Safety First Electrical
--Contracting, Consulting and Safety Education

114 Northway Rd., Greenbelt, MD 20770

Home phone number: (301) 699-8833 (voice/ machine, 9am - 9pm). In an emergency? 24/7. But when in doubt, first get out: fires spread quickly.

safety {at} davidelishapiro {dot} com>


For the duration of the pandemic, I'm off the roster for any field work. Deactivated licenses, cancelled insurance: we're sheltering in place. Feel free to call or email if you have electrical safety questions; I still care. But I'm not making site visits. With this out of the way, feel free to read on, if you want to get a sense of how I have<> worked.

I have cared for customers by providing these services personally for well over three decades.

Why do homeowners call on me? Because safety comes first. Not low price, not quick work, not an exact budget: safety. And usually learning.

What I can do for you--and (in case you want to jump ahead right now) how I work and charge

I know quite a bit about wiring, and about electrical safety generally. Besides being an experienced and licensed electrician and certified inspector, I have training and experience as a teacher and communicator. Therefore, I can legally and effectively:
[] Install or [] Repair
[] Evaluate--is it safe? This merges into . . .
[] Inspect--is it legal?
In keeping with the latest standard?Or is there evidence of ignorant and illegal work?
[] Teach . . .anything from
Seminars for groups to
One-on-one how-to sessions for do-it-yourselfers; see my Sweat Equity Handbook
[] Write, Edit, or Fact-check print and on-line material about wiring.
Over the decades, I've contracted to provide all these services many times.

Who are my customers?

The people who hire me again and again want someone who offers more knowledge and, especially, someone who devotes more thought and commitment to my work, on good days and bad days, as a matter of self-respect. More effort than what? More effort than you get from someone who treats his work as just a way to make a dollar by winning bids.

First I'll explain all the services I offer, and give you some basis to form a better idea of whether you'll find what you want. After this, I'll move on to my Terms of Engagement basic agreement.

Credentials, Services , and Fee Schedule


I am a master electrician, licensed to provide any electrical service by Maryland, Virginia (Class A) and D.C., plus various subsidiary jurisdictions. (Carrying Statewide licenses means that I can readily arrange reciprocal licensure in any jurisdiction within Maryland or Virginia.) My contracting is covered by suitable insurance and bonding.

Whenever a tradesperson comes to your house or business, you have the right to ask for their licenses, current-dated licenses. If they say, "I don't need any license," you had better call the county or city offices and confirm this.

What follows is further description of the sometimes-special services I provide;
my substantial credentials; and
of how I charge for my services. If you want to jump ahead to a particular service, use one of the links above.

Here's where you can check out my further credentials.

If you want to move directly to information on how I charge, skip ahead to my terms of engagement, which include the information on the invoice form I fill out at the end of a day's work.

Service Links

Evaluate and Inspect

I evaluate wiring for safety.
I can look for evidence of damage, of deterioration, and of risky work. This said, I have never come across a reliable way of determining, "This cable has X percent probability of shorting, or of starting a fire, in the coming year." On the other hand, I am familiar with many signs of dangerous wiring, and when I uncover them, I explain what I've found and why it means danger.

Here's what else I do:
I can inspect wiring for legality, by which I mean whether it meets the requirements in the National Electrical Code, as adopted. The code is updated every three years. However, the jurisdiction where you live (or are planning to live) has not necessarily adopted and enforced the latest version of the code, unamended.

If you wish, I can talk about, and if necessary, research, whether your wiring is likely to have met the requirements that were in force when it was installed. This gives us an idea of whether it was installed knowledgably, rather on the basis, "Let's see if this will work long enough for me to get paid."

If you prefer, I can look at how well it meets the requirements currently enforced in your locality, or even how well it meets or how far it departs from the latest code version and the best practices that could be applied. As of early 2017, people who care enough about electrical safety were starting to see what changes are likely to be proposed for the 2020 National Electrical Code. There are already a number of errata and Temporary Interim Amendments to the 2017 edition. At the end of August, 2018, proposals for the 2020 Code, and comments on them, were closed. (I submitted several, with at least some success.)

