potential customers by allowing them to see customer reviews from each and every job.”

Fortunately, with Checkatrade, you don’t technically need a website.

As a member, Elliot was given his own profile that he could personalise, showing the important stuff like contact information and the types of work he specialised in, and what areas he covered, all whilst giving him a chance to showcase pictures of previous jobs.

4. Using the Checkatrade app

Elliott also mentioned that he found using the Checkatrade Trades app easy and straightforward for his business page.

“I could update my own profile page as often as I wanted to and I could post all my own images to showcase my work, plus have all my contact details and my public liability insurance all in one place.”

He said that “it’s very easy to monitor how much business is generated via the company,” which is great for keeping tabs on your return on your investment.

5. Customer searches

Elliot also mentioned that he wanted further insight into how customers were searching for his business, and Checkatrade’s free search feature proved to be an excellent way for customers to find him in his local area.

“There’s even a breakdown to find out which words were used in the customer’s search which was great because I could amend the words I used in my profile, to help to maximise how many times my business appeared as a search result.”

“I receive enquiries every single week and I win new business consistently that has found me via Checkatrade.”

6. Take my advice

As far as Elliot was concerned, Checkatrade was a great success for E. Jauncey Electrical!

Elliott said, “I can honestly say my business has thrived since being a member.”

“The advertising really does pay for itself and the cost per month is very affordable.”

“If you are a grafter like me and you want more work, then what is there to lose? Why wouldn’t you want to get your share of 13 million yearly searches on Checkatrade? No brainer really. My recommendation is one you can rely on!”

What are you waiting for?

Ready to give your new business the spark it needs to be successful by joining the UK’s #1 trade directory? With a range of memberships available, you can choose the option that’s right for your business.

And not only will you receive plenty of job inquiries, but you can also save money with exclusive discounts and add our good name to yours, taking advantage of the trust we’ve built for over 20 years.

SEO for electricians


Is it worth going self-employed as an electrician?

As an electrician, no two days are the same, and when self-employed, you have full control over your future career and the direction of your company.

You can decide to further your training and skills in order to offer new services, giving your business a further boost, and you can also decide which avenues you want to pursue, and which jobs you wish to take on. All while having much greater control over your earning potential.

But it’s important to remember that running your own business is no easy task. It takes a lot of time and effort To become a reputable and profitable name, but it is a rewarding journey.

How much does a self-employed electrician earn?

As a qualified electrician, you can expect a good salary that is very competitive within the trade industry.

Generally, the average salary for an electrician is £33,000, but once you start an electrician business, you’ll be able to set your own wage based on your company’s profits. And as a company owner, you may be able to take much more profit on this basis.

To learn more about electrician rates, read our article on how much electricians can earn.

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