To some of us, an electrician is just an average person who knows more about electricity and electrical safety than we do. To others of us, electricians are wizards. Whether they are in your home to perform a relatively simple repair or they are working magic, it’s important to ask the right questions and get as much information as you can about the kind of work they are doing. It’s an opportunity for you to learn about electricity and also gather vital intel about the state of your home’s electrical system.
Choosing the right electrician is a process in itself, but once you think you’ve found your McGuyver there are a few questions you should ask. These questions will ultimately help you understand and feel confident in the work being done. It can only benefit you in the long run of the repair.
License and Registration, please.
First and foremost you need to find out if this electrician is licensed properly by the state to perform the work you need to be done. Electricians can have different licenses for different kinds of work so it’s important to know if they are licensed. If you are unsure you can always follow-up with a call to your city’s building inspection department. You also want to make sure that they have their own liability insurance for performing work and if they are insured in case their equipment is damaged, lost, or stolen to avoid having to pay extra. You don’t want to play Monopoly, you just want your garage door to work. Most reputable companies have all licensing they need from the state but a local handyman who is good with wiring may not.
What are your qualifications?
What kind of work has this electrician performed in the past? Do they have a list of prior jobs and or companies/contractors that hired them? If you need a specific electrical repair you want the right electrician, not just any electrician. You probably wouldn’t want a bicycle mechanic to service the airplane that’s taking you transcontinental. Oftentimes hiring a company with multiple electricians allows you to get your pick of who would be best for the specific job you need.
Follow up this question with another question:
Can I see some references?
The best thing you can probably hope for is a word-of-mouth recommendation. If your dentist gives you the name of her electrician it’s probably a safe bet they know what they are doing… provided you trust your dentist. Word-of-mouth recommendations go a long way with electricians and household repairs because the recommendation often comes from someone you trust who has had first-hand experience with the company/electrician. If you’re lucky enough it’s someone who is willing to communicate with you in detail about the work itself and you can actually learn something you didn’t know. It’s best to use the opportunity to ask this next question:
Is the wiring in my home safe?
What’s it look like under the floorboards or inside the walls? Like getting your blood pressure taken, you want to take this opportunity for the electrician to assess the state of your home’s electrical system. Depending on how old your home is, this great way to get a handle on what issues or possible repairs may be needed in the future. Most electricians are happy enough to take a look at something you are unsure about because they are professionally trained and have had a lot of experience. Accurate’s electricians love their work and are always happy to answer questions. Electrical work can be dangerous for homeowners who don’t know what they are doing and good electricians know this.
How much will it cost and what is the expected time frame for the job?
You’re paying for a service and you want to know what you’re paying for. Ask for a proposal with a description of the work that’s going to be done with a price breakdown. If you don’t know a lot about electrical work or know electrician slang, at least you’ll have it in writing. If there is ever an issue in the future beyond the repair or work completed, you have something you can reference. You may not always understand what the proposal says but it’s an excellent opportunity to learn more about electricity and how it functions in your home. Ask questions for your own benefit and understanding.
Who will be performing the actual work?
Sure the credentials are nice and the electrician is licensed but how come his cousin Jimmy is the one doing the work? If you don’t know the electrician and didn’t get a recommendation from someone you know, make sure you find out who is actually completing the job. This is another reason why hiring a company is a safer bet, you know everyone has the necessary credentials.
What are their specialties?
Credentials should clue you in on this. Obviously, if the electrician was recommended then you probably already have this information. If this is the first-time hire by a professional you are not familiar with take time to look for online reviews to see what they’ve done in the past. You will also get a feel for how each technician is in the field and will be in your home.
Do I need a permit?
In an emergency repair situation or out of desperation you might forget about this. However, if you try to put your home on the market someday and you are informed you can’t because the City inspector found sloppy patchwork not up to code, you could end up paying a fine or double just to have the work reconfigured. Make sure you do your research specific to the work that’s being performed. If you hire a professional electrician they will know what permits you’ll need to obtain and will often complete the process for you. Don’t cut corners on this, ask questions.
Is there a warranty on the work?
What kind of a guarantee are they willing to provide you. Ask in the beginning when they create their proposal. You can even request them to put their policy on the proposal so you have it in writing. If the electrician is confident in their work and professional they won’t mind because they’re proud of what they do.
Is this the only way?
See what your options are. They may give you a couple of different options for a repair or if you need replacements. It’s always a good idea to ask them if there are any other options for fixing the issue at hand. You can then work together to do what’s best for both you and your home. At the end of the day asking questions will help you in communicating with your electrician.
Accurate is more than happy to answer questions for you and our electricians are trained professionally to do so. Our electricians want the entire process to be comfortable for our customers so we encourage you to be inquisitive. We like spreading our knowledge and enjoy talking about the work we do.