Electrical Contractor/Installer: Everything to Know
One important task of a project involving an electrical installation is hiring the right electrical installer.
While many electrical contractors are readily available to take up electrical jobs, inexperienced homeowners and business owners often find it hard to know which one to trust their project to.
In most cases, the question remains ‘what certificates/qualifications should a qualified installer have?’
At certain points, business owners and homeowners always have the need to hire an electrical installer.
It’s quite important to hire a reputable, experienced and licensed contractor for any electrical project.
If you’re on the hunt for the right electrical contractor for your project but don’t know how to go about it, this guide will show you how to hire a qualified and professional contractor that can take up and professionally complete an array of complex electrical projects.
This guide also contains the difference between a residential and a commercial electrical contractor with the right questions to ask them, among others.
Commercial and Residential Electrical Contractors: Any Difference?
Commercial and residential electricians are different with the types of equipment used for their jobs.
This is because the electricity needs in commercial operations are usually higher than in residential homes.
While a commercial electrician deals with commercial projects like healthcare facilities and resorts, a residential electrician is hired for installations involving residential homes.
Commercial and Residential Electrical Installer: The Right Qualifications
Electrical installations are more delicate with the risk of hazards if not done properly.
As such, both commercial and residential installers must have undergone more extensive education than their counterparts in other fields.
Whether an apprentice is planning on becoming a commercial or residential electrical installer, he must pass through these three phases:
Undergo an apprenticeship program of four years
Undergo formal training by working with a journeyman electrical contractor for one year
Sit for two location-specific exams for licensing and master electrician certificate
An apprentice is offered the required licenses to take jobs on his own immediately he completes these processes.
He can take jobs on his own without further supervisions from a journeyman installer.
However, it’s important noting that each state has its requirement for issuing a license to an apprentice.
While some states require more extensive training with a journeyman installer, some states demand an extended apprenticeship program.
This is to ensure the apprentice have the required training before taking jobs on his own.
What Types Of Jobs Do Commercial And Residential Electrical Installers Do?
Again, the materials that a commercial electrical installer uses are different from what a residential installer needs.
A commercial electrical installer’s jobs involve installing power, security, and fire protection systems in commercial properties like stores and offices.
On the other hand, the jobs of a residential electrical installer involve installing power outlets.
Are Electrical Installer Exposed To Hazard?
This is where hiring a qualified and experienced electrical contractor comes in. electrical installers are more exposed to injuries than other construction workers.
Though injuries are not always fatal, electrical installers can fall and get shocked and burned during the job.
An experienced electrician installer foresees these and makes adequate safety measures, such as wearing protective and durable clothing like thick rubber boots, gloves, and safety glasses during the job.
The Right Time to Get an Electrical Contractor
The right time to hire a qualified electrician is before the project or a power emergency.
Looking for a qualified electrical contractor can take time, and waiting until the project begins before getting a contractor sets you in a rush.
When you find yourself rushing to hire an electrical contractor, you might end up hiring just any regular electrician that comes your way, even without the required license and experience.
What to Know Before Contacting an Electrical Contractor
Before taking the phone and dialing your prospective contractor’s line, there’re a few things to know.
The first task is to know what your project is all about and let your contractor understand what you want.
A qualified electrician would reply by asking certain questions, such as how much electricity you have available in the room or apartment where you need the new installation.
This question is most important for installations involving a new appliance or light fixtures.
What Are Not Parts of an Electrical Installer’s Job?
Both commercial and residential Electrical installers have an array of tasks to do.
Their works include planning new wring, installing new outlets, and updating outlets.
However, their tasks are restricted to certain areas, meaning that there’re a few things they don’t do.
This means that if your installation involves more than what an electrical installer can do, you’re obligated to hire the right person for it.
For example, if you need to repair the wiring in your structure, the electrician will remove parts of the wall and carry out his job.
When done with this, it’s not part of his tasks to patch the wall.
It’s left to you to hire the right contractor to patch the wall to prevent electrical shocks.
As such, it’s smart to know the processes involved in your project, so you know what to expect and who else to hire along with your electrical contractor.
How Do You Vet An Electrical Contractor?
If you meet your prospective electrical installer online, their profile might not be clear of what exactly they do.
As such, the first thing to discuss with them when you call or visit them is their area of expertise.
Ask them if they specialize in commercial or residential installations.
This lets you know if you’re talking with the right contractor for your electrical installation or repair.
One of your task as a homeowner or business owner looking for a qualified electrical installer is checking if the contractor is licensed for electrical installations in your state.
This also means that you check if the contractor is licensed for commercial or residential projects, depending on your job.
Also, ensures that the electrician is insured for the job.
How Much To Pay an Electrical Contractor
How much an electrical contractor charges varies with a number of factors, such as the type of work and the contractor’s experience.
Electrical contractors’ rates also differ from region to region.
However, for contractors that charge per hour, both commercial and residential contractors can charge between $50 and $100 per hour.
