When hiring an electrical contractor, price doesn’t mean quality. How do you choose an electrician? - by Stephen Cadieux

February 07, 2017 - Long Island
Stephen Cadieux
Roland's Electric

You have your project and budget ready to go – and now need the vendors, contractors and subcontractors to bring the plans to life. Partnering with a construction team or a subcontractor is a lot like a marriage in that you have to consider the total package, not just a single element, such as bid price. 

You want to find a partner with similar goals, vision, values and characteristics.  Sometimes a low bidder is both highly competitive and a great choice – but other times that low bid holds a host of hidden problems.   Price does not dictate quality, and in no way guarantees success.  The industry is full of disaster stories – from shoddy workmanship, delays and overruns to costly errors and accidents. Choosing a contractor on price does not ensure a successful outcome and may end up costing far more than expected. 

So just how should you choose an electrical contractor? Use our practical checklist to paint a truer picture and prevent a costly misstep:

Checklist for choosing an electrical contractor

• Is the contractor experienced & known for quality work? 

It’s not a secret – those who hold the best reputations for doing excellent top quality work earned it by doing right by their clients.  We invest in our future and stay ahead of the competition by utilizing training, the latest techniques, technology, equipment, supplies and tools available in the industry – a practice that has served us well over the past 64 years. 

• Is the electrical contractor properly licensed and insured?   

Proper experience, credentials, bonding and insurance is essential.  Master electrician licensing requirements involve many years of instruction and training, practical knowledge of hundreds of pages of electrical theory, code and safety – followed by an exam as required by your state’s counties and villages. At Roland's Electric, we maintain complete liability, workman’s compensation, and have unlimited bonding capabilities. 

• Does the contractor have the resources to do your project?

Having the equipment, manpower, materials, operational capabilities and financial resources are necessary for successful projects.  We find our large in-house team of electricians, project managers, estimators and support personnel is essential – and with our excellent supplier relations and financial resources we can deliver successful electrical projects of any size. 

• Does the contractor have immediate availability of parts and service?

Time is money! Lost time and delays can create cost overruns, can delay other subcontractors, delay openings of your business or your tenants’ businesses. If a supplier is late or sends your contractor the wrong materials, the project can suffer if that contractor doesn’t have the supplier or creditor relationships to expedite materials.   

We have immediate availability to parts and supplies by maintaining our own 18,000 s/f warehouse fully stocked with emergency material, and have over 10 stocked vehicles and bucket trucks.  Our maintenance division offers 24/7 response time for our clients.  Reliability and capabilities are essential.

• Do they meet OSHA Safety & National Electric Code (NEC) standards?

Our work is fully compliant with current NEC codes. Roland’s electricians are the most highly trained in the field – with multiple certifications in OSHA 10, OSHA 30, NFPA 70E Qualified & Competent, Confined Spaces, CPR/First Aid, Fall Protection and many others.  We invest heavily in ongoing in-house continuing education and have numerous industry affiliations.

Our electricians have over 6 years of rigorous electrical training and education followed by many more years under the tutelage of our master electricians and safety director; they have immense knowledge and capabilities far beyond the textbook.

• Is the contractor willing to supply references? 

Nothing speaks louder than a satisfied client or general contractor– ask for past project and bank references - and contact them.  Have they used them before/would they use again?  How was the workmanship? Did they stay on time/on budget? We take great pride in the references our work has brought us. 

Stephen Cadieux is the president of Roland's Electric, Inc., Deer Park, N.Y.

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