Q. Describe the most common types of jobs you do for your clients.
A. Most of my work has included collaboration withe three other General contractors. we have worked together for 25 or more years doing a variety of projects. One of them, as a private contractor, does many remodel jobs on UC Berkeley campus, as well as for residential customers; another is a remodel expert on local upper class homes, and the other specializes in kitchen and bath remodels. These colleagues are my priority, however, I have found Thumbtack helps me with periodic slack time that I can devote to individual work. Other than Thumbtack and an occasional ad on craigslist I have never had to advertise as all my jobs come from happy, satisfied client referrals.
Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A. If possible do your homework, check that the contractor is licensed and insured. Talk to the contractor on the phone or in person, look for any red flags. Try to verify work experience and make sure the job you want is one the contractor is competent to complete. Get more than one bid, three is a good minimum. Look at the work vehicle. Is it properly set up, are the tools sufficient for the work you need done? As questions.
Q. If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?
A. Electricity can be dangerous and should only be worked on by trained professionals with knowledge and familiarity with all aspects. It can be done safely if the proper techniques, parts and training are used correctly. Mistakes can cause fires or worse. If you want to do your own work, first, read a quality book and ask advice if you are unsure. If you are in doubt call on a professional, check with friends, and get references.
Q. What important information should buyers have thought through before seeking you out?
A. You could ask a friend or neighbor, but Thumbtack really does the work for you, now it's up to you to make the best decision. Thumbtack helps you do the research which is often difficult to do on your own.
Q. Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?
A. I have over 30 years of hands on electrical installations and service calls. My father was a home builder contractor and I started helping him in my teens. I wired my first solo job with dad at age 15. I worked with five other electrical contractors after college and then joined IBEW 302 in Contra Costa county and am still a current union member contractor. I have done several high tech jobs for Chevron installed a complete fire-smoke-flash detection system in their jet fuel lab. I made from scratch a frequency drive motor speed control for eight large 2 hp fan units. I worked for Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory on control wiring for the cyclotron and ran 4" rigid conduit in parallel for emergency power back-up. I have wired literally hundreds of homes and several hundred remodels. I have invested thousands of dollars in state of the art professional modern tools and equipment to facilitate the ease of installation and to keep customer cost down . I do the job right the first time and care for every installation as if it were my own.
Q. What do you like most about your job?
A. Electricity is a science and requires a solid knowledge and background. building codes and technical aspects are constantly changing and improving. As a IBEW member I am able to take advantage of their ongoing upgrades in electrical training every year.
Q. What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A. One of the most asked questions may be as simple as "why does my circuit breaker keep tripping?" Most of the time it is doing what it is made to do. Circuit breakers or fuses are the consumers electrical insurance policy and are set to trip at a given maximum accepted amperage and when that threshold is exceeded it will trip and save you grief and money. Take your kitchen for example, a average microwave is 1200 watts divided by 120 volts equals 10 amps your refrigerator may take upwards of 1000 watts equals 8.3 amps. Now when you turn on the toaster you have gone over the 20 amp capacity of the circuit breaker so it will trip. Most all tract homes are built to the minimum code standards(which over the years get higher. Older homes with newer or additional appliances may need improvements in electrical safety. If you have a large set of additional/newer appliances you may need more circuits installed (soon)!
Q. Do you have a favorite story from your work?
A. My first job after I was awarded my state contractors license in 1985 was to completely rewire the Richmond Yacht Harbor. It was a huge undertaking for a young, newly minted contractor. It took over three years to complete. I installed a separate meter and outlet for each boat berth. I ran overhead wires on hand crafted telephone type poles and installed underground conduit and all new conduit on the floating docks. I was very proud of that accomplishment. The Harbormaster and the city were all very happy with my work.
Q. What do you wish customers knew about you or your profession?
A. I have been in business as a licensed insured contractor for over 33 years, I have a very good reputation and guarantee all my work. I have passed my background checks, and have never had a legal dispute in over 30 years. My work history includes service positions for all of Wells Fargo Banks from San Jose to Concord area. However working for a large corporation became much to demanding because of the many times I had to stop what I was doing and travel to fix their problems immediately, ignoring my private business customers. I much prefer being my own boss, depending on my own skills, knowledge and abilities and the quality of my work and satisfied customers to ensure my success.
Q. How did you decide to get in your line of work?
A. I was brought up in construction My father was a building contractor my Uncle was a building inspector in a local east bay city. My second uncle was an engineer for Kaiser Industries working out of Oakland, and, actually began his career at the Kaiser shipyards here in Richmond! I had the best of mentors. I started taking electronic classes in eighth grade in high school and thru college. I truly love my work as every job is a new and challenging experience. I strive for perfection.
Q. Tell us about a recent job you did that you are particularly proud of.
A. I have a ongoing contract with UC Berkeley and have the job of replacing all of the old outdated lights in many of the campus parking structures. I recommended that new LED flood lights will give as much or more lighting (lumens) than the outdated fluorescent lighting at a much lower cost. A LED flood uses 30 watts compared to 160 watt tube fixture. I received many compliments from staff and students on these jobs.
Q. Do you do any sort of continuing education to stay up on the latest developments in your field?
A. Every electrician MUST have a license to be a certified electrician. (MAKE SURE YOU CHECK THIS). Every two years the electrician must take a minimum of 32 hours of continuing education. As an electrical contractor I also maintain my membership as a journeyman electrician with IBEW 302 and all classes are free and members are encouraged to take as many different classes as possible.
Q. What are the latest developments in your field? Are there any exciting things coming in the next few years or decade that will change your line of business?
A. My favorite new technology is miniaturization, such as the LED light. This one small change in your home can save hundreds of dollars over the life of the bulb. They use 80 percent less power and will last up to 20 years!!! No built in obsolescence here!
Q. Describe your most recent project, what it involved, how much it cost, and how long it took.
A. I do an average of two to four jobs per week. some of the larger remodel jobs can last 2-4 weeks. Every job is different and the cost varies. As the economy fluctuates I am fortunate to be able to take on very small, simple jobs that the homeowner or resident cannot do themselves. I enjoy the variety of these type jobs and working on "little" jobs for the common man (or woman:-). In any case, you, as customer, and I as your contractor should always make a written agreement on time and cost (with the always possible clause for "unforeseen events, which should be dealt with before work resumes on your project).
Q. If you have a complicated pricing system for your service, please give all the details here.
A. The cost of a job will vary on the complexity and accessibility. I bid my jobs at $75 per hour. My price has not changed in over 15 years. Remember you get what you pay for. Don't pay for what you don't get.
Q. If you were advising someone who wanted to get into your profession, what would you suggest?
A. Start to study electrical theory, read all you can on electronics and electrician training. This is not a job you can just wake up one day and say I'm going to be an electrician. It is a skill you will develop over many years. Actually you never stop learning. Also it is important to learn many elements of building construction, codes, and practices as you need to interact with other trades and do so without conflicting or impeding their work.
Q. What is your greatest strength?
A. Knowledge is power! Recommendations from satisfied customers are good for you and good for me. Check them out!
Q. What are you currently working on improving?
A. I am "Old School" and I need to reach out to all the people who are now using social media. I want to get into a website and Facebook presence so those who need quality local professional work can find me.
Q. Write your own question and answer it.
A. Have you looked on the CSLB (Contractors State Licensing Board) to check the suggestions on how to hire a contractor?
ANS: Check his credentials license and insurance and bond. If something goes wrong with the work of an unlicensed contractor you may very well not be able to win a lawsuit against that person