Electricians carry a lot of supplies for small repairs and additions. Depending on the work you need done, they may not have what is needed in their van. Here’s a list of the common items typically kept in stock in the electrician’s van:
- Wire and cable – various gauge and type of wire for common installations
- Standard 15amp Decora receptacles
- Standard Decora switches
- Various size cover plates
- Standard receptacle boxes
- Re-work box for adding a receptacle to a finished wall
- Marrettes and various other connectors
- Staples and clamps
- An odd collection of breakers (most are used but still in good shape) for various panels
- Various pieces of PVC and EMT conduit and various connectors
- Bottles of adhesives and lubricants
- Electrical tape
- Burial tape
- A 6-foot ladder
- A 14- or 20-foot extension ladder
- Personal tools (basic set of electrician’s own tools including voltage meter and megohm meter)
- Odds and sods
- Refuse containers for recycling and disposal
These items are the most commonly needed items for small jobs, but they only represent about 3% of what could actually be needed to complete a particular project. So, when an electrician is doing a service call they may have to leave to get what is required.
Some customers get annoyed about this, because they may think the electrician is wasting valuable time. But the truth is, they are saving you time and major frustration. There are thousands, if not millions of electrical parts and components, some with 20 or more model variations to be applied to a particular situation. No electrical van can possibly carry around the entire available inventory of electrical materials. Seriously, they would have to drive a warehouse on wheels and would be a major target for theft. Plus, customers couldn’t purchase these items on their own, because they don’t actually know what’s needed to do the job right and to Code standard. The electrician does know exactly what is needed, and that is why they have to leave and make the purchases themselves.
And yes, you will be paying for your electrician to do this, but now you know why and you understand, right? But if you still don’t understand, try taking a visit to your local Home Depot’s electrical supplies department. Look around and notice how many receptacles and switches there are. Ponder over the variety of boxes. Glory in the plethora of conduit pieces and types. Bask in the range of breaker panels and breakers. Now double the number of items you saw in your head, because Home Depot definitely doesn’t have everything needed to do every job. They don’t specialize in electrical. And even local electrical suppliers who do specialize in this area, have to occasionally order items in, because there is so much more available than their stock items. It’s actually really hard to imagine them all in one place. Now do you understand?
If not, try a similar situation, like shopping for light fixtures. Ever gone on the internet to look for a fixture to replace a light? Can you say F R U S T R A T I N G ??? There are so many fixtures out there, it’s basically impossible to choose. Different finishes, different shades, different styles, different mount-types, different number of bulbs, different, different, different. It’s so hard to choose, that some people hire people to do it for them. Yup! That’s right. They pay someone to shop for them. Can you believe that?