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What to Ask Before Hiring an Electrician in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is a global tourist destination, attracting millions of visitors each year who have come to experience its beautiful beaches, renowned museums, shopping districts, world-class dining, and iconic landmarks like Hollywood. Obviously, it takes a lot of electricity to keep the wheels turning in the City of Angels. Thankfully, LA's over 20,000 electricians are up to the task of fixing any kind of electrical issue.

Whether you are looking to install new wiring in your home, upgrade your electrical system, or simply change out faulty outlets and receptacles, be sure to hire a qualified, insured, and bonded electrician in the city. As such, you should ask your LA electrician the following questions before you sign any contract:

What Do I Need to Know Before Hiring an Electrician in Los Angeles

Attempting electrical work yourself or getting an untrained and ill-equipped individual for the job can be downright dangerous, no matter how minor the issue may seem at first glance. Hiring a professional and licensed electrician for your electrical issues in Los Angeles makes all the difference in the quality of the electrical work and also guarantees that your required services will be provided satisfactorily. These electricians typically adhere to the requirements of the Los Angeles Electrical Code when installing, repairing, maintaining, or replacing electrical systems and equipment, thereby ensuring that the job is done safely and effectively.

You should call on a licensed and professional electrician to handle situations like:

  • Wiring a newly built or remodeled home
  • Determining the cause of electric shocks, parks, and power outages
  • Repairing or replacing faulty fixtures and outlets
  • Replacing faulty circuit breakers and electrical panel parts
  • Pulling permits, correcting code violations, and making sure your electrical system is safe and up to code

Are You Licensed as an Electrician in Los Angeles?

Electricians in Los Angeles must obtain a C-10 Electrical Contractor License from the California Contractor State Licensing Board (CSLB) before engaging in any electrical work that costs more than $500, including materials and labor.

You can verify your prospective Los Angeles electrician's license status using the CSLB's Check a License portal. It is advisable to do this before concluding hiring arrangements with the electrician to ensure they are legitimate and qualified for the type of electrical work you need.

Note that it is unlawful to provide electrical services worth $500 or more without an appropriate CSLB-issued license; this offense attracts jail time of up to six months, fines of up to $15,000, or a combination of both.

What Rates Do You Charge for Your Electrical Services in Los Angeles?

Los Angeles electricians typically charge about $60 - $155 per hour for their services. However, the overall cost of hiring an electrician and doing electrical work in the city is determined by several factors, including:

  • Your location within the city
  • The cost of materials required
  • The electrician's reputation and experience
  • The urgency and labor intensity of the job

It is advisable to get and compare cost estimates from several contractors before settling for an electrician to get an idea of the current rates for the services you require. This is also an effective way to spot electricians trying to overcharge you.

Are You a Master Electrician in Los Angeles?

Electricians in Los Angeles are generally grouped into three categories based on their level of experience and expertise:

  • Apprentice Electricians: Apprentice electricians are electricians who are still enrolled in apprenticeship programs. They typically work under the supervision of a licensed electrician.
  • Journeyman Electricians: these are electricians who have completed an apprenticeship program and can perform electrical work; however, they still need to be supervised by a master electrician. Journeyman electricians have to attain at least four years of practical electrical job experience and demonstrate their competence by passing a state-administered examination before they can be licensed to provide services without supervision.
  • Master Electricians: Master electricians are electricians who have been deemed qualified to perform electrical work without supervision. This is the highest experience level attainable by electricians, and these master electricians are generally capable of performing any electrical work. They are also qualified to supervise other electricians and to sign off their electrical work.

It is always in your best interest to hire a master electrician for your electrical work. You can go a step further by ascertaining if the electrician has a particular area they specialize in and whether this specialization is relevant to the scope of your required services. Some common specialty electricians in Los Angeles include:

  • Industrial electricians: these electricians specialize in electrical systems in industrial settings.
  • Residential electricians: these electricians specialize in electrical systems in homes and other residential structures.
  • Solar electricians: Solar electricians install and maintain solar panels and solar-powered systems.

Will My Electrical Project Require a Permit in Los Angeles?

An electrical permit is typically required for any work that involves installing, altering, repairing, or modifying electrical systems in Los Angeles. However, exemptions may be made for minor repairs like replacing receptacles, light fixtures, and switches where there is existing, approved wiring. The Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (LADBS) issues these permits, and you can contact this department at 311 or (213) 473-3231 (for callers outside LA) to get more information on its permit issuance process and requirements.

What Type of Electrical Services Do You Offer in Los Angeles?

Electricians in Los Angeles offer several types of electrical services, from installing new electrical systems to repairing and upgrading existing ones. These include:

General Repair Work:
$60 - $400
Electrical Inspection:
$100 - $250
Home Wiring/Rewiring:
$3000 - $12,000
Service equipment upgrades:
$400 - $6000
Circuit Breaker Switch Replacement:
$150 - $300
Electrical Panel/Wiring Upgrade:
$1,200 - $4,600
Outlet and fixtures Installation/Replacement:
$50 - $250

Will You Be Doing the Work, or Do You Outsource the Electrical Work in Los Angeles?

For residential electrical works, you are likely engaging the services of no more than one skilled electrician. However, large-scale electrical projects like wiring commercial buildings and upgrading electrical service equipment in large facilities may require your electrician to work with other electricians. Nonetheless, when making hiring arrangements with any electrician in Los Angeles, verify if they will need to outsource parts of the project to subcontractors. If the electrician confirms yes, you should take the following actions:

  • Find out who will do the work and verify that they are licensed and experienced.
  • Verify their bond and insurance coverage.
  • Get a lien waiver to protect yourself from being held liable if the primary electrician fails to pay these subcontractors on time.

Are You a Fully Insured and Bonded Los Angeles Electrician?

Electricians in Los Angeles must maintain a $25,000 bond and carry workers' compensation insurance for their employees. These electricians must also inform homeowners on whether or not they carry commercial general liability (while this type of insurance is not mandatory, it is strongly recommended).

Therefore, always request copies of insurance and bond certificates from your prospective electricians before they begin any work on your property. Be sure to validate these documents with the appropriate issuing agencies and confirm that they carry general liability insurance sufficient for the scope of your project.

Contact the California Contractors State License Board at (800) 321-2752 for additional information on Los Angeles electricians' mandatory insurance and bond requirements.

Do You Offer Any Warranties on Your Electrical Work in Los Angeles?

Professional and reputable electricians in Los Angeles will always offer warranties for their work and project materials. Always be wary of any electrician who doesn't do this or tries to downplay its significance.

Also, even though the validity period of warranties varies and is usually determined by the electricians that issue them, ensure that any warranty given to you by your electrician has a validity of at least one year. It is also a good idea to get a written copy of the warranty and thoroughly read its terms and conditions.

How Do I Resolve Any Issue I Have with Your Electrical Services in Los Angeles?

You can file complaints about unsatisfactory electrical services, scams, and other issues involving Los Angeles electricians with the following agencies:

  • The LA City Attorney's Office - by calling (213) 978-8070 and (877) 522-2737 or via an online complaint form
  • The California Contractors State License Board - by filing a construction complaint with this board
  • The LA County DA's Office - by calling its Consumer Protection Division at (213) 257-2450
  • The LA County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs - by calling (213) 974-1452 and (800) 593-8222 or submitting a complaint online