Top 10 things to know before calling an electrician

Before calling an electrician

1. Many jurisdictions have regulations and licensing requirements for electricians, so be sure your contractor is licensed. To find out about licensing requirements in your area check with your local electrical inspector or the state agency that regulates electrical contractors.

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2. Check references before signing a contract. You can obtain at least three references from the contractor on request to see if they are legitimate and legitimately provide services for which they are known.

3. Ask about insurance coverage, including liability insurance (required by some states) and workers’ compensation insurance (to protect employees who may get hurt on the job).

4. Make sure you understand what’s included in the cost of the proposed project — materials, labor costs, permits, etc., so there aren’t any surprises during or after the work is completed.

5. Get it in writing! The scope of services, including any warranty information and the manner and time frame for receiving a final invoice once the job is complete should be written into your contract. If you don’t get this type of clarity up front you may find yourself paying before the project is complete or having to hound someone to finish their work.

It’s also important that your contractor not only submits an itemized list of materials used on the job but also provides receipts for each one so that if there is some kind of dispute over payment once he has provided his final bill paying by check instead of cash means he can’t just disappear with your money — he will have to wait until the check clears to get paid.

6. Find out if the contractor has liability insurance and workers’ compensation coverage before signing a contract. These are not standard for all contractors, so be sure you know what is available!

7. Be aware of hidden costs — Do NOT pay the full amount of your bill up front, and do not use expensive materials that aren’t necessary just because your contractor advertises them as being part of his standard services. Make certain you understand exactly how much you’re paying for the job in total when it’s finished by asking your electrical contractor to give an estimate in writing with a list of everything included (such as permits fees or inspection fees).

8. Work with a company with experienced employees who can demonstrate competence by providing documentation of their training, skills, and education. Be certain your electrical contractor has the necessary credentials to perform the work that you require.

9. Ask for copies of licenses and insurance papers before signing any contract or paying money to anyone who is going to do electrical work on your home or business premises. Also, ask them whether they have workers’ compensation coverage as well as liability insurance in case someone gets hurt working on the job site.

10. Ask for references and call them to make sure the contractor is legitimate and has done good work before hiring him or her.

11. Be aware that many jurisdictions require permits for certain types of electrical work and if you do the job yourself without a permit you could be charged with doing an illegal job which means fines, penalties, or possibly even jail time.

12. Be extremely careful if your remodelling plans involve working on 120 volt systems below the main service panel(s). Working with these low voltage systems can be very dangerous due to the high risk of electrocution in case something goes wrong when making connections inside panel boxes and switch enclosures! If you are not licensed and feel uncomfortable dealing with these lower-voltage wiring systems call in an electrician who is trained and experienced at working around electrical panels and switchgear before making any changes or modifications to your system.

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