Choosing the best electrician contractor for your project is a delicate task that requires extensive consideration and commitment. Electrical contractors do not come easy, and you would have made a financial miscalculation if you choose one, haphazardly. Moreover, you do not want the most important part of your building project to be half-baked. Besides the frustration you will have, and the possible cosmetic damage you will suffer, such a step may prove to be a fatal one. We have heard of electrical faults that wreck havoc and bring down structures and properties, and even take lives. You would not want to live with such a risk in your premises. If you are intending to get an electrical contractor, you must engage your time, effort, and persistence in ensuring you get the right one. Here are a few tips to guide you in the process of acquiring a contractor for your electrical project.
List down the requirements
The first tip is to ensure you know what you want. This kind of clarity will guide you in your search. You may consider the best experts in the specific areas you need to work on, as well as considering the size of your project, before looking for a electrician. Setting clear expectations and defining your needs, makes the work easier for both the parties. The contractor will then be capable of giving you a specific term of service as well as the requirements of your project.
Begin your search for an electrician
You will then embark on the journey to look for the perfect contractor, armed with the information on what you need to be done. The search often involves making inquiries from friends, families, and close acquaintances that you trust to provide you with accurate information. If any of these close acquaintances knows of a prospective contractor, you will get reviews from the person before looking for the suggested contractor. You can have several options of leads to choose from in case you are not satisfied. Alternatively, you can find electrical contractors near you by going online and searching the directory. Here, you will get a chance to view their portfolio before requesting for an interview.
Cross-check the information
Once you have a list of the prospective electrical contractors, you may need to ensure the information you gathered is indeed correct. This implies that you make a background check on the individuals to determine that the information shared is indeed true. This will be a filter whereby the list of electrical contractors would have shrunk significantly.
You will then ensure that the right authorities as members of their governing body certify the remaining individuals. This involves approaching the insurers to obtain the information. Although this may sound hectic and unnecessary, it will save you many fears and heartache of working with a stranger with no insurance. Moreover, the licenses and insurance policy proof that he can take care of his workers in case of emergency. This reassures you and boosts trust towards a given inclination thus taking the search closer.
At this point, you can choose to interview the qualified prospective contractors through face-to-face interactions by visiting them in their offices. The face-to-face interaction will ensure you have a chance of gauging the individual and determining their abilities. Moreover, visiting at the offices will give you a glimpse into the organization and efficiency of the individual thus helping a great hand in the decision making process. You can ask several questions at this stage, aimed at ensuring that the individuals know their work and have enough workforces for the project. Those that do not meet your qualifications will then be eliminated at this stage.
In the next stage, you will determine the rough estimates of your project from the remaining few contractors that you want to consider for the job. The estimate in terms of time and money will cover the whole project. Here, you will ask for advice regarding the materials you will need to purchase for the project. The responses you get will offer further guidance as to the right contractor. An experienced and capable, one will offer detailed advice and warn you in case you are not making the right decision. Nevertheless, he will not impose his preferences on you.
Depending on the cost estimates you get, you can negotiate and hit the best bargain. Do not compromise on the quality of the materials or services, strike a deal that will hurt neither of you through extensive and reasonable bargaining. You will have to choose a contractor that can work within your budget to avoid frustrations that may arise due to failure to pay. This implies that you get quotation on the pproject from your remaining options then pick the best deal.
After considering the price, you will need to choose an individual with whom you can work. This implies that you should be concerned about compatibility. The easiest person to get along with should be the best option. Do not choose one whose character clashes with yours as this will probably bring problems in your communcation later on. This will frustrate you, waste your resources, and even delay the project.
After making the decision about the right contractor, you may want to make the contract official by both of you signing the terms of service in the presence of witnesses, often legal. This will safeguard your project during the duration of the work. It will also lay put the terms under which the contract will be null and void leading to termination. Often, you may have to pay a down payment before the contractor can start working.
Following these tips will simplify your search for the right electrical contractor, ensuring you do not overlook important factors while in haste. The process will take considerable amount of time, energy, and patience, but the result will be worthwhile. You do not have to compromise on the quality of the project, as this may prove disastrous later.
Electrical Wiring Costs
The decision to engage in house wiring is clearly indication that you need to seek assistance from an expert. Wiring project involves a great deal of risk, especially in the presence of water or in areas where water leakages can happen. The enthusiasts that love DIY projects will find nothing here, and they will have to call the professionals for these services. This is especially the case in the presence of young ones. You might be repairing a worn out section, making an overhaul wiring, or wiring a new house. Regardless of the use, wiring is a unique territory with huge no-go zone warnings. It also costs equally oppressive, requiring you to dig deeper into the pockets. Here is a simple break down of the financial needs of a wiring project.
The average cost needs for the project rates at about $75 per hour paid to the contractor. This price may be calculated as an overall charge of about $10,000, if we look at the average. The cost fluctuates according to the size and age of the house. For instance, an old room is charged the highest, at about $25,000. On the other hand, the contractor may only require $4,000 to work on a small unit or repair of a particular section. The purpose of the wiring also depicts the possible cost for the project.
