Work with a qualified, licensed electrician and reduce your risk of an improperly installed electric panel or electrification project at your home.

Tips

Consider the following tips before selecting a contractor for home electric panel installation:

Check for the appropriate licenses, registration and insurance

  • Ask the electrician to show you his or her “pocket license” from the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) and a photo identification to make sure it is the same person. Compare this to the license information with CSLB using the CSLB online tool or by calling (800) 321-CSLB (2752).
    • Contractor licenses are issued for specific types of trades, including the following examples:
      • B General Plumbing
      • C-10 Electrical
      • C-20 HVAC
      • C-36 Plumbing
      • C-46 Solar
    • CSLB operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. CSLB licenses and    regulates more than 300,000 California contractors and is regarded as one of the leading consumer-protection agencies in the United States. Visit cslb.ca.gov for more information.
  • Almost all electrical work in Palo Alto requires a building permit. Always confirm who will be obtaining required permits – you or the electrician. Communicate clearly and be sure your electrician does not pay for permits before you have made a final decision to proceed with work, and make sure you understand how much your electrician charges for obtaining permits.

Review public feedback on the contractor

  • Better Business Bureau - Search for any complaints filed against the contracting company.
  • Ask your neighbors and use local Listserv sites like Nextdoor or other neighborhood resources. Homes made by the same builder often are pursuing similar upgrades and you may have a neighbor who has completed the upgrade you are considering.

Protect your investment

  • As a down payment, never pay more than $1,000 or 10%, whichever is less, for any contract. There is an exception for about two dozen contractors with special consumer-protection bonds that are noted on CSLB’s website.
  • Do not pay in cash ahead of work completion
  • Do not be pressured into signing a contract by intimidating tactics.