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Hiring a Reliable Electrician

Whether you are tackling a do-it-yourself remodeling job or dealing with a broken circuit breaker, flickering lights, or nonworking power outlets, when it comes to electricity, electrical work requires specialized knowledge, tools, and training, and it’s usually best to call in an expert. If mishandled, electrical issues can cause significant damage to your home and possibly to your family. BBB provides the following considerations to make before choosing an electrical contractor.

Master electricians vs. Journeyman electricians

Journeyman electricians do not typically require direct supervision as they work, however, they must conduct all work according to a master electrician’s plans and directions. Journeyman electricians work under permits assigned to the master electrician.

Master electricians complete two additional years of training and can operate their own company or work as independent contractors. Master contractors are required by law to maintain insurance coverage. In addition to all the skills required of a journeyman, master electricians can lay out wiring systems, design the routing of circuits, and supervise journeymen.

BBB provides the following tips to help you find a reliable electrician:

Get specific about project details. To get accurate estimates, you’ll need to have the details of your project. Specify how many outlets, lights, dimmers, etc., you need, what kind of hardware you want and where each item should be installed. This is especially important if you get bids from several contractors. If you aren’t clear on your requirements, different bids could reflect different kinds of work.

Find someone with specialized skills. Electricians do specialize in certain kinds of work, so find someone whose skills match your project. For example, if a company specializes in large commercial jobs, they may not be the best fit to fix your flickering kitchen light. Remodeling work can be especially intensive. Electricians with experience in remodeling will have mastered techniques for snaking wires through finished walls, determining the capacity of existing circuits, and the like. Find someone with the expertise and experience to complete your project safely and effectively.

Learn more about the materials. Good electrical contractors use first-class, contractor-grade materials regardless of budget. Be sure to ask electricians what materials they use before installing them in your home.

Acknowledge that permits are essential. Electricians should never agree to a job without first obtaining the proper permits. Permits are good protection for you, the homeowner, as they prove the work was completed correctly and safely through inspection. Remember, if any wiring found during a project is not up to code, inspectors will require it to be fixed or replaced. This could affect the final price of your project.

Understand insurance coverage. Always ask to see a copy of your electrician’s insurance policy and ensure it is current. Remember that general liability insurance may satisfy state regulations, but it does not mean it is enough to pay for your house if it burns down. Additionally, ensure that if an electrician brings a helper or has other team members working with him, he also carries workers’ compensation insurance. Without worker’s compensation insurance, you could be held liable for an accident if someone becomes injured on your property.

For more information

Check out BBB’s electrician HQ for your electrical needs.


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