Electrical issues, such as faulty wiring, are to blame in more than 53,000 fires that happen in households across the United States. Because many different things can go wrong with electrical wiring, it is highly advised that you hire a licensed electrical contractor for any repairs, or additions to your home’s very high tech electrical system. Finding a qualified electrical contractor, however, can often be a daunting task – particularly if you don’t do your research. The following licensed contractor hiring tips are designed to ensure that you only hire the most qualified electrical contractors for the job.
- Verify the Licenses
Never hire an unlicensed electrical contractor!. While it may look like a good deal, remember if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Hiring an unlicensed electrician may end up costing you more money when all is said and done, particularly since they’re often not bonded or insured, nor have they taken any exams ensuring they know what they’re doing. To verify an electrician’s license, please click here.
- Check for Insurance Coverage
Texas licensed electrical contractors, electrical sign contractors, and residential appliance installation contractors are required by law to maintain general liability insurance coverage (at minimum) at all times. You should always verify if your hired electrical contractor is properly ensured before starting a new project on your property. It always best to request a Certificate of Insurance. Your home and its occupants are at risk.
- Get Three Written Estimates
Your next step is to contact several licensed electrical contractors to get estimates. It is very important to get in-home, written, and signed estimates from at least three contractors. That way you can compare their services and prices. Estimates should be at no cost to you. If a electrician you are considering refuses to give you an in-home estimate, claiming he/she can provide an accurate estimate over the phone or via email – choose another contractor.
- Check References
Checking a electrical contractor’s references is an essential step before making any home improvement hiring decision – no matter how simple or complex. To get the scoop of prospective contractors, request, and then follow through on calling at least three references. Make sure the references are related to the work being performed at your residence. Ask the right questions:
- What kind of work did the contractor do for you?
- Did they show up on time?
- What was working with the contractor like?
- Was communication with the contractor adequate?
- Did you job come in according to budget?
- Would you hire this contractor again?
- Get Written Contracts
Make sure you have a written contract BEFORE work begins. Never sign it until you fully understand the terms. Beware of contractors asking for more than 30% of the total cost of the project. Beware of contractors asking for cash instead of a check or credit card slip made out to the company. In most cases, a signed estimate (see above) is not a guarantee of service, so always request a written contract in addition to the estimate.