If you’re a homeowner, it’s likely that you’ll need electrical work doing at some point. This could be replacing a consumer unit, altering a circuit or installing a new one.
Sometimes, hiring an electrician can be a tricky process. As most of us don’t do it very often, it can be hard to remember all the things to ask and tell an electrician before you consider hiring them.
But if you need an electrician, don’t panic. To help you find a professional you trust to do quality work, we’ve come up with 5 things to do before you hire an electrician.
1. Check their credentials
Any electrical work you get done in your home needs to comply with safety and building regulations. The easiest way to ensure this is to hire an electrician registered with a competent person scheme. You can find a list of relevant schemes here. Hiring an electrician registered with a competent person scheme will mean that any work that they do should meet British electrical safety (BS7671) and building regulations standards. They will give you an Electrical Installation Certificate to prove this and a Building Regulations Compliance Certificate if legally required.
You can hire an electrician that isn’t registered with a competent person scheme if you really want to. However, then it will be up to you to make sure that their work is up to scratch. If they’re doing a job that needs building regulations approval in advance, you’ll need to notify a relevant person or body beforehand and get your electrical installation inspected and approved afterwards. You can find out more about this process here.
2. Make sure they know what you want
For an electrician to do a good job, they need to know exactly what you want. If you don’t communicate clearly with them they may not get the job right, which could cost you time and money.
You should also ask them to tell you exactly what they’re going to do. Good communication should mean that you and your electrician are on the same page and you both come away happy.
3. Ask questions
If an electrician says anything you don’t understand, ask them. You shouldn’t be embarrassed about this – it’s their job to have specialised knowledge and they won’t expect you to have it too. Equally, if you have any concerns, speak up. You should understand and be happy with the work being done.
This goes for after you’ve hired an electrician too. Even if they’re in the middle of the job, it’s always worth asking questions and voicing concerns if you have any.
4. Confirm a work timetable
Before you hire a professional, get them to give you a timetable of work and the expected completion date, in writing if possible. This means that you will know when they need access to your home and how long the job will take. You should also ask them to tell you immediately if any unexpected delays come up that mean they won’t be able to meet the expected completion date. Doing this will keep you in the loop and avoid work dragging out unnecessarily.
5. Agree payment terms
Before your electrician starts work, you should get a detailed quote and payment plan from them. Some electricians ask for material costs up-front or staged payments for big jobs. They should make you aware of this before you hire them so you know what they’ll need and when.
You should always get a quote in writing. This way there can’t be any misunderstanding on the price that you and your electrician agree on before the work starts. If it’s necessary to get any revised quotes, you should get these in writing too. It’s also good practice to avoid paying in cash and get receipts for any payments you do make, so you can keep track of them.
So next time you need an electrician, you’ll know the best things to do before deciding whether to hire them. If you’re searching for an electrician, we can help. Complete our online form and we’ll connect you with up to 4 professionals in your local area.