1. Verify License and Insurance
Don’t automatically assume every electrician prepared to do work in your home or at your business is licensed. Reputable contractors will gladly provide verification that such information is up to date. Most states also have a website that allows for easy professional license verification. Your state’s Department of Labor is another resource. In order to verify a license, you’ll need:
• The electrician’s name
• The name of the company they work for
• Their license number
Insurance should also be verified. The reason for this is to protect you against liability should an electrician be injured while doing work at your location. Insurance coverage also provides protection should there be any accidental damage to your property while electrical work is being done.
2. Ask for References
One of the best ways to boost your peace of mind when hiring an electrician is to ask for references. Reputable contractors usually have no problem giving you a few names of previous customers. If they have concerns about giving out customer info, another option is to check online review sites. It can also be helpful to ask for local examples of work they’ve done.
3. Discuss Budget Limitations
With planned electrical projects like new installations or wiring updates, a good electrician will typically make an effort to work within your budget. A good time to discuss your available budget is during an initial consultation before you agree to anything. If you notice a willingness to offer reasonable suggestions to keep expenses in check, take it as a sign that you’ve made the right decision.
4. Get an Initial Quote or Estimate
On a related note, a “good” electrician is one who will be honest and upfront about pricing. You should be able to get an accurate quote or estimate before any work is done. They should also be willing to put any quoted costs in writing. If you specifically know what kind of work you’ll need done, you can always look up the average cost associated with that particular task to get an idea of your quote is in line with the national average. For instance, the average cost of cost of electrical wiring for a 1,200 sq.ft. home is just under $10,500.
5. Make Sure Permits Are Obtained
A good electrician will never attempt to cut corners just to save time or money. They should be more than willing to provide proof they’ve obtained all necessary permits prior to starting any work. Furthermore, they should be just as willing to work within homeowners’ association guidelines that may apply.
6. Consider Schedule Flexibility
Granted, not all electrical work can be done at a time that’s perfect for you. However, a good electrician should have some degree of flexibility with scheduling. This might mean doing some work early in the morning or into late afternoon or early evening. With work done at businesses, a customer-focused company may be able to schedule certain types of electrical work at times that aren’t too inconvenient for your regular operations.
7. Ask About Environmentally Friendly Options
Good contractors are ones who keep up with trends that matter most to homeowners and business owners. One of these trends is the desire to opt for electrical fixtures and solutions that save energy and minimize carbon footprints as much as possible. This is especially important if your electrical work will involve lighting or wiring installations or upgrades.
8. Project Timelines Should Be Reasonable and Realistic
A high-quality and effective electrician will give you an estimated project timeline that’s both reasonable and realistic. While it’s understandable to make adjustments to a completion estimate for a more involved project, reputable electricians will make every effort to minimize delays and stay on track. Also, watch out for electricians who claim they can get the work done much faster than what’s reasonably expected with the type of work you want done.
9. Listening and Recommending Abilities Make a Difference
Especially good electrical professionals do more than just get the work done and call it a day. They typically make an effort to listen to customers during the consultation phase, respectfully and thoroughly answer questions, and use customer feedback to offer useful and recommendations in line with what’s right for your needs and budget.
10. Consider Customer Service and First Impressions
Lastly, consider your impression with an electrician’s approach to customer service. This means paying attention to and considering things like the general attitude and knowledge of any electrician you talk to and whether or not it was easy to get a hold of an actual person when you first contacted an electrician you are considering hiring. Also, go by how promptly they arrive for a first-time meeting or consultation and your general first impression when contacting an electrician.
It can be tempting to forego hiring a qualified electrician altogether and ask a friend with “some knowledge” of electrical issues to do the work. However, the potential problem with hiring an amateur electrician is the possibility of a small job turning into a big headache. You could also find yourself dealing with code violations, fines, and safety hazards. There are similar risks associated with attempts at do-it-yourself electrical work. It’s best to err on the side of caution and call on a trained and experienced professional for anything electricity-related you need done.