What to Do Before Hiring an Electrician
When hiring an electrician, ensure you’re getting a trustworthy contractor. Whether you’re experiencing a power outage or you just want to upgrade your lighting, choosing an inexperienced electrician can create costly problems, as well as potentially dangerous ones. You don’t want to hire an unreliable electrician, and be left in the freezing cold without heating or electricity.
The first thing to do when looking for an electrician is to ask friends and neighbors for recommendations. If they used a contractor and were satisfied with his service, chances are you will be too. If none of your neighbors or friends know of a reliable electrician, you can find a number of local electricians online and read their reviews. Additionally, if you’ve already contacted a contractor, request past customer references. Once you have references, use them. A short phone call asking how the customer liked the service he received will be a great indication of how reliable the contractor is.
When looking for an electrician, it’s a good idea to get a number of estimates. However, don’t rely too heavily on them. For one, a less expensive estimate is not always a better one. A more experienced contractor may charge more, and it’s probably worth it. Either way, ask the right questions and make sure your electrician has experience with the type of project you need help with. Discuss guarantees with your potential electrician,as well. What happens if the problem you hired him to fix repeats itself? Will he come back, free of charge? If so, how long is the agreement valid for?
Make Sure it’s Legal
Once you have selected a contractor, make sure he is licensed, insured and bonded. Ask him for copies of these documents, then verify that they are for your area and still valid. While an unlicensed electrician will probably be less expensive, if something goes wrong you won’t have any way of tracking him down, and your homeowners insurance will not cover the damage. Also, make sure the contractor has the right permits for the job. This means someone will inspect the work and approve it as safe.
Consolidate Electrician Visits
When hiring an electrical contractor, try to have him take care of as many problems and upgrades in one visit as possible. Because a contractor will charge just to come to your home, you’ll save money by consolidating the repairs and inspections into a single service call.
Updated July 22, 2018.