Install, Troubleshoot/Repair, Consult, Teach

If you want, you can jump ahead to my description of each of these service offerings. The section also contains links to four short advice papers: 1, hints on dealing with contractors; 2, what to keep in mind in planning your wiring; 3, how my sweat equity arrangements function; and 4, two case studies, which suggest what it can be like to have me do your wiring. For details of how I Install, Troubleshoot/Repair, Consult, and Teach, plus further links leading to all that other information, follow this link.

Terms and Charges

The last section on this page is the agreement under which I do business. I do not compete for jobs where "anybody could do this, and it doesn't matter who I get." I can't afford to do so.

Because I offer more than the next person--even the next licensed contractor--my fee schedule is nuanced rather than consisting of an unchanging hourly fee or fixed job estimates. For one thing, I am no estimator. If you are particularly concerned with what a job will cost you up-front, perhaps more so than with obtaining the very best safety and reliability, it will be well worth your while to read this section carefully.

When I take on your job, I charge for the responsibility I take on toward you, by billing for my hours, and for any materials I supply. My customers tend to agree that I give good value. This link leads to my Terms of Engagement, which both describe and explain the charges. Incidentally, the responsibility I take on is limited to the work I perform. If an inspector tells you that a bunch of other items, that predate my work, need correction, if you didn't authorize and pay me to correct them, they're not my concern until you do so.

Further Credentials

Legally Constituted Inspection

The Authority Having Jurisdiction, usually your city or county, requires a permit for most new electrical work, and except in one special case insists on inspecting the installation. Usually, this means they look at just that aspect of your wiring addressed by the permit. One unfortunate consequence of tight municipal and County budgets is that jurisdictional inspectors tend to have large workloads. This means that in most cases they have very little time to perform each inspection. In some cases, a jurisdiction allows a third party to perform that inspection in place of their employees. The result of this naturally varies from one Third Party Inspector to another.
I have the credentials to do this type of inspecting, and some jurisdictions have asked me to work for them as an inspector. I have been invited to perform contract inspections for Frederick County, Maryland and the Cities of Laurel and Annapolis, Maryland. While I felt honored by the invitations, for one reason or another I have not taken up their offers. Similarly, one Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (meaning one of the authorized product-listing competitors to UL), offered me a job as a part-time Field Evaluation Engineer. I turned down the honor.
Washington, D.C. has authorized me to function as a Third-Party Inspector of single- and two-family residences. I have not done so since February, 2012, in part so that I can work as an electrician in D.C. without any conflict of interest.
I am authorized by Maryland's Fire Marshal to do so throughout Maryland, but have not chosen to do so for many years. I have no objection to doing so, and I maintain good relations with inspection authorities. However, I cannot perform both contracting and inspection within the same jurisdiction. Therefore, at this point I maintain insurance only as a contractor, not as a Third Party Inspector.


I have been certified through the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI) as an electrical plan reviewer since 1986, and as an electrical inspector--residential since 1986, and general since 1997. The Maryland State Fire Marshal has authorized me to conduct electrical inspections since 1997. I renew these credentials regularly.

My contracting and consulting have been recommended by the American Homeowners' Association, by Home Connections, Inc., by BG&E's Keeping Current, by Washingtonian Magazine, and by Washington Consumer Checkbook.
Some of the best-known home inspectors--senior members of the American Society of Home Inspectors--give out my name, and some realtors as well.
Then there are various local listservs that recommend my services, in addition to the person-to-person recommendations.

