Hiring an electrical contractor is one of the responsibilities of a property manager.
The inspection, maintenance, repair, and installation of a building’s electrical system is crucial in providing a conducive living experience for its tenants. Choosing an experienced and licensed electrician is part of effective property management; it means you can’t just hire anyone to work on any project related to a building’s electrical system.
The Risks of Hiring an Unlicensed Contractor
You may call your trusted residential electrician or handyman if you want to, but you shouldn’t. Anyone can say they’re experienced and skilled in electrical repair, but don’t take their word for it.
You know all too well that electrical systems in commercial and rental properties are much more complicated than an average single-family house. Putting the welfare of your commercial or rental property in the hands of an inexperienced or unlicensed contractor is like playing with fire. A botched electrical installation or faulty repair job can go wrong in many ways – all of which you never want to face.
Supposedly, hiring a handyman or unlicensed electrician makes sense since you’re paying a cheaper rate for a small electrical repair job. But as a property manager, you’re taking a significant risk since a substandard output may result in damage that costs thousands of dollars.
The slightest mistake can lead to faulty wiring, which is the leading cause of fires in buildings and homes. Hiring a licensed electrician minimizes the risks associated with electrical repair and installation, thanks to their experience, training, and skills.
What’s in a Qualified Electrician?
Electricians must complete an apprenticeship before they get a license, which is obtained through the state where they plan to establish their trade.
The requirements to get that license vary from one state to another. Property managers must see that the electrical contractor they hire is legally allowed to offer electrical service in exchange for payment.
But licensing isn’t the only basis for an electrician to be “qualified” for a job. They must also be certified by relevant local agencies and contracting business organizations. Ask your prospects to show proof of both license and certifications just to be sure you’re talking to a legitimate tradesman.
Factor in the experience, too. License and certifications don’t carry that much weight if the electrician has zero experience taking on large-scale jobs like in commercial and rental properties.
Hire someone who’s “been there, done that.” You’re better off tapping the services of an electrician who’s worked in apartments, condominiums, and business establishments – it’s fewer worries for you knowing that they’re familiar with the challenges.
Meanwhile, consider the time required to get the job done when hiring an electrician. The more complicated the electrical repair or installation, the longer it’ll take to complete it. So, ask your prospects about how they charge – is it on a salary basis or hourly rate? Agree on contract terms beforehand to avoid hidden charges later.
Steer clear of electrical contractors who work with subcontractors. They trick you into thinking that they’re the ones who’ll handle the project. It’s too late when you realize that they sent someone else less qualified to do the hard work on their behalf.
Surprisingly, it’s a common practice in this industry, where apprentices or unlicensed workers are sent to work. You can’t settle for those companies since you always intended to hire the most skilled and experienced electrician from day one.
NEVER work with electricians who don’t have liability insurance. Don’t take verbal assurance in case they assure you that they’re covered. Instead, ask for a copy of the insurance documentation or policy – it’s your right as a potential client. If they fail or refuse to give a copy, it only means one thing: they aren’t covered.
Insurance coverage protects you from possible liabilities related to the injury or death of anyone, including damage to your property related to the job.
One reason why you should hire a licensed electrician and not just anyone who knows a thing or two about electrical work is the workmanship guarantee.
Be sure that it’s incorporated in the contract right before you sign it. If you choose to work with a handyman or a friend who has “skills,” don’t expect them to heed your call to fix a botched job; after all, you never should have hired them in the first place.
On the other hand, a licensed electrician with commercial and rental property experience has a reputation to maintain. It means they’ll make sure that all projects are performed within the highest standards. The workmanship guarantee laid out in the contract is indicative of premium quality work.
Finding a potential electrician is not the problem; choosing the right one is. An electrical repair or installation project’s success falls on the property manager’s shoulders since it’s his job to hire the contractor. Do your commercial or rental property justice by way of comparison shopping.
Gather as much information as possible; compare at least three electrical contractors before you decide. The goal is to sort each one out and see the best fit.
You hire an electrician to build a long-term relationship. Find one who you can go to every time you need help on your property’s electrical system. But you can’t do that if you don’t put in the work needed to find the best available contractor.