So, you need an electrical contractor. You’re likely looking for one with a reputation for good work, someone that you feel confident hiring. We think you’ll find these tips sensible for hiring not only a reputable electrical contractor but the right one for the specific electrical work that you need.
1. Ask for recommendations from friends.
Ask your friends and family for recommendations. It’s handy if you know a realtor or building inspector, too. Ask them if they know of a contractor who delivers consistent quality work on time and within budget. More importantly, do they know of contractors who routinely meet code requirements?
Since many of us chat with our friends on social media as much as face-to-face, ask for a recommendation in a Facebook. Facebook is more than just a source for cute cats and recipes.
2. Look at online reviews.
While you’re online, what does Google have to say? Google reviews should not be your only online source for finding the right local contractor, but it can be a great place to start. Read the reviews carefully and pay attention to what they’re saying about the scope as well as the quality of work. The contractor may get a top review for a ceiling fan installation, but what about an entire electrical upgrade.
3. Interview prospective electrical contractors.
Once you’ve created a shortlist of prospects, make a quick call to each of them and ask:
• Do they take on projects like yours?
• Can provide you with a list of previous clients, especially those who had similar project requirements to yours?
• Will there be subcontractors involved? If so, how long have they worked with their subcontractors?
• Are there local permits required for the work they are doing?
• Will they comply with electrical standards and municipal regulations?
There shouldn’t be any hesitation from the prospective contractor in answering the above questions. If there is, especially those concerning permits and regulations, move on! Keep safety a primary concern. Permits and regulations are for the protection of you and your family. You should be confident that your electrical contractor knows and appreciates this.
4. Meet face to face
Based on your phone interviews, arrange to meet face to face with your prospective contractors. Get estimates and ask any further questions. Expect your prospects to ask you relevant questions, too. It will show that they’re interested in your project, as well– and in getting it done right, and within budget.
Depending on your electrical project’s size, the contractor or contractors you hire will be in your home for hours, days, or weeks at a time. Make sure you’re not dealing with a contractor who is better at sales than in providing the service. Check with the local Better Business Bureau. This will reveal any reported disputes or issues connected with the contractor.
4. Investigate the Facts
Call up former clients to find out how their project went. Don’t hesitate to and ask to see the finished product. Also, visit an active job site and see for yourself how the contractor works. Is the job site neat and safe? Do workers appear to be courteous and careful or is the scene one of disorganized chaos?
5. Establish good communication and share your plans.
A conscientious electrical contractor will want not just a complete set of blueprints. They’ll also be sincere about getting a sense of what you want to achieve out of a project and what you plan to spend.
6. Get estimates
Ask for a breakdown of the cost of materials and labor, so you can get a better idea of what you’re paying for. Generally, materials make up 40 percent of the total cost. The rest covers labour and overhead and includes a 15 to 20 percent profit margin.
If you’re comparing bids, beware the lowball bid. Be especially suspicious if it’s significantly lower than the others. Such a contractor is probably cutting corners or desperate for work.
8. Put It in Writing
Drawing up a contract ensures you and the contractor are literally on the same page. It should detail each step of the project: the payment schedule, proof of liability insurance and worker’s compensation payments, a start date and projected completion date, and details on the materials and products the contractor will be using.
We hope you’ve found these tips helpful. We hope, too, that you’ll give us an opportunity to be your contractor for your electrical project. What kind of service can you expect from Stapleton Electric? We’ve put in writing on our website’s homepage: “We provide every customer we service an honest appraisal of your situation, the utmost in quality workmanship, and expertise that will leave you assured of the final result.”