Home Improvement Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for contractors and serious DIYers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

We're getting ready to have our breaker box upgraded and the electrician gave us two quotes: One price if we get the permit ourselves... and another price if he needs to get the permit.

The second price is definitely more than the cost of the permit (not sure why). Is there any reason why I would want to pay more for the electrician to get the permit himself?

share|improve this question
You're paying him for the time it takes to file the paperwork. In some areas, electrical permits can only be pulled by a master Electrician. – Tester101 Sep 4 '13 at 16:04
I have pulled permits as home owner (I used to flip houses) at least 20 times. Never was their a mention of only a master electrician can pull the permit. Now who can perform the work, there are definitely local defined rules on this. – DMoore Sep 4 '13 at 16:06
Why do I feel like I am being tapped by the Electricians Intelligence Agency? I am like 2-3 more electrical answers away from them taking me out. This is a great question because I paid for a few permits when I started flipping. What a waste and my electricians filled out all 3 permits wrong. They are masters at their work, not masters in english or drawings. – DMoore Sep 4 '13 at 16:50
@DMoore Who can and cannot pull permits depends greatly on location. Some areas are more restrictive than others. – Tester101 Sep 4 '13 at 20:14

It is just filing paperwork and maybe drawing up schematics. In my town they like the home owners getting the permits. For a panel replacement there isn't much to draw. You probably have to label what you have and what you are putting in. Just go down to city hall, tell them what you are doing, and they will tell you what they want from you. Get the permit, save money, and make sure your electrician signs off on it at the end.

Also if you do the permit yourself you will be sure that the electrician is truly doing what you are paying him to do. He could submit one with 80% of the work detailed and the inspector will not be looking for the other 20%.

And side note: It is often easier in smaller towns to bundle permits. Always ask yourself, "Do I have any other work I need to get done?"

And money saving note: Permits are often based on the cost of the work done. If the electrician charges you a lot to get the permit then the permit costs more.

share|improve this answer
Just thinking of the worst case scenario - let's say I hire an electrician to do the work and he flakes. Do I need to get a completely new permit if another electrician will do the same work? – Mike B Sep 4 '13 at 17:54
No. Permits are based on the work being done. Not who is doing it. If you think you could possibly get another electrician it is even more reason to get the permit yourself. Also as long as the work has something to do with your panel, you can usually add that to a permit. Cities do not want 3-4 permits on a house. They are making money based on your estimated costs of enhancements - putting things in different stacks is inefficient for them. – DMoore Sep 4 '13 at 18:59
Actually right now I have a permit for redoing my basement - covers everything - framing, electric, plumbing... I had some minor roof damage from a tree and asks them to pull another permit for the insurance work and they said they would just add it to the existing one. – DMoore Sep 4 '13 at 19:01

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.