My employers need an electrician. I need advice on hiring one!
June 28, 2012 12:03 PM Subscribe
Hooray! I got my employers' approval to get some electrical work we've badly needed for a long time in our lab/office suite done. I have no word-of-mouth recommendations of local electricians to go on, so I'm checking around online and trying to get quotes. As such, I have a few questions on how to most effectively screen for quality, recognize a fair price for the work, and deal with the etiquette aspects of the quoting process.
[Background]: As a hardware engineer at a smallish (but growing) biotech lab, one thing I often end up dealing with is the matter of where and how to plug in various pieces of equipment. We've been in this building since 2010 and are really outgrowing the space at this point -- but as long as we're here, we need to be able to operate our various fridges, incubators, fume hoods, and centrifuges reliably and safely. The problem is that this suite was not originally constructed to be lab space, and thus, we've got entire rooms where ALL the outlets along a wall go to a mere 1 or 2 circuit breakers. Which means that the more equipment we get, the more we end up with tripped circuits.
Anyhow, yesterday I got permission to seek and hire an electrician to run some additional lines from less-loaded circuits to a few new outlets in the lab area. I contacted one company (which had a decent number of good reviews on Angie's List) this morning and while he definitely sounded like he understood the nature of the job, he can't come out to look at the site until next Tuesday.
...but all that said, herein lies my question: I'd really like to get at least 2 or 3 quotes to compare, but as I've never done this sort of thing before, I'm a little nervous about the etiquette of potentially having to tell the first or second guy, "sorry, we decided to hire someone else".
I'm really good at being blunt and straightforward and not overly worried about offending people, but I DO want to make sure I go about this professionally as I will be speaking on behalf of my company in this matter. Any tips there would be appreciated.
I'd also be very interested in tips folks might have for, in general, what factors aside from word-of-mouth recommendation tend to indicate "this is a great electrician who will do awesome work!" Like are there certain pointed questions I can ask? Thanks!