It is always best to get an electrician that has been recommended by someone you trust. If that is not possible, here are the top 11 tips for hiring electricians & scams to watch out for:
Like all contractors, when you speak to an electrician on the phone or by email, you need to get their name and company name. Ask whether they are licensed with the state and have insurance. Let them know that your home insurance company requires a copy of their insurance certificate for any work done on the house and request they bring a copy along.
When you get off the phone, check with the state licensing or electric department and verify the electrician’s license before you keep an appointment. If they are not licensed like they said, call someone else. Most reputable electricians will have a package with all this information and a business card with contact information to give to you. If your electrician is not prepared with these details, beware.
Top 11 Tips For Hiring Electricians | Typical scams:
1. Money Up Front
Shady electricians may ask you to pay for an entire job upfront before they do any work. Everyone deserves to be paid for their work, but good companies will never ask for money upfront unless you request a special-order item or an expensive fixture. Asking for a modest deposit for jobs over $1000 or 25% is common for small contactors, but requests for more substantial money upfront should be red flags.
2. Cash Payment
An electrician who asks to be paid in cash or offers a discount for cash is another red flag. It may be a sign they have trouble completing satisfactory work on a reasonable schedule, or worse, they may not intend to.
3. Unexpected or Unsolicited Discount
Discount offers on services or products that you did not initially request or need may indicate an electrician has more interest in selling you as much as possible than in helping you fix your original electrical issue. Ask questions about the part or service to be sure it is needed.
4. Skip the Permit
An electrician may offer to help you save money by skipping a required permit. The extra cost for a permit is well worth having the electric inspector come out to check an electrician’s work; inspectors are there to protect you.
5. Higher Price
Changing the cost of the job after work has begun is usually a red flag unless you ask for more work to be done.
6. Complicated Repair
An electrician may try to make the repairs sound complicated and confusing, so a homeowner may just go along and agree to pay an inflated price. This might be a red flag indicating you should get a second opinion. Any reputable electrician will give you a written estimate and be happy to explain any electrical terms[EJ1] [EJ2] or processes you don’t understand.
7. Outdated Wiring
An electrician may tell you that your wiring is old and not up to code. Electrical codes do change, but most systems are grandfathered in or do not require an update to meet current codes. However, you want to make sure your electrical system functions properly and is safe for you and your family. Upgrading can be an expensive process. With a big expense like this, it’s worth the time to get another bid and opinion. Get an opinion from another electrician and consider asking a neighbor about their system. Often the house next to yours was built at the same time and may have had wiring redone. You can learn from your neighbors’ experiences and ask them about cost.
8. Need to Replace Fixture
If a light fixture is not working properly, it may be only a burnt bulb or ballast, much cheaper to fix than replacing the whole fixture. Ask specifically if something like that may be the issue and have your electrician show you how the fixture is faulty if it is being replaced.
9. Charge for New
Cleaning up and using existing parts and charging you for new is another scam to charge you for more than you’re actually getting. A shady electrician may tell you a breaker is bad, and they have to replace it when they actually clean and use the same breaker. Have an electrician show you the new replacement part and the old part.
10. Cheaper Wire
A bad electrician may use a smaller gauge copper wire than the code recommends. The smaller the wire, the cheaper the cost. They charge you for the more expensive stuff and install the cheaper wire to walk away with more profit, leaving you wire that can cause a breaker to overheat and cause other problems.
11. Leftover Materials
An electrician may tell you they have leftover materials from another job that they will sell you very cheaply. This may be another red flag, and you should beware of agreeing to materials or work you didn’t originally plan.
There are the top 11 tips for hiring electricians! I hope these were helpful for you & hopefully, they help find the right electrician for you!
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Also, check out another interesting article- Top 17 Tips For Hiring HVAC Contractors!