‘Electrician near me’: The Hidden Costs of a Convenient Service
In the age of instant gratification, voice search is rapidly becoming the dominant method of locating products and services. Does convenience carry a hidden cost, though? What happens when ease of use comes with financial and safety costs far beyond our imagining?
We’ve all experienced the frustration; after a long, hard day of work, you sit back to relax on your couch, drink in one hand, remote in the other, when suddenly you’re thrown into darkness. No lights, no TV, no hope… You sigh and grumble as you get to your feet, muttering as you hit things along the way to the breaker box…
Nothing obvious… You flip switches – nothing. You stare at it for a few moments, psychically willing it just to pop back on again. You call the power company, and they tell you there are no outages reported on their end, and the system seems to be okay. That leaves only one choice.
Out comes the cell phone, with a frustrated “Siri” or “Hey Google!” before the magic words “find an electrician near me” leave your mouth.
You didn’t intend to, you didn’t mean to, but you just made a fatal error. Five hours and $4000 later, a very happy electrician walks out of your house with an appointment to come back tomorrow and repair the damage, leaving you back in the dark again, wondering how you just lost your shirt to a total stranger.
All too often, this is only the start of the heartaches and financial woes that come our way when we use untested and unfamiliar contractors. What can we do about it, though? If we can’t trust our devices, how can we expect to avoid disaster?
Take Your Time
It may sound silly and simple, but when it comes to a potentially bank-breaking repair, it’s worth taking a few minutes to make sure you have the information you need to make an informed choice. Voice search is easy and convenient, but until there is a guaranteed method for sorting the wheat from the chaff, nothing will beat a good old fashioned search engine.
First launched in 2017, and now rolling out nationwide, Google Local Services offers a Google Guarantee badge to all contractors who have completed specific requirements. What the badge means is that contractors have met all of the following criteria:
- Verified insurance coverage
- Verified licenses where required and available
- Verified business address and registration
- Complete third party identity and criminal background checks for the following employees
- Field Technicians
The Google Guarantee covers the cost of work up to a lifetime cap of $2000 should you be dissatisfied and feel that the contractor has delivered poor quality of work.
Many contractors are now applying to become Google Guaranteed because it affords them a higher ranking in Google search results and provides proof of their character as businesspeople that you can trust.
Are They Proud Of Their History?
A good company is a proud company. Whether it’s Facebook, Google Business, or a Website, good companies will tell you about their origins, certifications, training, and licenses. Finding an “About Us” section is a clear sign that you’ve reached a reputable contractor.
How Do Their Reviews Stand Up?
It is easier now than ever to publically state your opinion about a business. Every social media platform and listing site (Yelp, Angie’s List, Yellow Pages, Home Advisor) has a review option, and you can learn a great deal about a contractor from their reviews.
It goes without saying that a large number of positive 5-star reviews are a good sign, but what’s even more important is those reviews that aren’t positive. What were they complaining about? More importantly, how did the business respond? How a business treats its negative experiences can be even more important than how many positive ones it has.
After considering the factors discussed above, you may narrow the list down to three or four companies. Now begins the call process, during which you’ll find out their availability and, more importantly, their pricing structure. Cheap and easy is never the best option. When calling, consider the following questions:
- Are you available today?
- If you do come out today, do you carry the right parts and equipment on your trucks to take care of the situation right now?
- What is your hourly rate?
The majority of contractors still charge an hourly rate for their work, often able to rack up some impressively devastating sums. Many contractors, though are embracing a “by the job” structure. Before beginning any work, they produce written estimates of precisely what it would take to get the job done. This prevents hidden fees, back-end addons, and last-minute additions you never had time to consider. A flat structure allows you to know exactly what the job will cost beforehand, and you don’t ever need to worry about the invoice mysteriously increasing without your knowledge.
Find out how your contractor charges for the job and whether they require approval for any changes to the agreed-upon quote – this can save you’re a fortune in time and money further down the road.
Avoid Your Own Devastation
No matter which choice you make, it’s essential that every decision concerning a contractor or his work for you be made with the best available information.
Next time you encounter a problem and reach for your voice search faster than your cell phone, remember the potential ramifications of Alexa, Siri, or Google making that decision for you.
Any time disaster does strike, don’t forget the service experts at Bickimer Electric. We are guaranteed, licensed, insured, and bonded, with a proud history we are happy to share with our customers. Give our friendly office team a call at 913-313-6751 or hit that red button above and book online.
We are your number one Kansas City electrician, serving Leavenworth