If a contractor’s palms start sweating and a stutter appears as soon as you ask for licensing information, it’s probably a safe bet that you should take your business elsewhere.
Electrical contractors should be able to readily (and eagerly) provide licensing and insurance information, as well as at least five references from recent customers. Be sure to check the references and inquire about timeliness, job performance and overall satisfaction of results.
C & T Electric has been licensed and certified for electrical work since 2005. To us, “unlicensed” or “uninsured” is the same as saying “unconcerned with potential disasters and home safety.”
Beware of any contractor that asks for a deposit first. If a contractor claims the deposit is “to buy supplies,” that’s a bad sign; credible contractors should have open accounts with local suppliers. Your deposit may be headed to pay a bill instead of purchasing your supplies.
C & T Electric will give you a price for services before work begins, and ask for payment only when work has been completed.
If a contractor says, “We should be there in the next day or so,” keep looking. Are you supposed to wait around on a “maybe”? Or if it’s an emergency, you need a quick response, not an appointment a week from Tuesday. That’s why real-live human beings answer our phones 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, making intelligent scheduling decisions based on travel radius, availability and urgency.
Plus, at C & T, the scheduling is explained. You’re given a specific time, and we’ll be there – guaranteed. To us, a “no show” is unprofessional and uncaring, two pretty bad traits for a contractor.
You don’t want to be the training class for an inexperienced technician, or else you’ll pay while he learns. Electrical guesswork should be settled in the classroom, not your living room. With 30,000 home fires a year attributed to “poor electrical wiring,” we don’t recommend “guessing.”
The problem is, by the time you see him shrugging his shoulders and tossing the “extra” wire back on his truck, it may be too late to ask about training. So, simply ask about training policies for technicians and strict hiring requirements BEFORE you invite a contractor to your home. You’ll have to judge from the answer whether you still feel comfortable with this company in your home.
At C & T Electric, we don’t mind telling you that our techs go through the Advance Professional Electrician course and each year we re-train on basics, and advance train for specifics. Modern electronics and electrical demands on homes and businesses are way different than just a few years ago. If you don’t keep up, you’re left behind.
On the subject of “character”, you’ve heard and read enough about Contractor Scams, Drug Use Among Tradespeople, Illegitimate Billing Practices, and more to worry you (and us!) into a corner. That’s why we Drug Test regularly, background check, use Photo IDs, triple-check the quality of our work, use standardized billing and hire people like they were coming to our house… since in effect, they are. We only hire about 1 in 12 applicants. We presume the others go to work somewhere else.
If you don’t get a guarantee and something fails, you get to pay to have the same problem fixed twice. That doesn’t sound fair, but that’s what happens on many jobs we “fix” after another contractor has packed up and left with your money.
This is an awkward situation for us, since the home or business owner is not in the best mood, but we do everything we can to minimize the inconvenience. Usually, we’re told they chose the other company because it was “a bargain.” Paying twice is usually not much of a bargain in the end.
Ask about guarantees in writing. If the answer is something like, “Oh, trust me it’ll be fine. What do you need a guarantee for?” then be very concerned. This is why C & T Electric puts our guarantees in writing.
You’re calling a contractor because you have a problem. His job is to solve those problems – not add to them. Being meticulous in your choice can save you time, money and quite possibly a few gray hairs.