Every home needs electrical repairs from time to time, but because of the dangers involved, these repairs don't make safe do-it-yourself projects. Most folks will be better off hiring professional electricians. And because these services are expensive, here are some tips on how to get the most bang for your buck:
1. Don't be Mislead by an Electrician's Hourly Rates
Many people pay too much attention to the hourly rate electricians charge. This amount can vary from $30 to $70. However, a truly skilled, well-equipped electrician with a truck full of parts that charges $65 an hour can be a much wiser choice than an inexperienced hack, working with inadequate tools and no parts, but charging $35 per hour. The hourly rate only has meaning when it is considered along with the firm's work quality, equipment and experience.
2. Compare the Electrician's Travel Charges Travel charges can have a big impact on your costs and are in some ways easier to compare than hourly rates. Many electricians spend a third or more of their time navigating traffic. So every electrician has to find a way to pay for expense of driving all over town each day.
Some charge a higher rate for the first hour, some charge a flat "trip charge," some charge a minimum for each visit, and some simply compensate for travel time by charging a higher hourly rate.
When you first call the professional, ask how and what they charge and see if it makes sense for your situation. For example, a trip charge and a relatively low hourly rate make sense on a longer job. For a shorter job, you'll do better with someone who absorbs travel costs by charging a higher hourly rate.
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3. Bundle Electrical Repair Jobs Together
To save money and time on electrical work, bundle projects together. Anytime you discover an electrical problem, put it on a list.
When you feel it's time to call an electrician, review your list and then conduct a mini-inspection of your home. Look for faulty switches and dysfunctional or crowded outlets. When the electrician comes, you'll save money and time by getting everything taken care of at once.
4. Get Prepared Before the Electrician Arrives
The less time the electrician spends dealing with inconveniences, the more money you will save. Before the electrician arrives, prepare a precise list of items you want serviced. Also, make sure the electrical panel box is accessible and clear away fragile items and knickknacks from areas where you expect the electrician to work.
5. Install Money-Saving Electrical Fixtures
By switching from ordinary incandescent light fixtures or bulbs to fluorescent ones, you can substantially reduce energy consumption in your home.
Also, motion detector switches can help you save money on outdoor lighting while at the same time providing very cost-effective security to your home.
Finally, creative landscape lighting and indoor accent lighting can make your home more appealing to you, your guests and potential buyers in the future.