hiring an electrician... how to choose?

mgedidOctober 12, 2011


Your answers have been so good and rapid on so many topics since we've come to our new house, so I keep thinking of more. Thanks in advance for sharing your ideas!

We are thinking of trying to bundle together a larger group of jobs for an electrician to make it hopefully more cost-effective and also more attractive to them to do the "pain in the butt" parts of the work. If there are any electricians to who haunt this board, could you tell me if this is the right approach to take, or if you'd recommend another?

Also, what are the questions I should ask in order to make sure that I get someone in who will do the jobs right?

This is what we currently have on the laundry list to do:

1) Rewire a new bathroom

2a) Change lamps in several rooms [We have sloped ceilings that have beams in several rooms, where we would like to figure out the best way to move new fixtures. There could be a carpentry piece of this work as well.]


2b) rewire some hanging fixtures to enable them to hang without a large faceplate (as the faceplate won't fit on the face of the beam where the lamps are currently installed.

3) Putting in a new outlet in an existing bathroom

4) Installing two new fans in existing bathrooms.

(not sure if this even qualifies)

5) Changing out light fixtures that are recessed in the ceiling of one room for something different.

Many thanks,

Mgedid [Proud owner of a shabby but improving mid-century modern house in Westchester county, new york]

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One additional item/question on this list of activities:
We also have a thermostat that is clearly in the wrong place, as we have moved the stove too near to it. Could an electrician move a thermostat, or is this something that an HVAC person has to supervise?

Again, thank you!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2011 at 3:42PM
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Nothing beats word of mouth advertising. Ask friends and neighbors who have had electrical work done. Get at least 3 estimates and make sure the electrician includes in the estimate what he will and will not do regarding the carpentry work. Keep in mind that the low bidder might or might not be the best choice. Verify the contractor's insurance, too. A legitimate contractor will have no issues with providing their insurance information and references.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2011 at 4:36PM
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Hrajotte makes some excellent points. You are wise to combine as many things as you can at once, it makes sense to make 1 trip and stay for 6 hours, as opposed to 6 one hour trips at different times, due to fuel cost / travel time, etc. I have several rental properties, and have an electrician I have been working with for 9 years now. If it's a big job like a panel replacement, I will provide doughnuts / coffee in the morning, I buy lunch for him and his crew, he takes his dog with him to all jobsites, so I make sure to take food and water bowls, dog treats and toys as well. Probably the most important thing, I pay him the day the work is done - there is nothing worse than trying to collect money from someone. Follow those guidelines, and you will have an electrician who is always happy to come work for you.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2011 at 10:42PM
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I can see providing food and drink if it comes off your bill, but treating the people with respect and paying on time should be enough!! After all, hiring a professional tradesperson isn't cheap.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 2:15PM
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I'm not required to provide lunch, but I do it as a gesture of appreciation for quality work. But I agree, most importantly pay on time for the work performed.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 3:41PM
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I always try for a good relationship with my customers. It's good for moral, repeat business and referrals. If the job scope changes (and it almost always does) or problems come up, my customers always work with me. I've had them have breakfast ready for me (their idea), made lunches and even a beer or two on Fridays after I'm done for the day. I have also sent flowers or some kind of small gift for the lady of the house. The women are usually the ones you deal with during the project. A good relationship with your contractor is always a plus once you find one you want to use.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 1:38PM
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