Once you’re a qualified electrician, starting an electrical contracting business is a popular option.

Whilst it’s not exactly difficult, there are plenty of steps to go through, so we’ve put together this guide to make life easier.

Some of the topics we’ll run through include licensing, business structures, insurance, accounting and marketing.

State Licensing

Before you start your own electrical contracting business you need to ensure you qualify for a licence in your state.

You might think that simply completing your electrical apprenticeship is enough, but that’s not the case in all Australian states.

In Queensland for example you need to be a ‘qualified technical person’ which is essentially your trade qualification, as well as a ‘qualified business person’ which involves completing a course.

So your first step is making sure that you qualify for a licence. We’ve listed the relevant links for each state below:

Structuring Your Business

There are a few different ways to structure your new electrical contracting business.

The most popular options are as follows:

  • Sale Trader
  • Partnership
  • Company (Pty Ltd)
  • Family Trust

The cheapest option is the sole trader. The cost can potentially be free given that you can register your own ABN as well as GST registration directly with the government.

If you are going to trade under a business name you’ll still have to pay for that, but the cost is low and it can be done yourself online.

Many electrical business owners choose to go with a Pty Ltd company structure.

This option is a little more costly. You can do it yourself online, but there are costs involved. Your accountant will also be able to do it for you.

Electrician Insurance

The benefit of the company structure is that it gives you added asset protection, as the business is a separate entity, unlike with a sole trader where you and the business are considered to be a single entity.

A less common option is to go with a family trust structure. There can be benefits here in terms of asset protection and tax planning.

We strongly recommend speaking with an accountant before making any decisions about your business structure, as getting it wrong can be costly to fix down the track.

Business Insurance

As a start-up electrical business it might be tempting to save some money and skimp on business insurance, but that’s not a good idea.

In most Australian states you’ll need to hold public liability insurance in order to obtain your electrical contracting licence.

Not only is public liability insurance mandatory in most states for your licence, but many worksites will also require that all contractors and subcontractors have their own insurance before working on site.

Aside from public liability, you should also consider income protection once you’re self-employed.

As an employee you can rely on sick leave and workers compensation, but once you’re self-employed you’ll often be on your own. If you can’t work, you can’t earn.


Whilst you don’t necessarily need an accountant at this stage, it’s still a good idea to have one if you don’t already.

An accountant will be able to provide advice on the best structure to start with, and additional guidance on important matters such as cash-flow.

You may also wish to use the services of a bookkeeper. Whilst you can do it yourself, especially with the assistance of software such as Xero, having an expert deal with it can save you hours every month.

If those hours are better spent on the tools or quoting new jobs, it’s definitely worth considering using a bookkeeper.

Marketing A New Electrical Business

It’s all good and well starting an electrical contracting business, but if you don’t bring in work you won’t be around for long.

There are so many different ways to market your electrical business in 2019. Gone are the days of relying on the Yellow Pages!

We now have so many options, especially in the online world. There are websites such as OneFlare and Service Seeking that can provide leads, and huge opportunities with social media.

Paid search, such as Google Ads are also very popular with electrical businesses, but it’s not necessarily cheap.

It can be fun to experiment with different types of marketing, but it can chew up your time and money very quickly.

If you don’t have the knowledge or time to learn it properly, it may be worth using an expert to put together some marketing options for your new electrical business.

Get Started

Has all of that information fired you up to start your electrical business, or has it scared you off?

Going into business for yourself is scary in so many ways, but it can also be incredibly rewarding both financially and personally.

It takes a lot of perseverance, but if you get the basics right at the start, and keep putting in the hard yards whilst learning everything you can, then starting your own electrical contracting business might be one of the best things you ever do!