A good number of people either have or know of a horror story about poor workmanship and/or exorbitant pricing from their electrician. Getting ripped-off by an electrician can go beyond inconvenience or a hit to the wallet. Shoddy electrical workmanship can pose serious safety risks. Moreover, faulty work performed by an unlicensed electrician can leave a homeowner or business owner open to legal liability for any injury incurred by a third party. Therefore, selecting the right person for the job is vital.
Before contracting with anyone, write out a complete description of the work you wish to have done. If you are having a home improvement or adding on another room, now would be a good time to consider future electrical needs. For example, with the proliferation of electrical appliances and devices available to consumers and businesses, having renovation work done might be a good time to have additional outlets installed too.
Beginning your search can sometimes be a daunting task. Start your hunt by searching on the internet, thumbing through the phone book or asking your friends if they have used somebody that they trust. You should only hire a licensed electrician. Although this does not guarantee excellent workmanship, it does mean minimum standards of training and/or experience have been met. Be sure that the contractor you go with is insured.
Narrow your search down to three companies and invite each to inspect your location and place a bid on the job. This is a good time to confirm their qualifications. Ask about their licenses, whether they are insured, and how long they have been in business.
You and the company you hire should be on the same page when it comes to the proposed work. Review the list of work that you want done and gain agreement. If the electrician proposes something materially different, have him or her explain in layman’s terms why the additional work is necessary. If the explanation does not “feel” right or is not made clear, move on to the next. On the other hand, if it does sound right, you may be speaking to somebody who knows what he or she is talking about and may prove to know more about electrical work that the others.
It is also in your interest to ask any prospective electrician for references. He or she should not hesitate to provide you with at least three references in your area. Contact those customers and ask about the quality of work delivered. Problems with work sometimes occur. How a company responds to those problems is important. Ask references about post installation support.
For many people, price is often the determining factor as to whom they hire. Compare the bids from all the candidates for the job. Least expensive is not always the best, especially if the lowest bidder does not measure up to all of the criteria you have set for selection. Further, as a rule of thumb, it is better to have pricing based on the overall job rather than on an hourly rate. Lastly, be sure the start and finish dates are clearly stipulated.
Having a home improvement and hiring an electrician does not have to be a risky venture or an exercise in frustration. Careful attention to the selection process usually results in a favorable experience, one that does not break the bank or blow the fuse box.