Pro, Jo, or Solo – changing a light switch

Pro, Jo, or Solo is an ongoing series to help homeowners decide who they should use for their home maintenance, repairs, and renovations. Pros are licensed contractors with necessary qualifications, certificates, and insurance to perform their trades. Jos (that’d be your average Joe or Joanna handy person) are people with a variety of skills that can help around your house. They generally don’t have specific qualifications and may not even have insurance. Solo means you’re going to tackle this job yourself.

Replacing a light fixture or electrical switch

The job: Hanging a new chandelier or changing an existing light switch with a dimmer switch.

Difficulty – Simple. A pretty easy job to do but if you don’t have any knowledge about safely working with electricity it can be deadly!

Skills – Basic electrical knowledge and safety. 

Time – Less than an hour

Cost – Pro $140 to $180. Electricians generally charge a higher rate for their first hour (e.g. $160) and then less for subsequent hours (e.g. $80) so you get the most bang for your buck if you can group a few projects together.

Jo. There’s a big range here. Expect to pay $65 to $120

Solo. Free. Just takes a bit of your time.

So…Pro, Jo, or Solo?


If you’ve got a tool bag and take the necessary safety precautions, this is a job most homeowners can tackle themselves. For chandeliers, you should be able to safely work on a ladder and having a helper will make things go much quicker.

Check out this video to get an idea if this is a job you’ll be comfortable with.

…and also Pro.

Not everyone is comfortable working with electricity. And for good reason! If you don’t know what you’re doing it’s dangerous stuff. A handyperson can save you a few bucks but if an unlicensed contractor does electrical work in your home and something goes wrong you will have no recourse. Your home insurance isn’t going to cover you and your handyperson won’t have any coverage either. Any damage will have to be paid right out of your pocket.