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Domestic vs Commercial Electrician: What’s the difference?

In essence, not all electrical work is the same. The difference between electrical domestic vs commercial varies in several factors like the equipment, environment, purpose and objective of the work, and energy demands. 

Different types of electricians handle different types of electrical work because of the reasons above and a few more reasons we will dive into. 

If you are looking into the electrical trade and about becoming an electrician, it would undoubtedly be helpful to know about the two different kinds of electricians beforehand. This knowledge will prove to be useful when deciding on your career path in the electrical trade. 

While it sounds like choosing to become a domestic and commercial electrician is a decision in terms of absolutes, most electricians start as local electricians before becoming commercial electricians. 

This article is a breakdown of the key differences between a domestic and commercial electrician. 

Courses, training, and qualifications

To become a domestic electrician, you would need to complete a domestic installer course. The local installer course usually covers lessons about wiring regulations, Part-P regulations, electrical inspection and testing and electrical installation.

In some cases, completing a domestic installer course will provide you with a City and Guilds qualification. While this qualification doesn’t entirely make you an electrician, it will allow you to carry out domestic electrical tasks and possibly be affiliated with the NICEIC (National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting). 

On the other hand, commercial electricians should first be fully qualified before carrying out commercial electrical work. An electrotechnical qualification, with either a Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Electrotechnical Services or a Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Electrotechnical Systems and Equipment. 

Another way to become an electrician is to first be an apprentice before obtaining your qualifications. In which case, you would need a Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Electrical Installations for this route. 

Any of these three qualifications will enable you to specialize in a certain kind of commercial electrical work. 

The best route is to obtain the necessary qualifications and work in both electrical environments as a versatile and skilful electrician. 

Job environments and job requirements

Domestic electricians work on local or residential areas. These include houses, flats, apartments, bungalows and any building for dwelling. 

The tasks on UK homes include installation, inspection and maintenance, as well as installing wiring, lighting, and circuitry across a domestic property. Aside from installation and inspection, local electricians can replace fuse boxes, light switches and sockets. 

While domestic electricians are only restricted to a limited range of property, commercial electricians can work in a broader spectrum and can take up tasks that their counterparts cannot. These usually include electrical services in commercial buildings such as restaurants, malls, and other public places. 

Unlike domestic electricians, commercial electricians are not just limited to commercial properties. They are also allowed to work on UK homes, on tasks that are outside of a domestic electricians’ range. 

Commercial electricians can also choose to work in industrial work settings after obtaining the necessary qualifications. 

Wages 

Because commercial electrical environments are more demanding and require more qualifications, commercial electricians earn salaries that are a bit higher than the wages of domestic electricians. 

The annual average salaries for the two kinds of electricians are as follows: 

  • £33,163 for domestic electricians 
  • £34, 393 for commercial electricians

These figures were obtained by Adzuna UK, a search engine for job postings, offers and opportunities. 

electrician wages meme

Lifestyle

Most electricians who end up becoming domestic electricians have a self-employed work arrangement. If you choose to become a local electrician, you are likely to set up your own company where you become your employer. If the thought of working on your own pace appeals to you, do consider this option. Also, it is possible to grow a company for domestic electricians by catering to a specific residence or area. 

Whereas, commercial electricians have a stable yearly salary. If you train and achieve qualifications to be an industrial electrician, you will be bound by contract to more prominent companies. Because you are working for someone else, the number of your working hours is fixed, and it is not so flexible as if you were self-employed. The plus side to the commercial route is that your wages are more stable. 

Factors affecting the job nature 

There is a massive difference in power when it comes to the electrical load of residential and commercial areas. 

Domestic electricians, working in residential areas, work on 240 volts circuits, and tend to work in small teams or even solo.

Commercial electricians work on commercial buildings that require a three-power phase of electricity that is 400V. There is some overlap, but commercial electricians tend to have to deal with higher voltages at some point.

Advantages of domestic and commercial electricians 

After giving the significant vital differences between the two types of electricians, here are some of the similar advantages between the two as well. 

For one, both electricians do not have a set amount of pay. You can take more jobs if you need to make more income. Electrical work is usually rewarded with a good salary, and so, you have nothing to worry about in that regard. 

Electrical work allows you to work in teams and build on your team-building skills. You are also in face to face and direct contact with your customers. Being an electrician also grants you the luxury of having better social hours.

Lastly, the startup is doable and will not break the bank. You would only need to fund for your equipment such as your tools and your working van. The low cost of training is also a great help to your starting career. 

Those were the main key differences between domestic and commercial electrician. We’ve covered the courses, training, wages, and critical gaps in the job environment and job requirements. At the same time, we also discussed the advantages that are present in both electrical careers. 

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