Choosing a reliable and experienced electrical contractor is important for a whole range of reasons. You need someone with the expertise and experience to get the work done efficiently and safely. You need to know the work will be carried out according to all relevant safety guidelines and building codes specifications. And you need someone who’s going to charge a reasonable price.
It’s important to remember that not all electricians are created equal. Some specialise in smaller domestic work while others may focus on large-scale industrial projects. So, before you start contacting electrical contractors, you need to have a clear idea of the scale and scope of the work you need done. Providing electrical contractors with as much information as possible will help them to adequately quote the project and help you to determine which electrician is best for the job.
To help you make an informed decision, we have a few handy tips for choosing a reliable electrical contractor.
What work do you need done?
Do you need a complex data cabling installation for a tech company, testing and tagging for heavy mining equipment, or do you just need a new power point installed at home?
The complexity, scale and scope of the work will determine the kind of electrician you need. Domestic or commercial electricians can usually handle any work around the home or commercial work like shop or office fitouts. However, they may not have the expertise or the qualifications to handle major industrial projects.
Even around the home, specialist projects like home automation, air conditioner installation or repair, or security system installation may require specialist qualifications, experience or licensing.
Having a clear understanding of the scale and scope of the work you need done is also essential when it comes to getting your work properly quoted.
How credible are they?
While qualifications and licensing requirements vary depending on the complexity of the work, all electrical contractors should be qualified, licensed and insured. Licensing requirements change from state to state, but all states and territories require electricians to hold a licence before they can legally carry out electrical work.
Electricians must also issue certificates of compliance for any electrical work. These indicate that all work has been carried out in line with state legislation and Australian Standards. If an electrician can’t present you with these licences or certificates, then you should be suspicious.
Before taking on an electrical contractor you should also ask for references. A reliable electrician should be happy to put you in touch with a range of previous clients who are willing to vouch for the contractor’s work. If you’re looking for commercial or industrial electricians, make sure you speak to references in industries similar to yours, or whose electrical work aligns with your job requirements.
To check up on an electrician’s reputation, you can also ask other tradespeople and contractors. Any builder or contractor will likely have worked with a range of electricians and will be able to recommend you someone good.
Get multiple quotes
After you’ve pulled together a list of credible electricians with the right skills, qualifications and experience, it’s time to start getting quotes. Depending on the complexity of the work, these quotes may be written or verbal.
For any work that more significant than simple repair or maintenance work, you should always insist on a detailed written proposal. This can include hourly rates, materials costs with itemised pricing, scope of work and deadlines, warranty information, and work options if there are several ways of completing the job.
Once you have your quotes, it’s time to compare them. And there’s more to comparing quotes than just looking at the prices. It’s important to look at the level of detail the quote provides, how realistic the deadlines are, and whether the pricing looks too good to be true.
Don’t discount the most expensive quote immediately. It could be that this one is just providing the most comprehensive quote and outlining all potential costs up front.
And don’t be afraid to ask contractors why their quotes are more or less expensive than their competitors.
Don’t ignore your gut
When it comes down to making your choice, you should also pay attention to how you get on with the contractor. If it’s a major commercial project you may have to work with this person for a long time, so building up a good working relationship will be important. Even if it’s a minor domestic job, this person will still be coming into your home, so you want to select someone you’re comfortable with.