The electricity that runs through your home daily is the lifeblood that keeps all your vital home functions under control. Whether you’re performing an important upgrade or experiencing serious problems with your electricity, you’ll want access to a qualified electrician who has your best interests in mind.

Sometimes finding a quality electrician can be an overwhelming process for today’s busy homeowners. That’s why it is important for homeowners to be able to recognize the signs of a disreputable electrician. Consider the information below so that you can be sure you’re hiring the right person for the job.

Signs Your Electrician Might Be Ripping You Off

While it’s not always easy to tell a person’s true motivations, the following list provides five common signs that your electrician might be taking advantage of you.

Constant Changes in Price

While it’s true that estimates are not set in stone, they’re there to give you a good idea of what to expect regarding the cost of a given project. Electricians that are trying to take advantage of you may lowball their initial offer, making it seem like a deal too good to pass up. Once they begin working on the project, however, you may find that the price suddenly increases to double or triple that which was initially proposed to you.

They Refuse to Use Terminology You Can Understand

Most homeowners aren’t well-versed in the professional lingo used by expert electricians. Unfortunately, dishonest electricians could use this to their advantage. To carry out this scam, your electrician may begin describing your problem in overly technical terms to get you concerned over the potentially serious nature of the problem. Then he can provide an astronomical quote due to the perceived severity of your electrical issue.

They Blow Minor Issues Out of Proportion

Another tactic often used by unsavory business professionals is to turn a minor problem into a huge ordeal. They may take advantage of how little you know on the topic to make it seem like your problem is dire and requires immediate treatment. If you already know your problem is relatively minor, you may want to get several opinions before choosing an electrician.

They Ask for a Large Upfront Deposit

Always be wary of electricians who ask for a large upfront deposit. This is sometimes required in other fields such as woodworking and custom-built cabinetry. However, professional electricians operate through a company that generally runs a tab for the purchase of needed supplies. Therefore, there is never a need for them to ask for 20% or more of a project price upfront simply so they can afford to purchase the supplies.

They Use Dirty or Broken Equipment

An electrician doesn’t need to have the latest and greatest tools to be reputable and experienced. However, if they show up and their tools are visibly in disrepair, it may indicate a low-quality company that doesn’t put a lot of focus on the quality of their work. Taking your tools seriously is the easiest step to taking your position seriously, and a true professional will know this.

Different Electricians Charge Different Prices

The price ranges for different services and projects can vary greatly between electricians. This can depend in large part on their level of experience, your geographic location, and the cost of the necessary supplies where you’re located. Additionally, don’t forget that electricians and similar professionals often factor in travel time, gas, and the cost of hiring additional employees. This is all part of the package that you’re paying for when you hire them to fulfill specific job requirements.

Professional electricians can charge anywhere from $40 to $100 per hour, depending on their current skill level and the complexity of the work to be performed. For example, recent statistics displayed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that a licensed electrician averages $55 an hour while an apprentice may earn only $39 an hour for the same job. Many other factors also go into this cost, however. In addition to calculating travel time and the cost of start-up, some electricians may also have a minimum fee even for the smallest of jobs. Additionally, about one-third of electricians in the United States are employed through a union, which may mean slightly higher fees for their customers.

There are a couple of other factors you should keep in mind when considering the projected cost of an upcoming project. For starters, hiring an experienced electrician may seem to cost you more upfront. But it will likely prove worthwhile because it will drastically lessen the odds of you being taken advantage of with the tactics mentioned above. While it may seem that an experienced electrician is costing you more, remember that they will also likely get the job done much faster than someone with less expertise. Lastly, hiring the same professional to perform all your work could earn you a repeat business discount or save you money on related travel expenses that get passed along to you.

How to Find a Good Electrician

Below are a few tips to help you hire the best electrician for the job at hand, ensuring a satisfactory outcome at the best possible price.

Ask for Reviews

You can learn a lot about a company by the reviews they have gotten from previous customers. A little online or word of mouth research can provide a great deal of insight into the trustworthiness of the company you’re considering.

Go for a Licensed Electrician if Possible

Although there may be many quality electricians who do not yet have a license, opting for a licensed and insured professional can give you the best shot at quality work with affordable prices.

Base Your Choice on Experience

Your home’s electricity is a vital part of its everyday functioning. Making changes to it is not something to take lightly. Consider choosing an electrician with many years of experience behind their name.

Choose a Professional That Warranties his Work

Many professional companies offer warranties on their work and any equipment that was used in the project. Always inquire about the warranty involved and the rights you have should something go wrong following the completion of your project.

Having problems arise with the wiring in your home can be concerning and overwhelming. It can become an even bigger source of anxiety if you’re faced with hiring a professional and don’t know where to start. The information above will help you watch out for common scams that can occur in this industry. It will also help you locate and hire a professional electrician that is best equipped for the job at hand, giving you peace of mind that your home is safe and properly maintained.