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Old 02-22-2009, 07:47 PM   #1
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How to find a good electrician


How can I find a good electrician in my local area?

Also, I am a new homeowner and I have never hired an electrician before. Can I ask him for an "estimate" before he does any work? Should I pay him for the estimate? If the estimate involves diagnostic work, should I pay him for that, and how much is a reasonable amount to expect to pay for an estimate with diagnostics?

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Old 02-22-2009, 07:49 PM   #2
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How to find a good electrician


I went thru 7electricians looking for a good one, never found one
Yes you can ask for an estimate
Up to them if they charge for that
Possibly if they do diagnostic work they will charge
Again depends upon the electrician & work needed

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Old 02-22-2009, 07:50 PM   #3
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How to find a good electrician


The best way to find a good electrician is probably by word of mouth. So ask your neighbors and friends, or maybe other trades that have done work in your home.
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Old 02-22-2009, 07:53 PM   #4
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How to find a good electrician


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
I went thru 7electricians looking for a good one, never found one

Only asking out of curiosity, but what was it that bothered you the most,

-quality of work
-amount on bill
-appearance
-able to do the job like asked
-lack of knowledge
I always aim to please everyone I work for, no matter what it takes.
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Old 02-22-2009, 09:11 PM   #5
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How to find a good electrician


Word of mouth is a great way to find good tradesmen. The phonebook/advertising is no indicator of whether they're good or not. Sometimes the guy in the plain-jane ugly truck does good work, sometimes the guy with the fancy rolling billboard of a truck does poor work.

Estimates should not cost anything unless diagnostic work is involved.

If they don't want to get a permit or if they discourage you from getting a permit, run. Code is a minimum standard and any electrician that is willing to do work without a permit (most electric work requires permits) has questionable integrity.

Get the estimate in writing and the terms of the contract in writing. Do not let them work without a contract, even on the smallest job.
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Old 02-22-2009, 09:39 PM   #6
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How to find a good electrician


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Originally Posted by chris75 View Post
I always aim to please everyone I work for, no matter what it takes.
You are the best electrician
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Old 02-22-2009, 09:44 PM   #7
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How to find a good electrician


A few pieces of advice:

1) don't pay anyone up front

2) get things in writing

3) try asking a realtor for contractor recommendations. this has worked very well for me. (he and his family own rental properties, so they hire a variety of skilled contractors and have long relationships with many of them.)

4) get educated on codes and practices, even if you're not doing the work yourself. get some books and read up on forums like this one.

Admittedly, #4 can get you into some hostile situations. In my experience, quite a few contractors don't like to be questioned and will go apesh1t on you if you say things like, "Hey are you sure it's OK to run Romex on the bottom of joists?" or "Shouldn't that fixture be grounded?"

Unfortunately, I've had many people want to take the easy way out and then try to find justification for their half @ssedness.
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Old 02-22-2009, 09:54 PM   #8
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How to find a good electrician


Quote:
Originally Posted by chris75 View Post
Only asking out of curiosity, but what was it that bothered you the most,

-quality of work
-able to do the job like asked
-lack of knowledge
I always aim to please everyone I work for, no matter what it takes.
All of the above (panel change 200a > 200a)
-quality of work
---ground wire on the pole was never secured
---sloppy work in the panel, did not cut wire - just folded it up in the panel - way too much
---failed to do work agreed upon
---didn't mark where any of the circuits went - despite the fact I had labeled all of the old circuits
---left old wire dangling
---I asked if coax cable should be moved - MAIN line to house
he said no - he would take care of it. He took care of it all right, secured the new meter base right over it & crimped it - damaging the wire & disconnecting the house from cable

-able to do the job like asked
-lack of knowledge

It became quite apparent to me that he new less then I did
I asked specific questions about codes to determine if something should be done, wiring upgraded, AFCI etc. He didn't know, I wasn't trying to challenge him - I just wanted to know his opinion if something should be upgraded

