What to Know About: Electrical Work »
From frayed wires to down powerlines, what can an electrician do to help your home get back on track.
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From frayed wires to down powerlines, what can an electrician do to help your home get back on track.
Power outages are unpredictable, so planning ahead is key to staying safe. This checklist helps you prepare with the right supplies and information.
Understand the different types of electrical outlets, as well as the maintenance they require, in order to keep your home or offic…
Outstanding professional. Called on a Saturday afternoon after power failure in some of the outlets. Mr. Gomez responded timely, diagnosed and fixed the problem within 20 minutes. The bill was fair and reasonable. I strongly recommend him as he is highly skilled and knowledgeable.
WAY overcharged! The service call only took 30 minutes during normal working hours (3:45PM - 4:30PM) and claimed this was an emergency service call because they came the same day and then added more fees for "consulting" because we asked a question!!
Came out on a Sunday within a couple hours of calling. Reasonable charges.
Electrical service mast broke during the December 2013 ice storm. They took advantage of the situation and charged double the price of what other electricians and electrical contractors later quoted for us when we needed further repairs to the mast. They did a poor and inadequate job as well. Please do your research and request multiple quotes from different businesses. Avoid AAA Electric Ted Gomez!
I was referred to UE by a friend. The guy I spoke with (Matt) said that their rate was $40/hour so I made an appointment. An electrician came out at the end of October, and was in & out in just under an hour. So I was surprised to receive a bill a few weeks later for $120 and I intended to call UE to see why I'd been charged $80 more than what I was told the hourly rate was. Unfortunately I forgot because I was preoccupied with my wedding that was that month and getting ready for all of our out of town guests. I take complete responsibility for not calling in a timely manner to figure out why I'd been overcharged. However, the response I received from them was completely unprofessional.Today (December) I got a call from UE to see if I'd received the invoice and, if so, when I would be paying it. I called them back immediately and apologized for not getting back to them sooner, explaining that I didn't agree with the charges and that I meant to get back sooner but got sidetracked. Matt told me that the $40/hour is for time to get to/from the site as well as time spent there. First of all, there's no way it took the electrician an hour to get to my house and an hour to get back. Second, if that's the case I feel he should've told me that up front when I asked about their rates. I feel like the electrician was trying to pad the bill by overstating his driving time because there's absolutely no way he made a 2 hour round trip to my house in the East Lansing area.Then they tried to tell me that some of the charges were for trips to get supplies/tools for the job. I explained that at no point did the electrician ever have to go to his van to get anything for the job, let alone make a trip to get any supplies. In fact, I had gotten a ladder out of the garage for him to help him out so he could reach up to the ceiling fan on a valuted ceiling. He never asked me to do this, I was just trying to make his job easier so I felt insulted and scammed when he claimed that he used any supplies for our jobs. Matt asked me what I wanted to do to resolve this situation. I told him I would pay the $40 but that I felt that the remainder of the invoice was a combination of me being misled by not being told that travel time was also $40/hour and the electrician padding the bill by charging for things he never did. Matt offered to split the bill and settle at $60 which I was going to agree to. However, when I asked him if he could tell me what exactly was listed on the invoice since I didn't have it in front of me to look at, he wouldn't give me specific details and said that it was "office record" and he couldn't tell me. He then got really upset when I said that I have a copy of the invoice at home and could look at it but that I just wanted him to tell me what we'd been charged for since he obviously had a record of it. He started getting really frustrated and angry and just started rudely rattling off a couple of things the technician did at our houses and then started lecturing me about how late I was in addressing the billing situation and said how I should've called right away if I had a problem with my invoice. I told him I was sorry and that I agreed, but that I was getting married that month and the incorrect invoice wasn't at the top of my priority list at that time. He continued to get upset and tell me how I had soo much time and should've called them sooner. Then Matt asked again what we can do to resolve this and since I was now offended at how he had started treating me I told him I would pay the $40 that I felt I owed based on the hourly rate he quoted me on the phone. His response was "Fine. Can you put a check for $40 in the mail and agree to not call us again?" Wow...nice customer service. I can guarantee I'll never call them again and suggest you do yourself a favor and don't call them either unless you want to be treated like crap.
There are different kinds of electricians. Some mostly work with contractors to install and map out electrical circuits inside homes and commercial buildings while others lay wire for large projects such as telephone lines and traffic lights. Keep this in mind when narrowing your search for a professional. If you need a tradesperson to work on your home or building, contact an inside or house wire expert. These professionals specialize in designing and putting new electrical systems in place for houses and commercial buildings.
When you contact an electrical contractor, describe the job that needs completing. Maybe you have a large project, like a remodeling plan that requires new wiring, or a small one, such as replacing a light switch or socket. Let the electrician know. Not every person you call will have the training and know-how to do more complex work.
To further hone your search, make sure you ask electricians the following questions before hiring:
1. Are You Licensed?
Trades such as HVAC, plumbing and electrical work require contractors to carefully install complicated systems that could be hazardous if they're installed incorrectly. Therefore, most states require electricians to receive training and obtain a license before working. An electrician that's licensed is one that's competent and knowledgeable enough of his or her trade to install and maintain electrical systems.
