Most property owners in Vancouver understand the risks in handling electrical systems, which is why it’s important to hire a professional electrician.
Electricians can either be a licensed electrical contractor or a handyman with some skills in electrical work. The difference between these two is that the former has years of experience and is licensed while the second, while might seem like a good idea at the time, will likely cause more stress and money down the road.
So how do you know who to hire? Here’s a list of questions to ask an electrician:
1 – Are you a licensed electrical contractor?
Some electricians are audacious enough to tell you upfront that they’re licensed, when in fact, they aren’t. Back up your question by asking your prospect electrician to show proof. An honest and reliable electrician will always willingly show his license. If your candidate refuses to show a license, it usually means one thing – he has nothing to show.
Electrical work is quite broad, and each service requires a different license. Ask the electrician if he is licensed and qualified to do design and installation. It’s the least you can do to be confident that you’re hiring the right contractor.
2 – Do you have proof of insurance?
Contractors tasked to carry out a home improvement project must be insured. This is non-negotiable. Accidents happen, even with the necessary precautions in place. If the contractor causes damage to your property or injures someone while doing his job, someone must cover the costs of repair and hospital bills. Liability insurance is one of the intangibles when hiring an electrician; like how you demand proof for licensing, ask your prospect for any proof of insurance. Anyone who can’t furnish a copy of their insurance policy must be scraped off your list.
3 – Can you provide a list of references?
As a potential customer, you have the right to demand a list of references before hiring an electrician. Once you have that list, grab the phone, and make a call. The most impartial information (feedback) you’ll get is from someone who previously worked with the same electrical contractor. Talking to them gives you an idea of what to expect. Don’t forget to ask if they were satisfied with the work performed by the electrician.
You can’t hire someone without knowing anything about their past work. After all, a competent and trustworthy electrician won’t hesitate to give you a list of references. Someone who refuses this request either has no experience or is hiding someone from their past projects.
4 – Do you work with permits?
Some electrical jobs don’t require permits. However, you still want an electrician who’s willing to get the permit should the need for it comes. Opting to work with an electrical contractor who doesn’t want to deal with permits could cost you more. There’s an unwritten rule among electricians in Vancouver to pull permits on behalf of their clients. So, if the electrician tells you that it’s your job to obtain the permit, then look for someone else.
5 – Can you give me an estimate?
Experience, license, insurance, and excellent reputation are all intangibles, but your search doesn’t end once you come up with a shortlist of about three or four prospects. The next step is to get an estimate from the remaining candidates – you want to know if you can afford an electrical contractor before you hire one. Don’t waste your time on an outrageously expensive electrician, especially if the estimate is almost double to that of the other prospects. On the other hand, avoid hiring an electrician offering a quote that’s suspiciously lower than the average.
What you’re after here is a competitive and reasonable price. Electrical contractors who try to rip you off think that you’re never going to find out how much the project costs, so prove them wrong. Meanwhile, some charge below the average because they’re either desperate to get a project or aren’t experienced enough to get the job done.
Don’t Stress Yourself
There’s a lot to ask when hiring an electrician, but that’s because you don’t expect everyone to be competent and reliable. Don’t hesitate to ask these questions since you have all the right to do so. Throwing as many questions as possible sizes up your prospects; it shows how they’re willing to communicate with you. Electrical work comes with a ton of risks, including property damage and injury; so, you’re duty-bound to pick the right person to do the job.
If you have any questions give us a call at PTX Electric and we will be happy to help. We service Coquitlam, Vancouver, Burnaby and the rest of the Lower Mainland. Contact us today!