It is easy to hire a licensed electrician these days, just surf online and you’ll find hordes of choices. A lot of people assume that those who are advertising their services on the Internet are skilled and competent. The sad thing is, this isn’t always the case. These are tough times so people are just about willing to do anything just to save some money. There is now a lot of people who call themselves DIYers who can take on electrical projects. But wiring a garage receptacle is different from rewiring an old home. Safety, after all, is a major concern when it comes to electricity, hence, it becomes necessary to hire a licensed electrical contractor.
Understanding the Licensing Process
Majority of cities now require repair and construction services to be tackled by insured and licensed professionals. There is a reason behind all this. It has been estimated that 28,300 residential fires are spurred by improper electrical system installations each year. These are not mere statistics but real homes and real lives that were severely affected by such accidents.
It is not easy to obtain a contractor’s license, though. The State of Kansas, for instance, requires a passing score of 75% on their Electrician’s Exam. This hundred-question test can be taken in four hours, with each question seen as a means to determine the level of competence that the electrician is able to offer.
Becoming a licensed electrical contractor is a journey that can take more than a decade. There are those who have worked as electricians for 12 or more years, with five of those years spent in apprentice work. The point here is, anyone who possesses a license is likelier to be more experienced and have a thorough understanding of electricity and how it works.
With regard to the insurance aspect, one of the requirements in obtaining a contractor’s license is to enroll in a General Liability insurance. Majority of jurisdictions now ask for no less than $1,000,000 in insurance coverage. Some electrical contractors prefer to carry more than this amount because it gives their customers the needed peace of mind.
Apart from General Liability, another type of insurance is the Workman’s Compensation insurance which you also need to check when hiring an electrical contractor.
Zeroing In on the Licensed Contractor
Before you hire a contractor, ensure that the license and insurance that they present are still valid and active. Cross-check their licenses with the Contractor License Board then ask the references that they have listed. If you are unable to find the licensing board for your state, then just visit the state website. These sites are often listed under state.gov. The state of Arizona, for instance, can be accessed at az.gov.
Visit the homes of the references (if possible) and check the projects that were finished by the contractor that you are about to hire. Good references represent good workmanship but not his trustworthiness so interview past clients before you begin negotiations.
What kind of electrical contractor do you need? Papers aren’t everything when it comes to the hiring process. There are characteristics that you also need to consider because even the most experienced electrician, when cranky, is not a good electrician to work with at all.
Understand also that there is a price difference between the general and the specialized contractor. You would need the latter when there are more complex electrical projects that need to be addressed such as the maintenance of an electrical construction machine. Hiring a licensed electrical contractor is not an easy process, you have to take your time to find the best ones out there – there is simply no other way.