If you're in the line trade, chances are that you've heard about contract work and traveling. If there's one thing that keeps electricians employed, it's change. Many linemen have turned to contracting to keep their skills sharp and their future secure.
Why work the job of a traveling lineman?
Contract Linemen face a lot of danger while working, and they often have to endure high-stress situations. However, it is also a profession that provides the rewards of being able to work outdoors and make an impact on their community. Linemen need to be able to take care of themselves in the case of an emergency. The career path is not easy by any means, but when you're surrounded by such great people it can be incredibly rewarding.
What skills do you need?
Because of the risks that come with the job, you need to be licensed by the state in which your company has its headquarters, and you have to be tested by the National Association of Linemen (N.A.L.) or the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).
You need to be brave, skilled, and highly coordinated to become a lineman. To get started on this path, you must attend an institute where you'll learn about electricity safety, transmission lines maintenance, electrical system design projects, etc.
Best States For High-paying Lineman jobs
Lineman jobs consist of helping to construct power lines, phone lines, and internet cables. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics includes Lineman as a profession in its census statistics for approximately 1 million workers who are currently employed in this position.
The states with the highest paying Lineman jobs include:
- Washington (average annual salary: $109,887)
- Nevada (average annual salary: $106,538)
- Idaho (average annual salary: $106,538)
- Oregon (average annual salary: $104,571)
- Wyoming (average annual salary: $91,465)
Tips for contract linemen
Now that you know the benefits and dangers of the job, let's talk about a few tips that can help you in your career as a lineman.
Tip #1: How to save money on the road as a traveling lineman
Linemen usually have tight budgets to follow and need to make sure they have enough cash for work-related expenses during their stay in the area, especially if they do not know how long it will be until their next paycheck arrives. There are several ways that a traveling lineman can save money while on the road. A traveling lineman should try to save money on the road by eating out less, carpooling with coworkers, and staying in hotels off of city centers. They can also save money on the road by learning ways to cook healthier meals if they do not have access to a kitchen, by making reservations at hotels for discounts when needing a stay for more than one night, and by paying in cash.
Moreover, a little bit of planning and research can go a long way. Some hotel chains have great membership reward programs that can help you save thousands of dollars in the long run. Several business credit cards reward you higher cash-backs for staying at partner hotels. The Chase Sapphire Preferred, for example, allows you to earn more points when you stay at one of its many partner hotel (and motel) chains.
Tip #2: Run the business with passion
Some contractors get into the business just to turn a profit. A lineman needs to have a passion for the work they are doing.
The lineman contractor needs to have some sense of the business by knowing who they are competing with, how much they charge for the services, and how much it costs them. Most importantly, they need to enjoy what they're doing as the work often requires you to stay away from family.
Tip #3: Join Contractor’s forums/blogs
Forums and blogs for electricians and lineman contractors tend to be more active than those for other tradespeople. The current state of electrician licensing is covered in detail on many contractor blogs. They also publish a state by state by state list of the best electrical schools for new electricians. Moreover, by joining an online community, you can reduce the sense of loneliness that could otherwise come from being on the road. Lineman Central is improving the educational information for contractors.