The most important consideration when hiring an electrician or electrical contractor in Atlanta is to verify whether or not the company is properly licensed. This includes checking for both a Georgia business license and a valid professional license.
Checking for a proper business license at the Georgia Secretary of State’s website is important to make sure that the company you’re doing business with is who you think they are. The company’s listing will show if they are in good standing and the year of incorporation. Often contractors will state that they have many years of experience, but they may have operated under various companies which may now be out of business. What good is a guarantee or warranty from a company that will be out business next year?
A common misconception of those outside the electrical construction industry is that electricians are licensed. In Georgia, there are no requirements for what is known in some states as an electrical journeyman’s license. Georgia only requires an electrical contractor’s license of anyone engaged in the business of electrical contracting. This means that a company is required to have a licensed electrical contractor on staff to oversee the work being performed, but the workers or electricians employed by the business are not required to be licensed.
Assuring that your electrical contractor has a valid professional license is easy. The Professional Licensing Board Division of the Georgia secretary of state’s office offers free licensing verification. An electrical contractor license can be either a “Class I” restricted license (limited to residential electrical installations that are single phase and less than 400 amperes) or a “Class II” non-restricted license. Sometimes these are referred to as Master Licenses. Also, when working on low voltage systems, either a restricted (limited to alarms, telecommunications, or general system low-voltage contracting) or non-restricted low voltage license is required.
Although hiring a properly licensed electrical contractor may be more expensive and won’t guarantee a successful job, licensing does indicate a degree of professionalism and suggests that the electrical contractor is committed to his or her job. If you hire an unlicensed contractor, you will have little recourse should you be unhappy with the work or should you have code or permit violations cited by your city or county.
In addition to licensing and certification considerations, you should check references and verify proper insurance. However, dealing with a professional electrician and electrical contractor from an established business is probably the primary consideration when choosing a contractor.