In general, if you have a mechanical aptitude you can perform some minor electrical work as do-it-yourself projects. At the very least, you can remove the covers on your switches and outlets to paint, and you know how to check your circuit breakers when power goes out. However, most homeowners are going to need a licensed electrician on occasion for a number of reasons.
Obviously if you’re building your own house you’ll need a professional electrician. If a contractor is conducting the job for you, he’ll be overseeing the electrician, but you’ll likely have questions or instructions at some point and need to deal directly with the electrician.
More importantly concerning new construction and hiring your own electrician is when you buy a new house that you didn’t have input about during construction. You may want to change or add lighting fixtures to suit your taste and fit your needs. You may want to upgrade to a better quality of switches and outlets or add some as needed for specific electronics and appliances you use.
Repairs are going to come up over time. As a homeowner you may or may not feel comfortable replacing an outlet, but the job is trying to determine what caused the problem. A professional electrician knows how to check for loose or compromised wiring and circuit breakers that aren’t functioning properly. These types of tests not only prevent the new outlet or fixture from also blowing out, but prevent a potential safety issue from remaining in your home.
Renovations and especially additions are always going to require the services of a professional electrician. Even if you hire someone else to be in charge of the project, you’re still going to want to vet the electrician to assure it’s someone who is licensed and recognized in the community as performing great work. An experienced electrician is going to understand current trends and codes and be able to work with you toward making the project turn out perfect.
Hopefully you won’t need the services of an electrician often, but when you do, it helps to already be familiar with who you need to call. Any licensed electrician can get the job done, but you want more than an electrical system that doesn’t meet code or is “barely legal” at best. A great electrician has the knowledge and experience to use well known parts brands and do the job right the first time.