What’s the Difference Between an Electrician and a Handyman?

The average homeowner would have a difficult time telling the difference between a handyman and an electrician. After all, isn’t a handyman someone with expertise that you call when you need help with home repairs or a remodeling project? Doesn’t that mean that an electrician is a handyman with extra knowledge or skills in the particular area of electricity and wiring? While the first answer is yes, the second is a resounding “no.” If you want to know what the real difference is, keep reading, and prepare to be surprised.

What’s a Handyman, After All?

A handyman is any professional (of any gender, not just men) who perform physical tasks for those who are unable or simply unwilling to do it themselves. From hanging holiday decorations on the exterior of a house’s eaves to cleaning mold off of your home’s siding or even adding a ramp to the front entrance of a home, there are a wide variety of tasks that a handyman can perform.

Many states and cities don’t require any form of licensing for those working as a handyman, but they may require liability insurance from those working as a handyman professionally. That insurance protects the client, as well as their locality, from damages that could result from poorly-performed installations, maintenance, or other projects. Unfortunately, given the lax regulations of handyman work, there are plenty who eschew the need for insurance to keep their costs (and pricing) as low as possible.

In general, a handyman is a household jack of all trades. They likely have a surface-level knowledge of a broad number of topics (such as hanging a wall shelf evenly and refinishing your cabinet doors), but very little in-depth knowledge when it comes to more complex topics, such as electrical systems. While they may do an excellent job fixing your pulled sink, when the task at hand is safety critical, such as work on the home’s electrical system, a general-knowledge handyman may not be the best decision in terms of who to hire. 

What Is an Electrician, Then?

An electrician is a highly-trained and skilled professional with experience in working with home and commercial electrical systems. From replacing aged or damaged internal wiring to running wire from a home to an external shed, an electrician can do it all, and do so in compliance with state and local building codes. Most people already know that they should hire a professional to do any required work on their home electrical system; not everyone realizes, however, how critical it is to hire a professional with the right training and experience.

An electrician has years of education and training, much of which is hands-on and completed under the careful supervision of a master electrician. Generally speaking, it takes as many as seven years in most states to be licensed as a Master Electrician, meaning that these professionals have a long history of proven work. That means that they’ve spent 6,000 to 8,000 hours working in electrical systems already, as well as 144 hours of classwork per year for three to five years. They must also have passed an exhaustive state-licensing test to determine that they are qualified to work safely on electrical systems.

Because they have training under another master electrician, they generally understand electrical systems inside and out. They can perform complex electrical tasks safely and much more efficiently than a handyman or less-qualified individual. Their state license allows them to carry comprehensive insurance, which protects them and the homeowner against potential errors, omissions, or other forms of liability.

Do You Need to Hire a Handyman or an Electrician?

If you’re looking for someone to work on the wiring of your home, even if it is just adding new outlets to a room or changing out a ceiling light fixture for a ceiling fan with lights, it is typically much safer and smarter to hire an electrician. Depending on your homeowner’s insurance, coverage for damages that occur as result of poorly performed electrical work may not be covered if you did not hire an insured and licensed electrician. The bigger and more complex the project, the more sense it makes to hire a master electrician. They can provide not just the best service and knowledge base, but they can also perform the work much faster than an electrical dilettante with little knowledge of this safety-critical aspect of home repairs. 

Don’t Gamble!

Don’t gamble with the quality of wiring and the safety of your family and one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make. When your home needs work, updates, or repairs to the electrical system, call a licensed and insured electrician, like the professional team at Luminaire. From our professional attitudes and efficiency to the peace of mind that comes with knowing the work has been performed safely, the benefits of working with a real electrician far outweigh the increased hourly rate when compared with an unlicensed and (probably) uninsured general practice handyman.



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