Finding a reputable electrician may be easier said than done. Not all contractors will have the same ability or standard of service. Some will even attempt outright fraud. Here are 5 common scams to look for when hiring an electrician to work in your home—and how to avoid them:
Scam 1: Changing costs
Electrical work doesn’t come cheap. But some contractors are willing to pad their own pockets by low-balling your estimate and then nickel and diming you to a higher rate in your final bill. Watch out for rising material costs or electricians who say the work is more complicated than they originally anticipated, resulting in a bill that is double or triple what you expected.
Also beware of electrical contractors who quote an astronomical cost. They may say they use only the highest-quality parts and offering an unrealistic warranty through a national network. However, many of these contractors can’t do the work they promise or don’t do it up to code.
Avoiding the Scam: Make sure your electrician is properly licensed and insured and has good references—and that you check them before agreeing to any estimate. Plus you should always get at least three estimates to ensure you get the best quality work at the best price.
Scam 2: Fast-talking electricians
Watch out for contractors who use their technical knowledge to overwhelm you. Rather than give you a detailed, written estimate, they may give you a verbal “analysis” of what needs to be done and then gives you a price tag that’s expensive and includes work you may not even need. These scammers may also put pressure on you to make a hasty decision on your “estimate” before you have time to do get a second or even third opinion and research the work to be done.
Avoiding the Scam: Get everything in writing and then do your research before signing off on an estimate. And don’t be afraid to ask for explanations for the work to be completed. A reputable electrician will be willing to help you understand the work they’ll be doing and why it needs to be done.
Scam 3: Recommending a complete rewire of your home
Homes built today go through a rigorous inspection process before they are finished and ready for sale. This means the electrical system in your home has been deemed safe for habitation and meets the requirements for electrical work in your community. Plus, it means any electrician who says you need to rewire your entire house is selling you a load of hog wash.
Even older homes without grounded outlets don’t usually require a whole-home rewire. There are other options out there that won’t result in holes in your walls, such as adding GFCI outlets that will help protect you and your family from electrical shocks.
Avoiding the Scam: Only work with electricians that are properly licensed and insured. You can verify that an electrician hold a current license and has not had disciplinary action taken against them through the Colorado State Electrical Board https://colorado.gov/pacific/dora/Electrical. Also, be sure to get a second opinion on any work recommended for your home. It may save you money to be extra thorough in your search for a good electrician.
Scam 4: Requesting up-front payment
Never trust a contractor who asks you to pay for a job before any work is completed in your home. It’s a red flag that the contractor may have less-than-honorable intentions. And there’s a chance you could lose your money without any work actually taking place in your home.
Avoiding the Scam: Never accept an estimate for work that requests payment up front or requests payment to be made in cash. However, paying a small deposit is fairly common—especially for large, costly projects.
Scam 5: Scammers generally try too hard
Being friendly isn’t a bad thing, but it may mean something’s amiss when you feel like someone is being overly zealous when trying to make the sale. So be wary of salespeople in a rush to get you to sign a deal or fork over payment or simply won’t take “no” for an answer. You may up getting more than you bargained for—like a binding contract for work you don’t need done.
Avoiding the Scam: Trust your instincts. If it feels like someone isn’t genuine or is hiding something, they probably are. And make sure you read the fine print on any estimate or contract for work. A reputable contractor will go over an estimate with you thoroughly. Plus, they won’t mind if you need to take time to ensure you are comfortable with the work to be done and the conditions surrounding the project.
APower Electric Service is a team of experienced, fully licensed and insured electricians who have your best interest at heart. Contact us today for an estimate.