As a homeowner in the Greater Seattle area, having electrical projects pop up are always part and parcel of homeownership. Although there may be some small projects you’re able to complete on your own, hiring an electrician that is trustworthy and qualified can help ensure that your electrical project is completed safely and correctly.
While the task of finding a good electrician for your job may seem daunting, it’s actually easier that you might think. At Rock Electric, we’ve provided some simple tips to help you understand how to find an electrician that is competent and qualified for your job.
What Is Their Specialty?
The first thing you should determine when finding a qualified local electrician is whether or not they’re able to do the job you need in the first place.
Not all electricians specialize in the same type of work. For instance, some electricians specialize in simple internal electrical installations like replacing outlets and switches, and installing light fixtures. Others can be better qualified working with more complex electrical systems like electrical panel and circuit breaker replacements, or replacing faulty wiring. Still others do best with new construction, commercial, or outdoor electrical work.
If the electrician has a website, take the time to review it and find out what kind of services they offer and what jobs they have worked on in the past.
If they don’t have a website, then ask them what they specialize in! Find out what kind of training they received and whether they’re prepared to deal with any complications or issues that may arise from your project.
Are They Licensed & Insured?
A truly qualified, professional electrician should carry insurance and be licensed in the states in which they work. Not all states require licenses and insurance, so be sure to ask the electrician to provide proof that they have these before hiring them for your job.
Hiring a licensed electrician ensures that the electrician has been properly trained, accredited, and vetted by the state in which they work. In Washington State, all electricians are required to get a license and display their current license number in any advertising and promotional materials like websites and business cards. That way you are able to easily verify their status with the State.
Although holding insurance is not required in Washington, a good electrician will carry liability insurance, as well as workers compensation insurance if they have employees working for them. Electricians that hold insurance can help protect you from any costs or liability that might result from potential accidents or damages on the job.
How Do They Vet Their Employees?
If the electrician has employees working for them, ask them how they vet and qualify their employees.
Find out if they require them to receive specific training in order to complete the work they specialize in before being hired. Determine if they perform background checks on their employees… Ask what level of certification they have received, apprentice, journeyman, or master electrician. While an apprentice may be fully qualified to do most electrical work, there are some projects that may require a more experienced employee for the job.
Finally, all employees are required to be individually licensed by the State of Washington. Make sure to ask to see if their employees licenses are up-to-date as well.
Check Reviews & Request References
The internet is a great resource for researching the capabilities and reputation of an electrician. Websites like Google, Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, GuildQuality, and Houzz can provide you with a convenient place to read reviews and testimonials and find out what other people are saying about the electrician you want to hire.
Be sure to read reviews carefully to see if the type of projects they’ve worked on relate to your job. Look to see if they have any complaints against them, and if they have been successfully resolved. If they don’t have good review scores, or have more complaints than praise, then it’s probably a good sign they’re not someone you should work with.
However, online reviews aren’t your only resource to determine an electrician’s reputation and qualifications, and can honestly be misleading at times. Another good way to determine an electrician’s trustworthiness is to ask them to provide references from previous clients that have had the same time of work done. A good story from a satisfied client may be more valuable than an online complaint from a disgruntled one.
Get An Estimate Upfront
Reputable electricians should be willing to provide you with a complete, written estimate before doing the work. The estimate will provide you with a clear understanding of how much you will pay and what each charge applies to before the job begins.
A good estimate should include: a note of the actual project being completed, the amount of time it will take to complete the job, the cost of labor, and the cost of any materials and parts. If your estimate doesn’t include any of these items, ask for clarification and for any missing items to be added to the estimate.
Cheaper Doesn’t Mean Better
If you are looking at more than one electrician and receive multiple quotes, know that the cheapest one isn’t necessarily the best one. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for.
All electricians charge differently depending on a number of factors including their experience and certification level, to the complexity of the project and the quality of materials they are using. That extra price you’re paying could mean you’re getting better quality parts than the competitor, or that the more expensive electrician is better qualified for your particular project.
Feel free to ask questions about the estimate if something isn’t clear. If the electrician is unwilling or unable to provide clear answers, they may not be the right person for the job. If they can easily explain why they charge more than their competitor they’re more likely to be someone you can trust to do your job.
Consider Rock Electric
Rock Electric is your go-to source for several types of outdoor electrical projects. We specialize in:
We focus on building lasting, fruitful relationships with customers and back our work by our six core principles that help us ensure a satisfactory experience: Quality, Safety, Communication, Reliability, Integrity, and Tidiness.
Feel free to verify our status with the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, and check out our reviews and testimonials. If you’re ready to start a project, feel free to call us at (253) 999-9814 or contact us and we’ll be happy to provide you with a complete, free estimate.