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Electrical contractors are some of the most highly-regulated contractors you can hire. They are also some of the most expensive contractors you can hire. Most of this is simply due to the significant amount of training they have to go through before they can become independent contractors. It is also due to the reality of how dangerous this work actually is. A poorly-trained electrical contractor puts himself and you at risk when he does faulty wiring work.
Electrical contractors can be hired to do a number of different things. When you are building a new home or putting in a home addition, you may hire an electrical contractor who deals in conduits and home wiring. If you are installing some light switches or electric plugs around the house, then you may only need to hire a general electrical contractor. There are also electrical contractors who specialize in working with outdoor lighting and electrical fixtures. The specific contractor you hire will be dictated by the exact type of work you need to have done. No matter what kind of work you need done, you should expect to spend a decent amount of money on a qualified electrical contractor.Qualifications and Licensing Bodies for Electrical Contractors
All independent electrical contractors need to have a long work history in the field, an extensive education in electronics, or a mixture of the two. Licensing requirements for electrical contractors will vary significantly from state to state, but all states require years of work in the field before issuing a license. This work is often done as an apprenticeship with a licensed electrical contractor who keeps records of his or her employees.
Necessary licensing can be done at either the state level or the local level. This will be very different from state to state. You should check with your local building inspector to see what the licensing regulations are in your area. There may be significant differences that exist in this process from state to state.
There are also professional organizations that certify, educate, and provide industry-specific licensing qualifications to electrical contractors. The Western Electrical Contractor's Association is one such organization that offers education and certification courses. The association helps to connect apprentices with employers and it provides a number of continuing education options for members. The National Electrical Contractors Association and the Independent Electrical Contractors are both examples of professional bodies with national recognition.
You may also find that there are numerous professional certification organizations that specialize in localized areas. For example, the Atlanta Electrical Contractors Association helps contractors in the Atlanta area.What to Look for in an Electrical Contractor
You should look for contractors with experience that meets your needs. For example, you may not need to hire the most qualified contractor in the world to install a ceiling fan. However, you should definitely hire the most experienced contractor you can find when doing a complete home rewiring job. As the amount of potential danger goes up, so too should the amount of experience you expect from your contractor.
You should find contractors who are willing to provide you with references from previous clients. You need to be given the opportunity to learn about the contractor before you hire him or her. This is the best way for you to learn about the contractor's work ethic, skill, and professionalism before you lay down any money on the project.Keep Your Project on Track
Contracts are useful tools for keeping a home improvement project on track. They are not meant to bind the contractor to you or to the project. The point of these contracts is to make the whole project very clear to everyone. The contract will tell the contractor exactly what you need, it will lay out a time-frame for the project, and it will make sure you understand how your contractor expects to be paid.
Remember that these projects can often go over budget. You should always have a little extra money on the side to help pay for unforeseen issues as they arise.