Many of us enjoy doing projects around the home.  Do-it-Yourselfers are the reason huge box stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot stay in business.  However, some DIY residential  projects are best left to a professionally trained contractor.  In some cases, taking on projects without the proper training only leads to greater costs as someone must correct the mistakes made by the homeowner. This is especially true with electrical work.  In addition to costs, there are inherent dangers in dealing with electricity.  Aside from personal safety, doing an electrical project incorrectly can lead to grave consequences, none the least of which is fire.  In fact, electrical issues are the number one cause of house fires.

Here are some tips to help you when you are hiring an electrician for your next project:

  1. Are they properly licensed, bonded and insured? This is a no brainer and applies to hiring any contractor.   If the answer is yes, is the electrician a “master” electrician or a “journeyman”?  Master electricians have at least 2 years’ experience and is licensed for installation and design of electrical systems.  A journeyman is licensed for installation only.
  2. Bundle your electrical projects to save money – Chances are if you’ve got one electrical project on your mind, there are likely other things electrical in and around your home that need attention. Combining multiple projects in to one large project makes sense.  You will save money and likely get a better price than if you did each project separately.  Also, you can have the same electrical contractor address all your issues.  If there is a problem, you only have one company to deal with.
  3. Who’s going to actually do the work? – You’ve hired an electrical contractor and then on the day they are to begin people who you’ve never met show up to do the work. What are their credentials and who is supervising?  Always be clear as to who is going to do the work and what are their qualifications.
  4. Ask for References – Is the contractor you’re considering willing to supply you with a list of references for similar jobs to what you are hiring them for? Talk to someone who has had the same kind of work done.  Ask for recent referrals who are homeowners like yourself.
  5. What about Permits? – Do any of the projects that you are hiring an electrical contractor for, require the pulling of a permit? If so, who will pull the permit, you or the contractor?  For jobs that require a permit, the work will be checked by a city or county inspector.  This is a great safeguard against shoddy work.  It’s also standard procedure for the contractor to pull the permit.  If someone is asking you to do that, think otherwise.
  6. What are the electricians Fees based on? Hourly rates? Are there Travel Fees? Whose financially responsible for correcting issues that may come up with broken dry wall, etc.?  Every electrician has their own fee schedule.  Some may not charge trip fees but have a higher hourly rate.  Depending on your project, it may be more cost effective to choose a contractor with a higher hourly rate and no travel fees.  This would be true for a shorter job.  For a longer job it may makes sense to choose a contractor with a lower hourly rate but who charges trip fees.
  7. Warranties & Guarantees – This is important as not all electricians offer the same warranties or guarantees. Some do a better job of standing behind their work than others.  If your project is more complex you may want to hire someone with exceptional warranties and guarantees.
  8. Be ready when it’s time to start your project – Now that you’ve decided who to hire for your project, do yourself a favor and have your home and the areas that the work will take place in clean and accessible. Move any furnishings or Knick Knacks as this will save time and money.  Be sure that your electrical panel is easily accessible.  If your panels circuit breakers are not properly labeled that would be a good thing to add to your list of things for your contractor to do.

With these eight tips, you’ll feel a lot more confident when hiring an electrician. If you have a question, visit our free electrical help page for answers to common electrical questions. As always, Positricity welcomes the opportunity to serve you when you need a professional electrical contractor, contact us today!