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What To Look For In An Electrician

What To Look For In An Electrician

If you’re running a business or working on a home improvement project, one of the last things you want to deal with is hiring an electrician who doesn’t know what he’s doing.

The consequences can range from inconvenient (e.g., blown fuses) to dangerous (e.g., electrocution) and costly (fixing work done incorrectly). So how do you find someone who fits your needs? Here are eight tips for finding the right person for the job:

1. Ask friends and family members for referrals  

If people you trust have had good experiences with an electrician, there’s a good chance that you will too. Of course, this isn’t foolproof, since people are bound to have different expectations. And word-of-mouth referrals are no substitute for conducting research of your own.

2. Check references  

What kind of work did the electrician do for other people? What was the experience like? How did his or her customers feel about the results? You can almost be certain that you’ll never get a reference list as long as the one compiled by Robert Half International, but even a handful of names can give you an idea of what hiring this person will be like. 

3. Ask how much experience he or she has   

A newbie might not have any work to show off yet, while an old pro might not have time to take on smaller jobs — no matter how good he or she is, if hiring this person would be a waste of his or her time, you’re not going to benefit from the relationship. That said, there are pros and cons to hiring an electrician who has plenty of experience versus one with less seasoning.

The former might charge more for his or her services, but you can probably trust him or her with any job — small or large. The latter may have lower rates, but you might need to do more hand-holding throughout the process because the worker doesn’t have as much expertise.

4. Find out whether he or she is licensed  

A qualified professional should be required by law to get proper licensing that verifies the work being done meets standards designed to protect consumers. It’s worth asking what type of licensing the electrician has, but also make sure he or she has the appropriate insurance coverage (e.g., liability insurance in case there are injuries caused by faulty work).

5. Ask how long it will take to do the job   

Although you might be in a rush to get your project done, rushing an electrician can lead to shoddy work that wastes money later on. If you’re hiring someone whom you’ll need to schedule around existing commitments (e.g., if he or she is moonlighting), then find out when he or she is available and plan all other appointments around those times.

If the electrician has room in his or her schedule for your project, ask how soon it can be done.

6. Verify the final price  

An itemized estimate is a good idea in case there are unexpected costs associated with your project — it provides a paper trail that you and the electrician can refer to if he or she tries to charge you for something that’s not in the contract.

You should also ask how much of a deposit is required before work begins, when the rest will be due, and what happens if this person needs more money than originally planned (e.g., additional materials).

7. Ask about warranties  

This isn’t typically part of hiring an electrician, but it’s worth asking whether anything put in place by this worker — new equipment or wiring, for example — comes with its own warranty. In many cases, warranties are good for one year from the date of installation, after which any problems with those items should be covered by your insurance policy.

Depending on what’s being installed, you might also need a warranty that comes with a certain life expectancy (e.g., at least five years).

8. Ask who pays for additional work  

No matter how thorough your electrician is initially, there’s always a chance that he or she will miss something during the job and have to return later to fix it. Sometimes this can be avoided by hiring someone who’s licensed in all phases of electrical work so any issues can be dealt with during the process rather than afterwards.

But if these issues come up anyway — particularly if they’re a result of this person’s lax attention to detail — you might have to foot the bill for additional, or remedial, work.

Given that you’ve read these tips, you might want to consider knowing the best work pants for electrician also. Just click it.

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