If you are interviewing electricians to do a job for you it’s important to know what to ask in advance. It’s okay to write down your questions as well as note what the electrician says so that you can compare their answers with the others that you interview. If you ask everyone the same questions, then you’ll be able to better evaluate who is the best person to hire.
How long have you been an electrician?
You want them to have enough experience, usually an electrician apprentices at least four years so anything less than four years may not be enough experience for your job.
Are you certified and licensed?
You should collect their license number and see their certification. They should happily give you that information so that you can check up and ensure that they’re being honest.
What is the last project you worked on?
While you know that your project is residential it’s important to find out what the last project they worked on. Commercial electricians are very different from residential electricians. While both can do the job, you want someone experienced with your type of job.
What type of electrical systems are you familiar with?
This will let you know whether they can tell you something about your own job. They already know what you need since you’ve already talked to them, so they should try to explain to you how familiar they are with your needs.
Do you specialize in a specific type of work?
Again, you really want someone who specializes in your type of project. You don’t want to take someone who is having a slow time of it to do your small project and have something more lucrative come along and they put you on the back burner.
Do you carry liability insurance?
Of course, the answer to this question should be yes. They should describe the limits of their policy and what it covers to you in as much detail as possible so that you can be reassured that if something goes wrong you’re covered.
Do you insure your contractors or employees?
You ideally want to hire someone who also insures their contractors and employees for liability insurance because that is the only way to ensure complete coverage in case something goes south.
Are you bonded?
There are two types of bonding; bonding that a contractor can get where they keep a certain amount of money in an account to cover unexpected issues, and bonding of employees to guard against theft. You want both.
Do you charge hourly or by project? How much?
Understanding how you will be charged is an important aspect of avoiding invoice shock. Invoice shock happens when you get an invoice three times what you were expecting and need to pay it immediately. You can avoid this by thoroughly discussing how billing will occur.
Can you provide 3 references with whom I can talk about your work?
Even if the electrician was recommended by family or a friend it’s important to get a couple more references that can vouch for the electrician. Getting references from people who had a job like yours completed is best. Do call them.
Do you usually perform your work in the time frame you quote?
By asking this question you can get a double guarantee that they will perform their duties in the time frame discussed. You can follow this up by asking the references if they finished the project on time.
Do you clean up after yourself?
This is important because some contractors are downright dirty. They will throw their cigarettes and lunch garbage right in your yard. By asking them this, they will answer in the affirmative and you’ll be able to hold them to that as the job is being completed.
How do you take payment?
Some electricians will take credit cards, others only deal with checks. It’s important to ask this question if you plan to pay by credit card, which is highly recommended due to the additional protections you can get through your credit card company.
What is your schedule like? When can you start?
Asking this question can determine if you are going to hire them now. Perhaps they can’t get started for a month, but you want them to start now. Maybe they must start now but you aren’t ready yet.
By asking the right questions you’ll be sure to hire the right electrician for the job. Be sure to interview at least two or three candidates and get all estimates in writing before you finish with the interview. No point in wasting time if the estimates are too high or out of line for the job you want completed.