Break down of cost requirements
Labour – This compensates the physical exertion of the contractor and his electricians. This is often charged at an average of $130 for two hours’ work.
The running wires and the opening walls – This demands that the contractor will need extra charges to ensure the holes are devoid of dirt or any previous cables and that the new ones are inserted, run, and fixed in the space. This will often cost about $3500 to $8000.
The service panel upgrade – this requires about $800 -$ 3000. This is the price range set by the National Association of Home Builders.
New Wiring – This is related to the purchase of the cables needed for the project. The cables usually go for about $7.
Switches and outlets – These are the accessories needed for the project and they are added at specific joints and outlets. The average range for these switches is between $100 and $185.
Types of Wiring
The types of wiring you have to choose are essentially differences in the materials used. For instance, the cables differ according to their insulation cover, rather than the conducting wires. This leads to the existence of such wiring as copper and, aluminium. The choice of the cables is done meticulously as per the use. For instance, some are suitable for outdoor use, while other are suited for the indoor environment. Nonetheless, different brand have various wiring that might prove beneficial. Here are some of the types of wiring.
Main feeder wires – This is a THHN wire and it is often insulated by black plastic.
Panel feed wires – This is also from the THHN family of wires and most of its features are similar to that of the main feeder wires.
Triplex – This is the utility company’s cable, which ensures all people have their supply.
Non-metallic sheathed wires – This is a Romex cable whose plastic coating encircles two or more conductors. It is the most common type of cable adopted in most homes.
Single strand cable – This type of cable is suitable for homes with pipe fittings. The insulation of these wires means they can be fixed into the same pipe without fear of an electric fault.
10 Questions to Ask your Electrician
How much will you charge for my electrical project?
Setting the quotation for the whole project before starting is the right thing to do. It gives you the freedom of making the right decision before you are bound by the contract. You may bargain and renegotiate the prices at this stage such that you stain as close to your budget as possible. A good contractor will breakdown the estimates for you, advice on the margin of error included in the cost, and determine whether your budget will cover all the cost before advising you accordingly.
How long do you expect to take before completing the project?
The duration of the project is paramount in striking a deal with an electrical contractor. This is especially necessary if the installation is being done in the same house as the residents. The danger associated with dealing with great current will affect the whole household as safety measures are taken to avoid unnecessary accidents. Moreover, it will help you determine the length of the project and thus establish expectations.
Do you provide any warranty on the services?
You may have chosen the best contractor near you, but man is to err. When you realize you made a mistake in your choice, you need an exit route, lest you end up trapped in a contract that is no longer serving your interests. This is why you should always ask the contractor about their warranty policy and have a written document to support it. The contractor is obliged to disclose the terms of the warrant policy and you can ask for clarification where you do not understand. This will save you future problems whenever the contractor performs poorly, compromising your safety or the efficiency of the system.
Are your employees entitled to an insurance cover?
Requesting to know the insurance status of the contractor you want to work with is the wise thing to do. Electrical work involves dangerous operations with high voltage. A fault may occur and lead to unforeseen accidents with varying severity. You do not want to incur extra costs due to such rare events. The contractor should cover these uncertainties by ensuring his workers are covered by a comprehensive insurance policy. You may counter check to ensure the insurance is active and will stay so for the duration of the project.
How durable are the materials I have chosen?
An expert electrical contractor understands the needs of his job. Once you outline your preferences and the requirement of your project, he should manage to offer professional advice on the best material that suit the work. He will advice on the price as well as the safety and durability of the chosen materials. This will further enhance your decision making process.
What requirements do you need to complete the project?
Inquire from your contractor on any additional requirements of the job that will require your attention. This may be involving the project directly or indirectly. The essence is to develop an understanding of the expectations of the job. Once these expectations are set, you will know how to fit them in your schedule without being unduly shocked by the changes. Moreover, you will budget better after ascertaining all the requirements of the job.
How credible is your company?
This is an essential question to ask every contractor. It offers them a chance to defend their professionalism and experience, and it can be a chance to sell the services of the company. This is a good way to engage the contractor and determine if they will be honest regarding their experience, which you already know through your search.
How do you plan to carry out the wiring process?
The essence of the contractor is to ensure proper wiring within the target space as per the instructions of the owner, the design of the home, and the professional pre-requisites. Asking this is a way of determining if the contractor is indeed knowledgeable. It also gives you a chance to collaborate with the contractor, get his advice, and communicate your expectations in advance. This should guide his work later, making it easier.
Is there any information that is not drafted in the proposal?
This is a wide net aimed at giving the contractor a chance to make any comments relating to the job that you may have overlooked. He is the expert, and it would be rude and unprecedented to conclude the interview. The information that is garnered this way is often valuable and it will guide your decision. It honours the contractor since you recognize his expertise and give him an upper hand to describe the concepts for you.
How can I go green?
Environmental sustainability is a conscious effort that you must make if you want to stay up-to-date. This involves understanding the materials that you may use to ensure energy is preserved as much as possible. The contractor that has been in the industry for years will advice on materials needed to go green, and even go out of his way to acquire them. This will separate the amateurs from the experts and thus you will have gained the best electrical contractor for your post.