Plug into Safety
Tips for choosing an electrical contractor
Before you hire anyone to work on your property, use the following tips to keep your family safe.
- Request to see proof of an electrical contractor’s license and insurance. If there were an injury on your property, an uninsured contractor could sue you, even if you weren’t directly involved.
- Run a quick check with the Better Business Bureau. The reports will grade your potential contractor, and you can also read complaints that consumers have filed with those businesses.
- Get recommendations from friends and family members. Do you have a friend who is a general contractor? Ask who he or she hires for electrical projects.
- Request a quote up front. Top electrical contractors should be able to give you quotes over the phone for simple jobs or make a no-charge visit to your property for more complex projects.
- Get multiple bids for your project before you hire a contractor. This will give you an idea of the going rate. The bid should detail the work that will be performed, materials needed, a general timeline of completion and payment schedule.
- Ask about the contractor’s warranty. Highly-rated electricians say top contractors will offer a parts and labor warranty to show that they stand behind their work.
- Pull permits for a contractor’s job. An electrician’s unwillingness to obtain permits is often a sign the contractor isn’t licensed.
- Assume all contractors are qualified. Contractors work on important equipment in your home. Don’t risk your family’s safety by assuming a contractor in an ad is reputable.
Different types of electricians
Did you know there are four different types of electricians?
- Residential electricians install, maintain and upgrade electrical equipment in apartments and houses. They can work on outlet improvements, breaker box upgrades and total home rewirings. They can work on construction sites to install wiring and boxes in new homes.
- Commercial electricians work on construction sites, in commercial buildings and on mechanical electrical systems. Commercial electricians also install water heaters, commercial security systems and electronic key systems.
- Journeymen electricians complete several years of on-the-job training and receive a state license to work with mechanical connections, lighting installation, power supplies, security systems and communications in both residences and commercial buildings.
- Master electricians are highly skilled electricians. They generally work in a supervisory role or own their own contracting business.