Power up an outdoor living space for between $1,000 and $2,500, on average
While some consider detached garages to be “old school,” homeowners can easily shake this stigma by bringing electricity to your home’s other free-standing objects. After all, bringing light and power to your home’s other free-standing buildings opens up many possibilities—a new workspace, a new office, or even an attached loft you can rent out for extra cash.
The cost to run electricity to a detached garage or shed really comes down to how much power you need, how difficult installation is in your home and yard, and perhaps even where you live. This cost guide breaks it all down for you.
How Much Does It Cost To Run Electricity to a Detached Garage or Shed?
Running electricity to a detached garage or shed typically costs between $1,000 and $2,500, depending on factors such as electrical needs, distance to your detached garage or shed, and whether or not you need to cut into drywall to run new wiring. If extensive work is needed to run wires in your home, the project could cost much more—as much as $4,000 to $5,000+ is possible.
On average, detached garages cost more than sheds due to higher electrical loads. These projects often require multiple installations throughout the garage, whereas a shed’s electrical unit is typically installed in one area.
Does Location Impact Cost?
Electricians typically charge between $50 and $100 per hour for their time, with the national average between $160 and $520 for a professional to visit your home and complete the job.
Major metropolitan cities in America—like Denver, New York, and Los Angeles—tend to charge around $100 or more per hour for electrical work.
Rural electricians often charge $50 per hour (and less in some cases), but you may have to pay for them to drive out to your home. You should also consider that detached garages and sheds may be further away in rural areas, requiring more electrical materials and thus upping the price.
How Much Garage Electrical Wiring Can I Get on My Budget?
These three price brackets will help you figure out how much electricity you can get installed in your garage or shed.
Most multi-wire circuit jobs and more difficult electrical wire laying are possible in this price range.
Ultimately, many electricians will quote you a price based on your intended use for the space. If you plan to run high-powered tools in your detached garage or shed, they may suggest installing higher-end equipment, which will drive the price up. To save money, discuss options and ask where you can save money on materials.
For $1,200 or less, you may be able to run a basic single-wire circuit from your home to a garage or shed. But if a multi-wire circuit or separate lighting and receptacles need to be installed, you could easily exceed this price range.
To stay within your budget, consult several electricians, or consider hiring an electrical handyman in your area. A lower hourly rate could save you hundreds in installation costs.
You could easily pay more than $2,500 if drywall needs to be broken into to lay new electrical wiring along your home or in your garage or shed. If access to wires is restricted, you could pay more than $2,500 for this project alone, without even factoring in running new electrical wires.
At this price point, you may also be considering upping your electrical service panel (such as going from a 100-amp panel to 200-amp). This typically costs in the range of $1,300 to $3,000.
Can I DIY This Project?
Unless you have significant experience working with electrical wiring, DIY electrical projects are not encouraged for safety reasons. You also run the risk of messing up your home’s electrical wiring, which could require an expensive fix.
The cost to hire an electrician near you, while higher, is easily justified for this project.
The Cost Breakdown
Here are all the factors that go into running electricity to a detached living space.
Homeowners running electricity to a detached garage or shed often have a goal in mind—working in a new space, building a recreation room, or even designing additional living space in the form of a garage apartment or loft. An electrician can help you determine how much electricity you'll need to accomplish these goals. The more equipment and appliances you think you’ll be running, the higher the cost will be.
Size of the Unit
Detached garages may require two separate installations of electrical wiring and receptacles, which will increase installation costs. This is why it’s important to have an electrician come to your home and not give you a quote over the phone.
Distance to House
Underground feeder cables are used to run electricity from your home to a garage or shed. The longer the distance, the more digging and installation your job will require.
Bare Studs vs. Drywall
In new homes with bare studs, you can easily run new electrical wiring to a detached living space. But if you need to break into drywall or circumvent an existing electrical system to give power to your garage or shed, it will cost more.
Many electricians will tear up drywall for you as part of the job. However, most don’t put new drywall down—so you may have to consider the cost of hiring a local drywall repair contractor or doing it yourself. The national average is $1 to $3 per square foot, with a typical final price exceeding $1,000.
Professional electricians are licensed to perform this type of work in most states and thus don’t need a permit.
If you’re still considering running electricity by yourself (and we encourage you to think very carefully about this before proceeding), keep in mind that it’s illegal in some states to perform DIY electrical work without a permit, which could cost between $25 and $200.
Cost to Run Garage Electrical Wire by Type
Single-wire transmission uses only one electrical conductor, and is commonly used in rural areas to lay electrical wiring underground at an affordable cost. This type is best for basic electrical setups in garages and sheds. Around $1,500 is a good estimate.
Multi-wire transmission is more flexible and strong, and makes it easier to run appliances or power tools in your detached garage. You’ll pay in the range of $1,500 to $2,500 for this in a basic home installation where extensive drywall work isn’t required.
FAQs About Running Electricity to a Detached Garage
How much power do you need to run electricity to a detached garage?
The answer depends on your needs and the availability of your current electrical panel. If you’re hoping to seriously up the power in your detached living space, you may also need to consider increasing the power of the amp your home runs on (from 100-amps to 200-amps, for example).
Is running electricity to a detached shed worth it?
For many homeowners, sheds are more than storage spaces for tools or lawn care appliances. If you’re thinking about building a work space outdoors or could make your life simpler by running electricity to a spot that’s closer to your yard, it could absolutely be worth the cost.