We have compiled a list of the most commonly asked questions we receive.

What are your qualifications/credentials?
Are your estimates free?
Can you guys come out today?
What do you charge for service work?UPDATE regarding travel charges
Do you carry materials on your truck?
You’re short on materials – are you going to charge me for your trip to Home Depot?
Do you work weekends or evenings?
Do I need to get an electrical permit?
What’s your warranty?
Are there any other fees I should know about?
How do I pay for the work?
How long does it take to (_______)?
You guys installed something, but now it’s not working!  What will you do about it?
What’s all this hubbub about Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) panels?
I have a home with aluminum wiring.  Can you make it safer or upgrade it?
Will you work with our insurance company?  How about financing?
Can you fix my appliance/AC unit/heater/refrigerator/security camera/etc.?
Help!  My power is out!

What are your qualifications/credentials?

All our electricians have a combined experience of close to 80 years, and our master has been in the business since the 1980’s.  We are licensed by TDLR: our contractor license number is 19787, and our master electrician’s number is 27254.  We carry general liability insurance. We are a legal business filed with the Secretary of State.  We are PCI-Compliant, have an A+ rating at the BBB, and are an Angie’s List Super Service Award Winner for 3 years with over 800 reviews and an overall A-rating.  All our electricians must pass a criminal background check and carry valid licenses.

Are your estimates free?

Yes, our residential estimates are free.  They are valid for 60 days.

Commercial estimates are completed by our master electrician, and there is a $500 minimum non-refundable charge for design work if no plans are provided.  Any required design work will also be bid.

Can you guys come out today?

It’s best to call us and check first before making plans or taking advantage of any special deals or coupons.  Based on past statistics, our busiest times of year are early spring and most of summer –  we can find ourselves booked 3-4 weeks in advance!

What do you charge for service work?

We have a standard rate for hourly service work (basic items like changing out switches, fixtures, etc.).  Our rate for 1 electrician is $150 minimum, and covers up to the first hour; each hour thereafter is $100 (we allow 1/2-hours).  Two electricians is $200, then $150; 3 electricians is $225, then $175, following the same rule.  Any work requiring more than 3 electricians, or very complex installs, will require a bid.

UPDATE 9/16/15 – We want to be able to service as many people as possible, so we have recently modified our service zones.  However, depending on where you live, there may be an additional travel charge (we need to be able to defray the cost of the electricians  and the cost of gas).  Please click this link to display our service map, and as always, you are welcome to call us with questions.  All fees are established prior to your visit.

Do you carry materials on your truck?

Yes, the basics like wire, boxes, connectors, some stock plugs, switches, etc.  We don’t have a wide range selection of materials, as fixtures come in so many styles and colors.  If you have a particular fixture in mind that you’d like to use that will match your home, we suggest you pick up what you like.  Otherwise, if we know what color plug/switch you need, we can make sure we have it on the truck before we get there.

You’re short on materials – are you going to charge me for your trip to Home Depot?

If we’re short on something or forget something that’s needed, that’s on us, and won’t be charged.  Your clock pauses if we have to go get something, and un-pauses when we get back.

HOWEVER, if you ask us to go shopping to pick something out for you, or there is additional work you want done that was not established prior to scheduling and we now have to pick up additional items we did not anticipate, we will charge that time.  Which is why we ask that if you have a style preference or fixture you like picked out, have it ready on-site, and provide as much information as possible when scheduling.

Do you work weekends or evenings?

No, not unless there’s an emergency situation (like loss of power, loss of A/C on a hot day, loss of heat on a cold day, fire hazards).  We charge 50% additional labor for weekend, overnight/after-hours and emergency visits. After-hours is after 5pm and before 8am.

Do I need to get an electrical permit?

We pull any permits where necessary, but we will charge for the cost of the permit and our time to procure it.  The price depends on the nature of the job and what city the work is being done in, and we will let you know beforehand what the cost will be if the information is available.

What’s your warranty?

We have a labor warranty of 1 year for our work only, from the date of install.  (Longer labor warranties are available on larger jobs at additional charges.)  We do not warranty any parts, unless we specifically express that in a written contract.  Material manufacturers carry their own warranties, and you will need to consult their respective manuals.  (Example – we install a switch, but the switch turned out to be faulty due to manufacturing defects.  Our installation, however, was correct and to-code.  If we come back to replace the switch, we will charge another service call.)

We will not warranty or validate someone else’s work, we warranty ONLY what we do.  If our work is altered in any way, whether by a homeowner or another contractor, the warranty is voided, and subsequent visits will be charged accordingly.