I am a member of the National Fire Protection Association, publishers of the National Electrical Code, and I participate in reviewing and contributing to the proposed changes considered for adoption every three years.
I have attended most of the meetings of the American Council on Electrical Safety since it was formed, and function as their secretary.
My most important participation in the field of electrical safety probably is my 35-plus year membership in the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). For the last 20-25 years I have served as Secretary-Treasurer of the DC/Maryland chapter and as a member of the executive board for IAEI's Eastern section.
In early 2017 I volunteered to serve on three of the Underwriters Laboratories Standard Technical Panels that specify how electrical equipment should be designed and the tests it has to pass. In 2018 I added one more

In 2017, Prince George's County asked me to participate in the committee to rewrite Subtitle 9 of the County code, adopting the most-current version of the National Electrical Code. I continue to provide input to the County on electrical code issues, as I'm called upon.

Teaching and Consulting

The seminars I have provided over the years are one form of teaching. Another is one-on-one instruction as I evaluate or inspect electrical work. Others, closely related to each other, include explaining my work to customers --beforehand, while I work, and afterwards, before I leave. They include consultation regarding customers's work (within careful limits--I can't take responsibility for work performed before I arrive); and sweat equity, which I describe below.

In addition, I have served as a consultant on electrical topics to book and pamphlet publishers, and periodicals such as Readers Digest, Popular Mechanics and The Wall Street Journal. I have provided information to staff at the National Electrical Contracting Foundation, to trial lawyers, and even to the Handyman Club of America.

Both the union contractors' organization (NECA) and the non-union contractors' organization (IEC) have asked me to assist people who contacted them for electrical safety information they were not equipped to provide.

I received graduate training as a teacher, and I have taught at levels ranging from pre-school to university. My electrical teaching has taken many forms.
IAEI has certified me as an electrical instructor, qualified to teach seminars that provide Continuing Education to electrical inspectors and electricians.
I have provided Continuing Education on electrical safety inspection to the American Society of Home Inspectors twice, once locally and once in New York State. In March of 2012, they hired me to explain important changes in the National Electrical Code. I presented another short seminar, to their local DC-metro area chapter, in October, 2018.

Electrical and Safety Writing and Editing

Another service for which I've received a fair amount of recognition is my writing, and my consulting to other writers. I tend to focus on writing for the purpose of teaching --both mass instruction and individual. By "individual instruction" I am talking about how individual readers, usually electricians, periodically contact me for help. I have also helped other electricians, inspectors and engineers who needed assistance in writing clearly, most commonly for audiences of electricians or inspectors. In addition, in my consulting and "work-with" engagements I have taught bright and handy laypersons a considerable amount about how to perform their own wiring safely and even elegantly.

Electrical Publications

I have sold a fair bit of written material since about 1983. If you're looking for a contractor, consultant, or inspector, the relevance of this is straightforward. First, the acceptance that my publications have received suggests that I can communicate clearly about electrical subjects. Second, the range of outlets that have gladly taken my work demonstrates that I am respected in my field.

I have published numerous articles for electricians in all the electrical trade magazines; and written on electricity and home repair for periodicals ranging from Redbook and The Washington Post to Practical Homeowner, Fine Homebuilding (you can find me in their "Best of" publication), and New England Builder--plus various web sites.
I initiated a monthly Residential Wiring column in Electrical Contractor magazine, writing it from 1989 to 1992. They rehired me in 1999 and I contributed the Residential Wiring column to the print edition through 2018, with a few months bumped by late-appearing ads.

This is far from the only monthly writing service I have provided successfully.
I also had a contract to provide safety advice to my colleagues in the online column, "Safewatch." (Economics caused its host web site to close.)

My first book, Old Electrical Wiring: Maintenance & Retrofit (McGraw-Hill, 1998) was the only one on its subject. McGraw-Hill published the second edition, Old Electrical Wiring: Evaluating, Repairing, and Upgrading Dated Systems--a major revision--in 2010. My second book, Your Old Wiring (McGraw-Hill, 2000), serves readers who lack the background to get full benefit from my first book -- including people with no electrical experience. I co-authored a third, Behind the Code, with the late W. Creighton Schwan. It explains the bases for many of our electrical rules. The third edition, nearly 500 pages long, was published in 2018. An ealier edition is available as a less-expensive downloadable pdf.

