Let be honest, when you least expect it, situations can happen where you need the service of an electrician. When this happens you will ask yourself what do I do? What needs to be done to fix this? Who do I know what can fix this and how quickly? and the all-important question…. how much is this going to cost me?
This is just a snapshot of things that will go through your mind. Here at Hyperion, we have put this together to assist you in how to avoid some of the potential pitfalls when seeking an electrical contractor. We have known some of our client who have fallen to some of the following, which is where we have stepped in and helped out. We hope this will assist you in avoiding the same situation. As always, if you have questions or want to talk this through, please call so we can help.
Number one mistake we hear, research!!! As humans we tend to follow the path that seems to provide the best deal….i.e cost! While cost is an important factor in the decision making, we need to ensure we are not misled in thinking that the best financial deal, is the best service deal.
When resourcing electricians many options will be presented to you. It is prudent for you to complete a comprehensive review of the person/company before starting work. Things to look and ask for:
While this is a short list of things for you to consider when researching an electrician, they are important! There are of course more, and we would be happy to review them with you.
Do not allow a contractor to bamboozle you into thinking they are your only option. If you are told by a contractor that a service you require cannot be done…. I guarantee you they are not the right contractor for you. Thinking outside of the box to ensure client service delivery is something that Hyperion excels in
2. Hiring unqualified electricians
Electrical is a highly skilled trade and not something that can be completed by anyone….it is certainly not something you want to be completed by anyone! The potential pitfalls of having an unqualified electrician in your home can be catastrophic.
When researching ask to see evidence of their academic qualifications. Request to see the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) number. The ESA number is a registration number that evidences they registered with ESA, the overseeing body of electrical workers. More information about the ESA and who they are can be found at www.esasafe.com.
When entering your home, the electrician must hold liability insurance. Do you know they have this? If employees come into your home, there should be a Work Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) registration. This again provides further validation of the company you are about to work with.
While it is often the preferred option to go with a referred friend, or word of mouth, at a minimum you should inquire on ESA registration. The ESA provides permits to allow work on residential and commercial sites to be completed. Without a permit, your home insurance may be invalid.
3. Set a budget
Prior to researching the electrician, decide on your budget! Some say the budget sets out the scope of work. However, as the client, you need to be comfortable with the budget. With your selected electrician you can determine the ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ list. A qualified electrician can walk you through your scope and determine what is ‘essential’ for completion based on safety, and then move to those items that are more desired based on budget.
4. Get an estimate
Any electrician should be providing you with an estimate based on your scope of work. This estimate should include the time, labour and materials. Your electrician should walk through the estimate to ensure you are clear on all items and that you understand the cost.
Now is the time to ask any questions you have, remember no question is silly. While the work is an investment on your property, it is also your hard earned money that you are spending.
5. Hiring incompetent electricians
As previously stated electrical is a highly skilled trade. Electricians spend a minimum of 5 years as an apprentice, at which point they obtain their electrical license. Following this, a further 3 years of experience is required before the option to write the Masters.
In your selection process for a contractor, consider those with more experience will bring better service. Master Electricians will often have apprentices working under them. If this is something you experience, please note there is a limited scope of work that an apprentice can perform.
You should not be charged the same rate when a Master Electrician is performing work, as to when an apprentice is performing work. This should be identified on your estimate/invoice. Where possible keep a track of who is performing what works and for how long.
6. Payment up front
As every electrician has a different payment policy, it is important to understand this before signing any contracts. It is typical for reputable companies to ask for a deposit upon signing, usually around 30% of the total estimate. However, be cautious if you are being asked to pay the full amount upfront. Unless the scope of work is considered out of the ordinary, most reputable companies take the initial deposit and collect final payments once the inspection has been completed.
Withholding is agreed to a portion of the payment that is held back, by the client to ensure the electrician completes the project and as per the scope. When you set out your scope of work, consider the time frame. Clearly set out a deadline as to when you want the work to be completed by and then work backwards. Discuss this with the contractor. You will need to consider if there old electrical that requires demolishing or any other preparatory work that needs to be done.
Once this is determined to discuss with your electrician the withholding amount. It is typical to hold back around 10% until the project is completed and to your satisfaction. Most contractors will provide a warranty on their work, so meeting the client’s satisfaction should not be an issue for them.
Following some of these tips when selecting the electrician you wish to work with, can assist you in avoiding potential pitfalls. If you are faced with any challenges on any of the above points or if there is a different challenge you are faced with in your selection process, please do call Hyperion. We would be happy to walk you through this process and see you make the right decision…..the first time.