Questions to Ask When Getting Quotes for Electrical Repairs

[fa icon="calendar"] March 26, 2014 / by Home Services Expert

Colorful Question MarksMaybe this has happened to you after an unexpected repair left you a bit frazzled: As you watched a contractor's truck leave your driveway, you immediately thought of several questions you should have asked—or could have asked—if you’d had the presence of mind to do so.

It's human nature to lose your footing under stress, so if you're facing the prospect of electrical repairs, try to get a leg up on the experience by formulating a list of questions now, before you gather quotes from licensed electricians. Doing so will help you become more informed, bolster your confidence and settle your nerves, all at the same time.

And by all means: take notes, either on paper or on your desktop or tablet. Committing information to memory is not only a risky proposition but also will preclude you from reviewing the session later and asking follow-up questions about your electrical repairs, if need be.

On this optimistic note, begin your line of questioning:

With help from the Better Business Bureau consider asking:

  • Are you licensed? Don't settle for simply a “yes” answer; verify the license status with the licensing authority.
  • Do you carry insurance? Again, verify the information by reviewing the electrician's Certificate of Insurance, workers compensation and general liability coverage.
  • Do I need a permit for this project? If you do, a building inspector from your municipality will have to inspect the electrical repairs and approve them upon completion. This process may involve some unavoidable delays, which can be frustrating, but try to view this step as an extra precaution for you.

At this point, your trust may be building, but remember the old expression: Trust but verify. Even if the electrician has handed you a business card with an imprinted logo and is driving what looks to be a “company” truck, verify the business address. Con artists usually earn their name because they're good at deceiving even intelligent people that they're on the up and up—even though they may be working out of a truck and roving from one town to another to avoid detection.

Once you've passed these hurdles, segue to questions that are specific to electrical repairs:

  • Will you guarantee that your work will meet all applicable electrical codes? The National Electrical Contractors Association urges consumers to acquire such a guarantee—and so much the better that it be placed in writing. This way, you're protected against additional charges in case the electrician must correct problems with the original repair.
  • Why is this repair necessary and/or what triggered the need for this repair in the first place? At this point, it's easy to be short-sighted and focus on the symptom rather than the root cause. For example, breakers that repeatedly trip could be a sign of a wiring problem, and not just an overloaded circuit. Don't be afraid to probe for information until you understand the scope of the electrical problem and its remedy.

As long as your detective's hat is still in place, don't forget one of the fundamental questions you should ask before signing on the electrician's dotted line: Would you please supply at least three references? As you might expect, the electrician will most likely give you the names of only satisfied customers. So if you're up to the challenge, ask for the names and phone numbers of difficult customers who the electrician had to work hard to placate.

To expedite your search, put Experts In Your Home at the top of your list when getting quotes for electrical repairs. Our local Chico electricians are experts in your home. Northern California residents have been putting tough questions to us since 1948—and we proudly stand by every customer we've served since then.

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