There are a few electrical jobs that a DIYer with some basic skills can do themselves, such as screwing in a lightbulb. But a layperson really should not go much farther than that. There are many jobs that must only be done by a professional electrician. These include rewiring a room, changing breakers or adding receptacles and making sure that a revamped electrical system is compliant with local codes. But as with any major job, the homeowner needs to vet the electrician before taking them on. Here are seven tips to make sure the electrician is right for the job:
1. Get Recommendations
As with every contractor, a homeowner should get recommendations from neighbors and coworkers who have used electricians who work in the area. They can also look up online reviews given to certain electricians.
2. Find Out How Much the Job Usually Costs
The cost of building or renovating a house can vary wildly, but the cost of certain electrical jobs fall within a more narrow range. The homeowner should find out how much the job they want usually costs in their community. Knowing that helps the homeowner know when a bid is suspiciously low or suspiciously high.
3. Interview the Contractor
If the homeowner has a really big electrical job, they should interview at least three electricians. Questions to ask include the electrician’s rates, whether their work is warrantied and whether they are prompt. The electrician should also be willing to provide references.
4. Make Sure the Electrician Has the Proper Credentials
The electrician needs to be licensed, insured and bonded. The homeowner should check the Better Business Bureau’s website to make sure that the electrician does not have any unresolved complaints against them. The homeowner might even want to know the results of a criminal background check on the electrician.
5. How Far Do They Need to Travel?
The farther away the electrician’s business is, the higher their travel charges. Whether the homeowner is satisfied with the ratio of the travel charges and the contractor’s hourly rate depends on how big the job is. For example, it’s better if the electrician has a large travel charge and a low rate if they’re taking on a big job.
6. Ask About Payment Options
Most electricians are pleased to accept cash, credit or debit. Some take a personal check. The homeowner can pay right after the job is finished or have the electrician send a bill. Tips are always appreciated.
7. Only Call for Electrical Problems
Some people call electricians when they have problems with their appliances, computer or even their HVAC system. The electrician does not deal with these things. Electricians are also not the people to call during a power outage. That is the bailiwick of the homeowner’s power company.