Finding The Right Electrician

 We get asked all the time, “Do you know a good electrician?” 

The answer of course is, yes.  We know many  electricians.   Most of the electricians we work with – and we’ve worked with dozens and dozens over the years – are highly trained, highly skilled professionals who know what they’re doing. If they’re not, then they usually don’t last long.

Having said that, there are bad electricians, just like there are bad lighting distributors!  Here are a few things to look for to make sure you get a qualified electrical contractor:

1. Make sure they’re licensed and bonded

Nothing is more important than this. And since we get asked all the time about what this means, it’s worth taking some time to explain.

To legally work in the state of Iowa, an electrician must be licensed. The types of licenses include electrical contractor license, Class A master electrician, class A journeyman electrician, Class B master electrician, Class B journeyman electrician, apprentice electrician, special electrician and unclassified person.

The difference between a Master’s and Journeyman’s license, according to the Iowa Electrical code, is that someone with a Master’s license, has “the necessary qualifications and technical knowledge to properly plan, lay out, and supervise the installation of electrical wiring and equipment for light, heat, and power.” A Journeyman electrician is “a person having the necessary qualifications to wire for or install electrical wiring and equipment.”

So what’s the difference? Experience and skill – the Master electrician has pretty much seen it all and done it all. The Journeyman, while skilled, is still learning.

The difference between Class A and Class B is that a Class A license “will not have any restrictions placed on the license.” A Class A license “requires that the electrician meet the requirements of the Board for experience and that they have passed a written, supervised licensing exam.” In other words, the Class B license will have restrictions, since you don’t have to pass a written exam to get it. Some electrical work can’t be done by someone with a class B license, some can.

So what’s an electrical contractor? It’s someone who works for an electrical business who is either certified as a Class A or Class B Master electrician or who has one on staff, who has also registered with the State of Iowa’s Division of Labor, as a contractor.

Confusing enough? 

For a more in-depth explanation, go to the Iowa Department of Public Safety web site, at:

2. Check the referrals

Any electrician worth his wire cutters will have a long list of customers you can contact. Make sure you call at least half a dozen. Ask them about their experience – was the electrician prompt, did he do the job he said he’d do, was his pricing fair, would you use him again? There are also multiple review sites on-line. Most electricians who’ve been in the biz long enough will have racked up multiple customer comments on several review sites. Overall, good electricians leave a path of satisfied customers, who will be more than happy to share their experience with you.

3. Make sure they look the part

 Looks can be deceiving. But in the case of electricians, the way they look and carry themself, usually tells a pretty accurate story.

An electrician who takes pride in their work will usually take pride in their appearance. Look for a company logo, or at least a business card with pertinent information including phone number, web site and license number.

4. Good electricians don’t cut corners

 We like to save money as much as you do, but cutting corners, especially on electrical work, is no place to pinch pennies.

 Be weary of electricians who will do things that seem unsafe, in order to accommodate your budget. Instead, a good electrician will be willing to modify plans but still stay within code, in order to save you money.

5. Good electricians use good materials

 The quality of the products your electrician uses, make a difference. When trying to stay within your budget, a less than scrupulous electrician may suggest he use sub-standard equipment. That’s not a red flag, that’s a race stopper.  Good electricians insist on using the best materials, because they want your project to be safe and to last. 

6. Trust your instincts

 If you meet an electrician and get a “bad vibe,” then trust your feelings and look elsewhere. There are literally hundreds of electricians in the phone book – a lot of skilled fish in the contractor sea. So don’t feel obligated to use the first one you find.

There are plenty of good electrical contractors out there. Do your due diligence and you’ll find one. And if you need a referral, just ask us. We’ve got ’em. 


Jack Huff, along with his son Brian and wife Sue, owns and manages Adventure Lighting in Des Moines, Iowa. For more information, go to 

47 responses to “Finding The Right Electrician”

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  8. Chris says:

    Having a licensed electrician is highly recommended when dealing with electrical work (obviously). Hiring an unqualified person (handy man) to do even simple electrical work could be a safety issue. Using good materials is absolutley necessary.
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  9. Referrals can be the best way to choose the best electrician to hire. You have mentioned some very good points here. Having the necessary qualification for the job is an added bonus. A good professional electrician will have superior skills and will be able to tell you what is wrong with your electrical system.

  10. I recently experienced electrical surge when lightning strikes last night and I admit that I have bad electrical wiring in the house and I’m worried that it has might damaged my appliances. I totally agree that electricians should be licensed and bonded so whenever something not good happened we are protected. This is a great information about the difference between a Master’s and Journeyman’s license, I personally think that it’s a better idea to hire a Master electrician who has skills and experience. Thanks for the great tip!