I contributed an award-winning safety column to Utility Fleet Management, periodic articles for National Safety Council publications, and regular features, mostly on safety, to Public Power magazine. I provided a number of feature articles to IAEI News, the inspectors' magazine, the most recent in Fall 2017.

From 1983 to early 2018 I published and edited The Flexible Conduit, a monthly 8-page newsletter for intellectually inclined electricians, inspectors and engineers, affiliated with Mensa.

New Jersey officials distributed materials I provided during 1993's National Electrical Safety Month

I produced and validated a test, Safety Awareness for Electricity.


Where I work

I consult on wiring systems in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, and can arrange to serve anywhere in Maryland or Virginia. I also install and repair wiring. However, it is only fair to say that I am less interested than I was in past decades in opportunities to earn my living by climbing ladders with coils of cable, or drilling by hole after hole. Consulting, and working with my customers, is less back-breaking even as it demands more knowledge and experience. Still, I continue to perform some installation and repair. I take satisfaction in knowing that another home was wired to a higher standard, and is likely to be somewhat safer than if they had a so-called romex jockey racing through.

Why me?

Some people just want the job done safely. They want a top person to do their work, whether it's changing a lighting fixture or wiring a home. They do want to be billed fairly, to receive reliable service and clear communication--to enjoy good value for their money. They're not interested in shopping for the cheapest bid. They don't want a false bargain: a contractor who wins their job by guaranteeing a low price, and cuts corners to make a profit.
My work is often not cheaper than the next contractor. Compared to a handyman? Any electrical contractor should carry enough overhead in the way of licenses, insurance, and continuing education that his or her rate ought to be much higher than a handyman's.

What I offer

Being fairly knowledgable about old wiring, I can address what the decades have left you, both good and bad.

When others, amateur or pro, have hashed wiring, I can either rewire, or, if you prefer, rescue what I can for a safer, more legal system than you had. Naturally, I can only provide educated guesses about what I can't see; and I can't guarantee anything that I haven't installed myself.

I evaluate electrical systems for people who are buying property, or who simply are concerned about their wiring.
How old is it? What seems relatively safe or unsafe? Is it likely to serve delicate electronic loads adequately? Heavy machine or heating loads?
What are the cheapest options? The safest and most reliable? The most flexible? {I am not a consulting engineer or architect; but I am knowledgeable, experienced, and a pretty good communicator.}

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission advises you to check even problem-free wiring at least every 20 years, if your house is 40 or older.

I supervise and teach. see my Sweat Equity Handbook
I can use your efforts to save you money, safely expanding your knowledge. Supervision is limited to tasks that I can oversee adequately: I simply will not take responsibility for unknown wiring.
This said, I have taught owners to wire their newly purchased homes that needed work. I've advised people rehabilitating old buildings that reached the point that something needed to be done. And that's not all.

Another kind of supervision and teaching I offer is found in my writing and editing. I describe that briefly above; it is not directly germane to my contracting work--except for one thing. Electricians at all levels, from apprentice to inspector, continue to rely on what I write, and sometimes contact me for information or advice.

And what I don't offer

Obviously, there are limits to the types of installation I can perform. I am not expert in all areas of wiring, and I am not equipped to take on, say, an industrial job that requires a crew. Sometimes, though, I am invited to inspect, to evaluate, to specify. Sometimes I can put a would-be customer in touch with someone equipped to handle a job I simply can't or don't care to take on. I received a call in early 2019 from someone who needed new hotels wired. While I couldn't help, I referred them to someone who could.

