There is a reason that certain tasks are considered skilled trades. When you hire someone to perform these jobs, there may be safety concerns, which, if not addressed with the proper training, may cause harm or death, either now or in the future. The risks just are not acceptable, so take the time to ask a few questions. If the answers aren’t what you need to hear, please do not just settle for the lowest bid. Your safety doesn’t have a price tag.

Here are the questions you should be asking before any agreement is reached:

· ARE YOU LICENSED, BONDED AND INSURED? While this doesn’t mean that the other questions are not important, there certainly is no reason to go further if this one isn’t answered correctly.

· HOW MANY YEARS HAVE YOU BEEN IN BUSINESS? While there is no magic number, the longer the better. The marketplace of opinions will not keep a poor businessman around for long. As time goes on, you can be more and more assured that they are doing things right.

· DO YOU SPECIALIZE IN RESIDENTIAL, COMMERCIAL, OR INDUSTRIAL? While many companies do work in all three areas at once, you will also find some which are more centered. If you have a commercial job, you need a contractor with that experience.

· WILL YOU DO THE WORK? In a small shop, the owner may do all the work. However, in a growing company, the estimator is seldom the one who does the work, and no matter how much you like the one you are talking to, you want to know about the one who will show up with a toolbox.

· IF NOT, WHAT EXPERIENCE DOES YOUR EMPLOYEE HAVE? Even though the company is responsible for the electrician’s work, you want to know that the person showing up has a decent level of experience. You should feel good about him or her.

· DID ANY OF YOU COMPLETE A DEPARTMENT OF LABOR CERTIFIED APPRENTICESHIP? It is an important piece of training for the skilled trades, and one worth asking about. The apprenticeship should be four or five years in length, and in some cases the new journeyman finishes with a degree as well as a certificate.

· MAY I SPEAK WITH A FEW REFERENCES? There is nothing wrong with asking to talk to a few people about work habits, punctuality, professionalism, and tidiness.

· HOW DO YOU INTEND TO SUPPORT YOUR WORK? WARRANTY? INSPECTIONS? MAINTENANCE AGREEMENT? While this may vary based on the work you are having done, it is always good to know that there is a plan for maintenance or at least an inspection; and of course, a warranty is always good.

· WHAT IS THE TIMELINE IF I DECIDE TO USE YOU? If they are so booked that you can’t get my work done, then you have to search out another contractor OR take that heavy work load as a sign of good work, and work around their schedule.

· HOW WILL YOU COMMUNICATE WITH ME IF THERE ARE ANY ISSUES? Today, there are many ways to communicate. If the employees are not tech savvy, though, then you may be left in a bind while being told that they didn’t have a way to contact you. This is never a good thing, so be sure that they are adept with texting, calling, and leaving written notes.

By the time you have discussed these items, you should have a good feel for the contractor, and the way they work with customers, and that list of references is important, too. Whether you actually call or not is up to you, but the fact that you asked tells them that you are serious.

And if you want all the right answers, be sure to call Professional Electric. We will happily answer your questions, and provide many happy referrals. Our goal is to turn you into our next satisfied customer.

Visit us online at www.ProfessionalElectric.biz and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! We are available 24/7 for emergency services. Mobile, Alabama: (251) 473-5788 Baldwin County: (251) 929-8957.

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