Finding a contractor willing to take on your project is rarely a problem. Finding the one that meets your needs may be. Some businesses seldom need electrical service so find no advantage in establishing a relationship with a particular contractor. When they need some work done they go through the phone book and call several candidates and pick one – usually based on price. Other types of businesses may have a more frequent need for service and establishing a solid relationship with a contractor can be a big plus.
Establishing a relationship is as easy as asking a contractor out for a visit to walk your facility. Ask them questions. Do they seem confident in their trade? Do they present problems and worry you? Can you trust them? In the end, it is your choice. If you just don’t like them, send them on their way. If they seem to fit the bill, put them on your shortlist. All these things are pretty subjective. You want to see if they are knowledgeable and trustworthy.
If you need an electrician on a fairly regular basis or just want the peace of mind in knowing someone who is routinely available and you're comfortable with, establish a relationship. It’s pretty easy to do.
We’ve done that with our truck service. We finely found an outfit that really cares about us and keeping our trucks running. They maintain records of the work and are always available in a pinch. When you have a truck broken down in San Diego it is awfully nice to have someone to call that will take care of it. Now, these are by no means the cheapest mechanics but they are also not the most expensive.
Not all contractors are the same nor do they try to be. Some are geared toward doing new installations and remodels. Some focus on the service with troubleshooting and repairs. Then there are the hybrids who do both.
Price should only be one factor of many when selecting a contractor. For those that insist it is the only or, at least most important factor, skip ahead to the section titled “How to pay for the work twice – Redoing bad installations”.