Whether you’re building a new home, rewiring an existing home, or doing some remodeling, at some point, most homeowners will need to hire an electrician. Finding a trustworthy electrician may seem challenging, but there are several ways to make the process easier. Doing a little research and asking the right questions will help you find the right electrician for your particular project.
Making Sure Your Electrician Passes Muster
When hiring an electrician, here are six important questions to ask. Answers to these questions will enable you to determine whether they are right for you and the work needing to be done.
1. What Type of Training Do You Have?
Safely doing electrical work requires years of schooling, proper on-the-job training, and obtaining the right licensing. There are different levels of experience and training when it comes to electricians.
Journeyman electricians have knowledge of wiring methods, general equipment, and basic electrical theory. Master electricians have a minimum of two years of experience and are licensed to install, maintain and design electrical systems. The type of installation or repair will determine whether a journeyman or master electrician is required for your particular job.
2. Are You Licensed?
Any contractor who performs work in your home should be licensed. Depending on the scope of the job, work performed by an unlicensed electrician may not meet local code requirements so it’s important to ensure that the electrician you choose is licensed to work in your area.
In Missouri, electrical licensing requirements are decided at the city and county level rather than at the state level. Missouri now offers a statewide electrical contractor license for skilled electricians that allows them to work anywhere in the state but it is not required.
3. What Type of Insurance Coverage Do You Have?
Electrical work comes with high liability, so all parties need appropriate protection. Make sure they have both liability and workers’ compensation insurance. Hiring an electrician without proper insurance coverage exposes you to increased risk. If something goes wrong, you could be held financially liable.
Most contractors will give you a copy of their certificate of insurance. It’s a good idea to call the insurance company to verify that the policy is still active before signing a contract.
4. What is Your Specialty?
Electricians, like other contractors, often specialize in a certain type of work. Some electricians focus solely on residential or commercial properties. Although most electricians can handle common electrical issues, other services are more complicated. For example, not all electricians are qualified to handle solar installations, home security systems, data wiring, and other specialized projects. It’s important to hire someone with specific experience for your type of job.
5. Who Will Do the Work?
Don’t assume that the person who gives you an estimate is the one who does the work. You need to know if the owner, an employee, or a subcontractor will be doing your electrical work.
When it comes to subcontractors, it’s important to make sure that you understand what legal responsibility you may have. Not all contractors have subcontractors covered by insurance.
6. Will the Job Require a Permit?
Small jobs, like replacing outlets or updating light fixtures, typically don’t require a permit or inspection. Larger jobs, including rewiring and electrical panel replacements, usually require a permit and an inspection. If your job is large enough to require a permit, your contractor should be able to handle the permitting and inspection process.
Find a Qualified Electrician You Can Trust
There are some steps you can take to narrow down your choices and increase your chances of success.
Get Recommendations and Check References
Ask family, friends, and neighbors if they have recently hired an electrician and if they would use that person again. It’s always a good idea to check several references before hiring any type of contractor to work in your home. Don’t rely on just the reviews published on their website. A professional electrician will willingly provide a list of past clients for you to contact directly.
Do Some Research
Check out potential electricians on the internet. Study their website for information: how long have they been in business, what type of electrical work do they specialize in, do they offer a service warranty? Check with the Better Business Bureau for reviews and to see if any complaints have been lodged against them.
Get Several Estimates
If it’s a large project, you should get several bids before selecting an electrical contractor. Don’t automatically choose the lowest bid. A higher bid may more accurately reflect the cost to do the work or ensure better quality. A written estimate should include a detailed description of the work to be done, materials, completion date, and the total price. Ask for an explanation if there is a large discrepancy between estimates.
Read the Contract Before Signing
Even if your state doesn’t require a written contract, ask for one. Before you sign a contract, make sure it includes the following:
1. The electrician’s name, address, phone number, and license number
2. An estimated start and completion date
3. A detailed description of the work to be done
4. Make sure all blank spaces are filled and that both parties sign
Call a Local Trusted Electrician
When you need electrical work for your home or business, call on the experts at Pallardy Electric. We’ve been serving St. Charles and St. Louis counties since 2001. We’re licensed, bonded, and insured for your safety and protection. Call us at (636) 202-1794 to schedule a free estimate. We look forward to working with you.