The lights in the backyard begin to flicker, and soon after that, the kitchen lights go out. You’ve checked the fuses and just can’t figure it out. It’s time to call an electrician. That’s a typical scenario in which someone may call an electrician because, unless you’re remodelling, the need for an electrician is usually a cost-prohibitive headache. You may not be able to get around the need for an electrician, but you can make it easier by knowing what to look for and what questions to ask.
Are They Registered?
Word of mouth is a good way to find a quality contractor, but perform your due diligence by making sure that whomever you’re referred to is registered and in good standing with one of the U.K’s electrical and contracting organisations, such as the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting, (NICEIC). The contractor may have done a great job on your co-worker’s project, but maybe he won’t fare so well on your job. You can get a good idea about the contractor’s consistency of quality by seeing where he stands in the professional community.
Versatility of Service
Will you need any construction or repair-related services down the road? Chances are the answer is yes. At one time or another, most home and business owners will require professional repair services for more than one area (electrician, plumber, and joiner). Since your home or business is most likely your biggest investment, all repairs and renovations should be entrusted to a company with whom you’ve built a relationship. So, when choosing an electrician also consider what other services are offered by the company.
Ask Questions and Get Estimates
Once you’ve narrowed down your search, conduct mini interviews with the electricians who interest you. There are only a handful of questions to ask before making a final decision. However, the questions are critical.
- Ask to see his registration and insurance information. If he cannot prove he is insured, don’t hire him.
- How long has the business been open?
- How long has the employee who will be assigned to my job been practicing the trade?
- Ask to see the warranty in writing
- Ask to see references, and then contact them.
Additionally, during the interview, which typically will happen during the estimating process, make sure to get a written estimate rather than a verbal quote. Also, unless it is in writing, don’t agree to it. It will make all the difference should a discrepancy in cost, labour, or supplies come up.
The need for an electrician can be planned and budgeted, such as with a home or business remodel. However, more often, we only call electricians when we’re in dire straits and have no electricity. Regardless of the urgency of your needs, make sure that any contractor you hire has proven references is registered, offers myriad services (other than just electrical) and is respected in the industry. By getting all of that information before hiring a contractor, you’ll save yourself time, frustration and money because you will have filtered for only the best contractors in the business.