Your company has a low voltage wiring project in mind. You might be expanding the surveillance security system, reorganizing the structured cabling, installing new telecommunications equipment, or improving your access control. Hiring the right low voltage contractor might be more difficult than you first thought, and you want to get things right the first time.
There are a lot of factors to consider. Qualifications, for one. Reputation, for another. Longevity can be an important indication of stability and success. It lets you know that your prospective contractor has done well enough at his trade to survive and prosper. And that is important for a number of reasons. The quality of the work done is essential to determine! Let’s look at these one at a time.
The best low voltage contractors are licensed and certified appropriately for all electrical work. The latest industry standards are followed, as published by EIA/TIA and the National Electrical Code. Many are union members. Most reputable firms offer some type of warranty or guarantee on their work. They are also insured and bonded.
Your odds of success will be better if your prospective contractor has a long and varied track record. In other words, they’ve done a lot of different projects that involved low voltage work and they’ve been doing that type of work for quite a while. A company that has been around since 1985, for example, is almost certainly doing a large number of things right or they wouldn’t still exist.
Low voltage cabling is a category that can include a number of different areas, like computer or telecommunications cabling, cabling for surveillance cameras and alarm systems, and other low voltage cable systems. The different types of systems entail different types of wiring and other specific criteria. So, breadth of experience counts.
In real estate, they say location, location, location. For a contractor, it’s reputation, reputation, reputation. There are a number of ways to gauge a company’s reputation. The best I know are comments and reviews from satisfied customers. These can be word of mouth, reviews or testimonials on the website, or on other reputable sites. References may be sought and provided.
The company website should reflect its capabilities. It should be professional and well-designed. The different areas that the company works in should be clearly delineated. The qualifications and experience of company technicians should be detailed. The best sites often have articles on their blogs that give worthwhile information about various areas of expertise.
You might think hiring the best low voltage contractor is a one-and-done deal, but it’s often smarter to think in terms of long-term relationships. It could save you time and money over the long haul. It can be advantageous to have one go-to company to install and maintain low voltage systems such as telephone systems, computer cabling, alarm systems, and surveillance equipment. Also, it is often better to deal with an organization with at least a few technicians rather than a one-man band. That ensures continuity for your project and in the long run.
How do you find that right low voltage contractor?
- Do a Google search. Check the yellow pages online or reputable contractor information on sites such as BuildZoom. Look for reviews on Yelp or Google.
- Website: The website should tell you what types of low voltage systems they install and work with, the areas where their business services are available, the types of businesses, or industries they have done work for, and, ideally, share some reviews and testimonials.
- Our Favorite: Word of mouth. It can’t be beaten. Good word of mouth is quite simply the best advertising any company can have. Customers know when a company has a real commitment to excellence in installation and service and they will recommend a company that they are satisfied with to everyone they meet.
Narrow the Field
- Initial contact can be made over the telephone, by email, or in person. This is important, simply because so many decisions depend, at least in part, on the nature of the people that you are dealing with. Phone or emails are great for that initial contact, but a personal meeting will almost certainly follow.
- First Dealings: Are you impressed with attitude, knowledge, and your overall conversations when you first talk to a representative of the contractor? First impressions really do usually reflect the culture of the company and let you know what to expect. If things don’t go that well in the beginning, they likely will not get better over time.
- Once you’ve found at least 2, ideally 3, contenders for the job you have in mind, it is time to get with the different companies. You will want the companies to submit bids and agree on a schedule they will follow to get all work done in a timely manner.
Get Concrete and Detailed
- Finding what you think is the right contractor is only part of the battle. A successful project begins with an accurate assessment of the work to be done, agreed upon by you and the contractor. Get detailed and concrete about exactly what you desire and expect for your project. That way, costly misunderstandings are avoided.
- If you lack knowledge about any technical aspect of the job, ask your prospective contractor. The contractor should be knowledgeable in their field and able to specify the projected cost of the project clearly. Now, the lowest quote is not always the best. Your judgment should include your best assessment of job satisfaction, according to the criteria noted above. What you want is the best work at the fairest price.
Hiring the best low voltage contractor takes some planning, research, and attention to detail. Spend some time finding the best fit for your particular job. Detail exactly what you want, how and when you want it done, and reach an agreement, in writing, on how much it will cost. Make sure to ask any questions you might have. We always say the only dumb question is the one that didn’t get asked!