Electricity is the soul of the modern home. Of course, you take it for granted until it stops working. When the power is out, you are then reminded of all the ways, big or small, that electricity has changed our lives. This power is potentially dangerous when handled improperly, so only well trained and experienced tradesmen should be installing or repair the wiring of a home. With that said, let us look at the things that must be considered when trying to find a good electrician in Towson, Maryland.
The absolutely most important thing to look for in an electrician is if they are licensed and insured. This is your protection. A lot can go wrong with electrical wiring in a home environment. This is your safety net as far as the money you have tied up in both the wiring job and the home itself. Just like all other trades and professional vocations that require licenses, the electrician’s license is proof that they have met the standards in a particular state or city to do a particular task. Also, when trying to find a good electrician in Towson, be sure to investigate the specifics of the license as there are some licenses that only cover some tasks and the job you have may not be covered by the license a given electrician holds. As for insurance, ask to see proof of current insurance. If he can’t show you that, he should not be working on your home!
Electricians are highly skilled tradesmen who work in a field that is inherently dangerous. Specific testing requirements and number of classroom or practical hours will vary from state to state or even city to city, the basic process of becoming licensed is fairly standard. This is meant to make it easier for you, the consumer, to find a good electrician.
Apprenticeship: Electricians are required to work on the job under the guidance of a higher-level electrician for some period of time. This time period is often around four years or a range of about 8-10 thousand hours. This goes along with hundreds of hours of classroom instruction learning the science behind electricity.
Journeyman: This is a license that an electrician can be awarded once they have done all the requirements of the apprenticeship program and the pass the license test.
Master Electrician: This is another license in the career path of an electrician. Typically, a journeyman electrician who has been working for approximately four years or somewhere between 4 and 6 thousand hours can then take a master-level exam and become licensed at the highest level.
Some things to keep in mind when it comes to licenses:
- Not all locations have journeyman or master level licenses.
- Sometimes certification is used instead of license.
- Some states have more than just journeyman or master electrician licenses.
- In some states or cities, the license comes with a warranty on the labor of the electrician.
Maryland Electrician Licenses
In the state of Maryland, electrician licenses are issued by county. Also, there are no apprentice licenses. There is a state wide master electrician license for electricians who have worked under a master electrician for 7 years but it does not allow you to perform electrical work on its own (you still must get the lower license from the county you wish to work in first).
The electrical contractor license is issued by cities in Maryland. The difference between the electrician license and the electrical contractor is that the person who owns the business that employs electricians and signs on the contract to do the job needs this particular license in order to legally do that in every city of Maryland.
The Cost of Finding a Good Electrician
Of course, we all want to get the most for our money and we also understand that something as serious as electrical wiring is not the kind of thing that you buy from the lowest bidder. Your primary focus should always be on finding a good electrician in Towson. There is usually a happy medium in the market for electricians that allows you to get a good value for your money but also receive a quality job that is safe and effective. You should always get at least three itemized quotes. It would be great if you got even more than that. The reason you want them itemized is so you can see what each part of the job will cost and then you may be able to better negotiate.
You should know that many electricians charge a fee just for showing up. This fee is usually waved if you hire them to do work that costs more than the fee. So, for instance, that fee may be $75 just to arrive at your home. If the job is for $400, that fee is usually dropped by most electricians. This is why getting the initial quote on the phone is important – it prevents you from having to spend money collecting quotes from companies who you are not likely to use since their prices may be far outside the norm.
Most electricians calculate their cost by the hour, so they should be able to give you a written quote and they should be able to stick within a reasonable range of the time they quote. Always get them to write this quote down for you. The average hourly fee for an electrician in the Baltimore area will probably be around $75 an hour. The average residential job for minor repairs or installations of outlets typically comes out to about $300, with some of that being the cost of supplies.
If you know someone who has had to use an electrician, then please by all means ask them about their experience. All the other steps can theoretically help you find the best electrician, but there is no replacement for a recommendation from someone who actually used the service. If you do not have access to that, you can ask any good Towson electrician to give connect you with a happy customer that can vouch for their work. Speaking with that customer can help you determine if it is genuine and applicable to your type of project.
Questions to Ask when Searching for a Good Baltimore Electrician
- Are they licensed and insured in your area?
- Is the quote reasonable for the scope of work and local market?
- Are their skills or experience a match for your particular project?
- Do they have good refences or positive recommendations?
- Do they seem professional and trustworthy when communicating with them?
Thanks to the local training and apprenticeship programs in Baltimore finding a good Towson electrician is not very hard, but you still must do your due diligence.