When looking for an electrician, look for someone with whom you can build a long-term relationship. It will save you a lot of time and money if you can find someone you trust to do the job right the first time and offer you the right price.
Step 1) Find recommended companies
You can get recommendations for electricians from friends and neighbors. You can also search online for Los Angeles electrician or Burbank electrician, etc. If you add the word reviews to your search, you can check the company reviews.
Another approach is to search for websites that include reviews. Reviews appear on many websites, including Google Places, Yelp.com, AngiesList.com, and CitySearch.com. AngiesList.com is an excellent source of recommendations for contractors, but it requires a small annual membership fee. At AngiesList, you can see how clients rated their contractors, including electricians, and details of how their jobs fared.
When you look at customer reviews, look at the big picture. Is there one bad review among the many good ones? Just a grumpy customer? Is there a response from the company that clears things up or says they have corrected their employee?
Once you have three recommended electricians, take a look at their websites.
Step 2) Check the website of the power company
· Is it presentable and in good condition?
Is it easy to find what you are looking for?
Friendly, helpful, and not cluttered with hard-to-sell advertising?
· How many good testimonials?
If the website works, it’s time to interview the electrician.
Step 3) Interview
When you talk to the electrician, pay attention to how comfortable you are, including your confidence level. I have listed the questions you can ask. If you’ve already received enthusiastic recommendations or if it’s a small repair job, like fixing a broken light switch, you probably don’t want to ask them all. But if you’re not talking to a recommended electrician and planning a remodel, ask.
Experience with your type of work
Years in business. Most of the companies that have been in business for a long time have managed to keep their customers satisfied. They have also accumulated a lot of useful experience and competence.
Contractor’s license number
· Civil Liability Insurance and Workers’ Compensation Insurance. You want the company to have at least $ 1 million in liability insurance to protect your home in the event your job causes property damage. Workers Comp provides medical care for electricians in case they are injured on the job. Again, this protects you from liability.
· Guarantee. Some companies offer a lifetime guarantee on your work. Typically this would not include the electrical parts they install, which are covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. However, the electrician should give you at least a multi-year warranty on workmanship. The best is a guarantee for the life of your home.
· Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating. Ask for the exact name of the company to look for and in what city. Sometimes BBB will use a slightly different name, possibly the formal legal name of the business.
Website address if you don’t already have it
Names and contact information for five clients
Take notes on all of this, particularly the license number. If you decide to go ahead, you may want to check some of what the electrician has said. If you decide not to proceed further, you do not need to proceed with this electrician. But save your notes so you can later remember which companies you’ve already discarded.
Step 4) Look and listen
As you gather this information, listen to what is being said, but also pay attention to how the electrician acts and how it makes you feel. If you meet the electrician, keep your eyes open too.
· Do you like the electrician?
· Are you comfortable and not pressured?
· Does the electrician inspire confidence?
Do the electrician and company employees seem to know what they are doing?
· Do they appear to operate legally and behave ethically? Are they acting the way you would like them to act with you?
· Do they return phone calls promptly?
· Are they on time when they meet with you for appointments?
Do they listen to your questions and concerns and respond to them in a way that is communicative and that you can understand?
Does the electrician dress neatly and have a well-maintained vehicle and tools?
Electricians who offer jobs behave in the best way. If you already notice that an electrician treats you or others in ways that concern you, it is better to find another with whom you feel more comfortable.
Step 5) Check it out
· If you haven’t already, check out customer reviews. The first section of this article provides details.
Enter the Contractor’s License Number on your state’s Contractor Licensing Board website. See if there are “black marks”.
Check the company’s rating from the Better Business Bureau at http://www.bbb.org/. Ratings range from A + to F based on customer complaints submitted to the Office. As a note, an “A” reflects the same level of customer satisfaction as an “A +”. The “A +” is earned when an “A” contractor becomes a paid member of the Better Business Bureau, which supports the Bureau in its work.
Step 6) Call referrals
Feel free to call references. Customers are often happy to give a good recommendation to help a deserving electrical contractor. You can return the favor later if the landlord calls you. Ask for:
· How was your job?
Did you do your job well the first time?
· If a new visit was needed, was it quick and easy to work with the electrician?
· Were the company’s prices competitive?
Was the electrician on budget and on schedule?
Would you be happy to continue using this electric company?
Talk to at least three references. Listen carefully for enthusiasm or lack of enthusiasm for the electrician. Customers, past or present, may not feel comfortable saying something negative. If they express little enthusiasm or say something negative, take this into account when making your decision.
One last tip: don’t automatically choose the low bid
An offer can be too low. How can it be? An electrician may intentionally omit items the job requires, only to come back later saying that additional work needs to be done. On the other hand, some electricians may inadvertently bid low due to inexperience. Either way, the electrician may ask for more money to finish the job, or he may leave you with an incomplete project.
Price is important, but judge the big picture an electrician shows you: character, experience, ease of working with him or her, and overall value. A big part of the value of an electrician is that they get the job done correctly and safely without taking too much of your time and causing you inconvenience. A very competent electrician can save you money by suggesting more efficient ways to do a job or save electricity. When you have a good relationship with your electrician, it can save you time and money.