By James Mooney on 04/08/2015

Choosing the right electrician can be a challenge.

You’ve probably heard common complaints from your friends and family about poor quality of work and a general lack of professionalism from electricians, leaving behind a trail of head and heartaches. Electrical problems that are still not fixed and structural issues that appear which weren’t there before.

Then you have the “rogue traders”. Although they’re rightly demonised in the media, Ombudsman Services report that six in ten homeowners still fail to check any credentials before giving the go-ahead for any work.

So what can you do?

Usually, getting a personal recommendation from a friend or family member is the most trusted way to find a reliable tradesperson. But if this fails, what do you do next?

Which? Local

Which? Local is part of the consumer watchdog organisation Which?, with reviews published and kept up to date from Which? members that have been verified for authenticity, complete with details about the average price and length of time to complete a job. The downside? To access the Which? website will cost you £1 for the first month and then an extra £10.75 per month.

The NICEIC

Regulatory body for the electrical industry, the NICEIC, provides a register of all verified electricians, who have passed their qualifications. You can search by location to find a local, qualified electrician or by company name to see if an electrician are who they say they are. You can also find a naughty list, which names and shames electricians who claim to be NICEIC, but are not.

Commercial Directories

There are also commercial directories which recommend tradespeople based on previous customer ratings. Checkatrade has become one of the most popular directories in the UK thanks to their strict background checks on tradespeople before they can become members.

To verify the quality of work you're likely to receive Checkatrade visit the offices of electricians and ask for 5 references of previous customers, to make sure that only the most competent electricians feature on their website.

Checkatrade makes it easy to search for electricians who are local to you, publishing feedback from completed jobs so you have a good idea of the skills and experience of an electrician, before you decide who to contact.

What steps should you take?

  • Be specific and set out a detailed, clear brief when requesting quotes
  • Request a detailed, written quote that includes start and finish times and agreed payment terms
  • Ask for references, a good electrician will give you the contact details of previous customers and will show you around previous jobs
  • Consider your ability to communicate with them and their quality of work, not just the price
  • Clarify up front if VAT is included in any quote or is additional
  • Use an established firm with an office address and landline telephone number, be wary if someone is only willing to give you their mobile number 
  • Only pay for work that has been done or agreed by you in the payment terms, not by advance payments.

Check credentials

However you decide to choose your electrician, always remember to check their credentials. Even Trading Standards advise you always check a tradesperson is licensed.

Also check qualifications to make sure the person is able to complete your job safely and at a high standard. For example, electricians can only certify the quality of work once they’re 17th edition qualified. Only use an electrician who works for a company that’s 17th edition qualified. If there’s any dispute about the quality of work, there’s always someone in the company who can make sure the work has been completed to standard.

All Mr. Electric franchises have to be 17th edition NICEIC qualified and approved by Which? Trusted Trader. To find your local Mr. Electric branch click here.

Five reasons to choose Mr Electric

  • World leading range of energy saving technologies.
  • All work carried out is guaranteed to give you peace of mind
  • Free no-obligation quotations for every job. We tell you how much a job will cost up front so there are never any nasty surprises
  • Fixed pricing policy, no hidden costs and no call out fees. Ever.
  • Our highly trained staff can provide comprehensive solutions to any electrical problem, so whatever your electrical need, we will be able to fix the problem.

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