If you are interested in the possibility of working with me, I have a fair bit of information to offer while you're online. Any customers, especially homeowners, who are new to working with contractors, may find some help in adjusting their expectations at another link. This is the "working effectively with contractors" link. Look here for important information on labeling, and on fixture choice. Any customer who is planning out an electrical system may find some help here. If you are considering performing some of the work yourself, this link talks about how we might work together. Finally, if you're wondering about the different ways of working with me that might effect what you pay, this is link offers a few vignettes.

The next item is the standard billing form that I use as a job invoice. (You pay me, I sign it, and I give it back to you as the payment receipt.) Right after that you'll read my spelled-out email


NAME (s)






___________________________________________________________________________ Materials $________

Master Electrician’s Time

Basic: travel and New wiring or Telephone or email advising beyond 10 minutes per job or Repair of legitimate wiring: @ $95/hr

Premium: Finishing legally started work or Consulting, with a verbal report or Sweat equity/work-with, per person: @ $120/hr

Extra-Premium: Repairing non-professional/illegal work or Working in an onerous setting (filth or stench or lack of reasonable access) @$130/hr.

Top-price: Formal consulting–separate written report or deposition or testimony (these include time writing, researching, waiting in a lawyer's office, etc.) or Hazardous setting or Dangerous work (which I will perform only in an emergency) @ $150/hr

Travel: Hours:__________ $_________

Labor: Hours:__________ $_________

Labor: Hours:__________ $_________

+ Other, such as obtaining permits: ___________________________ $_________

Time adders

More than 7 hours in a day____ or 7-9 A.M or 6-8 P.M. ____@ $15/ hr

Further outside my normal hours, in an emergency____@$35/hr

and multipliers

^ Next day priority, if already scheduled ___@10% Same day ___@20% Come right away ___@35% Holiday/Weekend work ___@45% =============== TOTAL $_________

=============== Received $_________ via___________________________ (signed)_______________________________________ David E. Shapiro


Safety First Electrical
114 Northway
Greenbelt, MD 20770

Home phone number: (301) 699-8833 (voice/ machine, 9am - 9pm). In an emergency? 24/7. But when in doubt, first get out: fires spread quickly.
email: safety {at} davidelishapiro {dot} com



My expertise is limited to electrical work. I do not claim competence at repairing paint, wood, masonry or plaster that may need to be disturbed, sometimes extensively, in the course of installing or repairing your wiring.

I strongly encourage you to be present as I work, in order to ask and to answer questions. Any work, especially work performed after a building is completed, can bring surprises. If you have me work alone, without a way to contact you, you are agreeing to accept the technical, cost-related, and aesthetic choices I make based on my interpretation of your wishes.


I take responsibility to keep my appointments, and if at all possible to call you if I am unreasonably delayed (more than 15 minutes). Note that I do not talk on the phone while driving.

By making an appointment, you are agreeing to pay for a minimum of one hour of my time, unless you tell me a full day in advance that you want to reschedule or cancel. If you do not cancel an appointment and I show up in good faith and cannot perform the work because no one is there to let me in, or you are not ready for me to begin or for a similar reason, I've invested the travel time. So if this should happen you need to reimburse me for that as well as for the hour's minimum for committing time for taking care of you.


There are basic requirements in the electrical code that keep electricians and others dealing with energized wiring safe. They are are readable (but not downloadable) at if you fill out their registration, which is free. Among the most important ones is the requirement for clear working space. In your home, a space at least 30 inches wide by 36 deep in front of your panel must be clear, floor to ceiling. Look it up, in Section 110.26. Even if you want me to work elsewhere in your house, I need clear access to your panel. If that clear space is missing, I'll clear it if I can. However, you'll save money if you clear it yourself, and keep it clear. If, say, a plumber has installed equipment in that space, that's an electrical violation. I am not professionally qualified to relocate plumbing equipment, and so I'll only work in that space in an emergency. for obvious reasons, emergency work costs top dollar. It is wisest to assume that I will need access to your electrical panel for any electrical work. If you wonder why this is, ask me to go into detail. Briefly, there are two elements. One is the need to kill power at its source, whenever possible. The other is a common but less than ideal design known as a mulitwire circuit.


