Hiring an electrical contractor: Things you should know before you need one

Electrical work in your home or business is not something to tackle by yourself, so whether you need a repair doing or have a new project that needs some wiring and other electrical work to be done, you will need to hire an electrical contractor.

Here is a look at some of the things you should know and what questions to ask when you are thinking about hiring an electrical contractor.

When it is time to call in a professional

Most of us can cope with changing a light bulb, but DIY electrical repairs are not recommended, when you consider how important safety considerations are in your home and business premises.

Using someone like will help to ensure that you get a professional eye cast over your particular issue or requirements, allowing you to tap into their knowledge and experience, as well as appreciating that they will also have safety as a primary consideration.

A little bit of knowledge in the wrong hands is a potential recipe for disaster, so despite the fact that you can probably find some DIY instructions on how to undertake certain electrical tasks, do you really want to risk your health and safety?

Identifying a problem

If you are having a specific problem with the electrics in your home, it could be a simple fault that won’t take much fixing to put right, or it could be an indication of a bigger problem that needs addressing.

The problem for many property owners is that it is not immediately obvious what the problem might be. Trying to investigate the issue in any depth, other than a cursory glance, to see if you can spot an obvious fault such as a circuit that has tripped, could put you and your property at risk.

You should be able to develop a relationship with an electrical contractor so that they will come out and give their opinion as to what the problem might be, before submitting a more detailed quote to remedy the situation. These days there are CRM for electrical contractors that they use for better efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Getting a qualified opinion when it comes to electrical faults is always the suggested route to take, and it can often work out to be more cost-effective to take this course of action, than try to fix the problem yourself, and then require an electrician to put right any errors or damage that might have been caused as a result.

Constantly changing codes and qualifications

Rules and regulations relating to homes and commercial buildings are constantly being updated, with electrical safety requirements and technology improvements creating sometimes significant changes in requirements.

A qualified electrician will often need to attend regular safety briefings and even receive ongoing training as part of their continuing development to stay up to date with the National Electrical Code, which changes every three years.

Having the basic knowledge of how to wire a house and carry out repairs is fine, but if you want to seek reassurance, do ask the contractor whether they are up to date with their licensing and are qualified in the area of work you are looking to have done.

You can find that some electrical contractors will specialise in certain types of electrical contracting work. If you are looking for help with a domestic problem, it might not be such a good idea to call a company that specifically undertakes a lot of large commercial building projects.

What you are ideally looking for is an electrical contractor who carries out domestic repairs and other electrical work on homes, on a regular basis, so that you know you can pick up the phone and get them to come out and fix the problem as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.

Ask about a warranty

Another positive sign when it comes to choosing an electrical contractor, is to find one that is happy to offer a warranty on the work that they are doing for you.

If they are offering a warranty on the parts and labor, this is an indication that they are prepared to vouch for the standard of their work and are confident that their work will be considered more than acceptable to you.

In summary, there are different types of electricians, from residential to commercial, so if you have a specific job, like a rewire, or a repair, it often pays to pick someone who is used to doing this type of work on a daily basis. 

Charles Barker is an electrician by trade who is now semi-retired. He enjoys spending time with his grandchildren as well as finally finishing up house tasks that have been on the to-do list for a good five years!