Three Important Considerations for Selecting an Electrical Contractor
Price, professionalism, technical expertise and warranty are significant factors, but should only be considered after prospective electrical contractors have been properly vetted for the three most important considerations of: quality of work, customer satisfaction and financial responsibility.
Quality of Work:
At first glance, determining the quality of an electrical contractor’s work on previous projects might seem very difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. For many years, purchasing agents recognized the direct correlation between a contractor’s safety history and the quality of work, and have used the experience rating system to select high-quality electrical contractors. The Experience Modification Rate (EMR) is calculated based on the contractor’s previous year’s worker’s compensation losses, and an EMR score of 1.00 is considered average.
Since a lower EMR score indicates a higher-quality contractor, some experienced buyers have used a filter of 0.75 or less as the first step in the pre-qualification process. Faith Technologies’ EMR for 2010 is 0.59. This concept is similar to an employer seeking to fill a high-level position in finance and using an applicant’s FICO Credit Score to predict his/her financial responsibility.
Other industry professionals also recognize this principle. “There’s no better measure of a company’s commitment to quality than the strength of their safety program,” said Doug Pruitt, past president of Associated General Contractors of America. Pruitt recently announced the 2010 Construction Safety Excellence Grand Award, which is widely accepted as the premiere safety award within the construction industry. Faith Technologies was the proud recipient of this award in 2010.
It is also important to choose a contractor with a high level of commitment to good customer relations. Ask for a list of references – reputable contractors regularly provide prospective customers with references. Some good questions to ask the references include:
- Did the electrical contractor meet or exceed your expectations?
- Did the contractor leave your premises as clean as or cleaner than he/she found it?
- Was the work done in a timely manner?
- Would you use them again?
Of course, a call to the local Better Business Bureau may also help narrow your list of prospective electrical contractors.
The financial stability of an electrical contractor is a critical consideration, especially during a down economy. Dun & Bradstreet is a great service for business credit reporting. As a customer, the nightmare scenario begins when you learn that your contractor is going out of business and cannot finish your project. Selecting a financially stable company should ensure that you aren’t left to clean up a mess or pay twice for labor or materials.
Fashion designer Aldo Gucci expressed it well: “The bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of low price has faded from memory.” In conclusion, my recommendation is to research candidates thoroughly, consider only those contractors that pass the test for quality of work, customer satisfaction and financial responsibility, and then choose wisely.