5 questions you should ask before hiring an electrician

In life, and in work, success is all about connections. Finding people you can rely on. Having systems that function – whether that means running a harmonious household, or an efficient business.

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And, when things go wrong or need looking at, being able to pick up the phone or send an email, knowing that the person or persons at the other end are competent to solve the problem.

This holds true of all trades, of course. If your pipes spring a leak, call a good plumber. Broken window? Contact a glazier. If the broadband’s on the fritz, you need a telecoms engineer.

But competence probably matters most where electrics are concerned. Electricity provides us with heat, light, and the power to run our various systems and appliances – but it needs to be handled with care, by people who know what they’re doing. You need to be sure that the person you call has the expertise and experience to complete the work safely, and check everything carefully before they finish.

So, what are the five questions you should ask before hiring an electrician?

1. Ask for proof of competence.

Evidence of competence in the form of a National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC) registration number and ID card, and/or registration with another government-approved trade body such as NAPIT. Ask to see the evidence, and accept no excuses. Cross-refer the registration with the Registered Electrical Competent Person website (electricalcompetentperson.co.uk).

2. Ask about experience.

Competence is all very well – and will help to keep you safe – but expertise will turn a competent job into an excellent one. An experienced electrician certainly won’t cut corners, but they will know how to adapt a system solution to your circumstances: the layout of your building, for instance, or your typical energy usage. Ask for references from previous customers.

3. Look for locally based businesses.

There are all sorts of good reasons to work with a local business. It’s great to be able to benefit your local economy, but less altruistically, a local firm will probably go to greater lengths to get your installation right first time. Firstly, doing a bad job risks damaging their reputation with other local clients (word of mouth is still the best recommendation – or condemnation – for small businesses). Secondly, they want to retain you as a customer. And finally, any problems will almost literally be on their doorstep.

4. Get three quotes.

This certainly applies for the first two or three jobs you need doing, although the importance of competitive quotes may ease as you and your electrical contractor get to know each other better. A good working relationship often takes priority over price concerns. But even if you’ve dealt with a company for ages, it doesn’t hurt to look elsewhere now and again. It keeps us on our toes!

5. Ask about the size of the company.

Yes, there are plenty of good, reputable, capable ‘one-man-bands’ out there, but there are a few bad apples – and even one is one too many. The bigger the company, the more visible they are, and the more they have to follow – and be seen to follow – strict industry standards. There are also advantages in terms of availability. An electrical contractor with (say) ten engineers on its staff is more likely to have someone available at short notice, or in an emergency. But always ask about the person they’re sending: his or her qualifications, experience and any particular areas of expertise.

Ask Excel Electrical

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that Excel Electrical ticks all these boxes. We’re NICEIC-registered, we draw on 20-plus years of experience, we serve an East Anglian customer base, we’re competitively priced, and we have enough employees to get someone to you – fast.

So take the first step. Pick up the phone and call us on 01508 488007 or email enquiries@excelelectrical.co.uk – and make the connection.

Excel Electrical: the power is in your hands.


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Towns and Cities covered include: Norwich, Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Beccles, Bungay, Lowestoft, Attleborough, Diss, Harleston, Long Stratton, Wymondham, Dereham