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What to Look Out for When Hiring an Electrician

Updated on September 14, 2016
Can they handle outdoor lighting with the proper cord insulation and protection?
Can they handle outdoor lighting with the proper cord insulation and protection? | Source

Finding the Right Electrician

Finding the right electrician for the job is important, as not every electrician is experienced with the work you need done. Some are specialized, and it's crucial that you find the right one for your job. Some specialize in only commercial work, while others only do service calls for faulty fixtures or dead outlets. Call ahead of time and find out what work each electrician is comfortable with, and don't take a chance if they're unsure about your issue over the phone.

Cross Your T's and Dot Your I's

Request a copy of the electrician's license as well as proof of insurance ahead of time. Don't go with "Joe's Discount Electrical" if Joe can't provide those documents. You also need to make sure both are current. A minimum liability of $500,000 for insurance is incredibly important, as your home is at stake, and any damage that ensues will be well covered in case of an emergency.

Take a Good Look at Reviews

When you're investigating your electrician look into reviews. Not just Google reviews, but reviews on Homestars, the Better Business Bureau, make sure they all report positive reviews, and thoroughly investigate negative ones. Just because a company has an average 3.5 star review doesn't necessarily mean they produce bad work, investigate as to why the reviews are negative, and be impartial when looking at what users online have to say. Reviews that discuss how the work held up months later are the most valuable here.

Getting a Guarantee

Some larger companies hire out subcontractors for their work, as they can't handle the workload in-house. Be wary of companies that hire out subcontractors, as they are not in direct control of the subcontractor. Make sure you ask the right questions when your electrician arrives, and thoroughly inspect their paperwork at your home prior to any work being done. They might not have the same liability insurance, among other things, if they're not directly affiliated with the larger company.

Make Sure They Stand By Their Work

I would always get a guarantee in writing, as to whether or not the company stands by the work they do. They must provide a warranty, as sometimes issues can come up shortly after the work is done. Don't be scrambling to hire another electrician to fix your prior electricians mistakes.

An extreme example of bad work, and utterly terrifying!
An extreme example of bad work, and utterly terrifying! | Source

Assessing Their Work

Before you give the final send off on any work, I really suggest you take a look at what they did. Electrical cords should be neat and well organized, any sloppy work should bring up alarm bells immediately. A good electrician knows how to keep cords well organized so that they're easy to work on in the future, as well being separated to prevent from over-heating.

Cover plates and switches should always be plumb and square with the wall, lying flat against it. Anything that doesn't look neat will typically have a sloppy utility box behind it, another bad sign.

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