Tips and Advice

Electrician and electrical contractor hiring tips:

Upfront Pricing or Time and Materials Pricing.

We offer Upfront Pricing. This way you know the cost of the job before you approve it. The final cost is firm whereas the hourly rate method is variable. You don’t need to supervise the electrician or watch the clock to be sure they are being productive. Also, you don’t have to pay more for a trip to the store to pick up a item that is not normally stocked on the service van.

With the Time and Materials pricing you don’t know the cost of the job until the end of the job. You are required to approve the project without knowing the final price!  Most electricians prefer to work on a Time and Materials basis because of a lack of experience in calculating a firm price for your type of project or the advantage of a larger bill by taking longer.

Money shouldn’t be the primary factor.

If you hire someone who is unlicensed to save money, then you are taking a huge risk.  If something goes wrong,  you have  very little recourse.  You could end up paying more in the end.  If you want your project to be performed correctly and to code, then you should be prepared to pay for quality services.

Sage advice:

It is unwise to pay too much, but it is more unwise to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money; that is all. When you pay too little you sometimes lose everything because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing you bought it to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot. It cannot be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run and if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better. There is hardly anything in the world that someone can’t make a little worse and sell a little cheaper – and people who consider price alone are this man’s lawful prey.
–John Ruskin

Check the license.

Never hire an unlicensed contractor in any capacity. It may look like a good deal, but it may end up costing you more than extra money in the end. Unlicensed contractors are not bonded and have not taken any kind of exam to be assured they have they knowledge to perform the type of work you may need done. Also, it is very unlikely they have liability insurance (more on that below).

Check for insurance coverage.

By law, Hawaii licensed electrical contractors will have liability insurance coverage. The bond that is required for electrical contractors in Hawaii is generally $7000 – an extremely limited amount. Look for an insurance policy of at least $500,000 (we’ve got this and more).

Ask for a Journeyman card for proof of license.

Electricians are proud of their licenses.  Many years went into training to become a professional.  All electricians are required by law to be a journeyman, having passed all Hawaii State requirements. Ask to see the card of anyone performing electrical work on your home or business. This is very important and makes sure you have qualified workers.  Your persons and property are at risk if they are unlicensed.  Also, when someone says they are working “under a license”, a supervising electrician should be on-site supervising a helper or apprentice on your project.

Ask what kind of work the electrician has done in the past.

It is usually a pretty good indication of what you should expect.  Is the electrician’s experience in industrial maintenance, new construction or residential remodeling? An industrial electrician may have experience pulling wire in conduit on a 30’ high ceiling.  A residential remodeling electrician may have experience fishing wires into walls with minimal damage to the walls. New construction and industrial electricians might not use shoe covers and drop cloths.


When choosing a professional electrician, make sure that they offer a warranty on their services.

What is the electrician’s real concern as you speak with them about your project?

Are they concerned about what you are trying to accomplish on your project? Are they up front and confident about pricing? Do they care about your needs and the needs of your property?

For more tips and advice, check out

Following these tips will give you the ability to find the right electrician for you. Blue Sky Electric is happy to provide you with more information. Give us a call with any questions and we will be happy to assist you.

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