At A Sparks Electrical we believe everyone has the right to having an honest, considerate, reliable and most importantly competent and knowledgeable electrical company carrying out their work.
This really resonates with us, so much so that we ensure these qualities lie within our entire team. From the electricians that turn up at your front door through to the team members in the office who are booking in the jobs right up to the directors and managers who run the business. It is with this in mind and our passion for customer care that we have decided to put together this short guide to help you in making the decision which can sometimes be difficult, in picking an electrical contractor.
You need some electrical work carried out, perhaps you are having some building work done or you wish to upgrade your lighting, replace sockets and switches, maybe you have some new equipment that needs installing, or maybe you have a space that needs improving/transforming like your garden or summer house. Whatever your work may be, you're in need of an electrician.
So where do you start?
We always find the best place to start is to ASK!
Ask friends and family if they have used an electrical company before and if so how many times they have used them along with what type of electrical work they carried out. And most importantly would they use them again!
Now perhaps you have been lucky and you've been given a recommendation if you were extremely lucky you may have been given two. However if not, not to worry as most people wouldn't have been given one. Whether you have or you haven’t please continue as the next steps are still relevant. The only difference is if you've been given a recommendation so someone has tried and tested this company out for you already. However it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still check them out for yourself.
So like most people you will probably have a Google, something along the lines of ‘electricians near me’ and lots of different companies will pop up. But what ones should you call, how many should you call?
We would recommend narrowing it down to 2 - 3 companies that you can choose from. But how do you know what 2 or 3 to pick? Well firstly have a look on their website, as this is where you will find out what type of electrical work they carry out. There is no point in calling an electrical company to come out and carry out an EICR if they do not offer this service. Or maybe you need some work carried out in a commercial building but they only carry out residential work or vice versa.
Whilst on their website you may also be able to see if they have carried out similar work or projects that you require, also known as case studies. Another good place to see this would be on their social media pages.
Whilst on their website have a look to see if they have any accreditations. As electricians you would expect them to be registered with NICEIC or NAPIT ( there are some others but these are the two most popular). Others may include SafeContractor, Constructionline, CHAS just to name a few.
So what does that mean exactly?
Well if they are NICEIC, NAPIT or an equivalent it means they are audited each year to ensure they have the technical knowledge, along with the correct policies and paperwork in place. They are also checked to ensure they have public liability insurance of at least £2M and professional indemnity insurance of a minimum of £250K (if you are a business looking to hire an electrical company you may require them to have a high level of cover). They also check qualifications.
Some of the others like SafeContractor, CHAS etc are health and safety accreditations which ensures they have the correct policies and procedures in place.
It is always worth checking to see if you require a company to have a certain accreditation before hiring them. (This is usually more for commercial & industrial customers rather than residential customers).
Unfortunately there are some people/companies who claim to have certain accreditations when they don’t. So it is always worth going on the relevant accreditation website and verifying the company for yourself.
Fortunately it is only a small amount, however you don’t want to get one of them.
On the NICEIC, NAPIT and equivalent websites you can also see if they are audited to carry out domestic, commercial or industrial works or all three.
Another thing to look out for is if they have won any awards. If a company has been judged by industry experts and deemed good enough to win an award then it is not something to disregard as they would have been up against 100’s if not 1000’s of other companies, so to come out on top speaks volumes.
One of the most important things if not the most important to look for is REVIEWS!
Have a look at their google reviews, social media reviews, checkatrade reviews and any others they may have. As this is the experience others have had from this company. Look to see how many stars they have along with the number of reviews. If one company has 5 star reviews but only two reviews then yes this is good but if another has 4.9 stars with 100 reviews then this might be a better reflection of the company.
Have a look through and read the comments people have said, especially the negative ones as this can provide a real insight.
To give an example:
Company A has a negative review because it took a while for the customer to receive their estimate and they had to chase a few times. However they did a fantastic job and they arrived as agreed.
Company B has a negative review because they didn't turn up on the correct day/time and they didn’t call ahead to forewarn. When they did turn up they broke the customer's property and then left without completing the job.
Now both companies have a negative review, however one is far more serious than the other.
After asking for recommendations, looking at websites, social media, accreditations and reviews you should be able to narrow it down to 2 or 3 companies.
Fantastic! You've narrowed it down to 2 or 3 companies. Now it's time to give them a call or email. Depending on what type of work you need doing depends on whether they can provide you with an estimate over the phone or email. Most of the time they will probably need to come and carry out a site visit. This is where you can walk them through the work you need and they can see exactly what is required and try and foresee if there will be any challenges along the way. It is also a good time to ask any questions you may have regarding your job.
Now if this was for an emergency i.e. your electrics have tripped, they will most likely give you a cost over the phone and it would usually be in form of an hourly rate.
Remember to ask either when calling in or when the electrician is carrying out the site visit when you can expect the estimate. As jobs/projects can take longer than others to get an estimate to you. So by asking you'll know what to expect.
Some things to think about.
- When you initially called, was the person on the phone friendly, polite and helpful?
- If you emailed in did you have to wait long for a reply? When asking yourself this, remember to be fair. For example if you email in late at night you shouldn’t expect a reply until the following working day the same goes for if you emailed in during the weekend, realistically you wouldn't receive a reply until the next working day.
- Did the electrician turn up on time? If not, were you informed about the delay?
- Was the electrician professional, polite, friendly?
- If requested, did they have company ID?
- Was the electrician understanding of your requirements? And more importantly were they knowledgeable? Now this doesn’t mean that they said yes to everything and to the way you wanted it done. As you may be asking for something that can’t be done exactly how you wish i.e. due to regulations. If this was the case did they inform you of an alternative way or solution. Did they explain any potential problems?
- Did you receive the estimate on time?
Of course one of the biggest factors will be cost! However picking the cheapest isn’t always the best, but with that said just because one company charges more it does not mean that they are any better.
I know this is confusing, but we are not here to tell you who to go with just some tips in helping you make a decision.
The truth is you need to put together all the information you have gathered, from the companies online reviews, how you were treated on the first telephone call, to how the electrician was when he visited your property and everything else in between. You need to feel confident that the company is knowledgeable in the work you require, and that they are professional and reliable so you have the confidence that they turn up when they say, get the job carried out to the high standard you should expect and that they know how to conduct themselves. Whether that be around your employees, customers, family or just you on your own.
We wanted to try and help relieve some of the stress that can go into finding an electrical company to carry out your required work as let's face it, needing work done can be stressful enough. We wanted to raise awareness of things to look for when choosing a company and some questions to ask. Hopefully this guide has done that.
Here at A Sparks Electrical we love a checklist, so we have put together a downloadable checklist for you to tick off and make some notes to help you pick the perfect company for you.
As always if you ever require any electrical work then please feel free to reach out either by email or telephone and we would be more than happy to help where we can.
We would like to take this opportunity to wish you the best of luck in your search for an electrical contractor and in your electrical project.
I Need an Electrician!
Everybody deserves to be working with a reputable electrician! Within this checklist, you can understand exactly what you should be looking for!