Hiring a Contractor

Hiring an experienced and reputable contractor helps ensure you get quality work for your home or business at a fair price. To help you choose a contractor, follow our suggestions below.

  • Call Tacoma Power’s Electrical Inspection Office at (253) 502-8277 to discuss your project and find out which permits are required.
  • Hire only a licensed and bonded electrical contractor. To make sure your contractor is properly registered, check the State Department of Labor & Industries website or call 1-800-647-0982. When you call, you can ask about any complaints that Labor & Industries has received about a particular contractor.
  • Ask friends and neighbors for references, and ask contractors for references from their past customers, and then call them. Tacoma Power cannot give you contractor recommendations.
  • Get at least three bids for electrical work. Most contractors will provide bids for free, but be sure to ask about fees when you request a bid. And always ask bidders about any costs you do not understand before you sign a contract.
  • The contractor or owner living in the home must obtain an Electrical Permit. Residential permits cost $80 for homes served by overhead power lines and $160 if the home has underground electrical services. Other permit fees vary.
  • Call electrical supply companies or hardware stores to verify costs for wire, circuit breakers and other equipment.
  • Get at least three bids for electrical work. Most contractors will provide bids at no cost to you; be sure to ask when you call to request a bid.  If a bid looks too good to be true, it probably is. Be wary of bids that are far below other estimates or seem to promise too much.
  • If there are any charges on an estimate you do not understand, be sure to ask the contractor. Never sign a contract that you do not understand, seems incomplete, does not clearly specify the work to be done or details how long a project will take. It is your right to know what you are agreeing to pay before a project begins.
  • Ask the contractor for a provision in the contract that states you will make your final payment after Tacoma Power completes its inspection and accepts the work.

Other Tips

  • Check with your insurance company to see if your homeowner’s policy covers any of the repair costs.
  • The contractor or homeowner living in the home must obtain an electrical permit before work begins. See TMC 12.06A for permit fees.
  • If you are renting the property, ask the homeowner about who is financially responsible for the repairs.
  • Repair assistance may be available. Please call for eligibility requirements:
    • City of Tacoma residents, (253) 591-5236
    • Pierce County residents, (253) 798-7038

For complete information see our Policies, Forms and Maps page.

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