8 Questions to Ask an Electrician Before Making Your Hiring Decision

Laura Hennigan
Written by Laura Hennigan
Updated December 21, 2021
A female electrician renovating house
Photo: Johnér / Adobe Stock

Whether you’re installing new lighting or rewiring a circuit breaker, know the right questions to ask your potential electrician

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From putting in canned lighting to adding new outlets to replacing an ancient panel, most home electrical projects are best tackled by a professional electrician. If you have found a highly-rated local electrician online or gotten a recommendation from a neighbor, it’s still a good idea to interview a few candidates before signing a contract. Asking an electrician these questions before making a hiring decision will help ensure you find the best contractor for the job.

1. Are You Bonded, Licensed, and Insured?

Almost every state requires that electricians are bonded, licensed, and insured. Having these important pieces in place means that all parties involved have the necessary coverage and protections.

  • Bond: A bond will protect you financially in the case of any claims of fraud or misconduct against the electrician. This could include damages, not paying for materials, or not completing a job correctly. For most states, there is not a required minimum or maximum bond amount, since the coverage depends on the volume of work that is done.

  • License: Check that the electrician you hire is correctly licensed to do the job at hand. Licensing requirements can vary by state, so take the time to verify a license before hiring your contractor.

  • Insurance: Insurance protects your home if something goes wrong during the electrical project, or after the work is completed. Limits vary by policy, but it typically includes a $1 million per occurrence limit. Insurance coverage also plays an important role if anyone is injured during the course of the work. 

2. Can You Please Share 3 References?

Even if the electrician you plan to work with comes highly recommended, it’s still a good idea to ask for at least three references. Chat with those customers about the contractor’s communication, any issues they had, and the quality of the completed product. 

3. What Kind of Training and Experience Do You Have?

There are several different levels of electrician certification that can be achieved, based on training and experience. The kind you need will depend on the complexity of your electrical project and if the electrician will be working alone or with a team. It’s a good idea to verify that your electrician has specific experience with the type of electrical system in your home.

4. What Projects Are Your Most Familiar With?

While some electricians specialize in smaller residential projects, others may have more experience in larger commercial jobs. Different electrical problems require different solutions and knowledge. If your home needs new ceiling fans installed, it’s probably best not to choose someone who has only worked on lighting outdoor billboards.

5. Will Any Subcontractors Be Performing the Work?

An electrician fixing wires in the wall
Photo: astrosystem / Adobe Stock

Unless you have a very large electrical project that will require multiple people, electricians typically work on their own. It’s important to clarify this point however before any contracts are signed. In an instance where an electrician does pass along some tasks to subcontractors, take the time to ask the following questions:

  • How many subcontractors will you be bringing in?

  • How long have you been working with these team members?

  • Does your liability insurance cover subcontractors?

6. Are Permits or Inspections Needed?

For larger electrical projects, a permit and/or inspection may be necessary. You will want an electrician to not only verify if one or both of these items are needed, but also ask if they will be taking care of the legwork. Most highly rated contractors will schedule inspections and pull required permits themselves, and the costs are typically rolled into your final quote.

7. What Is Your Expected Work Schedule?

While you may be used to working a typical nine to five day, electricians may require more flexibility, particularly if they are juggling a few different jobs at the same time. Before completing the hiring process, get clarification on these schedule points:

  • Timeline: Ask about how long the entire project timeline should take.

  • Daily Schedule: Request the general daily start and stop times they implement. Also inquire about the frequency of breaks and if you need to be home the entire time they are working.

  • Delays: Get clear on what happens in the case of a delay. Will the contractor work extra evening or weekend hours? Will there be any additional fees involved? 

8. What Type of Guarantee or Warranty Do You Offer?

While the bond, license, and insurance offer protection during the course of an electrical project, you’ll want to check on what happens if there are any protections after the work is completed. Devices like lights and outlets will come with their own parts warranties, but it’s a good idea to hire an electrician who also offers a service warranty. A one-year work warranty is the minimum you should look for, as many reputable contractors will provide multiple years and sometimes even a lifetime guarantee.  

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