The job was sloppy & unprofessional. He worked for another electric company - but was no longer working for them. That should have been a clue. But I had a broken rib & I was stuck. We knew him from scuba diving club. I had some friends who were also going to have work done. They opted to go with someone else

The work wasn't that hard IMO. I dug the trench, I pu the sand & put it in, I filled the trench w/sand & then buried the pipe. I helped pull the wire. Inspector wasn't happy, I wasn't happy. I redid the panel wiring to make the Inspector happy. Inspector serves several towns - I gurantee he had a hard time on his next job when it came to inspection. Inspector was very good & thorough

But I had 6 electricians I went thru trying tio get the work done. You would think I wanted a $50 outlet run instead of a couple grand in burying the main feed & swapping the panel. Three never showed up for an estimate, other three showed up & said they woudl goive an estimate - never did. A few were recommended by other people. This was in 2006 - things were busy back then for everyone
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Old 02-22-2009, 10:33 PM   #9
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How to find a good electrician


Find out if they are licensed by the state/province. Ask if they have insurance, and DO NOT let them work on your house until you see PROOF of insurance.
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Old 02-22-2009, 11:09 PM   #10
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How to find a good electrician


Quote:
Originally Posted by pmoe View Post
4) get educated on codes and practices, even if you're not doing the work yourself. get some books and read up on forums like this one.

Admittedly, #4 can get you into some hostile situations. In my experience, quite a few contractors don't like to be questioned and will go apesh1t on you if you say things like, "Hey are you sure it's OK to run Romex on the bottom of joists?" or "Shouldn't that fixture be grounded?"

Unfortunately, I've had many people want to take the easy way out and then try to find justification for their half @ssedness.
There is an easy solution to this. I quote the code. At first some try to say, but thats how I always do it. Then I print out pictures from holt or ECM that show exactly how the code wants something done and hand em to them. Then they just kind of grin and comply. By the time I am handing someone print out, they know I am really serious, I am being perfectly nice and helpful, and the point gets across. (This was not an elec, but was a NEC related issue) The direct tv guy had a really hard time understanding that your required to ground satalite / antenna masts. He got Holt print outs.

Be very specfic, detailed and accurate. Cite the code, be polite and professional, and you will get the work done properly.

Jamie
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Old 02-22-2009, 11:18 PM   #11
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How to find a good electrician


Quote:
Originally Posted by jamiedolan View Post
The direct tv guy had a really hard time understanding that your required to ground satalite / antenna masts. He got Holt print outs.

.

Jamie
You do realize that those are copyrighted material?
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Old 02-22-2009, 11:19 PM   #12
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How to find a good electrician


Id print the code, or at least show him a code book.
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Old 02-22-2009, 11:31 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris75 View Post
You do realize that those are copyrighted material?
Yes, evey word you or I write here are also "copyrighted material".

Handing a print out to 1 person as a education tool easily falls under 17 USC 107.

Same copyright rules would apply to here in a forum when posting that material.

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Old 02-22-2009, 11:33 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamiedolan View Post
Yes, evey word you or I write here are also "copyrighted material".

Handing a print out to 1 person as a education tool easily falls under 17 USC 107.

Same copyright rules would apply to here in a forum when posting that material.

Jamie
i dont know the copyright laws, just giving my thoughts .
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Old 02-22-2009, 11:51 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris75 View Post
i dont know the copyright laws, just giving my thoughts .
Way back when I started the dial up ISP (1996)(that got me into all the telco / data wiring), copyright / fairuse questions came up fairly frequently. So I ened up learning a bit of the copyright laws.

My opinion, your pretty safe printing off something from the web and giving it to a person or two as an educational tool.(be more cautious if your giving it away in connection with your business) The NEC is pretty specfic about what you can and can't do. The copyright laws are much more ambiguous.

Under Fair use, my opinion is that DIY's should feel free to print out a few images or pages from this or any other site to help themselves, show to an electrician, inspector, etc.



Jamie

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