Updated on December 23rd, 2022
An electrical subcontractor agreement is used when an electrician is hired by a prime contractor to contribute to a construction project. The prime contractor holds the main contract with the client and will be obligated to pay the electrician and see that their work is delivered. The completed document will relay the services the electrician must provide, the amount of time that they are given to complete the work, the compensation they will receive, and the schedule of payments. Both parties must sign the agreement to make it legally binding.
What is an Electrical Subcontractor?
An electrical subcontractor is a professional electrician whose services have been engaged by a contractor to work on a larger project. Electricians must be hired to install electrical systems in new buildings, repair and rewire buildings in conjunction with renovation projects, and perform inspections for consultants.
Operating as a self-employed individual, the subcontractor will be responsible for paying their income taxes, managing their work, and will often need to bring their own supplies and equipment. If the subcontractor is a company, they will be responsible for hiring electricians, managing projects, and communicating with clients.
Types of Electrical Subcontractors
Depending on their license classification and specialty, a subcontractor may operate under any of the following categories:
An outside electrical subcontractor’s job is to install and maintain high-voltage lines and substations to transport power from a power plant to facilities, buildings, and residences.
Inside electricians provide electrical services to a residential or commercial property. They only operate within property lines, which is why they are called “inside electricians” or “linemen.”
Integrated Building Systems (IBS) and Voice Data Video (VDV)
An IBS or VDV electrical subcontractor primarily works with low-voltage systems to provide power for networks, climate controls, fiber optics, and telecommunications.
The types of services that electrical subcontractors are most often hired to provide include the following:
- Installation of Fixtures – Wiring and installing fixtures, such as lighting, ceiling or exhaust fans, smoke detectors, and hot tubs.
- Inspections – Inspecting a building’s electrical system and providing a report with analyses, recommendations, and cost estimates.
- Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) Installation – Installing high-safety outlets.
- Panel Installation – Installing a new electrical panel for safety and to accommodate new appliances, devices, and systems.
- Rewiring – Replacing old wiring with a new installation to improve electrical performance, fix problems, and reduce risk of shock or fire.
- Surge Protection – Installing whole-house surge protectors to protect appliances and devices.
To operate as an electrical subcontractor, individuals must have an electrician’s license for the state in which they work. Although some states don’t may not have state licensing, licenses are still required and will be mandated by the local municipal government. There are different classifications of licenses which each require a certain number of logged hours of electrical work and training to obtain.
Each state has its own license classifications which indicate an electrician’s experience level and specialty. In many states, certain jobs require a specific license, for instance a commercial license may be required to work on corporate contracts. Some states allow reciprocity with other states, meaning a tradesperson can work in another state with their current license.
License classifications in the United States include the following titles:
- Journeyman Electrician
- Electrical Apprentice
- Electrical Contractor
- Residential Electrician
- Commercial Electrician
- Industrial Electrician
- Maintenance Electrician
- Independent Electrical Contractor
- Supervising Electrician
- Master Electrician