Since commercial projects are always extensive and complex, expect high costs.
Should I Negotiate With My Electrical Contractor?
You can negotiate with your electrical contractor if there is a need to.
For example, if you’re hiring an electrical contractor who has just launched into the business, you can negotiate with him and bite the price down.
However, it’s worth noting that hiring an inexperienced contractor with low price is not always advisable.
Most large-scale commercial electrical installers are not open to negotiation due to the nature of the job.
How Long Does It Take An Electrical Contractor To Complete A Job?
How long it takes to complete an electrical job varies with job types.
For example, an electrical installer might be through replacing an outlet within 30 minutes while installing a new outlet can take hours.
Also, depending on the homeowner’s desires and needs, rewiring a building can take days or weeks.
Hiring a reputable and experienced contractor helps speed up the installation process.
An experienced installer knows what to expect during the job and is prepared, eliminating delays.
Benefits of Hiring Reputable Electrical Contractors
One question most homeowners and business owners ask is why to hire a reputable electrical contractor with a high price while they can hire a regular installer with a lower price.
Though repeatable electrical contractors charge higher, hiring them offers several benefits.
Here’re a few benefits of hiring an experienced and reputable electrical contractor for your project:
While you might consider doing some small electrical jobs on your own, note that electrical jobs involve several hazards and are not what you can toy with.
More to this, depending on your region, electrical jobs must be done to certain standards.
As such, hiring someone who doesn’t have the experience or training might expose your property to a huge risk, especially if it involves complex wiring work.
Trusting your job to the hands of an inexperienced electrical contractor might leave your property with the risk of shocks and electrocution.
As such, you must eschew from hiring a regular electrician.
Also, while hiring a competent electrical installer, know about his warranties, which indirectly show the safety level provided.
2. Saves Money and Time
Most homeowners believe they save money by doing the job themselves or by hiring a cheap electrician.
This is a misconception, as doing so causes you to spend more.
For example, if you decide to fix an electrical problem yourself, you might sustain injuries that cost you more than the cost of hiring an installer.
Hiring an incompetent contractor might leave some loopholes behind, causing electrical hazards in the long run that might lead to spending on hospital bills.
Also, you save time by hiring a reputable and experienced electrical contractor.
Fixing electrical problems yourself takes a longer time, and you might even end up causing more damage that takes more time and money to fix.
3. Solve Any Electrical Problem
Electrical problems are complex than each other, and while some electrical problems seem easy to fix on the outside, they’re complex to fix in practical.
As such, instead of calling a regular electrician to fix your simple electrical problems, hire an experienced installer.
An experienced installer can tell you what to expect with the fixing and what to prepare for because he has experienced it before.
Even when he encounters more tedious problems during the repair process, he can easily fix them.
4. Top-Notch Work
As mentioned earlier, before an electrical contractor is licensed, he has passed through the necessary training and has worked with a journeyman contractor on several projects.
With this, he has garnered the required experience to carry out a top-notch project.
It’s very unlikely of a licensed electrical contractor to make a guessed decision.
He’s sure of each of his actions, and as such, it’s unlikely of him to make mistakes.
Also, an experienced and reputable electrical contractor will answer your questions precisely without making guesses.
5. Reliable Services
The last thing you want is to have your project uncompleted and abandon.
This is very common with regular electrical contractors.
Most of them don’t have a reputation to protect, and might therefore leave your job half-way to take another job.
A reputable contractor will not do this, knowing that his reputation is at stake.
How to Hire an Electrician
Here’re a few things to do when hiring an electrical contractor:
Ask your prospective contractor of where you can find reviews about them.
Most electrical contractors have online platforms where their customers drop reviews about them.
Check these reviews and read more about them, perhaps on their profile.
Interview Several Contractors
Don’t base your research on a single contractor.
Contact as many contractors as you can.
Ask them questions and for their quotes.
Compare their answers and quotes to know which one stands out.
Check for Certificates and Licenses
You don’t want to release your project to an unlicensed electrical contractor.
As such, ask for the certificates and licenses they own.
This also goes with ensuring that the certificates and licenses tally with your state’s requirements, meaning that the contractor is qualified to carry out commercial or residential works in your state.
Don’t Let the Rate Mislead You
One mistake most homeowners and business owners make is to get carried away by their contractor’s rate.
While you don’t want to hire an inexperienced installer with a low price, you also don’t want to pay much than necessary.
Instead of paying much attention to rates, consider their past works to know what to expect with the prices.
Compare Travel Charges
Travel charges usually influence rates.
Your contractor will estimate travel charges into his quotes.
With this, installers from far locations might charge higher than installers near the job site.
As such, you might want to consider electrical contractors near you.
Repair Multiple Jobs at a Time
The cost of hiring a contractor every time you need them is higher than hiring the contractor once for multiple jobs.
If you have more than one electrical job, hire your contractor to fix them at once.
Also, if the repair doesn’t require immediate repair, you can write it on a list and wait until you have more electrical-related jobs.