18 things your electrician wishes you knew
I’ve spent four to eight years in apprentice school learning how to plan, install, inspec, and repair electrical products. Don’t insult my intelligence by implying otherwise.
Electricity is complicated and dangerous. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could start a fire or get electrocuted – sometimes fatally. Pretty much anything beyond plugging something into the wall should be left to a professional. The cost of my visit is nothing compared to the price of your safety.
Don’t call at the end of the day if you want same-day service. After 4:30 or 5:30pm, I need to pay my workers overtime, so I’ll charge you more to make up for it. Calling first thing in the morning lets me fit your job into my day – and you’ll see a lower bill.
Online reviews are useful when you’re on the hunt for a trustworthy electrician. If the person with the lowest quote also has the worst ratings, it’s worth shelling out a bit more. If that cheaper electrician messes up, you’ll just need to call me (and my higher price) and pay more overall.
I don’t specialise in installing dishwashers or washing machines, so please don’t call me about them. You’re better off finding a plumber.
The farther I need to travel to get to you, the more time is taken out of my day – and I’ll factor that into your bill. Finding someone closer to your neighbourhood might be able to charge you less.
My original quote is based on the project you called me in for. If I find out there’s actually a larger issue at hand, I’ll need to increase my price to match the scope of the project. I’m not ripping you off, I’m just making sure I get compensated for the extra work.
Some customers get sticker shock, but I’m not trying to rip you off. You only see the half-hour of work I did in your home, but that’s not the whole story. I spent years training, and now I need to pay my crew (who went out of their way to get to your home), plus deal with marketing and other costs of running a business—and my prices reflect that.
Clearing the work space and moving any furniture before I arrive means I can get in and out faster, so I can charge you for less of my time.
Installing a ceiling fan might not sound complicated, but it’s nothing like putting together a barbecue yourself. You’re trying to figure out the motor while hoisting a 30kg fan three metres above the floor. Call me up – I can finish the job faster and safer than you could.
Don’t describe the kind of ceiling fan or light fixture you’re looking for and expect me to find one that fits your vision perfectly. Go to the hardware store and pick up your own items so you can guarantee they’re what you want. Just get in touch with me before you buy it in case it won’t fit correctly.
One of the best ways to show your appreciation is telling your family and friends about me. My business thrives on word-of-mouth recommendations.
I get called in all the time for problems with space heaters. If you leave the house while the heater is running, the connection could get loose and burn up the plug, which could start a fire. Give your space heater the space it needs, and turn it off when you aren’t using it.
If I was working on your bedroom lighting and an outlet in your garage stops working a few days later, that’s just a coincidence. I’ll come back for the second project, but don’t expect me to do it for free because I “broke” it the last time. If I wasn’t working with that circuit, this new problem is unrelated.
Window AC units blast for hours at time and use massive amounts of energy. An extension cord – and usually even sharing the circuit powering your AC with something else – overloads the wires. If they get too hot, the wires could short out and start a fire. Make sure the unit gets its own circuit, meaning a switch on your electrical panel dedicated to your AC and nothing else.
Older light fixtures won’t necessarily work with energy-efficient CFL and LED bulbs. If you want to stay away from incandescent light bulbs, you might need to replace the whole fixture.
Labelling the switches on your circuit board will save me guesswork (and time). Hiring either me or another electrician will make the job easier in the future, so we don’t need to turn every single one off before getting to work.