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5 Questions You Need to Ask Before Hiring an Electrical Contractor

When it comes to electrical work at your business, there’s no room for mistakes. Whether it’s a relatively simple repair job or a complete electrical installation in a brand new building, you simply must have the right contractor working with you.

Even the simplest projects involve working with systems (and power) that could literally send your business up in flames. This is no time to cut corners.

But how do you find that right electrical contractor? There are precious few electricians out there whose slogan says something like, “We guarantee not to burn your building down!” (Although, we’d love to meet anyone who does make that promise.)

More to the point, though, you’re not in the electrician business. You’re in your business, and you’re darn good at it. Unfortunately, that means that many (or most) electrical contractors all look the same.

Here’s the truth: not all electrical contractors are created equal.

The good news is that finding the right commercial electrician does not require becoming one yourself. Here are 5 questions you must ask your electrical contractor before letting them near the wires in your business:

Are you licensed?

This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be shocked by how many businesses get burned by non-licensed commercial electricians. Ask where they’re licensed, as well. The fact that a contractor can maintain a license tells you a couple of important things.

One, it means they’ve passed a bare-minimum competency test. That might not sound like much, but do you really want to work with someone who hasn’t passed that test?

Two, it tells you they’re diligent about keeping up with standards. Many states keep public databases of electrical licenses, so search those out, too. Remember: no license, no job.

“Many states keep public databases of electrical licenses so be sure to check out the electrical contractor’s license before hiring them.”

Are you insured?

Like we said above, the work your commercial electrician is doing could literally burn down your building if things go wrong. Your electrical contractor simply must be insured. There’s no negotiating on this point.

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Ask for documentation that proves they’re covered, and make sure the documentation is current and that their coverage is actually in force. Just like with Question #1: a “no” from them should mean a “no” from you.

“Your electrical contractor simply must be insured. There’s no negotiating on this point.”

How will you perform this job?

Tools, team, trucks. Those are the three “T”s you need to know when it comes to how your contractor will carry out the work you need. Do they have the best tools? Are their teams well-trained, knowledgeable, and responsible? Do they have the trucks necessary to get your work done in a timely fashion?

Specifically, you can ask who holds the master license in their shop. Also, ask who will actually be doing the work: apprentices or journeymen? This is a great chance to inquire about payment, as well. Do they require the entire job to be paid for upfront? 50/50? Ask and find out.

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When will you perform this job?

A good electrical contractor should be able to answer this one pretty simply, “Whenever works best for you!” If you need repair work done in one corner of the building, you’d rather not shut down the whole operation if you don’t have to.

So make sure the electrical contractor is prepared–and able–to work on your schedule. Ask about their ability to work nights and weekends, and make sure you can trust they’ll show up when they say they’ll show up.

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Do you have references?

“According to Dun & Bradstreet, there were some 91,963 electrical contractor shops operating in the United States as of March 2019.”

Of those 91k electrical contractors, only 78 had annual revenues of $50+ million.

Chances are, your commercial electrician will be running a relatively small operation. And that’s OK! Just ask for references and past projects. But more than just a list of names, ask them about which jobs went really well, and which jobs didn’t. Ask why.

Really get to know their past work, because that will tell you about 1) their quality, and 2) their capabilities. After all, if you’re in a 50,000 square foot building, you probably don’t want an electrical shop that only has experience working on residences. So don’t be afraid to ask for references!

The Best Question

…is the one you never have to ask. FSG is one of the nation’s top electrical contractors in quality, ability, capability, and flexibility.

We keep our licensing and insurance information in public at all times, meaning you don’t have to search for it. We have master electricians overseeing teams of journeymen and apprentices. Your schedule will become our schedule, and our list of past projects is extensive and varied.

We’ll always tell you everything you need to know right up front so you don’t have to waste time pulling answers. After all, you’re not in the electrical business, you’re in your business. FSG’s business is giving you the best electrical contracting service to fit your needs.

See what Marty Corrado, from JE Dunn, has to say about working with FSG Electric:

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