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21 Jan 2012 - 05:54:39 am

Advice on Hiring an Electrician in Los Angeles or Any Contractor, Anywhere

Advice on Hiring an Electrician in Los Angeles or Any Electrical Contractor, Anywhere
By Michael James
Los Angeles Electrician

What You Should Know Before Hiring a Contractor

Electrician Los Angeles

Hi, my name is Michael James and I'm a licensed Los Angeles Electrician.
I own an electrical contracting company in Los Angeles, called "A Custom Electric".
The information that I'm going to give you applies to anyone, living anywhere in the world whose looking to hire an electrical contractor for their building or electrical project.

I can't tell you how many times, I've been called by someone who was completely ripped off by either a general contractor or an electrical contractor.
In almost every case, three things happened that led to this unpleasant situation:


  • The customer went with the contractor that had the lowest price (the most common occurance that we come across).
  • The customer didn't have a contract or a well written contract to protect themselves.
  • The customer didn't have his contractor pull permits and have the job inspected.
  • The customer paid the contractor most of the cost of the project leaving less than 20% due upon completion of the work.


Everyone likes to get a "good deal" on the price of something and save some money. But Hiring a contractor is not the same as buying a car.

The difference is, that with an electrical contractor, his electrical services are not pre-assembled (like a new car) and you either get what you pay for or you need to make sure that you get what you pay for.
Example: You can walk into a car dealership and either the salesman will offer you a super deal on the car of your choice and or you can lay cash down on the table and save 20% to 40% off of a car.
The  car was put together on an assembly line, using the same parts as all of the other cars and is already assembled and completed when you buy it.
But when hire a contractor, he's there to assemble your job for you (build your car, if you will). That job could be the complete electrical installation for a new home being built, a kitchen remodel, house rewiring or the installation of an electrical panel upgrade.
The contractor's electrical estimate on your job, is based upon his estimate for the materials and labor that he is going to need from start to finish.
Regardless of what his electrical bid or electrical estimate is, that specific job is going to cost him X amount of money to complete.
The quality of the work that the contractor will do, is based upon his knowledge and skill of course, but also on also on the quality of the materials and the amount of time he spends performing a good electrical installation.
When you put your job out for electrical bid or are looking for an electrical estimate, you should contact at least 5 contractors.
If the estimates from highest to lowest are vastly different, you should throw out the highest and the lowest electrical estimates and look at the ones in the middle.
Regardless of whether your just keeping the 3 electrical estimates in the middle or all of the electrical estimates are roughly, read the electrical estimates carefully and see who provides the most details and whose offering what in the electrical services that they will provide.
I would also say to check their references, because I can't tell you how many times someone told me that the electrician or general contractor that just ripped them off "had great references!".


Write A Contract

Once you've chosen your contractor, have contract drawn up.

Read the contract carefully



  1. Make sure the contract lists specifics of your job and any brand types that were discussed or were noted in the plans that were drawn for the bid (and should have been in the estimate). If you don't have plans, verify the number of items to be installed, the brand, etc.
  2. Will you contractor be responsible for, demolition, repairs or any walls? If so, make sure that's written into the contract.
  3. Ask about changes to the original electrical plan that might occur (called "Change Orders"). How will those be dealt with? On an hourly basis or priced as an additional electrical estimate?
  4. Make sure that there is a written statement about the removal of debris and clean up. On small jobs, the owner will often allow for the use of their trash cans, in order to eliminate the cost of that in the contract.
  5. Check with your state contractors license board for two things: A. The record of the electrical contractor. Has he had any complaints filled against him? B. The length of time an electrical contractor is supposed to guarantee parts and labor.

Make sure that written in the contract, is the exact job or a reference to a document (like the electrical estimate or plans) that describes the electrical installation that you want done.
Make sure that there is a performance clause included in your contract. That clause, states that the electrical installation begins on certain date and will take X amount of time and that the electrical instalation will be completed by a certain date (barring any changes or "Acts of God" like bad weather, an earthquake, etc.).

** This is really important: Have a payment schedule written into the contract.
On contracts
that we draw up, for the electrical installation on a new home, restaurant or office  that's being built or for a remodel,  we set our payments up in 3rds. We have a 33% down on the day that we show up with the materials and begin that part of the electrical installation that is known as "The Rough" work.
We get another 33% draw on the completion of the electrical installation for the rough work and passing of the "Rough" inspection by the Department of Building And Safety.
We get our final payment upon completion of the electrical installation, known as  "The Finish" work and the passing of the  "Finish" inspection.

On an electrical installation, like a house rewire or an electrical panel upgrade, we usually ask for 50% at the start of the house rewire of the electrical panel installation and 50% on the finish on that particular type of electrical installation. But also keep in mind that some jobs, like a generator installation, have a higher cost for materials at the start, and the contractor may need to request a higher amount for the start or after the completion of the "Rough" electrical work.


Remember that an unscrupulous contractor will try and get most or almost all of the money by the middle of the job and then walk away from finishing the work, because there no longer is enough money in it for them.


 We wish you the best of luck in all of your projects!


Join me on the New Digg





Electrical Panel Upgrade Los Angeles at

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