Self employed income?

I decided to write a article to explain the real income and expenditure involved in being a Self Employed Electrician, the average hourly rate for a Sole Trader self employed Electrician in Sussex is between £50 to £60 per hour, this sounds a phenomenal amount when you consider a Electrician working for a Electrical Contractor earns approx. £15 to £18 per hour but there are many things to consider which I will explain in this article.


There are three areas I would like to go in to more detail about:

  • How many hours are chargeable against how many hours I work
  • Expenses, Self employed compared to being employed
  • Financial benefits of being employed

Chargeable Hours:

Lets begin with chargeable hours as a employee its nice and simple you do say 9am to 5am on a 40 hour week at £15.00 per hour and therefore earn £600 per week every week and am home in time for dinner every night by 5.30pm.

As a self employed sole trader you can only charge for the time you are actually on the job working, so if we said you called me to replace your fuse board, first thing to do is travel to your home and spec the job, now I have the info I can spec the materials needed and compile my estimate and send it to you, upon agreeing my estimate I now need to go to my wholesaler and purchase the materials ready to install the next day for the job, so I have probably spent about two hours doing all this all of which is not chargeable and needs to be absorbed in to my hourly rate while actually doing the job, so you could say I am doing a 10 hour day but only charging for 8 hours.

As well as the 2 hours listed above there is the everyday time involved running the business to factor in to your working day such as the upkeep of a active website, replying to any answer phone messages, emails, texts, marketing etc all of which is a factor in your hourly rate, taking all of this in to account it is not unusual to do perhaps a 12 hour day but only be charging for 8 hours.


Expenses Self Employed against Employed:

As a employee you would expect to be supplied with a works van, fuel card, specialist tools inc. expensive test equipment, registration to Part P scheme, work clothing, PPE and numerous other things to do your job, as a Self Employed sole trader you need to supply all of this yourself as well as the upkeep of the work van and Public liability insurance, all of these expenses is another major factor in working out you hourly rate.


Financial Benefits of being an employee:

As a employee you are guaranteed to be paid 40 hours work per week, receive sick pay, company pension scheme and holiday pay.

As a self employed sole trader if work becomes quiet you don't get paid, you have to pay for a private pension, when you go on holiday you have to consider that you wont get any money while on holiday yet still probably have to take calls and answer emails during your holiday.


So in summary I hope the article has made it clear that its not as straight forward as saying.

"That's expensive its cost £50 and you have only been here an hour"