If you are getting ready to remodel or purchase a home, it may be tempting to choose the cheapest contractors. Who doesn’t like to save a few bucks, right?
But the cheapest isn’t always the least expensive.
There is a surge in unlicensed electricians flooding the market right now; the result is unsafe electrical work which ends up costing much more to repair.
Here are 5 ways to avoid getting taken to the cleaners when choosing an electrician for your upcoming home remodel or sale:
1. Do your Research
With the age of the internet and Google, the possibilities for research are endless these days! Take advantage of them! When you purchase a new car, find a new hair salon, or even a new place to eat, you let your fingers do the walking, or typing rather, and hit up all of the top online referral sites. Do the same when looking for a construction professional. This day and age, with the economy as it is, there are many out of work electricians fueling the underground economy in the electrical industry. Most of them are not licensed to do so! Do you want these same, self-proclaimed “professionals” wiring your new hot tub (because trust me, water and electricity DO NOT mix!), or coming into your home with no personal guarantee of safety? Make sure the professional you hired is licensed and bonded to do business in the state that you live in!
Referrals are huge in any industry; when someone is pleased with a product or service they have received, the BEST COMPLIMENT that they can give is a referral. Listen to your friends, neighbors, family members, and co-workers, because if you ask them I am sure that they would love to tell you all about the fantastic experience that they received with XYZ-company.
3. Use Your Own Judgement
When it comes down to it, you need to be comfortable with the person you are bringing onto your team. That means you need to trust them and trust that they are giving you the best possible product/service for your money. Conduct an interview of sorts with them, over the phone or when you meet them on your site. Does the contractor seem professional? Do they answer all of your questions knowledgeably, or are they just spewing fluff to make a sale? While you may not know the proper electrical terms, you can make a list of questions that you would like answered. Does your electrician make you feel confident in choosing him, offers different options for your project, and advises you of potential code requirements take into consideration? Has their electrical contracting company been in business for several years, even decades, or are they a new start up company? Take a few minutes getting to know them and find out what they represent.
4. Written Document
Is your contractor prepared to provide you with a written document? Whether it be a work order for a simple Time and Materials job, or a detailed contract for a larger project with a specified bid price, make sure your electrician is providing you with a piece of paperwork with a detailed scope of work to be performed, contract price or hourly rate, and terms of payment. If this seems like too much to ask, you might want to rethink your choice of contractors. Most reputable electrical contracting companies will provide you with a written document.
The ONLY way to ensure that your electrical installation is installed to the requirements of the National Electrical Code (NEC) is that a permit be taken out by the electrical contractor and the work performed by your electrician has been inspected by the authority having jurisdiction. There are actually very few exceptions when an electrical permit is not required.
I hope this gives you some help when choosing an electrician for an upcoming home purchase or help with a large DIY project. Remember, choosing the cheapest contractor may be setting yourself up for a larger expense down the road or even an unsafe home for your family. If you have any questions on this, or have had work performed by an individual that you think may not have the proper licensing or permitting, feel free to contact us!