Things to listen for when selecting a contractor 

  • By Josh Morphew
  • 17 Apr, 2017

When systems fail or equipment breaks, there are often far-reaching implications. For a manufacturer, it could mean that a production line is shut down. A restaurant may not be able to prepare food. Or a senior living center may have to make provision for patients that are sensitive to temperature swings.

In every scenario, the goal is to restore normal operations as quickly as possible. For the business person in charge of getting things fixed, this is a stressful time. During emergencies like this, it is not uncommon to see standard electrical contractor hiring procedures discarded in favor of finding someone who can get it fixed at any cost.

Electrical contractor red flags 

There are some worrisome things to listen for when speaking to contractors that you are considering hiring. While you may be under pressure to get something fixed, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice quality in the process. Consider these red flags:


·        Permits are meant to protect both parties. So, if a contractor says they will only draft and request permits on instruction, this could mean they are either not licensed or don’t know how to pull a permit.


·        In business, net-30 days are standard for payment. Beware of contractors who request payment up front. If your company’s payments terms aren’t net-30, that should be discussed before work commences.


·        Remember that 90% of businesses fail before year 5. A good rule of thumb is to work with contractors who have been in business more than 5 years.


·        Is the person you speak with listening to you or just telling you what they think you want to hear?


·        How does the contractor price their jobs? Do they provide upfront pricing by the job or do they charge by the hour? If they charge by the hour, is there a minimum number of hours charged?


·        If they charge by the hour, how much do they markup parts? Do they charge based on time and material?


·        Do they offer communication options other than phone calls? Do they have professional office support staff?


·        Are they willing to provide a list of key contacts in the organization including the ability to speak with senior leadership ?


·        If there is a problem, how is that handled?


·        Do they offer 24/7 response? Are there additional charges for evenings and weekends?


·        Do they offer same day response? We are often told by businesses they would prefer to be given an accurate response timeframe like: “we can have a technician at your location between 2 and 3 pm today, will that work for you?” instead of “we should be able to get out there today” and then not show up. This is because they may be able to put temporary fixes in place until a technician can arrive and ambiguity doesn’t help them make those decisions.

Baxter Commercial Services offer a full range of property related services including lighting and HVAC installations , maintenance and repairs. Contact us for more information about how our electrical contractors in Oklahoma can help you.

By Josh Morphew 15 May, 2017

Ever notice that the light bulb section in your local hardware store is getting bigger and the choices are getting more complicated? Bulb size, wattage, base type, dimmable or not, color temperature and more are all decision points today. Not to mention price. If you have ever come home with the wrong light bulb, you have plenty of company. For commercial lighting applications, multiply the difficulty level several times.


A simple looking ceiling fixture may not be as simple as it looks. Historically, commercial buildings have used fluorescent lighting for office areas and a combination of other fixtures for warehouse and even parking garage lighting . Many businesses are converting both types of lighting to LED lighting for energy efficiency, reduced maintenance, and improved light coverage. Converting from fluorescent to LED may be as easy as swapping out one light bulb for another, but, given all the nuances of commercial lighting fixtures, spending some extra time researching and planning will save time and headaches in the end.

To make a comparison, with automobiles, some parts like wind shield wipers are interchangeable between vehicle brands and models, while other parts are very vehicle specific. The same concept applies to commercial lighting fixtures. To add a level of complexity, if portions of a commercial building were built at different times, light fixtures may appear to be the same, but, can actually be different.

By Josh Morphew 01 May, 2017

The enactment of the Montreal Protocol came with implications for owners, equipment operators, and managers of commercial buildings.  The international environmental agreement requires nations and states to phase out all the refrigeration and air conditioning systems , that uses the R-22 refrigerant, a commercially-produced hydrochloroflourocarbon (HCFC-22). This substance is listed among the most notorious ozone depleting substances. It was expected that by 1st January 2015, all the existing refrigerators running on the fluid, would be phased out. However, some companies and individuals are yet to do so.

By Josh Morphew 24 Apr, 2017

Simply defined, smart lighting is lighting technology designed for energy efficiency. This can include everything from the light bulbs to light fixtures, to switches or electronic controls that adjust lighting automatically.

By Josh Morphew 17 Apr, 2017

When systems fail or equipment breaks, there are often far-reaching implications. For a manufacturer, it could mean that a production line is shut down. A restaurant may not be able to prepare food. Or a senior living center may have to make provision for patients that are sensitive to temperature swings.

By Josh Morphew 10 Apr, 2017

Businesses are frequently on the receiving end of solicitations for services sold by one party and delivered by another. One example is lighting contractors .

By Josh Morphew 03 Apr, 2017

Triple net leases are often used by property owners. This type of lease specifies that the tenant is responsible for maintenance and that the owner of the property is responsible for capital improvements. This sounds like a reasonable approach to take, so what could go wrong?

By Josh Morphew 27 Mar, 2017

Over the past 40 years, our team of commercial electrical technicians has worked with apartment complexes of all sizes and conditions. We have encountered situations where maintenance staff has spent four hours trying to diagnose and repair a non-operational HVAV unit, without any success.

By Josh Morphew 20 Mar, 2017

Some of the greatest lessons are learned through the experience of other people. As commercial electrical contractors , we have heard some horror stories about contractor encounters gone bad. Based on some of the stories that our clients have shared with us, developed the following set of questions you might want to ask before hiring your next contractor:

By Josh Morphew 13 Mar, 2017

For many businesses, ‘operating efficiency’ is a goal that the company is continuously chasing. Many times, the focus is increasing employee productivity and output so that a significant impact can be made on the bottom line. Many businesses are unaware of or overlook utility expense reduction to boost the bottom line. Electricity costs are seen as an ongoing expense and something that must be paid for a business to function. However, there are many optimization strategies that can be implemented to significantly lower your electricity bill each month.

By Josh Morphew 10 Mar, 2017

Consider the following scenario: A vicious ice storm is looming. Jim’s boss Cindy says she can’t afford downtime from an extended power outage and tasks Jim with finding a solution. Armed with the Internet, Jim searches for a rental generator . The closest generator he finds is 4 hours away and even if he could pick it up, he can’t find an electrician to help hook it up.

 While Jim had managed the facility for years, backup power was never a priority for the previous owners. The plant was already operating at maximum capacity, so they couldn’t make up for lost time with additional shifts. Regardless of what happens with this storm, Jim knows he needs a better plan to deal with any type of future power outage.

 Jim’s situation is very common. Many businesses think of backup power as an all-or-nothing scenario. Permanently installed generators are cost prohibitive so they settle for nothing instead.   Today, facility managers and building owners have more choices, providing them with the reassurance of having backup power at a fraction of the cost.

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