5 Questions To Ask When Choosing Electrical Contractor

By Huey Yun Teo
March 22, 2018

Choosing the right electrical contractor is important if you want the job to be done well. You should find a trustworthy and precise electrical contractor where their company offers services that would meet your expectations.

electrical installtion
  • Define what you need.
  • Verify a potential electrical contractor.
  • Check whether the electrical contractor is able to perform the tasks.

While going through this process, you should keep a few things in mind. Here is a list of the things you should remember of and do while you choose an electrical contractor.

1. What exactly do you need?

Are you planning to renovate an office building? Do you want to change the office design? Is it a small repair or serious renovation?

It’s very important to discern if you actually need a complete renovation or just require a mere and minor repair in the office building. You should also decide when do you want the job to be completed, but remember to be realistic and to consideration of the amount of time that a potential electrical contractor might need to complete the job. Some electrical contractors are able to complete projects that would normally take 6 months in less than 3 months. Even so, the electrical contractor must be informed about the deadlines as soon as possible so that they would complete and follow through the expected schedule.

With a clear task in mind, you will know what research to narrow on, and focus on the electrical contractors that would be available for a certain amount of time so that they could perform the required task in this given period.

You should also inform the electrical contractor the details of your project and what kind of building the company will work at. Is it an office building? What is the office design? If you need a full renovation of an office building, look for electrical contractors that have experience in this type of projects. If you’re planning to change your office design, look for an electrical contractor that specializes in smaller repairs.

The best way is to contact a few electrical contractors and check that one of them can do the job on your proposed term – especially concerning deadlines and budget.

 

2. How credible are they?

The electrical contractor should have the right licence and the insurance. You can ask the electrical contractor to present references from its previous clients. It’s an excellent way to make sure the electrical contractor is reliable.

 

3. What is their estimated rate?

Whether the electrical contractor will provide you with a concrete proposal or give an estimated verbal quote depends mostly on what kind of project you have. Some electrical contractors charge an hourly rate. This method is practised for complicated projects where it is hard to predict exactly how much time the electrical contractor will need to complete the job. The hourly contractor rate is also a practical means for them to accommodate your changing needs. Sometimes, we tend to make or change our decisions while the job is still on going. For example, you are not sure what kind of office design appeals to you the most and you want to have a possibility to change even as the electrical contractor does his job.

Electrical contractors often use the T&M rates (time and material rates) to charge their clients. It means that the electrical contractor charges you for the materials and the time spent on completing the whole project and task. That also includes the time needed to buy materials, time required to pick them up from the shop and to transport the materials to your office building.

4. Is the proposal aligned to your office design needs?

If your project is clear and its scope is known, the electrical contractor can give you a proposal.

It’s usually practised when the jobs are very specific and the electrical contractor is able to set a price right away. Do you need to install a track lightning in your office building? Are you renovating an office building and you need electrical and cabling office design? If you have clear expectations, the electrical contractor can come up with a price. It depends on you whether you accept the electrical contractor’s proposal or not. You can reject the proposal if doesn’t meet your expectations and look for another electrical contractor.

5. Are quotes and details missing from the electrical contractor proposal?  

Before you accept the proposal, read it carefully and check if there are some details missing. You can negotiate with the electrical contractor to make changes in the document. Sometimes unforeseen problems appear and you need to cooperate with your electrical contractor to find solutions.

Let’s say the electrical contractor has already started working, but you want to rethink your plans and, for instance, change the office design that you have primarily chosen. You can discuss it with the electrical contractor and add a “Change Order” to the contract. Change Order is a component to the contract and it brings changes to the Scope of Work you and the electrical contractor first agreed on.

Some materials can also be missing in the proposal the electrical contractor provides you with. For example, the estimated price might not include the preparation of the materials needed in your office design (cutting them, patching etc.), cleaning the office building during the job and additional hidden fees and so on. Keep it in mind of these hidden charges when you accept the electrical contractor’s proposal.

It happens that something gets broken while the job moves along. The contract might not specify what to do in such a case, so talk with your electrical contractor and find a solution together.

Another unforeseen circumstance is a lost order. Sometimes an order can also be delivered to your office building too late. Unfortunately, such orders might cost you money. Once again the best solution is to discuss and schedule them with the electrical contractor. Try to find a solution that will keep you from spending extra money. If deadlines are crucial, ask your electrical contractor what can you assist such that the company would still be able to complete the job in time.

Conclusion

Remember that good communication with the electrical contractor is extremely important. If you want your office design to be perfect, research and talk with the electrical contractors, ask the questions you need and clarify their doubts. Choosing the right electrical contractor is a crucial part, whether you just need some small repairs in your office building or you want to change the whole office design.

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Phone-based systems are not just a small-business solution. CEO of Kisi, Bernhard Mehl, comments: “If you see the average of three doors connected then that might seem low but, in reality, one door relates to around 50 employees—so those are locations with about 150 people on average, including satellite offices. That’s quite significant.”

Mobile Access Control Adoption by Industry

Kisi examined which industries are investing the most in mobile access control technology. To do so, the average size of mobile access control installation projects by industry were measured. Commercial real estate topped the list with 23.5 doors running mobile access per facility. Education management came in last with 1.0 door running mobile access per facility. 

Physical Security Statistics: Mobile Access by Industry


The number of shooting incidents at K-12 schools, according to the CHDS, reached an all-time high at 97 incidents in 2018—compared to 44 in 2017. Cloud-based access control companies, like Kisi, offer a lockdown feature for active shooter situations or emergencies, making it an effective protective layer for places that are targeted, such as religious institutions, which come in near the top of the list with 4.0 doors running mobile access per facility. 

Based on industry size, it makes sense that commercial real estate tops the list, with 23.5 doors running mobile access per facility. Cloud-based access control enables these larger organizations to scale more seamlessly and allows large organizations, like telecommunications, to deploy the most manageable IT solutions available, eliminating the need to create and manage a business’s own IT infrastructure over time.

“Commercial real estate is, of course, the driver of mobile adoption since they have the largest buildings,” Mehl adds. “The key here is to show that mobile-first technologies are not a risk but an innovation that brings positive ROI and allows agencies to reposition their buildings as forward-thinking establishments.”

The scalabelilty and ease of use in onboarding an organization allows many different types of industries and businesses of different sizes to adapt a cloud-based access control system, either using keycard or mobile credentials for access. 


Mobile Access Control by State

Looking specifically at the United States, Kisi analyzed in which states companies are investing the most into upgrading to smartphone-enabled access systems. Of the currently installed base of access control readers, around 20 percent will be mobile capable by 2022, according to a recent IHS report. Cloud-based systems, like Kisi, are future-proof—allowing over-the-air updates in real time and unlimited scalability for users.


“Mobile unlock technology makes you think of the major tech hubs like New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles,” Mehl adds. “Looking at which states have the largest projects, it’s surprising and refreshing that those are not the typical ‘tech cities, and yet that’s where access control technology really makes an impact.” The fact that the largest projects are seen in states outside of the typical tech startup landscape is evidence that mobile access control is highly applicable across industry sectors.


For further questions about this study, reach out to Kait Hobson (kait@getkisi.com)

Huey Yun Teo

Huey Yun is a Search Marketing Specialist at RedMart.

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