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How to Hire the Best Electrician for Your Project

Rochel Maday
Written by Rochel Maday
Updated October 20, 2021
An electrician installing new lights
Raylorxp2 / iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

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You’re hosting a party, the fridge is stocked with mini sandwiches and you’re piping “Happy Birthday,” on a sheet cake. That’s when it happens—the fridge loses power. With just hours until guests begin to arrive, is your party doomed before it begins?

Not necessarily; an electrician can save the day (and your sandwiches). These toolbelt-wearing superheroes aren’t just for emergencies either—they can add new outlets, update your dining room chandelier, and get your fridge back up and running. 

Here’s how to hire the best local electrician, no matter the job.

Before Hiring an Electrician

Don’t just pick the first electrician you find. Here’s how to cover all your bases.

Plan Your Electrical Project for Accurate Quotes

Electricians need to know a few basic details before they can provide you with a quote. Start the process by nailing down the specifics.

First, categorize the job. Do you need work done on an outlet, wiring, or a fixture? Your electrician will also need to know if you’re looking for a first-time install or an upgrade on an existing feature. Are there current coding issues or previous malfunctions they should know about? Giving as much detail as possible will ensure you get an accurate quote.

Get at least three quotes to give you a good idea of an average price range. Ask each electrician what goes into their pricing model for clarity.

Check Your Electrician’s Qualifications and References

Always make sure your electrician is licensed. Working with an unlicensed electrician means that any liability for damage will fall on you. You’ll also want to make sure your electrician has insurance.

Ask your electrician for their liability insurance information. You’ll be able to confirm their insurance status and verify their license by speaking to the issuing company. You should get references of past clients from each electrician, too.

Questions to Ask Your Electrician

Once you move past insurance and licensing, make sure to ask an electrician important questions.

  • Are you a residential or commercial electrician? A commercial electrician has the same basic electrician skills as a residential electrician. But they may not be up to date on coding or best practices.

  • Do you guarantee your work? An electrician can’t guarantee their work forever. But a confident electrician should offer a warranty providing coverage for a set amount of time.

  • Will you be the one doing the work? Unless you’re working with a sole contractor, make sure you know exactly who will be completing the project. You don’t want to end up with a less experienced electrician.

  • What happens if the project goes past the deadline or over budget? Electrical projects shouldn’t be rushed. If an issue arises, it’s likely best to accept an extended deadline. But if your project runs late because your electrician failed to show up on time, they should offer a discount for delayed work. At the same time, you should only work with an electrician willing to sign a not-to-exceed clause. This ensures your project won’t go over budget without your consent.

Hiring Your Electrician

Once you’ve decided on an electrician, here’s how to start the hiring process.

Get a Contract and Arrange Payments With Your Electrician

You should always work with a contract to protect both you and the contractor. Here’s what should be included:

  • Project amount (labor and materials)

  • All work will be performed under federal, state, and local guidelines

  • Not-to-exceed clause

  • The workspace will be left in the same condition as found by the contractor

  • The customer will provide full access to the workspace

Keep Records of Your Electrical Project

A professional electrician installing new sockets
Cyano66 / iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

There’s no need to micromanage your electrical project. But here are a few simple ways to keep tabs.

  • Take pictures before, during, and after

  • Use an app to track different steps of the progress, asking your contractor for updates as the project moves along

  • If you’re paying by the hour, keep a loose record of when your electrician arrives, leaves, and takes breaks

After Your Electrician Has Finished

After the project is complete, ask for a detailed invoice. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re not sure why a charge is listed. 

If everything looks great, make the final payment and thank the electrician for their work. To document the completion of the project, take final photos. A great way to show your satisfaction is to leave a positive review online for your electrician and agree to be a future reference.

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