When you need electrical work done, it’s important to find someone you trust. Faulty wiring can lead to electrocution, fires, shocks, and other risks, so you need to be reasonably sure that your residential electrician will do good work and follow all safety precautions.
In this article, we will cover how to find a good residential electrician and verify that they have the skills and experience needed for your project.
How do I Find a Trustworthy Residential Electrician?
Many people find trustworthy residential electricians through recommendations from neighbors or friends in the area. Builders and developers can also usually recommend reliable electricians. If you are unable to find someone through word of mouth, you can also search for local electricians online and do further research from there.
Once you have a few names, you can do research and ask questions to see if they’re right for your project. A good electrician will be fully trained, licensed, and insured. They will also have experience working on projects like yours.
Keep in mind that many electricians specialize in a particular field or type of project, so you may not want to hire someone just because they did great work on a completely different project for a friend.
It’s always a good idea to ask for an estimate (and check what that estimate includes!) before hiring a residential electrician. That way, you can more easily decide who to hire and avoid surprises down the road.
What Questions Should I Ask a Residential Electrician?
Before you hire a residential electrician, you should ask them these questions:
1. What kind of training do you have?
Quality electrical work requires extensive training. You need to make sure your electrician not only has a comprehensive understanding of electrical systems, but also knows how to keep themself and everyone in your home safe.
2. Are you licensed?
In most states and municipalities, electricians are required to hold a license. Typically there are at least two levels of licensure: a master electrician license, which requires more experience and allows for both electrical design and installation, and a journeyman license, which requires the holder to work alongside a master electrician.
Washington State has multiple types and levels of electrical licensing and certification. Residential electricians start out with a trainee certificate, and after years of training, they can get certified at the general journey level, obtain a specialization, or eventually get certified as master electricians.
3. Are you insured?
Electrical work can come with serious safety risks, and you don’t want to be held liable. It may not be wise to hire an electrician who does not carry at least $500,000 in liability and workers’ compensation insurance.
4. How long have you been doing electrical work?
It’s often worth paying more for an experienced residential electrician. A more experienced electrician will generally be able to produce better quality work and more easily identify problems.
5. Do you work on projects like mine very often?
Some electricians specialize in a particular type of project, and it’s a good idea to hire someone who specializes in the kind of electrical work you need. For example, if you are hiring an electrician to upgrade the electrical work in a finished space, you will want to work with an electrician who regularly does remodel work rather than someone who specializes in new construction.
6. Will you get a permit for this project?
An electrical permit is an important safeguard for homeowners who have electrical work done. It ensures the work is legal and conforms to safety codes. A permit also comes with the expectation that the electrical work will be inspected within a few business days of completion.
In Washington State, whoever does the electrical work is responsible for pulling any required permits — in this case, the electrician.
7. What will your guarantee or warranty cover?
A good residential electrician will stand behind their work. Most electricians are willing to assume responsibility for fixtures, electrical devices, and any other equipment they buy for your project through their professional accounts.
8. Can you give me an estimate, and what will it cover?
Before deciding who to hire, you may want to get estimates from multiple electrical contractors in your area. That way, you can make sure you aren’t overpaying for the work and see if one contractor’s estimate covers more than another’s.
It’s not always a good idea to choose the least expensive contractor. Often, electrical contractors will raise their rates as they gain more experience and skills. It may be worth paying more for an experienced contractor who will do the job right the first time.
9. Can you provide references for jobs similar to this one?
Finally, be sure to check references before hiring a residential electrician, especially for a major project. If the electrician has references who can back up that they have successfully completed similar projects, on time and on budget, that’s a good sign they are trustworthy.
Budgeting For a Residential Electrician
In the Pacific Northwest, most electricians charge a few hundred dollars per hour, depending on the electrician and the type of project. This rate covers not only the cost of labor, but also insurance, permits, fuel, and other business expenses. Some types of electrical projects are much more expensive than others, especially if the electrician must purchase materials for a large project.
If you would like an estimate on your electrical project in Seattle or Walla Walla, WA, reach out to the Switch Electric team today. As one of the best-rated electrical companies in the area, we pride ourselves on doing excellent work for a reasonable price.