Learn how to hire the triple whammy: technical expertise, safety compliance, and value for money.

Key Takeaways:

  • All Florida electricians must meet certain standards to become licensed contractors.
  • A good contractor will be experienced in their field and responsive to customers.
  • Contact details, qualifications, and reputation should be easy for customers to verify.

Without qualified commercial electrical contractors every American storefront, warehouse, and office would subject to DIY disasters — most of which would be fires and explosions visible from space. It’s therefore critical to be selective when choosing electrical contractors you trust with commercial operations and workplace safety.

You need to hire an electrical contractor who’ll alleviate the risk of costly mistakes and ensure a partnership that provides quality work and future success. We’ve compiled this comprehensive guide to distinguish quality teams from those not worth your time, from how well they understand the project’s needs to evaluating whether their qualifications and reputation are legit.

Understanding your electrical needs

A common problem customers must consider is the specific electrical services required to hire the right contractor. However, many commercial site managers know nothing about electrical work meaning they’ll need to hire a contractor to make that identification. This pain point stings less when contractors offer free inspections and quotes to assess your needs.

Start by asking about their familiarity with the National Electrical Code (NEC). They should be working from the 2023 edition, which will be the standard until the next update arrives in 2026. This book has current information on recommended electrical practices and compliance advice, covering everything from wiring and surge protection to safeguarding special equipment (here’s a quick overview).

The “N” in NEC means electricians nationwide use this code. However, region-specific codes and regulations don’t always align with the NEC. It’s therefore important to choose a qualified local team who knows both the NEC and your area’s specific requirements. Hiring contractors who don’t refer to NEC or local codes can result in damaged equipment, lost productivity, or injured staff and customers.

Assessing qualifications and experience

There are certain licensing and certification requirements necessary for commercial electrical contractors, all of which can be verified by customers with a little effort. The work required to become a licensed journeyman electrician varies throughout Florida.

It typically  takes three to four years of electrical experience and many hours of classroom instruction in either an apprenticeship program or at a technical college to pass a qualifying exam. A contractor’s license must also be renewed every two years with added hours of continuing education.

You can confirm a contractor’s credentials by visiting the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation website. They have four easy options for verification, including name, location, and license number. Never hire someone without a number!

However, being qualified doesn’t always equate to being good. While being qualified proves that a contractor has years of experience, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve completed many jobs. Master electricians have the most experience and are licensed to work in various counties. They’re likely to have successfully completed many projects across the map in the years following their qualification.

This leads to the next big question: how do you find a qualified, experienced contractor who also provides courteous, cost-effective service?

Their reputation and reliability stand up to scrutiny

Vet potential candidates by researching customer reviews and testimonials. The best contractors will have a website showcasing positive customer testimonials. Review their social media to see how proactive, professional, and polite they are when interacting with the public.

Visit the Better Business Bureau website to see how highly a contractor is rated — don’t worry if you don’t find them there. Other platforms, such as Google reviews and online forums, can yield more information on a contractor’s reliability. Still, you shouldn’t be automatically impressed with lots of good reviews; they can be faked. Learn the telltale signs of potentially false reviews to make accurate choices.

The best contractors will happily supply references. These are of greater value because they allow prospective customers to personally connect with previous ones to discuss a contractor’s quality.

Making your final decision

Competition can be fierce for electrical work; customers won’t face a shortage of contractors. You can gather applicant details and compare bids and portfolios to better assess a candidate’s value. When everything seems in line, it’s time to make the call. Here’s a final checklist to summarize the decision-making process:

  • Are they trained and educated? 
  • Are they licensed, numbered, and insured?
  • Can they verify how long they’ve been in business?
  • Are they familiar with both NEC and local regulations?
  • Can they provide contact information including phone number and professional address?
  • Can they provide positive reviews and/or references for earlier work?

You can’t say “contractor” without saying “contract”. A legitimate operator won’t be squeamish about putting an agreement in writing. Consider it a red flag if they want to “sign” a handshake deal. Lastly, remember that highly qualified and experienced contractors will charge accordingly. Don’t be put off by quotes you deem too high or attracted to low ballers. Use the tips we’ve shared to assess if the fee matches the skills and service quality.

Contact UES for expert electrical advice

Verifying qualifications, experience, and previous work will bring you closer to finding high quality contractors who deliver stress-free results. Some electrical situations provide time to read this list again before hiring a contractor. Other scenarios are emergencies where you need the right help, right now. You can trust UES in both instances.

Our expert team of trained union electricians are licensed throughout the state of Florida, and we’ve got decades of electrical experience to make your commercial site as equipped and safe as possible. We can drop by at your convenience or answer an emergency call with a free quote. Contact UES today for fast and friendly advice!