Are there any other fees I should know about?

On service work, no, but there are a few other things we want to be up-front about:

  1. If you are in a large contract with us, depending on the terms, you will be invoiced as the job progresses.  Payments received for invoices that are 30 days after the due date are subject to 1.5% late fees, up to 18% per year.
  2. If you need to change your bid/contract, the change order must be in writing and approved before the work starts – which may or may not affect your price one way or another.
  3. As mentioned above in our pricing, we do charge travel fees for areas outside the immediate Austin metro area.  Please check this map for details.

How do I pay for the work?

Payment is due at the completion of service; we will provide you an invoice.  We accept cash, check, Paypal, and credit card/ATM.  Unless you are working with us on a large contract with a deposit/draw schedule or a Schedule of Values, all payments are due when the job is done.

How long does it take to (__fill in the blank__)?

It honestly depends on your individual situation.  For example, on average, a switch can take 10-15 minutes to replace, a fan 30-45 minutes, and installing a brand-new recessed light, including cutting into sheet rock, can take over an hour.  A lot of variables depend on how simple or complex your install is, including but not limited to:

  • available attic space / crawl space
  • how many stories your home is
  • how high up the fixtures are
  • can the installation be done without damaging sheet rock (most cases, the answer is no)
  • how far away from your panels or other available wiring your fixture is
  • how much power your new appliance requires, and if your home can handle the electrical load
  • how much room your panel has for new breakers
  • type of ceiling (vaulted, cathedral, standard, open-beam, etc.)
  • the year your home was built
  • etc.

You guys installed something, but now it’s not working!  What will you do about it?

Let us know right away if something goes wrong!!  We will come fix it.  Again, your warranty is good for 1 year, so all you have to do is call and let us know what’s going on.  The outcome of your Quality Control visit depends on what happened – there are so many possible variables on these visits, but these are the primary 3 possibilities:

  • If our installation was incorrect, we will fix it at no charge.
  • If the installation is sound, but the materials were found to be faulty, we will have to charge a new service call.
  • If our installation was correct, but it led to something else down the line messing up, we will work with you on a resolution.

What’s all this hubbub about Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) panels?

We’re not very good friends with FPE panels.  This article explains why FPE panels are dangerous and should be replaced as soon as possible.  Because of this, we won’t work on a home that has a FPE panel, until that panel has been replaced with a more reliable brand (which we CAN do!).  Other brands we don’t work on are Zinsco and Bryant, for similar reasons.

I have a home with aluminum wiring.  Can you make it safer or upgrade it?

Only if we completely re-wire your home.  Our company refuses to install COP-ALUM fixtures or do any sort of repairs on aluminum-wired homes, including homes with both copper and aluminum mixed.  We have a blog that discusses aluminum wiring, and why we feel it is a hazard to have your home wired with it.  So it’s a company policy that we will refuse to work on aluminum; we will only re-wire with copper.  We consider aluminum too high of a liability to deal with.  As a note, your utility service wires that come from the city are large aluminum wires.  Aluminum is safe to use for these larger wires, but are more hazardous for branched circuits.  Don’t lose hope if a rewire isn’t in your budget – there are many electrical contractors in the Austin area that will repair aluminum-wired homes.  (Not sure if your home is aluminum?  If your home was built before the mid-1960’s or after the mid 1970’s, you’re probably fine.  If not, we suggest investing in a home inspection report to find out.)

Will you work with my insurance company?  How about financing?

Sorry, no.  We require payment at the time of service.  You must seek your own reimbursement from your insurance company, based on what your policy covers.

Can you fix my appliance/AC unit/heater/refrigerator/security camera/etc.?

No, these are handled by other licensed contractors and/or handymen.  The only thing we deal with is the electrical power sources, not the units themselves.  Please see this page for some of the services we do/don’t provide.   Check if your fan/light has a manufacturer’s warranty, and if they do, you should send it for repair or replacement through them.  If your fixture is beyond its warranty, you can bring it to a specialty lighting store for assessment; there are many around Austin.  If you need any clarification, please ask.

Help!  My power is out!

Step 1 is to call 3-1-1, or contact your utility company’s emergency line to see if there’s a local outage.  Very often the utility has lost power on one of their own lines, and they can repair it.  If they determine if the problem is anywhere after their service wires connect to your electric meter, then Step 2 is where we come in to investigate.

PLEASE NOTE: if only “half” of your power is out (for example, some rooms or a large portion of the house is off), then you should call us first.  Half of your home’s power being out is more often than not related to something failing in your main electrical panel.

Is there anything else you’d like to know?  Leave a comment below!

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