Not all electricians are created equal. When you need to hire an electrician for a residential or commercial project it’s important to not only solicit multiple bids, but to consider a range of factors in your decision.
The NECA-IBEW Electricians in the Mahoning Valley recommend asking the following questions when evaluating electrical contractors:
(1) Do you carry workers’ compensation coverage? Are you bonded and insured? For starters, consider it a red flag if the contractor hesitates to answer or says ‘no’ to these fundamental questions. Regardless of the complexity of the project, be sure your contractor carries its own workers’ comp coverage and insurance. Make no mistake, if the electrician is injured on the job it will come back on the homeowner’s insurance policy if the contractor doesn’t carry workers’ compensation.
(2) Do you hold current state licenses? Will you be pulling the required permits and have the work properly inspected? Are you up-to-date on all code requirements? Not all contractors that advertise for electrical work are licensed, especially on smaller projects. It is also not a given that all contractors are up-to-date on the latest code requirements and adhere to current professional standards. Union contractors and electricians diligently stay current on their state licensing and code requirements, and regularly participate in continuing education opportunities. You should insist on any job, large or small, that your contractor demonstrates adherence to code and license requirements. Failure to do so could mean additional costs down the road to re-do a non-compliant job.
(3) Does your company have a drug-free workplace policy? Not all electrical contractors have a company drug policy that assures he customer that the electricians on their project comply with a policy that requires training and random testing.
(4) How experienced are you? Questions related to a contractor’s experience and how it trains its employees are certainly appropriate. IBEW electricians complete a five-year apprentice program for commercial work and a three-year program for residential work. Both include supervised, on-the-job training as well as classroom work to learn both conventional and new technologies. Further, union electricians have access to, and participate in, ongoing journeyman training to keep their skills up to date.
(5) Are your workers local? Many residential and commercial customers like to know they’re working with electricians from the local area. Union electrical contractors employ local electricians directly, and have access to additional local workers through the area’s union halls. Hiring local can ensure the contractor truly knows who they’re sending to your job, and they can be confident in the skills and work habits of the assigned electrician.
(6) How long have you been in business? Do you have references? Again, these are fundamental questions that any reputable contractor should be able to confidently answer. It’s important to be able to show a track record of quality work, and your contractor should not hesitate to provide references for you.
Quality of work and a strong reputation cannot be over-valued. The area’s union contractors inherently come with highly trained, skilled electricians with years of experience, comprehensive training and an unparalleled dedication to the Mahoning Valley and to their industry.
There’s peace of mind in knowing your job will be in capable hands and done right the first time. Asking these questions during the bidding process can give you the confidence you need that you’ll get both value and quality work from the contractor you hire.