Residential Vs. Commercial Electricians: What’s The Difference?

Electrician- this word makes you think about a man with a screwdriver, plier, electric tape, and wires. True? But when you sometimes need an electrician, you find out that not every electrician can do the job. Why? Because their jobs are divided.

An electrician can fit every electrical problem, which might be true to some extent, but not all electricians possess extensive knowledge.

If you are planning on hiring an electrician, stop, take a breath, and ask yourself, “For what kind of a project do I need the electrician?”

Answers can be:

Industrial purpose- There has been an electrical fault with machinery, for example.

Residential purpose- There has been a short circuit at your home.

Commercial Purpose- The lights at your office or business place are not working properly.

Let’s forget about industrial purposes for now and focus on residential and commercial electricians. Are they the same? If not, what makes them different?

This blog talks about the differences between residential and commercial electricians.

Differences Between Residential and Commercial Electricians

Here are the key differences between residential and commercial electricians, which you must learn before hiring one for your electrical needs.


Both residential and commercial electricians need to undergo training and pass the exam to obtain certification. The state of California Department of Industrial Relations conducts the exam. A residential electrician must complete 4500 hours of training to appear in the exam, while a commercial electrician must complete 8000 hours of work for the same.

Services Offered

Both residential and commercial electricians offer the same services but in different settings. They undertake installation, repair, and maintenance services which include.

  • Creating blueprints as to where the sockets will be provided, lighting will be installed, how to plan the effective routes, etc.
  • Repair any electrical faults in the existing electrical infrastructure.
  • Maintenance of existing fixtures.
  • Rewiring

Working Location

Residential electricians work in new homes, apartments, and residential dwellings. Apart from it, they also work in existing residential spaces where people are living. It makes their job important as they must protect their personal property while working. Plus, there are kids and pets around, which require more safety precautions.

Commercial electricians work in places such as under-construction offices, commercial spaces, retail stores, commercial warehouses, etc. These places house more people, and thus, it is important to follow compliance and safety standards. Also, it comes under their responsibility to obtain the Electrical permit, which is required in California state and is issued only to an eligible license holder.

Working Environment and Requirements

Residential and commercial electricians work on different power systems.

For example, residential electricians work with voltages ranging from 120V to 240V. Commercial electricians work on projects that require more than 240V. Commercial projects require three-phase power.

Second, residential electricians work on less complex wiring systems that are covered with plastic sheathing. Aesthetics are kept in mind while working on residential projects, as wires are hidden from view. Wiring in commercial spaces is hidden in tube conduits, as easy maintenance is the key for commercial spaces.

Also, residential, and commercial electricians are supposed to adhere to different rules and policies.

Can A Commercial Electrician Work as a Residential Electrician?

 Yes. It is possible, but it is advised that commercial electricians should obtain the required training before starting. Since they work with different wiring systems, training is required.

Can A Commercial Electrician Take on A Residential Project?

Usually, commercial contractors may have partners holding residential electrician licenses, which allows them to take on residential projects, but vice versa is not possible.

Whether You Need a Commercial Electrician Or A Residential Electrician?

Usually, you don’t differ between both, but you should. For example, if you need an electrician for your home project, search for residential electricians in your area. But if you need one for your commercial space, such as an office, business place, warehouse, etc., a commercial electrician is the right choice.

Besides, the electrician is responsible for informing you whether they are permitted to take on your project. For example, if you mistakenly approach a commercial electrician for your residential project, they must inform you and can further guide you as to who can help.

What Kind of permit Is required For Electrical Work in California?

Every electrical project requires a C-10 license for any electrical installation, repair, remodeling, alteration, and replacement. Only a person holding a valid California State Contractor’s License is issued a permit. You can also obtain the same as an owner or lessee.

Final Words

If you were confused about which electrician you must hire, the differences are right before you, making it easier for you to choose the right one.

Do take your projects seriously and hire only licensed experts to do the job.

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