Whether you need to retrofit an area of your business or remodel your entire building, choosing the right electrical contractor is one of the most important decisions you make to determine the success of the project. Commercial electric work requires an electrician with experience and skill working on large scale projects at businesses such as yours.
Here are 5 tips for choosing the best electrical contractor for your business.
#1 – Gather Recommendations from your Network
Work your network to get good recommendations from family, friends and other business owners. Specifically, ask about the scope of their projects and whether they were satisfied with the finished job. You can also consult with local hardware and electrical supply stores, which often have a short list of professionals they recommend to their customers.
Remember that you aren’t just hiring the business owner. Select a commercial electrical company that conducts thorough background checks so that you feel safe with the workers sent to your business.
#2 – Verify Licensing and Insurance
Going with the lowest bid on your project might save some money in the short term, but you need to make sure that the commercial electrician you choose has the appropriate licensing and insurance for the work you need completed. A licensed electrician by law must carry worker’s compensation and liability insurance for accidents and injuries that might occur at your business. Hiring someone that only carries the minimum is opening yourself to risk, so never be afraid to ask a company for a copy of their insurance certificates. This is very common and they should have this information readily available. Note that bonded electricians have insurance that covers you if your electrician abandons the project and disappears.
#3 – Assess Credentials and Training
When you interview each electrician, you should evaluate their experience and capability, based on their past work. You should also find out if each electrician has the proper license. The highest license in Florida is the Unlimited Electrical Contractor license, which means the company is qualified to do anything electrical. There are various other licenses for specialties like fire alarm, low voltage, etc. Besides the company being state licensed, individual electricians can be licensed as either Master or Journeyman electrician by their local county. If they are a “card-carrying” electrician, they will at least have passed a basic test on code requirements.
Don’t be afraid to ask the company what size jobs they typically do and what kind of jobs they have handled in the past. You do not want to be a new company’s first “big job” or push a small company to the financial limits to perform your work. If they ask for large down payments or want you to purchase the materials, that is a sign you need to find someone with more financial stability.
#4 – Check Reviews and References
References still mean something in an increasingly digital world. So, find out as much as you can about the kind of jobs the commercial electrician has done. Then, ask for and call prior clients to assess their satisfaction with the work done. If you can, ask the electrical contractor to provide the contact information of recent clients for the same work being done on your home. Though it’s time-consuming to do this for each company you evaluate, make sure to follow through on the top three to five picks.
It’s relatively easy to look each company up online and check out their website and reviews. Look for online portfolios, customer testimonials and any other information that helps you decide which company to choose. The internet is a great resource when you are looking for information, but it isn’t always reliable. Since not all information on the web is factual or accurate, you should consider word of mouth reputation as well.
#5 – Check the Electrician’s Experience with Commercial Projects
When looking at your notes to make a final decision, remember that cost is only one factor governing your decision. It is simply too risky to hire untrained electricians to complete electrical jobs in your business. Choose a company with a lot of experience on commercial buildings to ensure the best results.
If you are still having a difficult time deciding, then reach out to the Better Business Bureau and other local groups that evaluate services and products. The local building department is a great place to check up on a contractor. The electrical inspector will be able to tell you to have often the company pulls permits and what type of work they typically do. If the electrical inspector has never heard of your electrical contractor – that might be a good sign to stay away from them!
The Final Decision
Now, you know how to find and select commercial electricians. You’re finally ready to sign the contract so that work can begin. Observe how the electrician interacts with you and your staff. Their demeanor should be courteous, knowledgeable and respectful. Unless it’s an emergency, take your time to choose a company that fits your commercial electrical needs.