  11. It’s good to know how to hire an electrician. I like how you said to pay attention to their appearance. Most people would think that’s shallow, but like you said, a good company will have pride in their work. When we hire someone to work on our wiring, I’ll be sure find a professional looking company.

  12. Finding an electrician that uses the proper tools and products is essential to making sure your electrical maintenance work is done right. After all, electricity can be quite complicated and dangerous to work with, especially with exposed wires or circuits. Because of this, the electrician that you ultimately hire needs to have the right tools to work safely around these electrical problems.

  13. I like that you mentioned how good electricians will not cut corners even if they would like to save as much as you do. That’s because cutting corners might result in future dangers and hazards to the household. I’ll be sure to get a reputable residential electrician to make sure that my family will be kept safe. I would not be a good father if I’ll prioritize saving money more than my family’s life. Thanks!

  14. Kayla says:

    I agree that electricians should be licensed and bonded. Our apartment’s circuit breaker is acting up. My brother suggested having electrical contractors and shared this article with me. It says that good electricians insist on using the best materials because they want your project to be safe and to last.

  15. If you are looking for the perfect electrician you cannot find a better article.This is a great article that rightly presents what you should look for an electrician. You should go for licensed and certified professionals who are skilled to carry on all small or big electrical services.

  16. Thanks for your comment about how you should hire an electrician that is licensed so that you can be assured that they can legally work. I like how you said that they should also work for reputable companies. My parents need an electrician because they have some wiring to be fixed in their older home; I’ll pass on your tips.

  17. I like that you reminded us to make sure the person you hire is certified and licensed. Before you let them in your home to do the work this is something you should verify. Some simple research online should be able to tell you this.

  18. Riley Smith says:

    It’s interesting that you talked about choosing an electrician that uses high-quality parts. I have been looking for someone to set up lighting in the home I’m building. It would be smart to choose someone that uses good parts because it will help your system last longer.

  19. Ellie Davis says:

    I didn’t know that the quality of the products your electricians could make a difference. My home is in need of new electrical wiring. Hopefully, I can find the perfect electrician in my area.

  20. Marcus Coons says:

    Thanks a lot for mentioning how good electricians use good materials. It is important to remember that using quality materials can help you have a lasting system and make sure it will be worth the money. We need to replace the locks in our house since our last tenants moved, so I’m glad I found your page.

  21. I appreciate your advice to look for an electrician that has a good business appearance. I also like how you said that they should use good quality products and equipment. My husband and I are looking for an electrical company to fix our generator.

  22. Thanks for your tip to look for an electrician that do the whole job. I also like how you said that they should act and dress professionally for their job. My husband and I are looking into electricians to fix some wiring in our basement; thanks for the post.

  23. Referrals is the best thing if you are hiring someone. If an electrician has good feedback it means people are satisfied, so chance of good output increases.

  24. You make a great point that when looking for an electrician you should make sure that they are licensed and have quality referrals from satisfied customers. I will make sure to ask potential electricians for a list of clients that I can contact to discuss their services. I need to find a quality electrician to help me understand the wires in my home and clean up the mess of wires in my basement! I will definitely look for an electrician that I can trust who provides quality customer service.

  25. I am currently in need of an electrician to fix the panel of the house, but I do not know the easiest way to find a reliable one. That is why I appreciated how you said that one way is to check the references and ask them about what they think of the electrician’s work. Mom did tell me that word of mouth is a pretty powerful tool. I guess I should see just how powerful it is. Thanks!

  26. Andy says:

    Some great comments on here. Love to see the female electricians. That is so awesome! Would love to meet you guys!

  27. Millie Hue says:

    It really helped when you mentioned that, when looking for an electrician, we should check their customer references and call at least half a dozen of them. Like you said, it can help gauge the service and quality of the electrician due to the experience of the previous customers. I will keep this in mind when I start looking for an electrician tomorrow morning. The wirings in our house seem to have a problem because my son told me that the outlets keep giving off sparks whenever he plugs his gadgets. Thanks!

  28. Jordan Miner says:

    I’ve been wanting to get a good electrical service, and I think that being able to get some tips would be nice. I like that you talked about how you want to make sure that you get electrical services from someone who doesn’t cut corners. I’m going to have to look for a few good electrical services and see what we can find!

  29. My husband and I want to install some lighting in our unfinished basement, and we aren’t sure how to hire someone to help us with this. Your article had some great tips for choosing an electrician, and I really liked how you mentioned to call at least six former customers of a potential contractor to learn about their experience. This way we can choose only the highest quality electrician, so we’ll keep this in mind. Thanks!

