When hiring an electrician, you want someone who explains what he or she is doing. It is also important to know what questions you should ask an electrician to help you know that they will be a good fit for your current job, as well as a source to call for emergencies and other projects down the road. It’s important to find an electrician who has the experience and the integrity to do the job right. You and your home or business are at stake. Electrical problems are responsible for:
- 12% of fires in office properties
- 10% of fires in stores and mercantile properties
- 9% of fires in restaurants
- 5% of fires in healthcare facilities
When hiring an electrician, ask the following questions to help you decide who is right for the job:
1. Are you licensed as an electrician?
Not all contractors are licensed. A licensed electrician is a professional who knows what they are doing. Union contractors are required to be up-to-date on the latest code requirements and adhere to current professional standards. They follow the National Electric Code Book as well as any state and city building code requirements. Failure to properly meet code requirements could mean additional costs down the road to re-do a non-compliant job. Union contractors and electricians must also regularly complete continuing education opportunities.
There are two types of licensure for electricians
The first is a journeyman. It usually takes 4 years to become a journeyman. Journeymen often work alongside a master electrician, which is the 2nd type of licensure. A master electrician has at least two additional years of professional experience and is licensed for both electrical system design and installation.
2. Are you insured?
When hiring an electrician, don’t consider anyone who isn’t properly insured. Electrical work involves a lot of risk and liability, so it’s important that the electrician you hire carries at least $500,000 in liability and its own workers’ compensation insurance. If the electrician is injured on the job and the contractor doesn’t carry workers’ compensation, it will come back on your insurance policy.
3. What kind of electrical work do you do most and how long have you been doing it?
Electricians often specialize in one area or another. As an example, if your project is a space that’s already finished, look for someone who specializes in remodels as opposed to new construction. If your business is unique in its electrical needs, such as a brewery, find an electrician who is familiar with those needs and who has performed that kind of job in the past.
It’s hard to judge the quality of their work when you can’t see most of it and don’t really know what to look for. Ask for a behind-the-scenes look at the electrician’s work. In general, you’re looking for evidence of quality, orderly installation. Look for things like:
- Circuit breakers that are clearly labeled
- Cables are securely anchored and those near the service panel (breaker box) are neat and orderly
- Switch boxes sit squarely and finish flush to the drywall surface
When hiring an electrician, it’s important to ask about their experience. An electrician with practical knowledge gained by experience can save you money by recommending the right solution rather than unnecessary repairs. To verify their skills, ask for references from past clients who had a job similar to yours.
4. What will you guarantee/warranty?
Problems can happen even when the work is done by good electricians. A reputable electrician stands behind their electrical work, their workers and their products by offering a warranty. Before you hire an electrician, ask if they have a warranty. Does it cover just parts, just labor, or both? And how long is it good for? Electricians usually assume responsibility for fixtures, devices and other equipment they buy for you through their professional accounts.
5. What does your estimate include?
It’s likely that the most burning question you have is, “How much is this going to cost?” When you need to hire an electrician for a residential or commercial project it’s important to solicit multiple bids. Ask them to include everything you will be charged for. Get a clear understanding of their pricing structure as well as the cost of incidentals, such as repairing drywall and other things affected by the electrical work. You’ll most likely be responsible for them. Get your estimates in writing.
When hiring an electrician, it’s natural to look for the best deal possible, but going with the lowest bid might not be the best decision. A more experienced and more highly trained electrician may charge more per hour. There also may work more quickly and efficiently, saving you money and hassle in the long run. Call Landmark Electric to get peace of mind, knowing your job will be done right the first time.