It’s a common adage in the industry that a good electrician’s cost may be expensive, but it’s less costly than hiring a bad one. This makes a lot of sense, as a poor electrician may be cheap at first, but you may have to pay them and a better one later on to fix the first one’s error. Customers need to know that they have a qualified and skilled professional the first time around. So, before you hire an electrician, be sure to give them this line of questions first. Electricians should also know these questions so they can prepare answers well in advance. Being able to showcase your qualities to customers will ultimately win you more business.
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Questions to Ask an Electrician:
Do You Have a License/Insurance?
This is one of the critical questions that need to be asked. In most states/municipalities, an electrician must have the proper license before doing any actual electrical work. There are two different levels of licensing that an electrician can have. A journeyman electrician is only allowed to install/maintain electrical systems. Master electricians have two years of experience at a minimum and are licensed to install, maintain, and design electrical systems. Another equally important thing that all electricians need to have is insurance. Electrical work comes with high liability, so all parties need appropriate protection. A good baseline is $500,000 in both liability and workers’ compensation.
What Is Your Work Specialty?
Electricians are like other contractors in that they generally have specialty areas they work in. For example, one electrician may primarily focus on residential homes. Others may primarily do commercial work, and others may service multi-family buildings like apartment complexes. While there may be some overlap here and there, for the most part, customers should get someone with experience in the type of project that they need. Most electricians will specify what type of work in their marketing, but you should ask as well.
Customers should also ask as a follow-up is the type of training and experience they have for this variety of work. This should be a key question if there is specific expertise that you need to execute. Good examples of this are solar installations, home automation, or voice/data cables. Ideally, you want a contractor with specific experience for these jobs that may not be as common.
What Is The Estimate?
This is a multi-faceted question. Yes, they may give you a base number when you ask, but you also need to talk to your electrician about how they arrived at their number. Is there an aspect of the job that will require more manpower or man-hours than usual? You want to fully understand why you are being charged what you are, rather than taking it at face value. Another thing to do at this stage is to figure out whether the figure they provide covers incidentals like going through drywall to get to the wiring, then repairing it. If it’s not specified, you will likely be responsible for it.
Who Is Working On This Project?
This question entails whether the owner is working on the project, employees, or subcontractors. Also, if it is employees, it’s important to make sure that any apprentices in training are supervised. You want a journeyman electrician, at minimum, servicing your project. When it comes to subcontractors, it’s important to make sure that you understand what legal responsibility you have as a customer. Not all contractors have subcontractors covered by their insurance.
What Guarantees Do You Offer?
Ideally, everything will work well after the job is done and you are satisfied. However, if not, you want to see what policies there are in warranties and guarantees. This showcases how much the electrician is willing to stand behind the quality of their work.
Are You Using Project Management Software?
This may seem like a strange thing to ask an electrician before you start working with them compared to some of the other items in this article. However, a key part of this is making sure that you get the best quality service that you can. A company that uses project management software will have a better track of their financial information to ensure that they are giving the most accurate bids possible. Also, this gives added information on how the job is progressing to make sure certain milestones are met on time.
With this said, when you are asking prospective electricians exactly what type of project management software they use, remember that not all suites are created equal. It’s essential to make sure that your electricians are using quality options such as eSUB. This will ensure that your electrician of choice has all the tools they need and deeper analytics to do more efficient and effective work for you.