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Licensed Electrician in Seattle, WA

How to Hire a Good Electrician in Seattle

Nearly one-third of all residential electrical fires are thought to have started by the ignition of wire or cable insulation. To avoid life-threatening risks and property damage, it is critical to hire qualified electricians in Seattle for your electrical issues - faults, repairs, installations, or routine maintenance. These top professionals are well-trained to complete their job in accordance with the 2020 Seattle Electrical Code as well as the National Electrical Code. Failure to comply with these Codes can result in a variety of penalties and also leave you a victim of household electrical fire from shoddy repairs or installation. However, before you pick an electrician in the city, ask the following questions to determine if a particular electrician is the right choice for you:

  • Are You Licensed to Practice as an Electrician in the City of Seattle?
  • How Much Do You Charge Compared with Other Electricians in the City of Seattle?
  • Do You Comply with the City of Seattle Building Code for Electrical Works?
  • Will You Get the Electrical Permit as Required by the City of Seattle Code?
  • What Kind of Electrical Services Do You Offer?
  • Do You Offer Emergency Electrical Services in the City of Seattle?
  • Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Electricians in the City of Seattle?

Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Electrician in the City of Seattle

  1. Are You Licensed to Practice as an Electrician in the City of Seattle?

    Electrical contractor licenses in Seattle are issued by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, and electricians must obtain a valid electrical certificate and license from this department to undertake any electrical work. Failure to get a certificate and license before beginning an electrical project can result in a fine of up to $500 per violation.

    License applicants are generally required to be at least 16 years old, possess an electrical training certificate, and attain at least 8,000 hours of experience working as an electrical trainee under the supervision of a certified journey-level electrician. At least 4,000 of these hours must have been spent working in commercial or industrial installations and must be supervised a minimum of 75% of the time. Having satisfied these requirements, interested individuals can apply for an electrical contractor license by visiting the online application portal provided by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. For more inquiries about licensing and certification, contact the Department of Labor & Industries Electrical Licensing and Certification by email or call (360) 902-5259.

    Likewise, to confirm if your electrician is licensed, you can use the Washington Department of Labor and Industries' online verification portal.

  2. How Much Do You Charge Compared with Other Electricians in the City of Seattle?

    When planning your electrical work, it is essential to check pricing estimates from multiple electricians in your area. This will help to determine how much an electrician should charge for the electrical work. However, the actual hourly rate of an electrician is defined by a number of factors, including the nature of your work, the cost of necessary materials, and the required labor.

    An electrician in the City of Seattle earns $82,810 annually. Provided below is the annual mean wage of electricians in Seattle and a comparison of these electricians' mean hourly wages with that of electricians in Washington State as well as other major cities in the United States:

    Seattle Electricians Hourly Mean Wage
    $39.81
    Washington State Electricians Hourly Mean Wage
    $36.56
    New York City Electricians Hourly Mean Wage
    $40.48
    Phoenix Electricians Hourly Mean Wage
    $23.86
    Austin Electricians Hourly Mean Wage
    $25.85
    Washington D.C. Electricians Hourly Mean Wage
    $31.72
    Buffalo Electricians Hourly Mean Wage
    $32.20

    Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

  3. Do You Comply with the City of Seattle Building Code for Electrical Works?

    The 2020 Seattle Electrical Code is a set of regulations, requirements, and processes designed to govern the installation, maintenance, and repair of electrical systems across Seattle City. These electrical systems include electrical wirings, electrically-powered communication systems, fire and signal alarms, and outdoor lightings. This Code establishes a minimum standard for electrical work in the city with the purpose of reducing electrical-related hazards, and it also contains stipulations on acceptable standards and quality of electrical materials and equipment used for electrical works. It is essential that you not only hire a licensed electrician for your electrical work but also ensure that the licensed electrician is familiar with the provisions of the city's Electrical Code. Such an electrician is more likely to address your electrical work according to required standards and protect you from potential Code violations and any penalties that may result from violating the Code. Penalties include a fine of up to $500 per day for each violation from the date the violations occur until the day compliance is achieved.

    For more information on the Electrical Code and its requirements, you can contact the Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections at (206) 684-5383.

  4. Will You Get the Electrical Permit as Required by the City of Seattle Code?

    Per Article 80.50 of the 2020 Seattle Electrical Code, an electrical permit has to be obtained before the installation, modification, extension, or connection of any electrical equipment within the City. However, certain electrical works can be done without a permit. Examples of these electrical works include

    • The induction detection of loops that are used to control gate access devices.
    • The wiring for communication systems and installation of optical fiber cables of 1,000 feet or fewer.

    Permits are issued by the Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections, and interested applicants are typically required to visit the Seattle Service Portal to apply for these permits online.

    Additionally, to ensure a smooth application process on the Seattle Service Portal interested applicants should first;

    • Identify and describe the electrical work to be done.
    • Describe the land on which the proposed work is to be done by property address, or similar description that will readily locate the proposed building or work.
    • Calculate the valuation of the electrical work to be done.
    • Identify the name of the owner and the name, address, and phone number of a contact person.
    • Get acquainted with the steps for applying for a permit through the Seattle Service Portal.
    • Calculate the appropriate permit fee.

    Note that all electrical work for which a permit is required is subject to inspection by the Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections. These inspections are performed to ensure that the electrical work is done according to the minimum standard of the 2020 Seattle Electrical Code. Inspections can be scheduled online through the Seattle Service Portal, and you can utilize the resources provided by the city's Department of Construction and Inspections to get step-by-step instructions on how to schedule these inspections. For more inquiries about the permit processes and inspections, you can contact the Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections at (206) 684-8950. Alternatively, you can visit the office at the following address between 8:00 am - 4:00 pm, Mondays to Fridays;

    • Construction and Inspections Office
    • 700 5th Avenue
    • Suite 2000
    • Seattle, WA 98104
    • Phone: (206) 684-8600
  5. What Kind of Electrical Services Do You Offer?

    The electrical services rendered in Seattle City vary from inspection, installation, replacement, repair, to maintenance of electrical systems across residential, industrial, commercial, and special-purpose buildings. The capability to provide any electrical services in Seattle is mostly determined by the electrician's level of expertise, which includes Journey Level, Specialty, and Master Electrician. Because of the wide range of services and electrician expertise available in the city, it is critical to verify that any electrician you choose is qualified and properly licensed to do the electrical work required for your project. For example, an electrician who specializes in fixing household disconnections may not be licensed or competent in performing a new electrical installation. Also, a Journey Level or Specialty electrician may charge less than a Master electrician, since Master electricians are more proficient and capable of offering more electrical services. Notwithstanding, below are some common cost estimates for electrical services in Seattle:

    Electrical for Remodel or Addition
    $79.22 - $89.88 (per hour)
    Electrical Fixture Installation
    $149.79 - $170.53 (fixed fee)
    Upgrade Electrical Panel or Wiring
    $2,097.10 - $2,765.40 (fixed fee)
    Residential Electrical Contractors
    $74.90 - $91.03 (per hour)
    Commercial Electrical Contractors
    $97.95 - $107.16 (per hour)
    EV Home Charging Station Installation
    $1,176.45 - $1,219.66 (fixed fee)
  6. Do You Offer Emergency Electrical Services in the City of Seattle?

    A lot of discomforts, injury, or property damage can be caused if an emergency electrical issue is not addressed quickly. These emergency electrical issues include exposed live wires, flickering light bulbs, burnt electrical outlets, and even power outages. As such, discovering and fixing these electrical issues immediately is essential. However, it is important you ensure that the electrician is duly licensed, experienced enough to handle the electrical issue, and conversant with the city's Electrical Code in order to avoid further damage and Code violations.

    You can identify electricians in your region by using third-party websites like the Better Business Bureau or Yelp. However, always verify that the electrician you are considering maintains a valid license issued by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. Also, before hiring an electrician to manage your electrical emergency, it is a good idea to take precautions to protect yourself from any extra dangers that this emergency may bring. For example, In the instance of an exposed wire, you can block up the space around it to prevent any unintentional contact.

  7. Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Electricians in the City of Seattle?

    Electrical contractors in Seattle city are not mandated to obtain general liability insurance. However, it is advisable that you only hire an electrician with insurance coverage. Considering that there were 160 fatal electrical accidents among electrical contractors across the country in 2018, and more than 160 in 2019, it is beneficial to hire an electrician who maintains general liability insurance. Maintaining general liability insurance provides a financial cushion that protects you from monetary costs incurred as a result of work-related injuries or accidents. Note that the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries does not keep records of liability insurance for electrical contractors. Hence, you will be required to request the insurance certificate from your intended electrical contractor and verify it with the issuing organization.

How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Electrician in the City of Seattle

When hiring an electrician to handle your electrical project, it is recommended that you perform your due diligence to ensure the electrician is not a fraudster. In 2020, over 750 contractor complaints were recorded in Washington. These scammers typically pose as valid contractors, charge exorbitant fees, and even do a substantial job. Some even go so far as receiving payment for a job and never showing up. Some of the common scam techniques utilized by these scammers include:

  • Using expired license numbers.
  • Using someone else's license number
  • Proposing extremely low bids.
  • Pressuring you into hiring them without signing a written contract.
  • Making use of bank account information that is completely unconnected to the prospective contracting agency.
  • Offering an exceptionally low bid.
  • Requesting more payment before working.

However, following the recommendations outlined below can protect you from these scammers:

  • Always verify that any electrician you intend to hire possesses a valid license. You can verify an electrician's license via the Washington Department of Labor and Industries' online verification portal.
  • Ensure you always examine and compare bids from a variety of electricians. This will assist you in determining whether or not an electrician's bid is exceptionally low.
  • Have an agreement in writing with the electrician. This agreement should cover the electrician's responsibilities, the expected remuneration, and any other significant concerns.
  • Before signing a formal agreement, be sure you understand all of its terms, especially if it's a custom agreement prepared by the electrician.
  • Do not pay in full until the electrician has completed the project to your satisfaction. If the electrician demands money in advance, make sure any advance payment is a tiny percentage of the accepted full payment. In addition, request that the electrician specify how the requested upfront payment would be applied to the work.
  • Request that the electrician provide references from recent customers. This aids in determining the electrician's expertise, professionalism, and level of service.
  • Only utilize payment methods that can be easily monitored and tracked, such as credit cards, money orders, and checks.
  • Keep a log of all project documentation, such as written bids, signed agreements, payment receipts, and written correspondence. This will assist you in filing a claim for compensation if you are ever defrauded.
  • Always verify that the bank details for payment supplied by the electrical contactor corresponds to the person receiving the payment.

Lastly, if you happen to still get scammed by an electrician or you suspect you were contacted by a fraudulent electrician, you can submit a complaint with the Washington Department of Labor and Industries. You can also report the situation to the Seattle Police Department at the following address:

  • The Seattle Police Department (SPD)
  • 610 5th Avenue
  • Seattle, WA 98104-1900
  • Phone: (206) 625-5011