Plus a couple of good ways to avoid scams.
Ever wonder why the most inexperienced, costly Rhode Island contractors seem to end up in your home/business? (Hardly. I’ve had my share too!) Actually it could have less to do with you than it does with the information you’re gathering before you hire them.
Let’s be plain: You usually take the time to call an electrician because something quits working, or you need an electrical outlet installed. Whatever the need, it’s your need and you want it done. So far so good.
Then you call for an appointment with the first available electrician and wait for him to appear. And sometimes you keep waiting. Like, for a really long time. (I’m still waiting for a painter who said he’d be “right back” about 2 years ago!)
If he does decide to show up, the service you receive can either soothe – or increase – your feelings of panic and irritation. That’s why a better understanding of what to look for in an electrical contractor can help you more than a rushed decision in an emergency.
Top things to look for in a RI electrician before opening your home/business—and your wallet:
- Credentials – If a contractor starts sweating and a nervous stutter appears as soon as you ask for a license, that’s not good. Or if he says, “I can get that for you after we finish up,” maybe you shouldn’t even start. This stuff is just too dangerous and the risks are too great to take a chance with someone “winging it.”Electrical contractors should be able to readily (and eagerly) provide licensing and insurance information, as well as at least five references from recent customers. Be sure to check the references and inquire about timeliness, job performance, and overall satisfaction of results. Did you know that you could lose your insurance protection when hiring a non-licensed, non-bonded and non-insured contractor?
- Training – Not every company meets the most stringent hiring requirements. (We’re considered almost “too picky” in this regard.) You don’t want your home/business to be the training ground of an inexperienced technician. By the time you see him scratching his head, shrugging his shoulders, and tossing the “extra” parts back on his truck, it may be too late to ask what sort of training has been completed. At Airhart Electric, Inc. we have ongoing education for all our electricians and we are also enrolled in the state Apprenticeship Program.You’ll learn the most about a company by asking specific questions, so be sure to ask about training policies for technicians and experience requirements for hiring. Listen carefully to the answers and find a contractor that you feel comfortable has the knowledge and expertise to handle your home/business with care. In our 32 years of business, we know that our people make the biggest difference in how customers are treated.
- Up Front Pricing – Beware of any contractor that asks for a large deposit upfront. If your contractor needs the deposit “to buy supplies,” that’s a bad sign; a credible contractor should have accounts in good standing with local suppliers. Your deposit may be on the way to the bank and long gone before you realize you never confirmed a “return” appointment to have your outlets fixed.Legitimate electrical contractors should give an upfront price for services before work begins, and ask for payment only when work has been completed. This is Airhart Electric’s standard procedure. We don’t feel you should have to “guess” how much your job should cost.
- Scheduling – Think about it. You’re looking at smoke seeping from your light fixture. And your electrical contractor has just said he’d be glad to come out and take a look at it a week from Tuesday. The fact is, if he can’t provide quick relief, your contractor probably shouldn’t be your contractor.Sure, you may have real scheduling issues in the middle of a busy season. But the scheduling should be explained with the assurance that the contractor will get there as soon as he can. Ask for a specific time, and expect him to keep it.
My biggest frustration with other contractors is shoddy work, followed by rotten communication. If we’re going to be delayed – rare, but it happens – we let you know instead of asking you to wait around half a day. That’s just not right.
- Guarantees– Not all companies guarantee their work and it’s important to know that before you make your final decision. Without a guarantee on parts and labor, you may have another system short and be expected to pay the same price to have it fixed again.Ask before work begins if both parts and labor are guaranteed and for how long. If the answer is “Oh, trust me it’ll be fine. What do you need a guarantee for?”, then you should send him packing and find a company that will guarantee their work. Airhart Electric. Inc. has been solving electrical problems in this community for over 32 years. That alone should help you see that our guarantee is not just words… but a commitment of prompt, reliable service to you.Remember, you are calling a contractor because you have a problem. His job is to solve those problems – not add to them. Electricity is a joy and a convenience, but when it goes “wrong” it can go very wrong indeed. Being meticulous in your choice of electrical contractors can save you time, money, and quite possibly, much more.
Want solutions to your electrical challenges? Contact Airhart Electric, Inc. at 401-397-3415. We’d be delighted to become your electrical contractor.