Hiring a professional electrician is something many people do over a lifetime. It could be due to needing a house built, a house rewired, or it could have to do with building out a retail location. Whatever the reason, it’s a good idea to learn the steps to hiring a professional electrician.
Describe the Project
You need to know exactly what work needs to be done before you embark on your search for an electrician. Each electrician or contractor specializes in different types of work, so you want to be sure to contact the right people so that you don’t waste your time or theirs if they don’t even do your type of work. Even if you don’t understand the details that go into the work you need done, you can describe it in general.
Ask Friends & Family for Recommendations
Once you know what type of project you need done, now ask your friends and family for recommendations. Try to gather five to eight different recommendations so that you can compare them. It helps if the recommendations are from people who have actually used the electrician in question and if the project is similar in nature to yours.
Research the Recommendations
Now that you have several recommendations, take the time to research the companies or individuals in question. During your research you might find other names to add to your list. Check their backgrounds ensuring they are not involved in any lawsuits or other issues. Plus you want to be sure they are actually certified and licensed electricians. Many people wrongly call themselves electricians when they are not.
Interview the Recommendations
Now you can call the recommendations and describe your job to ask if they would be interested in bidding on the project. Ask for a written and detailed free quote from each electrician. As you get the bids, also ask each electrician some thought out questions in advance about their licensure, certification, experience and payment policy.
Compare the Results
Now that you’ve got the bids, and you’ve interviewed each candidate, compare the results. Don’t always choose the lowest bid. Choose the candidate who answered your questions accurately, and who most impresses you regarding their work ethic. Choose the person most willing to work with you in the way you want.
Create a Contract
Most of the time the electrician will create a contract, make sure that it has everything in it you’ve discussed along with a detailed description of the job. It should define what the electrician will do, and won’t do, and how much it will cost. It should also describe contingencies such as weather issues or issues outside of your control or their control, and issues within their control and how they’ll handle that if they get off schedule. You can ask for things to be added to the contract so that you’re satisfied with it before you sign.
Pay Your Deposit
Typically you’ll need to pay up to 50 percent of the estimated cost to get your project started. After that, you’ll receive bills on an agreed upon schedule that is spelled out in the contract. Ensure that the last payment is not due until you’ve had a chance to evaluate whether the project is completed and successful or not.
One final note is to always keep track and keep tabs on your electrician. If it’s a big job you want to find out exactly what is done and what needs to be done periodically. One way to compare is to ask for itemized billing so that you can check that you’re only being billed for parts of the job that are actually finished.