Your Guide to Finding a Licensed Electrician
There are 210,511 electrician businesses in the United States. And while the electrician business is growing, that doesn’t always mean you should just pick the first business you see when you need an electrician by Googling, “licensed electrician near me”.
First, you should always make sure the business hires only licensed electricians. Otherwise, you’re taking a big risk.
Working with electrical units is dangerous work and you want to ensure that both you and the electrician remain safe at all times. Especially after they leave.
But there’s more to finding the right licensed electrician. We want to help you find the perfect fit for your next electrical project. Keep reading to learn how.
Find a Licensed Electrician Who Is an Expert in the Work You Need
While state laws vary on what types of certification and licensing an electrician needs, generally speaking, a licensed electrician must go through the following steps;
During an apprenticeship, they’re supervised while receiving on-the-job experience. This lasts about four years or 80,000 hours.
They must also spend time in a classroom learning about electrical science and theory.
A journeyman license is achieved after they complete their apprenticeship program and pass the Electrical Journeyman exam.
Master Electrician License
A master electrician license is achieved after working for two years which is about 4,000 hours as a journeyman electrician. They must also pass the Master Electrician Exam.
Commercial Vs Residential Electricians
There’s also a big difference between commercial and residential electricians. They use different equipment and wiring processes.
Also, the amount of electricity a home needs versus a commercial business are vastly different. However, there are some companies such as High Ground Electric who provide services to both residential and commercial customers.
The Right Specialty
Electricians usually specialize. There are some who just perform commercial work while others go on service calls to homes to fix faulty fixtures and dead outlets.
Others specialize in remodeling meaning they have techniques mastered to wire existing homes and additions.
Get a Referral
If you know someone who has had similar electrical work performed that you need, ask them to refer the licensed electrician to you. Ask them what they liked least and most about their work.
You can also ask your general contractor as they should have a short-list of dependable electricians. If that doesn’t work, check with your local home-builder’s association or an electrical supply house for a recommendation.
Just make sure you let them know the type of work you need so you get the right professional.
Find One That Fits Your Budget
Most electricians charge an hourly rate. Usually, those rates vary from $50 to $100. However, keep in mind that the hourly rate is based on their experience, work quality, and equipment.
In other words, you get what you pay for. A skilled electrician with the right equipment is more expensive but also a safer bet that he or she will do a great job, do so more quickly.
Also, they should be able to provide a guarantee and/or warranty since most electricians assume responsibility for any equipment they buy on your behalf using their professional discounts.
Don’t forget those rates reflect travel times. Typically those charges include:
- Higher rates for the first hour
- A flat trip charge
- Higher overall hourly rates
- A minimum rate for each visit
Be sure to ask how and what they charge. If your job isn’t complicated, you may save money by finding an electrician who absorbs travel costs by charging a higher hourly rate.
Bundle Your Repair Jobs
To save on time and money, bundle your projects together if you can.
Before you call to hire an electrician, look for faulty switches or outlets that are crowded or not functioning properly so they can take care of everything at once.
Get an Estimate
Always ask for an estimate. Make sure you understand what the estimate will and won’t include before you hire anyone.
Read Online Reviews
Go online and check out their website. You may find that they have testimonials listed.
And while those are great, they’re also carefully managed by the company themselves. But online reviews are not managed.
Check Their Google Business Listing
Visit their Google Business Listing so see what others say about their experience with the electrician. Check to see if the electrical business responds to reviews, both positive and negative.
That means they care about what their customers say about them. You can also visit their social media profiles to see if there are reviews left there as well.
Check the Better Business Bureau
And don’t forget to check with the Better Business Bureau.
The more you learn about the company and their reputation before you hire them, the less likely you’ll run into unpleasant surprises.
Interview the Electrician
Always interview 3-4 electricians before you make a hiring decision. That way, you can compare prices, skills, and get a good sense as to which company will do the best job for your needs.
Here are a few questions to ask:
Ask to See Their Credentials
As to see a copy of their state license. You also should ask for proof of insurance.
Make sure both are current. If an electrician is working on a residential remodeling job they should carry at least $500,000 in liability insurance and worker’s compensation coverage.
Ask Who’s Responsible for Obtaining Permits
Before any work can begin, you’ll need to obtain permits. That means the electrical work is checked by a city inspector.
This is important as the inspector can ensure the work was properly done. It’s also standard for the electrical contractor, not the homeowner to obtain those permits.
Ask to See Some of Their Work in Progress
If you can, head over to one of their worksites to see examples of their work. You want to check to see if they keep their workplace neat and tidy.
You should also check for the following:
- Clear labeling of circuit breakers
- Regular anchoring of cables
Switch boxes should also sit squarely and finish flush to drywall surfaces.
Get Good Advice
The more good advice you get before you make home improvements, the better the finished project will turn out.
Whether that’s finding the perfect licensed electrician or decorating tips for an open concept house, we can help. Keep coming back to our site to get the best advice for your home improvement projects.