Electricians must complete thousands of hours of training in order to get a license to practice their trade, so make sure not only the company you choose but the employees doing the work show you their license. When you view the license, ensure that it's up to date and that it's issued by your state.
2. Are You Bonded?
There's potentially a lot that can go wrong if a tradesperson like an electrician installs wiring the wrong way. To spare you and your home or office from subpar work, make sure the electrician is bonded. Being bonded means the professional has an intermediary that can pay for any damage caused to a property or foot the bill if the contractor fails to finish the job.
3. Are You Insured?
Besides a bond, you also need an electrician that's insured. Many states require contractors to carry some form of insurance along with their license. Insist that whomever you hire has the proper amount of insurance for the work you need done and call the insurer to check the policy.
See that who you hire for the job has liability and workers' compensation insurance so you don't end up paying for injuries or accidents caused by the company's work. Workers' compensation insurance means the business can provide for any of its employees if they're hurt on the job.
4. Is Your Business Licensed?
Not only should you check that the electrician is licensed by your state, you should also ask if his or her company has the certification to operate in your area. Both the electrician as well as the business he or she works for need licenses either issued by the state or local municipality.
5. Who Will Do the Work?
Ensure the person who actually comes out to complete the work is licensed, bonded and insured. You need to know not just the company that's doing the work but the person they're sending out to your home or building. Make sure the employee doing the job isn't an unsupervised apprentice. If it happens that the business uses a subcontractor, check with both the company and the tradesperson that the same kind of bond and insurance applies for that subcontractor as it would for an employee.
6. How Much Do You Charge by the Hour?
If you have a small and simple job that needs completing, such as a new light switch, then ask the electrician how much they charge for it before hiring him or her. When it comes to larger, more intensive and time-consuming work, you'll want to inquire about the contractor's hourly rate. Many tradespeople will offer to come out to your home or building, examine it and give you an estimate as well as tell you how much they charge per hour. It's best to get this in writing before proceeding.
While you're at it, call several electricians to come out to your home to give you an estimate on the work. This way you can get an idea of what the average price of the job will be.
7. Do You Offer a Warranty?
Many reputable tradespeople provide warranties for their work. Inquire if both the labor and parts the electrician uses are under warranty and how long the work is guaranteed for.
8. Do You Have or Need a Permit?
Depending on what kind of repairs or installation you need, your city could require a permit for the electrical work. Ask your electrician if the job calls for one and have him or her put the permit under his or her name. Ensuring the tradesperson obtains a permit will safeguard you from any blame if the labor turns out to be subpar.
Finding a trustworthy electrician isn't hard, but you must do your due diligence. Make sure whomever you hire is licensed, bonded and insured, and that the professional can show you proof of all three as well as get the necessary permit for the job. Besides these important factors, you can take further steps to guarantee you obtain a reputable tradesperson.
1. Get Referrals
Ask your family, friends or neighbors if they can recommend a professional to you and inquire if they're pleased with the work. Better yet, ask them if they can show you the project the electrician completed and ask them how long it took the worker to complete it.
2. Look Online
It can't hurt to also check electricians out online. Look for reviews, ratings and, most importantly, see if they have any complaints on file with your municipality or with your local business bureaus. If former customers filed grievances against them, you may want to steer clear.
3. Ask for a Quote
Reputable electricians will give you a quote for small work over the phone if you ask and will travel to your home to quote you a price for larger jobs. Be wary of one that declines to give you an estimate or insists that he or she charge you for coming out to your house.
4. Ask Them About Their Experience
Being bonded, licensed and insured is all well and good, but you also need an experienced professional to do the work. With that said, interview electricians about past projects they completed and how many years they've been in business or how much training they have.
5. Be Wary of Suspiciously Low Estimates
Watch out for contractors that greatly underbid other electricians. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Also, always remember to get the estimate in writing before settling on a company.
While all electricians need a license, not all of them do the same types of jobs. They are usually split up into three groups: outside, inside and residential.
Outside: These types of electricians work outdoors on electrical lines that connect to power plants.
Inside: Inside experts typically focus on commercial and industrial buildings that require a lot of power.
Residential: If you're a homeowner, you'll most likely need to hire an electrician that specializes in residential wiring. Residential electricians work with low-voltage systems and wiring to install fuse boxes and light fixtures.
Like many trade groups, electricians learn their craft by going to vocational schools and shadowing professionals on the job. In order to become a full-fledged professional, a person must undergo an apprenticeship with master and journeyman electricians. An apprentice needs 8,000 hours of practical work before graduating to the journeyman level.
If an apprentice reaches journeyman status, he or she can complete most electrical work but cannot design it until completing more testing along with 2,000 more on-the-job hours.
Many do-it-yourself enthusiasts might be inclined to fix electrical problems around their home, but they risk shock and bodily injury. It's always best to call a licensed electrician, even if you have something as small as an improperly working wall outlet.
Keep the following safety tips in mind: