12 Steps to Find and Hire an Electrician in South Dakota
This article on South Dakota electricians is packed full of information. Please consider using the key points links to the left to navigate quickly to the information you are seeking. The video below may not address your exact situation or electricians specifically, but it contains priceless tips for hiring any construction trades professional.
Beware of any online service (or salesperson) that offers you a flat rate price without telling you upfront who is performing the services; especially, if they are not the actual company that is doing the work. Also, flat rate pricing given to you before performing an onsite inspection is a crafty sales technique used to "get in the door." There are many variables to consider with any electrical system project. Getting a flat rate price before having an inspection can leave you and your South Dakota electrician feeling stuck with an amount that is not realistic or one that they can not honor.
THE TRUTH ABOUT PRICING
You may receive an offer at a flat rate price or a price that includes "time and materials." Be aware that there are many variations of the "time and materials" pricing methodology. Here is the most important thing to keep in mind, "BEWARE OF THE HIGHEST AND LOWEST BIDDER." In both cases, a very low or a very high bid can tip you off that the South Dakota electrical contractor may not truly understand their costs to complete the job. They may just be guessing.
Be very careful about price shopping materials online. You may find DIY prices, which will vary significantly from the cost of professional products. Also, professionals typically have a good understanding of the quality differences in the parts they use. This knowledge may take you a significant amount of time to research and learn. Be sure to ask questions before jumping to conclusions about materials costs.
In all cases, a company must make a profit. If the electrician offers a warranty but does not make a profit, they will soon be out of business and not able to honor any warranty. So be very careful concerning low bidders. Significant variations in bid pricing is one of the most important reasons to get at least five bids. Many years ago, in South Dakota, three bids were recommended, but now with services like Quality-Trades.com, it is a straightforward process to get five or more bids.
VALUE ADDED SERVICES
Look for South Dakota electricians who offer a Maintenance Plan (as a subscription service) - it is a WIN-WIN situation. For any company, the cost of acquiring a new customer is expensive. As such, most maintenance plans offer a discount on services, since the company knows you will be a loyal patron. Additionally, building a relationship with a local electrician you trust will give you peace of mind. It is also important to note that managing a good maintenance program is not easy. Therefore, when you ask about the detail of an electrician's maintenance program, you will be better able to distinguish between a quality organization and a less optimized company.
Many local tradespeople and business owners are South Dakota State University or University of South Dakota graduates; please consider buying local.
Keep in mind that you live in Climate Zone 6. The entire state of South Dakota exists within zone six. This area of the United States is considered "Cold". If you are new to this region of the country, there may be special electrical system considerations for this climate that you will want to learn about, so be sure to ask.
How to Find and Hire an Electrician in South Dakota
1. Determine Your Type of Project:
Repair: a repair fixes or replaces the existing items, equipment, or fixtures as-is or with like-kind replacements.
Renovation: also known as a reno or remodel, involves redesigning and, in most cases, upgrading an existing space (i.e., bathroom or kitchen).
Addition: also known as an add-on, consists of constructing a new space that is attached to an existing building (i.e., a new deck or sunroom).
Also, your project could be a New Construction or merely a demolition.
Once you have determined your project type, write it down so that you remember to communicate with your electrician exactly what you are looking to accomplish.
2. Do Your Research and Know What You Want:
If you have a problem or something that needs a repair, take a few minutes to look it up. You may find that there is an easy do-it-yourself fix. Even if you can't complete the fix yourself (for example, if you do not have the right tools), at least, you will have an idea of what needs to get done. If you are looking for an upgrade, be sure to use Pinterest. Especially since your free project planner on Quality-Trades.com connects directly to your Pinterest boards.
Use the internet and ask friends for their advice to make sure you know what you want. Take good notes that you can transfer to step three.
3. Get Organized for Good Communication:
Did you know that you can significantly reduce the cost of your electrical system project by getting organized? Many factors of your project depend on excellent communication. Concisely sharing your desires can make a big difference in the total amount of time and money that you will spend to get a set of accurate bids.
Use a Project Planner to organize your thoughts. The free project planner offered on Quality-Trades.com also allows you to easily share the details of your project with the electrician of your choice.
4. Pre-Qualifiy Several Electrical Contractors:
Now begin the process of searching for your electrical contractor. You can start by using your zip code. You can also look for electricians in the nearest large city, where it may be easier to find more reviews online.
Look through the listings, websites, and Facebook pages of ten or more electrical contractors to get a good sense of who is in your area. Although this may take some time, it is worth it.
5. Check Local South Dakota Reviews:
Star ratings do not tell the entire story! Remember that for every positive review, there could be ten or more who didn't take the time to give a good rating. While this principle also holds for negative reviews, the best review services allow companies to reply to comments. This gives you a chance to hear both sides of the story.
When you are checking reviews of any electrician, take the time to read the comments. This way, you can quickly spot negative reviews for people who have completely unrealistic expectations.
Having a good understanding and realistic expectations for yourself is the reason why steps one and two are necessary. Many people hire an electrical contractor before doing any research. Most of the time, this is the cause of up to 5% of negative reviews. If an electrician has more than 10% negative reviews, pay very close attention. You may want to avoid that company altogether.
6. Confirm the Electrician's Business:
A serious contractor will also be a serious business person. Therefore, they will set up a proper business entity. This important business step protects their employees and customers.
Ask the contractor if their business is set up as an LLC, S-corp or C-corp. This should give you additional confidence that they are serious about being a legitimate South Dakota electrical contractor.
Furthermore, you can also check with the South Dakota Secretary of State to validate their corporate status. https://sosenterprise.sd.gov/BusinessServices/Business/FilingSearch.aspx
ADDITIONAL INFO: Electricians in South Dakota must have a state license from the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation, Electrical Commission. Requirements include:
- Journeyman Electrician - must have completed four years (8,000 hours) of apprentice work under the supervision of an electrical contractor and pass an exam.
- Electrical Contractor - must complete two years (4,000 hours) as a journeyman electrician with at least 2,000 of those hours in commercial work and pass and exam.
7. Set the Appointment:
Remember that time is money, and your time is valuable. Using your well-organized project plan will save you a lot of time. Even for a simple repair, you can share pictures before setting an appointment.
Set a time to meet with each electrician and plan for a little extra time, just in case you discover something new during the walkthrough.
Take good notes and DO NOT agree to any contracts until you have met with all your pre-qualified electrical contractors.
8. Ask the Right Questions:
Here is another area where your research in step two will pay off. Also, with each appointment, you will learn more about your specific situation. As you ask each question, listen very carefully and take notes. Even though you have done a lot of research previously, remember that you are now asking a professional.
Beyond asking questions about your project, be sure to ask questions about project completion details. Who will do the actual work? When do they expect to start? How long will it take? What are the payment expectations? What forms of payment do they accept? What warranties, if any, do they offer?
One of the most critical set of questions that you should ask is about any negative reviews. If they give you a very defensive response, that could be a meaningful warning sign to stay away!
9. Verify the Electrical Contractor's Insurance:
All trustworthy South Dakota electricians carry valid insurance; so, ask them to include a copy of their insurance certificate with their bid proposal.
Additionally, requiring proof of insurance in writing will quickly scare off anyone who is doing business illegally.
10. Check the Electrician's References:
Get at least three references who have had the exact same work performed for them.
However, do not punish new contractors who are just getting started. Allow them to provide previous employers as references. Also, make sure to ask about any relationship between the South Dakota electrical contractor and the reference. Most importantly, ask if the reference would ever use the electrical contractor again.
11. Compare the Electrical Contractor's Pricing:
Next, compare the most recent 2023 rates information data for South Dakota electricians, from the top home improvement professional websites.
HomeAdvisor lists average electrical system rates to be $50 to $100 per hour, nationwide, HomeAdvisor Electrician Average Costs.
Fixr lists average electrical system rates to be $65 - $85 per hour, nationwide, Fixr Electrician Average Costs.
Interestingly, Thumbtack does not list an average rate; however, they do point out that rates may vary according to the experience level of the electrician, Thumbtack Electrician Average Costs.
Cost Helper lists average electrical system rates to be $30 - $100 per hour, nationwide, Cost Helper Electrician Average Costs.
12. Make Your Decision:
As mentioned in the video at the top of the page, how do you feel about each of the electrical contractors that gave you a bid? After you have completed all of your due diligence, to include, elimination of the highest and lowest bids, you ultimately need to make your final decision based on your instinct.
Finalize your agreement and get everything in writing.
Electrician Hiring Guide FAQs
1. What is the best way to find South Dakota electricians to bid on my project?
Asking friends, family and neighbors for a list of electricians in South Dakota can be very helpful, especially if they have previously hired and recommend any particular one on the list. Online searches are very helpful, as well as using online listing services, such as Quality-Trades.com.
2. How can I save money on my electrical system project?
First of all, don't try to start the project yourself if you don't have experience. DIY projects can seem like a good idea until they go wrong. If you need a professional to undo a significant mistake, you may end up paying a lot more.
3. How do I know if a bid is correct or fair?
After you have followed all the directions in the hiring guide above, you should have a good idea. If you are still unsure, be honest with your potential contractor and ask them about your concerns. If they want your business, they will answer your questions with care and respect.
4. How do I know if the contractor is qualified to be an electrical contractor in South Dakota?
In the hiring guide above, we have added an Additional Info section that gives you trade specific licensing information for your location, if required.
5. How important is it that South Dakota electricians have insurance?
Proper insurance is critical. General liability insurance protects you, the electrician and the electrician's employees.
6. What should I do if a project goes wrong?
First of all, talk to the owner of the company. They will always want to protect the reputation of their company. Far too many people seek legal advice, which, in the end, only benefits the attorneys involved. Lawyers run a business based on suing people. So, performing cheap, quick negotiations is not suitable for their business model. At all costs, avoid filing lawsuits and seek a compromise.