Looking for an electrician for your home or office? To find an electrician who is dependable, performs quality work, and charges you a competitive price, do your research. Do not rush into hiring an electrician without doing your homework as you may end up wasting time and money on an electrician who performs shoddy or unsafe work or charges you too much. So how do you find and hire the right electrician? These following eight steps will give you tips on finding a licensed electrician in your area.
1. Establish a Realistic Budget
Before starting your search, determine a budget for how much money you are willing to spend on the electrical service. Although you may not know what the going rates are or what a reasonable price is for the job, you should know how much you can afford. Taking this step in the beginning will help you when soliciting quotes.
2. Determine what Type of Work you Need Accomplished
Identify what electrical services you require. Is work needed in your home or office? Do you need to troubleshoot the circuit breakers in your home because it trips often or because the fuses keep blowing, or are you installing new lighting for your office? Knowing what work you need done will help you narrow down your search and also assist you when soliciting quotes.
3. Ask for Recommendations or Search on the Internet
One of the best ways to hire an electrician is to get references from your neighbors and friends. Talking to satisfied customers will give you a better idea of an electrician’s work.
If your neighbors and friends cannot provide any recommendations, use the Internet to perform an online search. There are two ways to tackle this. You can perform a general Google search, entering carefully-selected keywords to help you in your search online. For example, ‘residential electrician LED lighting Vancouver BC’ will give you results for companies that offer that particular service. Another option is if you are a homeowner, to go to an online homeowners’ community, such as HomeStars Inc. This community publishes reviews written by homeowners about home improvement professionals in Canada. You can filter your search by location. The testimonies on the site will give you a good indication of the quality of service offered by the companies.
4. Check for Complaints
Once you have compiled a list of electricians, check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if there are any outstanding complaints against the contractor. This may help you narrow down your list. The Better Business Bureau is another valuable online resource that can help you identify good electrical contractors through their rating system. Look for contractors with an A to A+ Rating and have had very little to no complaints recorded.
5. Check Licensing and Permit Requirements
If a significant amount of rewiring or replacement of the main electrical equipment is required in your home or business, a permit is usually needed. The permit also includes an inspection to ensure that the electrical work meets the building codes. Before you start calling contractors, call your city or municipality or check their website to see what permits are required. Being informed of the requirements will help you know if an electrician is pulling a fast one if they advise you of the contrary. Note that permits can only be acquired by a licensed electrician (all the more reasons to hire a licensed electrician).
6. Contact the Electricians and ask the Right Questions
Contact the electricians. How easily it is to get a hold of the electrician and how professional they sound on the phone is another indicator of how reliable they may be. Do not be afraid to ask a lot of questions when you contact the company. Good questions to ask include:
- How long have you been in the business?
- Have you done this type of work before?
- Are your electricians certified and licensed?
- Are you insured? Note: all work performed by licensed service technicians is 100% insured. If you opt to go with an unlicensed electrician, ensure you ask for their insurance. Refer to the article “The Value of Hiring a Licensed Electrician” for more tips on this point.
- Who will be doing the work? An Apprentice of Journeyman Electrician? It’s possible the supervisor has all the credentials but the workers don’t.
- Do you offer free estimates?
- Do you provide warranty? Good contractors always offer parts as well as labor warranty. Stay away from any electrician who does not offer any warranty.
- Can you provide references? Electricians who are proud of their work will be able to provide a list of references. When calling past clients, ask about the service provided, quality of workmanship, communication, sticking to budget, etc.
Contact a few electricians so you have a source of comparison.
7. Meet with the Electrician(s) and Get a Quote
After you have contacted the companies, eliminate any electricians who do not meet your criteria. Have those remaining on your list come out and see where the work will be done and what is required. Ask for an estimate at this time. Some electricians charge by the hour, however, an experienced electrician should be able to give you a reasonably accurate hours-needed estimate from the start. Ensure you clarify what is included in the estimate. Do the rates include travel? Does the price include both labor and materials? Does the estimate include cleanup and removal/disposal of replaced electrical components? Is the cost of the permit, if required, included in the estimate?
8. Select your Electrician
Based on all your research, compare and select the electrician you think will best meet your needs.
Hiring an electrician is an important decision; the work they do will affect nearly every aspect of your house or building. Make sure you do your research beforehand so you are not stuck with significant inconvenience, damage, or even fires if the work goes wrong.