Why cheap electrical services usually equal low quality electrical services?
So, you have a few electrical jobs that need doing around the house and you’ve done the ring around for a few quotes?
You think to yourself “they are such simple jobs. Anyone could probably do it and in any case all electricians are the same. So let’s just go with the cheapest. Or better still, let me do it myself!”
1. Unlicensed and uninsured
In today’s challenging economy there is a rise of unlicensed and uninsured operators across Western Australia.
By using an unlicensed electrician or refrigeration mechanic you are running the risk of hiring someone who is not up to date with their knowledge of the electrical wiring or HVAC rules that must be complied within Australia.
Unlicensed operators can afford to undercut reputable operators because they have fewer expenses to cover such as licensing fees and continuous professional training and development costs. An expert electrician needs to undergo continuous training to keep up to date with current trends and standards. The cheapest operator is guaranteed not to be doing this because it costs them money.
If an operator is unlicensed, they most likely will not be holding insurance cover therefore offering your home or yourself no protection should something go wrong.
DID YOU KNOW, If they injure themselves whilst doing work on your premises, they may even try to claim on the home owner’s home insurance cover or pursue negligence claim against the home owner for injury compensation!
And did you know that you can void your home insurance by using an unlicensed electrician or refrigeration mechanic?
As for those wanting to attempt DIY electrical, please DON’T. It is illegal to do electrical works without a relevant licence in all states and territories of Australia. A recent Perth example saw two plumbers being fined $5,000 and $2,500 respectively by the Perth Magistrates Court on 15th October 2021 after finding them guilty of breaching WA’s electricity licensing regulations by assessing electrical installations without possessing an electrical worker’s licence.
2. Getting a fast fix
Time is money for cheap electricians. This usually means they care less about how to work turns out and care more about “smashing” the job out in as little time as possible, invariably cutting corners. Low prices usually mean low quality services and inevitably you will be getting a ‘not so professional’ fix to your problem (we know because we have fixed poor workmanship done by cheap electricians on plenty of occasions).
And whilst you might think “well everything the last guy did looks fine on the outside” shotty work is not always immediately apparent. Mistakes can lurk unnoticed in the background for months or even years. Incorrectly terminated cables in a roof space might not be seen or even cause any harm, until such time as they get chewed by rodents which can cause a house fire.
If electrical installation work is not done correctly, it has the potential to not only endanger your home but also your life and the life of other people entering your premises. For example, in 2017 a Mandurah electrician was fined $20,000 for failing to install a multiple earthed neutral (MEN) in a switchboard. Without a MEN, an earth fault could make the switchboard enclosure and appliance enclosure become live and dangerous. A person who touches this could receive a fatal electric shock.
What materials will the cheapest operator be using? Logic would dictate that to keep their prices are so low they would have to be cutting some serious corners when it comes to the materials they use. Some examples would include:
- Using the lowest cost, no name brand materials available through their electrical wholesaler
- Using materials removed from previous jobs
- Throwing cables loosely around in the roof space to save on clips instead of clipping them down
- Handwritten labels on switchboards instead of professional printed and laminated labels
4. What if something goes wrong
Finally, the dreaded question what if something goes wrong? Will that electrician still be around to fix up your issue?
The electrical industry is awash with operators who rotate between a FIFO job and working for themselves doing electrical contracting. When running a business starts to get too hard, when cash flow and profitability issues rear their ugly head and suppliers come knocking looking for payment on long overdue accounts, operators like this quickly pull the pin on electrical contracting and go back into a FIFO role with lucrative pay. They may change their phone number and many customers are then left wondering what happened and are unsure of who to consult regarding their issue.
Similarly, we hear many stories from our solar customers of how they were sold a cheap system by a company which subsequently folded and shut its doors. When the customer ends up having a problem with their system a few years after installation they have no one to turn and no one to hold accountable for a sub-par installation.
Whilst there are many cheap electricians around, take some time to choose wisely. Ask yourself why they are cheap and whether they will be in business for the long term if they can afford to undercut the market and please remember that you invariably get what you pay for.
If you need an electrician, air con or solar installer who not only delivers quality, prioritises your safety, provides honest advice and wants to build a long-term customer relationship with you, then please call one of our friendly team members at Volt Air on 08 9497 3291.