In the market for a residential electrician? Whether this is your first time hiring a contractor for a job or not, there are a few tips to keep in mind to make sure you get the best service possible. Go through this list with any residential electrician you consider, and you’ll be far more likely to find a satisfactory, reliable, trustworthy hire for your needs.
1) Check references
Perhaps the simplest advice for anyone looking at any sort of contractor, it nonetheless bears repeating. When shopping for a residential electrician, you’re not just looking for someone with basic competence as an electrician, but someone who can specifically fulfill your needs.
That’s why you should ask for references relevant to your own needs; you don’t want to talk to someone whose project looked completely different from what you need—you want to talk to someone who can tell you what to expect based on a similar set of needs.
2) Make sure communication is easy and clear
If you can’t get them to talk to you consistently or every communication seems rife with errors, it’s time to move on. You don’t want miscommunication resulting in problems down the line, delays in resolving issues, trouble following up on a warranty, etc. Poor communication also greatly increases the odds of additional charges down the line, because without clear communication any estimate you receive isn’t worth a thing.
3) Look into guarantees and warranties
Any residential electrician confident in their work will offer strong promises. If you look into warranties and guarantees and spot a lot of vaguaries, loopholes, and escape hatches for the electrician, you might want to move on. After all, any skilled electrician will gladly back their work appropriately, confident that they’ll rarely need to fulfill those promises. A less competent electrician, by contrast, will need room to wriggle free, lest their mistakes and missteps bankrupt them within a year.
4) Get estimates and plans in writing
It’s important that you have proper documentation of what you’re been promised, even early in the electrician shopping process. Not only will proper estimates and plans help you understand what you’re getting for your money and what you can expect from the electrician you’re vetting, it will come in handy if something goes awry down the line.
5) Confirm qualifications and certifications
It’s good to have an electrician offer their qualifications appropriate to the job, but it’s important to follow up on them as well—especially if a failure to do so might result in an unsafe or otherwise out-of-code home. Don’t feel awkward about checking up on what you’ve been told; it may seem unpleasant, but you owe yourself and anyone else living in the home they’re working on at least this much in due diligence.
6) Ask plenty of questions
Don’t be afraid to ask any and all questions that cross your mind while vetting an electrician. Experience, expertise, team size, timelines, all of it is fair game. Asking questions lets you ascertain the confidence, professionalism, and competence of a residential electrician, even if you don’t always understand the details of the answers. All the better if you take the time to do some homework on the job you’re hiring them for, so you know what good answers should sound like—and bad ones.
7) Document any changes and extra charges
This is more a tip for managing a residential electrician once they’re hired, but it’s important to mention nonetheless. Any adjustments made to the plan or contract once you begin should be documented, along with the associated expenses and adjusted timeline estimates. This becomes increasingly important with larger jobs, where changes can quickly pile up if communication early on wasn’t clear enough, the electrician didn’t plan well enough, or you’re working with a dubious contractor looking to stack up extra charges.
Follow these seven tips for hiring residential electricians, and you’ll find you end up with far better work at far better rates with far fewer headaches. The last thing anyone wants in a home is unsound, unreliable wiring—so make sure it’s done right.