Aug 15, 2022 | 9 min read

How much do electrical contractors make?

This article was updated on February 8, 2023

Discover how much an electrical contractor can earn

With plenty of on-the-job training and opportunities for growth, pursuing a career path as an electrical contractor can offer many rewards. As your skills and abilities expand, you might wonder how your earnings measure up. Those considering a career as an electrical contractor might wonder: how much do electrical contractors make?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, the median average salary for electrical contractors in the United States is between $55,170 and $63,310 respectively.

Still, many other factors might affect your earnings. Where you live, how long you’ve been working, and what industry you serve can all impact your potential. Once you’ve learned ​​how to become an electrician in the first place, understanding these nuances may give you the edge you need to advance your electrical career path.

How much do electrical contractors earn across the United States?

Location plays a major part in determining electricians' salaries. In fact, some areas pay far more than the median wage. 

So, how much does an electrician make a year in various states? Based on BLS data, the average annual earnings in the top paying states for electricians include:

  • Illinois – $81,650
  • New York – $81,340
  • Hawaii – $79,280
  • Washington, DC – $79,030
  • Oregon – $76,040

These averages are statewide, meaning that you can expect to earn more as an electrical contractor throughout these states. However, some cities offer an even higher electrical service and hourly rate.

The top five highest-paying cities for electricians include:

  • San Francisco, CA – $106,680
  • Trenton, NJ – $90,210
  • Kankakee, IL – $88,530
  • Mount Vernon, WA – $87,820
  • San Jose, CA – $86,550

If you’re willing to relocate, you may find opportunities to earn more in these areas. However, it’s important to note that some of these states and cities also come with a higher cost of living. New York, Hawaii, Washington, DC, and Oregon rank among the most expensive states to live in.

As you plan your career, remember that finding a balance between your earnings and your cost of living can help you make the most of your income.


The highest-earning industries for electrical contractors

As an electrical contractor, you have opportunities to work with various industries. The industries you work for can also make a difference in your average salary.

Here are some of the top-paying industries and the average wages they offer to electricians, according to the BLS:

  • Natural gas distribution – $106,280
  • Land subdivision – $99,780
  • Technical and trade schools – $93,260
  • Promoters of performing arts, sports, and similar events – $93,230
  • General merchandise stores – $88,970

Suppose you’re hoping to advance your electrical career within a certain industry; comparing that industry to others can provide insight into your earning potential. Keep in mind, though, that certain industries may also require advanced training or knowledge before you can start.

How to increase your earning potential as an electrical contractor

Moving to a higher-paying state or industry is one option for electrical contractors looking to earn more. Yet, these options aren’t always possible or appealing to everyone. Perhaps you prefer to stay close to family, enjoy a lower cost of living, or live in a more rural area. Or, maybe you prefer to be a self-employed electrician, which you can do by learning how to start an electrical business. 

This doesn’t mean that your electrical contractor income has no room for growth.

Even if you prefer not to change your location or electrical work for a new industry, there are other ways to boost your salary. Many of these options can also help ensure your long-term success as an electrical contractor, no matter where you live.

#1 Understand the value of your services

Understanding the true value of your electrical work is one of the fastest ways you can increase your potential.

Here are a few ways to evaluate your prices:

  • Compare the electrician salary ranges for your state and your city.
  • Research what other electrical contractors with experience in your area are charging.
  • Talk to another experienced electrician and ask them for feedback on your electrical service and hourly rate.

It may be tempting to undercut your competitors, especially when starting out. But don’t forget that there are other ways to appeal to your customers. These may include:

  • Always arriving on time
  • Maintaining a high standard of workmanship
  • Providing quality customer service
  • Being transparent about your services and processes 

#2 Branch out with innovative technologies

Technology is constantly changing, and a good deal of it requires electricity. For electrical contractors, some recent innovations may mean more opportunities for growth than ever. 

As an example, the field of renewable energy is heading toward a huge expansion. In the area of solar panel installation alone, the BLS projects a growth of 52% in career opportunities by 2030. That places the electrical specialty of solar power technicians among the top five fastest-growing occupations in the United States. So whether you're an aspiring electrician or a seasoned journeyman electrician, the future for electrical contractors is bright and ripe with opportunity for you.

