Electrician Travel: How Far We Go

This week, I got chatting to a maintenance electrician who was permanently stationed at the site I was working at. Whilst chatting, the conversation moved to the pros and cons of our different electrician roles. He mentioned that he liked being based in one location all the time as this meant he didn’t have to travel a lot. He then asked me, do electricians have to travel a lot?

This made me think that other people may like to know how much travel is involved in being an electrician; so I decided to do a little research. I looked into the different types of electrician roles to see which ones do and don’t involve travelling around to different work locations.

Electrician van with ladder on the roof
Electrician van with ladder on the roof

Many electricians find that they travel a lot. From the research we conducted, a total of 90% of electrician roles required local travel, with 30% of all electrician roles advertised requiring nationwide travel. There were some notable exceptions to this rule.

Rather than just use my own experience I decided to have a look at career websites and put together a table of different electrician jobs on offer. I’ve compared the type of electrician role with the advert statement regarding the amount of travelling the successful sparky is expect to do.

Whilst there’s obviously exceptions I think this helps to give some idea into how much we travel in general. I’ve also included the salary on offer because I think it’s handy to know if traveling around equals more money! Source for data

Job Adverts Specifying if the Electrician has to Travel a Lot

Electrician RoleTravel RequiredVan IncludedStatement regarding travellingSalary on offer (£)
Electrician – EV installations teamLocalYesCovering the city of Bristol and the surrounding areas31,500 – 35,000
Electrical engineering maintenance technicianNationwideNoMay require periodic travel to Chesterfield site (from Cardiff site)30,000 – 40,000
Shop maintenance Engineer (Greggs Bakery)LocalYesYou will be working in and around the Bristol area, including towns such as Chepstow and Caldicot.39,892 – 40,392 (& cheap sausage rolls!)
Renewable Energy Electrical EngineerNationwideNo (Self-employed)We’ve got positions available for self-employed electrical engineers to work NationwideUp to 100,000
ElectricianLocalYesOperating throughout Bristol and surrounding areas.35,000 – 45,000
Multi Skilled Electrician LocalYesYou will travel across contracts/sites as required.Not declared
ElectricianLocalYesThis is a mobile role covering the South West. Night working, travel and some stay away may be requiredUp to 50,000
Approved Electrician NationwideYesThis role will cover from the M25 to M4 corridor)30,000 – 40,000
Maintenance Electrician NoNo*Permanently based at a nuclear site26,629 – 31,291
ElectricianLocalYesYou would be covering a local patch (South West Based)40,000 – 50,000
Comparison of electrician jobs requiring travel

From the research, we can see that 90% of electrician jobs advertised require some degree of travelling, with 30% of electrician jobs requiring nationwide travel. Maintenance electrician roles have the least amount of travel as they tend to be permanently based on one site.

The results may be music to your ears if you like to travel or lot or possibly leave a feeling of disappointment if you prefer to stay closer to home. Fear not, the rest of this article will look at the various options available so we can pick the electrician role best suited to us.

Why Do Electricians Travel a Lot?

As electricians we travel a lot as we are usually responding to breakdowns and carrying out new installation work. The location of this work varies by its nature. Once we have completed a repair, or finished a new installation, we must then move on to the next job.

National travel is required for specialist electricians or when national contracts are won. There are many national companies who put out a tender for their work (a document that invites electricians to quote for the job) As these locations are all across the country, the electrical company who win the contract must travel all around the country to carry out the work.

Travelling locally is very common as electricians tend to gain the majority of their work in the local area via advertising or good old word of mouth.

In a city there can be plenty of work (we even find we have to work weekends) which prevents us having to venture too far afield in search of the next job. In rural areas more travelling is often needed to find work.

Do all Electricians Travel a Lot?

How much travelling we do as electricians is largely impacted by how specialist our role is. For general electricians there are often enough to be selected from the local area to prevent much nationwide travel.

Getting ready to pull in cables on a wet and muddy wind farm
Getting ready to pull in cables on a wet and muddy wind farm

Some electricians are more specialist and their work is spread out over greater distances. Here’s a few examples below

  • Electricians who work on wind turbines travel a long way between construction sites as wind farms are spaced out all over the country.
  • Electricians with specialist knowledge such as nuclear find they have to travel to various nuclear sites as the local area doesn’t often have the specialist skill set needed
  • Electricians who work for large national companies can expect to travel a lot if there is a lack of work in their local area. Instead of making redundancies, large employers prefer to re-deploy their electricians to other areas nationwide in the short term.

Which Type of Electricians Don’t have to Travel a Lot?

From the research above we can see that maintenance electrician is one role where an electrician is not expected to travel a lot on a regular basis. Maintenance electricians are based on one site so they commute back and forth to a single place of work each day.

A downside for maintenance electricians is that although they don’t travel a lot they usually have to work some sort of shift pattern including working nights.

Self-employed electricians also have the advantage that they can dictate where and when they work. If a self-employed electrician does not want to travel a lot for work they only except jobs in the local area.

It’s worth bearing in mind that even though a self-employed electrician can refuse to travel, in fact they often travel a lot in order to find work. If they are not working they are not being paid!

In my experience of large building sites there are usually lots of electricians that have travelled from all over the country staying overnight in hotels etc as they are “chasing the work” as it’s known (usually being well compensated financially it’s worth adding)

Are Electricians Paid Well for Travelling a Lot?

Electricians can be well paid for travelling a lot, but this is not a guarantee. From our research we can see that one of the electrician roles, requiring nationwide travel, is offering a salary of up to £100,000 – far in excess of the other roles which require only local travel.

We can also see from the research that some of the nationwide travel roles are paying similar wages to the local travel roles. The money we can earn for travelling a lot really depends on a job by job basis.

From my perspective working for an electrical contractor, we always got paid travelling time in addition to our normal hourly wage (more on average working week can be found here). Although the travel time was less than the hourly wage it could still add up to a nice bonus at the end of the month if we had covered a lot of miles those previous weeks.

It’s also worth noting that jobs which require travel always included a van. This means that the travelling is completely paid for by the employer. When you think how much some people pay to commute too and from work; this is a nice cost saving for electricians.

Dave Nicholas

I have worked as a professional electrician for many years and like to use my experience to help others in any little way I can.