We tend to assume that anyone calling themselves a specialist, well, IS. Think about it for a moment: We let a complete stranger come into our home to work on the electrical system with absolute trust that they know what they’re doing, that they’re safe. We verify and reference our babysitters, but many of us don’t know how to do this effectively with our electricians, or even what to ask.
- Request for Proof, Experience, and Credentials. You want a certified electrician because they will adhere to the highest standards of quality and services. Ask to see proof of their Part P qualification, which is required for most electrical work, and the most valuable credential to have.
- Registration. Make sure your electrician is registered with a governing body like NAPIT or NICEIC by going to these websites and searching to see if they’re listed. Another site to investigate is Registered Competent Person Electrical.
- License and Insurance. Just because someone has both of these things doesn't mean it'll cover the work you need to be done. Some licenses carry restrictions, so verify that you’re covered.
- Recommendations and References. This is a big one. A word-of-mouth recommendation from someone whose opinion you trust can be invaluable when choosing a service. If you can’t get a recommendation, then ask the electrician for references. Be sure to follow up and make sure that they are recommended by their customers.
- Don’t Automatically Go With the Cheapest Option. Get at least three quotes. Always make sure you communicate exactly what work you plan to have done and the exact fittings and materials you’ll need to each electrician. Be sure to get a breakdown of prices with your quote so you can accurately compare one estimate to another. Choosing a contractor by price is ill-advised since there are so many other factors to take into consideration. Read through the quotes carefully to ensure that you end up picking the best person for your job. Finally, once your job has been completed, get the certificate issued for it. If your electrician doesn't agree to this, you should reconsider hiring them.
When it comes to your home, improvements and repairs go toward the value of your property. Getting quality for your money is less of an expense and more of an investment in the long run. You want work that’s done safely, efficiently and up to code the first time.