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How to Select the Right Electrical Contractor
by 411HomeRepair on Mar 14, 2013
Selecting the right electrical contractor isn't as easy as picking someone out of the Yellow Pages. The ramifications of hiring the wrong contractor can be financially disastrous and even dangerous.
First and foremost, it's imperative to know if the contractor you're considering hiring, is licensed, bonded, and has adequate general liability and workers compensation insurance.
Then, you need to determine if they are experienced in the type of work you need performed, and if they are generally considered good, honest and reputable.
The best place to start answering some of these questions is at the Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors and / or the Division of Consumer Affairs (basically the Authority having Jurisdiction), and of course, the Better Business Bureau.
Now let's pretend for a moment that you have an electrical job you need done.
Not an emergency -- perhaps it's just fixing a light that stopped working.
What would you do?
Would you call a few contractors and get multiple bids? You can, but I wouldn't necessarily suggest it.
Most people think that they should get multiple bids for every job. This isn't the case, and in actuality, putting to bid every little job may in fact backfire.
Good contractors are few and far in between, and asking for multiple bids for a small job will only alienate them the next time around. Try looking at this from their point of view. Their time is worth probably about $100/ hr, and yet, he or she makes the time to come to your residence and provide you with a free estimate for whatever work you may need.
Typically, a good contractor will try to provide you with an ""extra-competitive"" bid, especially the first time around, just to make you a customer.
But how can you tell if the first contractor walking into your house is The good contractor? Some simple rules may apply here, but remember there also are exceptions to every rule.
- A good contractor will typically look the part. In other words, if he or she looks messy and disorganized, then it's probably indicative of the type of work he or she does. Someone who takes pride in their work usually takes pride in their appearance. Some contractors may argue this point, but remember we're talking generalities here and not the exceptions. He or she should have some type of company identification (even a shirt with a logo would do).
- A good contractor will have company cards with their company name and / or their name, telephone and license # on it.
- A good contractor will respond to your calls quickly and provide you with a free estimate (for most jobs) the same day or within a reasonable amount of time, and will take the time to explain what they will do and how they will do it.
- A good contractor will never offer to do the job without taking out permits and may even walk away from a job if the homeowner insists on not taking them. Remember, permits are additional insurance for the homeowner guaranteeing (through inspection) that the job was performed safely and correctly.
- A good contractor will never cut corners and do something unsafe in order to accommodate your budget. They will, instead, offer suggestions on how to modify your plans to meet both their code and safety requirements, and your budget. If these two cannot meet, then they will wish you good luck and walk away from the job.
- A good contractor will be happy to provide you with copies of their insurance certificates and references when asked. Try not asking for them unless it's a decent size job.
Remember, if a plumber messes up, you'll have a flood, if an electrical contractor messes up you'll have a fire or perhaps even worse." Simon is the author of this article.
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