Tim Zinniel of Minnesota-based electrical contracting company Zinniel Electric spoke to the Minnesota Electrical Association about how solar energy had affected his own business.

“We got into solar work about eight or nine years ago, so that’s really been a part of our work portfolio,” he said. “Technology is always changing, so we’re never really stagnant by any means.”

#3 Find your specialty

Some electricians may lean toward a certain specialization during their training or career. If you haven’t yet chosen your specialty, this is one way you can set yourself apart. Gaining expertise in a certain area can help increase the value of your services.

Some of the many specializations for electrical contractors include:

  • Aviation electrician
  • Automotive electrician
  • Automation systems electrician
  • Electrical inspector
  • Industrial electrician
  • Outside lineman
  • Wind turbine installer
  • Telecommunications line installer
  • Security systems installer

If you’re just beginning your career, you may be able to find a trade school or apprenticeship that provides advanced training in your chosen specialty. For those already working, continuing education courses and training programs can also help to strengthen your knowledge.

#4 Level up your license

The type of license you need to work as an electrician may vary depending on your location. In some states, there may not be any licensing requirements at all. But even if you can get by without being a licensed electrician, lacking a license may disqualify you from some higher-paying ​​electrician jobs.

If you already have a journeyman’s license, you may also be able to increase your wages by earning your master electrician license. This certification can qualify you to work on more complex projects. Your expertise may also allow you to train other apprentices and journeyman electricians.

How much of a pay raise can you expect as a master electrician? According to, the average base salary for someone with this license is $88,068. 

#5 Start a small business

There are many advantages to starting your own electrical contracting business. With the help of additional employees, you may be able to delegate the less complicated projects to others. Having a whole team of electricians by your side may also enable you to take on bigger projects and a higher salary.

But what if you’re still fairly fresh in electrical contracting? Even then, running your own small business may be more within reach than you think. 

For example, electrician Austin Boop founded his York, Pennsylvania-based business YoCo Electric after only four years of training and apprenticeship. In an interview with Forbes, Boop spoke about his success as an entrepreneur.

“We are now seven employees strong (not including myself) and have had three apprentices enroll in our program since we opened for business,” he said.

#6 Market your services

Maybe you’ll decide to specialize in solar technology or finally earn your master's electrician license. Whatever steps you take to increase your earnings, you’ll also need a way to share your skills with the people around you. A marketing plan is an excellent way to increase your opportunities, whether you're a commercial electrician or run your own small business.

A strong marketing strategy can:

  • Build trust with your community
  • Grow awareness of your services
  • Increase job leads
  • Build customer loyalty

Learning about new marketing tips for electricians, producing print ads, and strong online marketing can help to increase your visibility. To establish yourself as the go-to electrician in your neighborhood, however, it’s also important to stay engaged. Luckily, that doesn’t mean you have to go door-to-door. One spectacular way to connect with your customers is through a Nextdoor Business Page


Expand your electrical contractor career with Nextdoor

Your location is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to your earning potential as an electrical contractor. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also aim to be local.

Whatever your specialty, industry, or level of license, much of your work as an electrician can include providing services to your local community. That’s why keeping your local neighborhood up-to-date can be essential in helping you reach your potential.

A Nextdoor Business Page makes it easy to stay in touch with your customers. With your free customizable Business Page, you can easily share updates, promotions, and posts with your customers. Plus, Nextdoor makes it easy for happy customers to recommend you to others.

Don’t wait to maximize your potential. Boost your electrical contracting career with Nextdoor.

Claim your free Business Page


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Electricians. 

Missouri Economic Research and Information Center. Cost of Living Data Series. 

International Energy Agency. Renewable electricity growth is accelerating faster than ever worldwide, supporting the emergence of the new global energy economy.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Fastest Growing Occupations. 

Indeed. What does a Master Electrician do? 

Minnesota Electrical Association. Becoming An Electrician: The Career of a Lifetime. 

New England Institute of Technology. What Are The Different Types of Electricians?.

YoCo Electric.

Forbes. From Apprentice To Entrepreneur: “Apprenticeship Changed My Life”.

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