  30. My husband and I want to finish wiring the lighting in our basement, but we could use some help with this. Your article had some great tips for choosing an electrician, and I liked how you said to chose someone who looks the part of electrician. A good electrician should take pride in their appearance, and have a company logo or business card with their information, and we’ll keep this in mind when choosing an electrician to help with our basement.

  31. Thanks for the great tips on how to find a great electrician. I think the advice to trust your instincts was very good. It’s hard to trust someone when you get a bad vibe from them and I like that you recommend finding a new eletrician if you really don’t like or don’t feel like you can trust. I like the idea of not feeling obligated to use the first contractor you work with.

  32. David Webb says:

    Great tips! I would like to add one factor to take in consideration and that’s time needed for the electrician to get to you and your problem. I would recommend choosing a local electrician. My local electrician in Randwick ( ) is based a few blocks away from my house and is always ten minutes away.

  33. I’m looking at hiring an electrician to help me out with some renovations I’m doing. I thought it was helpful how you pointed out that electrician’s need to be state licensed to perform the work you need them to do. I’ll be sure to look into this when deciding on which electrician to hire.

  34. I am planning to remodel my basement and I need to get the lighting rewired so I want to find a quality electrician. You make a great point that you should look for someone who is licensed and bonded because this would give me peace of mind that they have the proper training and certifications to perform the job. Also, it makes sense that you should look at reviews from their previous clients because this will give me an idea of the quality of their customer service.

  35. Derek Dewitt says:

    My wife and I need to hire an electrician to wire up some new lights in our basement. I like your point about how a good electrician uses quality materials. I’ll be sure to ask about this so I know the wires will be installed to last a long time without shorting.

  36. Caden Dahl says:

    At my home, I’m in the middle of doing an addition to it and I’m stuck on the electrical part. Now I think I could do that myself, but I really don’t know what I am doing when it comes to that. I’ll for sure have to search for a good electrician and I’ll do as you mentioned and find one that uses quality material. That way, I can be sure that I won’t be having any problems later on.

  37. Katie Wilson says:

    I agree that you want to check references when choosing an electrician. Finding out what others have to say about them would help you know that they are going to do good work. My husband and I are looking for an electrician to replace some outlets, so we’ll have to check their references first.

  38. Hudson says:

    Wonderful post! Choosing the right electrician for maintaining electrical safety at home or workplace is very important to ignore fire accidents. I express my gratitude to the writer for sharing such useful information. Keep it up!

  39. joy butler says:

    I love that you really push the importance of referrals. I agree that a great professional in any sort of field will really show off their great reviews if they have them. I will have to remember this for the next time I hire an electrician.

  40. Millie Hue says:

    It really helped when you said that we should look for the license number and other important information about the contractor. I will share this tip with my sister since this will assure her that they are legitimate. She just needs their service since their electrical bill has increased a lot without even adding new appliances.

  41. Millie Hue says:

    Thanks for sharing that we can ask for referrals since we will be able to see if their past clients were satisfied. I will follow your advice since we need to hire electricians. This is because the lights continue to flicker on our property even if we just bought new ones yesterday.

  42. I am currently adding on a room to my home because my mom is moving in soon and I need to find a quality electrical contractor who can set up the electricity in the new section of my house. You make a great point that I should hire someone who is licensed and bonded because this would give me peace of mind that they are professional and reputable. Also, in my opinion, it would be great to find a contractor who offers a warranty for their services because this shows that they stand behind the quality of their work.

  43. My sister wants to make sure that the electrical system in her apartment is intact to prevent fire. It was explained here that when planning to hire electrical contractors, it will be best if they are licensed and bonded. Furthermore, it’s recommended to hire professional electrical contractors.

  44. An electrician who takes pride in their work will usually take pride in their appearance. I need an electrician to help me find the right electrician. Thanks for the tips on finding the right electrician.

  45. Mark Murphy says:

    I really appreciate your tip on how you can find multiple review sites online to find an electrician. My wife and I have been looking for someone to help us with our lighting in our unfinished basement, and we want to make sure that we are hiring someone qualified. I will be sure to tell my wife that we should find someone who is prevalent in online review sites!

  46. Brian, it’s great that you mentioned the electricians with a Class A license means they don’t have any restrictions when it comes to doing electrical works. My husband and I plan to buy the commercial building for sale downtown and transform it into an apartment complex. If we proceed with our plan, I’ll make sure we hire a master electrician to rewire the whole building. Thanks!

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