General contractors versus electricians: What are the differences?

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: Construction workers scrape off the stucco exterior during a remodel job.

Searching for the right professional can be tedious, especially if you need quality service. If you have hired an expert to perform an electrical task in your office or home recently, you will notice minor differences in the job titles of those who came to work in your home or office. This guide is written to provide you with the information you need to know about the differences between electricians and general contractors.

What you need to know about the difference

It is essential to know that both professionals can perform similar functions, but a general contractor is a licensed electrician who can do simple electrical tasks. On the other hand, if you are searching for a professional who can perform a comprehensive electrical service, you need to work with an electrician. An electrician, in most cases, is an expert who is a master-certified electrician qualified to perform a thorough and excellent job.

Master certified electricians are professionals who have undergone demanding training and testing and proved that they are qualified to deliver an excellent service. In addition, they possess the license required to practice in their state, are duly certified by the proper authorities, and show that they have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the local and state code requirements and current NEC code.

Why use the services of a general contractor

The term “General Contractor” has been loosely used by several people in the industry and other places. However, most individuals have the impression that a general contractor is a person who can do everything. In this context, a general contractor is a professional who subcontracts work to other professionals who understand the job better and can deliver a pleasant experience for the customers.

A general contractor is a brand that hires the right hands for the job, oversees their activities, informs you how much you should spend, and ensures they safely deliver quality work.

Electrician and electrical contractor: Any difference?

An electrician is an expert who has been correctly trained to carry out electrical tasks. In contrast, an electrical contractor is a business that ensures the recruitment of licensed electricians with the required insurance to do the job. Though these two job titles are confused to mean the same thing, you have a fair idea of their job descriptions and responsibilities.

The function of an electrician

An electrician is a professional who handles the installation of electrical components and wiring to supply electricity to residential and commercial properties. Electricians are well trained and must have completed at least four years of apprenticeship. They gained practical experience through on-the-job training under rigorous monitoring and adequate insurance coverage policy.

In most states, electricians must be licensed and pass one examination to scale through. In addition, electricians are expected to handle tasks such as installing underground conduits, wiring, fire safety, troubleshooting, and maintaining electrical outlets.

One significant difference you need to understand is that electrical contractors can hire electricians to work on site. Despite having licenses to perform the job, electricians are not permitted to work for clients independently. In some states, electricians must renew their licenses every five years. Electricians are expected to show that they are familiar with the trends in the industry and update their knowledge in their field.

General contractor’s insurance costs

Being a general contractor comes with risks, and you must prepare. Some of these risks are accidents, litigation, thefts, and injuries. General contractor insurance protects your business in case of theft, injury, or accident. In addition, it saves you from paying damages caused by your workers, third parties, or you.

Most clients also prefer working with general contractors with insurance, and it is vital to have insurance.

Examples of business insurance general contractors need are General liability insurance, Workers’ compensation insurance, Automobile insurance, equipment rental insurance, umbrella insurance, Property insurance, builder’s risk insurance, and subcontractors insurance. However, it is better to have an insurance broker that enables you to bundle different insurance policies into a single pack. How much you spend on your insurance depends on factors such as location, your claims history, amount of deductible, and the amount of coverage you need.

What you need to know about a general contractor and a licensed electrician

As you are already aware, there are crucial differences between a licensed electrician and a general contractor, as enumerated in this guide. However, the role of a licensed electrician cannot be over-emphasized as the professional handles tedious electrical tasks such as installing electrical panels, installing high voltage, and fixing wires in the walls of a building.

On the other hand, general contractors can obtain licenses and serve as electricians to expand their job prospects and win more contracts. However, this does not change the fact that they are professionals that can only perform simple and moderate electrical tasks such as changing electric bulbs and other electrical jobs that are not as risky as fixing high voltage cables.

Conclusion

It is better to hire the services of a general contractor as it is a business entity that knows how to relate with different professionals and can give you the best hands to work on your project. It is also critical to remember that most licensed electricians cannot work independently to avoid being sanctioned by the authorities. They are to be hired by a reputable general contractor for electrical projects and possess the required license to perform the task. General contractors will serve as an intermediary between you and the master-licensed electricians who will ensure quality electrical work is delivered on your project. 

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