How to Hire an Electrician

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Your home's electrical system is complicated and can be hazardous with improperly handled renovations. Always look for an experienced and reliable professional when hiring an electrician.

Things You'll Need

  • Yellow Pages
  • Contractor Referral Services
  • Electricians
  • Pencils
  • Spiral Notebooks
  • Evaluate what work needs to be done. Are you renovating or adding a room or rooms? Or do you need a repair to an existing system?

  • Consider your expansion needs realistically - with the number of electronic devices typically used today, additional outlets are often required. It is easy and inexpensive to add outlets at the time of a renovation.

  • Ask friends and neighbors for recommendations, and then contact several electricians. If you are having difficulty locating an electrician, check the yellow pages.

  • Have the electricians inspect the site and bid on the job. Provide them with written specifications listing all aspects of the project.

  • Check to make sure that the electricians are properly licensed and have proper insurance coverage.

  • Inquire about the length of time each electrician has been in business.

  • Ask for past customers as references and contact them. Ask customers if they were satisfied with the work. Did the contractor come back promptly to address any problems?

  • Select an electrician, basing your choice on a combination of price, experience and your impressions.

  • Review your specifications with the electrician and discuss any necessary items you may have missed. For example, will you require an additional or upgraded power connection to support your renovation?

  • Execute a contract specifying the work to be done, cost, payment schedule, start date and estimated completion date.

Tips & Warnings

  • Many electrical-system enhancements have been introduced in recent years. Discuss these with your electrician to determine if you want to add them to your project. Examples include whole-house surge protectors (to safeguard computers, VCRs and other electronics) as well as the entire range of 'smart house' devices. It is much cheaper and easier to install these items when conducting a renovation.
  • Make sure that the contractor provides you with a proper certificate of insurance before any payment is made or work commences.
  • Always try to minimize any up-front or deposit payments, and try to negotiate a payment schedule that matches the pace of work and material deliveries.

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