Do Electricians Give Free Quotes?

Hubert Miles | Licensed Home Inspector, CMI, CPI

Published on

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Having an electrician over to work on your house can be stressful and confusing, especially if you don’t know much about electrical work. Hiring an electrician can be expensive, so you may be wondering, “Do they offer free estimates?”

Generally, most electricians will offer free estimates for any electrical addition or replacement work. Electricians typically will not give a free estimate for open-ended repair work. Some electricians may provide you a rough estimate, but they will charge you by the hour and add on material costs.

If you plan to inquire about an electrician soon, this article can help you with some facts you need to know before questioning. 

Do All Electricians Give Free Quotes?

The easiest way to get a free estimate from an electrician is to pick up the phone and give them a call. They will tell you upfront if a free estimate is available for your project.

Numerous factors determine if you are going to get a free quote or not. Here are a few to consider:

  • Free Phone Estimate – The only way you will typically get a free estimate is if it happens over the phone. If they have to come out to give an estimate, most will charge you for the time it took to do it.
  • Estimates are Not Final – In many cases, the electrician will try to estimate as close to what they will charge as possible. As the name would suggest, estimates are only an estimation of the final charge.
  • Start with Small Companies – A small company is more likely to give an estimate over the phone than a large company. Larger companies typically have the work they want and are not focused on smaller jobs that would require a free estimate.
  • Upgrades vs. Repairs – A company willing to give free estimates for upgrades will not always provide free estimates on repairs. Upgrades are easier to estimate because time and material are known. Electricians can not typically estimate repairs over the phone.
  • Busy Electricians – You are more likely to get a free estimate from an electrician when they are not busy. Some electricians will stop giving free estimates when they have a full schedule. Others will continue to provide estimates, but it could be at a higher hourly rate.

Are Electrical Quotes Free?

Electricians will give free quotes for more extensive projects, including commercial work. They may also offer free quotes on smaller projects if they are requested.

Most people tend to overlook the difference between an estimate and a quote. An estimate is simply an estimation of what the electrician will charge. A quote is a fixed price that could become part of a contract.

Although quotes are considered free and may be offered in that way, the cost is billed into the project. The only way the quote is truly free is if the electrician is not selected for the job. 

If they do not receive the contract, the client will not provide any compensation. This would include charging time for the quote.

Many electrical companies provide free quotes on multiple projects in the hope of winning a large contract. They might also provide a free quote on a small job, but it is not always cost-effective for them to do so.

A free estimate may be an easy thing to obtain because they can provide it over the phone. The electrician will know how much time and material are involved in a small task, such as adding a light switch or replacing a circuit breaker.

A quote is different because they need to be sure of every part of the job. This might include hidden and unknown items, such as issues they may find when opening a wall.

How Do You Get a Quote for Electrical Work?

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Getting a quote for electrical work is a fairly straightforward process. You need to request it directly, but there are a few options to consider.

Residential Work 

If you have some electrical work that needs to be done on your home, you might have difficulty getting quotes from multiple electricians. In most cases, they will only provide a quote if they are competing for a big job.

You are more likely to get a free estimate for any upgrade or add-on electrical work needed at your home. An electrician may give a quote if they come to your home to either do the job or see what is involved in doing the work.

Ensure you get the quote in writing unless you are comfortable having them do some small-scale work on your home immediately.

Commercial Work 

If you are looking for quotes on a large-scale commercial electrical job, there are numerous ways to go about getting them. That doesn’t mean, however, that you will get many quotes in return for your efforts.

Begin by contacting the electrical contractors in your area and letting them know of the scope of work. Invite them to submit a quote in the form of a bid for the job.

You can then review the quotes and choose the one that works best for the project. There are numerous things to consider when you are reviewing quotes. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Price
  • Insurance (type and availability)
  • Proper business licenses
  • Availability
  • Have you worked with them in the past
  • Do they have a reputation in the area?
  • Do they offer a guarantee or warranty?
  • Do they follow OSHA guidelines?

Opening a job for quotes is a complicated process that requires legal expertise. Be sure to get the needed direction from industry professionals.

What Is a Fair Price for an Electrician?

The average price per electrician will vary, depending on the scope of work, the area, and the company’s size.

Typically, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50 – $100 per hour or more for an electrician. Electricians usually add the costs of supplies and materials on top of the labor costs.

Here are some general guidelines for electrician work prices in the United States:

Electrician TypeCost Per Hour
Apprentice Electrician$45
Journeyman Electrician$60
Master Electrician$100+

Typical prices for standard electrical work that you might need an electrician to do around your home:

Electrical JobPrice
Install a Receptacle $175
Install a Light $150
Install a Ceiling Fan $130
Replace an Electrical Breaker $130



Hubert Miles | Licensed Home Inspector, CMI, CPI

Hubert Miles is a licensed home inspector (RBI# 2556) with more than two decades of experience in inspection and construction. Since 2008, he has been serving South Carolina through his company, Patriot Home Inspections LLC. As a Certified Master Inspector, Hubert is dedicated to providing his expertise in home inspections, repairs, maintenance, and DIY projects.