If you are thinking of undertaking a home remodeling or home renovation project, odds are, at some point during the process, electrical work will be a part of the task. If you do not already have an electrician you can trust, you will want to conduct due diligence and interview one. But what questions should you ask? We discuss this important topic in today’s blog post.
In our book, hiring a certified electrician to handle any electrical work in your home is a must. Not only is safety a huge factor, but a well-vetted electrical contractor will do the job right. Moreover, he will likely offer you advice on ways to reduce energy waste and cut back on your monthly utility bills – a win-win for all involved.
How to Interview an Electrician or Electrical Contractor
Aside from home renovations, home remodels or additions, you also may want to consider hiring a “master of the electrical arts” if you install new appliances, upgrade your electrical outlets or panel or even for jobs such as hot tub installs. Basically if there is electricity involved, call in the pros!
Aside from getting references (and checking them!), below are some questions you should ask any contractor prior to having them work in your home.
Are you Licensed, Bonded, and Insured?
While the requirements for each state vary, always ask if the electrician is licensed, bonded and insured in the state where your work will be performed (if you are having work done in a home that is in a different state than your primary residence, make sure the license is up-to-date for that particular state).
It also is important to ask if the person who actually will be performing the electrical work in your home is licensed and insured. Remember, the contractor performing the work may be different than the person overseeing the job or that you initially consult with.
Finally, ask if they have liability and workers’ compensation coverage. If something should go awry or an injury should occur, you want to be certain that you are not responsible and a lien is placed upon your home!
Tell Me About Your Experience
Just as a license is an indication of an electrician’s knowledge and professionalism, so too, is their past experience. Always ask how long they have been performing electrical work and about their education. Ditto for anyone that will be working on the job.
If they have performed past work that is similar to what you are having them do – or if this is the first time they are doing this sort of electrical work – that is something you should know as well. In the event that they have not, you may want to factor that into your decision. If they have, however, ask for references from those specific jobs and then follow-up on them.
Who Will Perform the Work?
As we have mentioned, the electrician you speak to may not be the actual person performing the work. If the electrical contractor is not doing the job, then make sure a journeyman will be. If they intend to use an apprentice, ask if he will be supervised by a journeyman (this is a requirement). If not, move along.
Another situation might involve the use of subcontractors. This can be an issue from an insurance perspective. Ask for proof that the contractor’s insurance covers anyone who will be on the site, including a subcontractor.
Do You Offer a Warranty?
A quality contractor – no matter what line of work they are in – will offer a warranty. Get a detailed list of everything the warranty covers – work performed, parts, labor, appliances and fixtures purchased – and make sure it includes how long the warranty is valid for.
Following these steps won’t guarantee you hire the right electrical contractor, but it will help weed out a lot of the bad ones right off the bat!