By Jake Hyet
Electricians install and repair electrical wiring, mechanical equipment, lighting fixtures, communications and security systems at residential, commercial and industrial sites. Basic electrician work can be as simple as installing electrical outlets in a house, or as complex as setting up programmable logic controllers in a factory. Troubleshooting is a key skill for the trade, as electricians must have a firm command of the sometimes complex logic of electrical circuitry and electronics.
Most beginning electricians learn the trade in an apprenticeship program or technical school. Education includes classroom work and extensive testing on electrical theory, electrical code, soldering, mathematics, safety practices, and blueprint reading. Hands-on learning is a crucial part of electrician training. Each of the four years of the apprenticeship includes a minimum of 144 hours of technical training plus 2,000 hours of full-time on-the-job training.
After completing an apprenticeship program, electricians are considered to be journey workers and may perform duties on their own, subject to any local licensing requirements. Because of their comprehensive training, those who complete apprenticeship programs qualify to do both construction and maintenance work. A master electrician often earns a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and typically works as a supervisor. Most states require electricians to pass a test and be licensed.
No matter how much of a handyman you may be, electrical jobs can entail safety hazards such as electric shock, so it’s best to leave them to a professional. However, hiring a commercial electrician can be a daunting chore. If you hire the wrong company, you could not only put your building at risk, but the safety of everyone inside it, due to faulty wiring. That’s why you might need some tips to help you make the right decision.
That’s the first thing you should be concerned with once you’ve narrowed down your choices. How many years has the company been in business? Don’t settle for a company that’s practically brand new just because they’re cheaper than those who have been in business longer. Go for the more experienced company and ask for their most experienced electrician. That’s the only way to be absolutely certain that the job will be done properly and completed in a timely manner. Someone with a lot of experience behind them will know how to do the job correctly and efficiently, and they will be prepared to cope with any emergencies that should come up while they are working.
When seeking the right commercial electrician, if you decide to go with an individual rather than a large company, be sure to check out all of their credentials. Ask for references and don’t be embarrassed to use them. You’re going to be paying someone a lot of money to work on your building and you need to make sure they know more than how to make air conditioning repairs before you hire them.
Now while it’s only natural for the length of time it takes to complete a job to vary from precisely how long you are told it will take, depending on how difficult the job is, whoever you hire should be able to provide you with a good estimate of a start/finish time. Yes, people do get busy and there are emergencies when dealing with electrical work. All of this can throw even the best electrician off schedule. That’s okay. But you need to make sure you hire someone who can be depended upon to finish the job in a timely manner, even with delays, and who can tell the difference between a job that can be put off a little while and one that’s an emergency. Also, if your company is experiencing the emergency, then you shouldn’t delay and if the electrician you pick can’t come out immediately, then choose someone else.
It’s a very important factor how payment is handled. A true professional electrician will not insist you make a down payment before any work has been done. If they do, then that’s a sign of trouble and you should move on to someone else. It’s an unfortunate fact of life, but some people are just concerned about getting their hands on your money, so never make a payment to someone that hasn’t even begun work yet. Always pay once the job is complete and not before. That way you can be absolutely certain that everything has been done to your satisfaction, from the largest job to even air conditioning repair, it has to all be done correctly before you pay out one cent.
Jake Hyet is a static commercial electrician who has written many articles on the topic of electrical jobs and static electrics air conditioning repairs. He has been in business for seven years and is considered an expert on these topics.