My standard rates are $95.00 per hour for the normal field services of a master electrician. Normal field services have two main characteristics. First, you are asking me to schedule your work during my normal hours and days, with normal priority. Second, you are asking me to install new wiring, or to repair or extend systems that in my judgment were wired and completed competently and professionally, and in accordance with applicable laws. For more detail, see my normal billing form, which converts to your receipt upon payment.

If you are available during my visit, I will inform you when I encounter dangerous or unprofessional installations. There are surcharges when, for example, I am potentially exposed to risk or liability by what was done before. Equally important, you need to know when I discover that certain equipment was installed incompetently, or find antiques that may have been legitimate once but are approaching the end of their lives. Either may stop working as the result of the disturbance associated with being examined; when this happens, the equipment's failure rarely is the responsibility of the person who examined it. I don't believe in Finagle's Law (a corollary to Murphy's Law), which says, "Once a job is botched, attempts to improve it make it worse." I do, however, know from rock-solid experience that when something is dangerous, "Just get it working" is not a choice with a good payback. If something seems dangerous, my fiduciary responsibility demands that I not connect or even reconnect it.

Business Hours and Time Calculation.

My normal field hours run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. I may be willing to work outside these hours, if it is worth your while to pay extra. I normally limit my onsite work on any one day to seven hours.

Please call no earlier than 9 am and no later than 9 p.m. except by prearrangement. In an emergency, of course, I encourage you to call me any time at all.

My charges start when I leave for the job and end when I have returned. Depending on your location, and on whether I need to travel during rush hour (or encounter congestion for other reasons), if you're not just down the block this could mean the "meter" starts with anywhere from $50 to $200 on the clock in addition to my one-hour labor minimum. After the first hour, I prorate charges to the nearest quarter hour. You can call or email me for the purpose of planning work, or to guide you in tracking down problems on your own, without charge, for a total of half an hour. After this, check with me: telephone and email time other than handling matters such as appointments may go on your bill as consulting.

All time spent on "formal consultation," such as preparing depositions or reports is billed. This includes research I've agreed to perform to support reports or depositions. If you take notes as I explain my findings, the consultation can remain informal. Ask me to write something up and sign it, and it's formal consultation. Similarly, if you ask me to testify, or sit down (even long-distance) with your attorney or perform research for them, the time involved is billed as Formal Consultation.

Two Important Points regarding consultation:
First, I do not keep detailed notes from informal consultation. Therefore, since I can rely on my own notes and no one else's, when I have been hired for informal consultation there is little point in expecting me to remember exact details subsequently. I can't even promise I'll recognize whether someone else's notes or memories of what I said are technically accurate, if time has passed. Second, because no inspection is exhaustive (and because of the benefits of what psychologists call distributed exposure) future visits, by me or by any expert, may uncover items that were not picked up during earlier consultations.
All this said, I believe my approach is the very best I can offer to ensure people's safety.


Some services exceed the standard offerings of electrical contractors. When you need these, I add charges to my base rate. I have sorted them into two categories. Premiums involve added responsibilities. Surcharges involve added stress, inconvenience, or hazard.


Sweat Equity/Work-with
Some customers choose to participate by performing specified parts of the job under my supervision. If you are interested in helping me on the job, please ask me for guidelines. Some assistance I consider appropriate when I am taking ultimate responsibility for electrical work, other types of assistance I do not. See my Sweat Equity Handbook There's also a great difference between what I will offer for you to do when I'm not there and what I'll give you to do while I'm on the site overseeing or participating with you.
Sweat Equity is NOT finishing work someone else has started, or signing off on work I have not closely supervised, as I define supervision.

I evaluate wiring and consult on wiring projects. Consultation does not extend to my taking responsibility for an installation that someone else has performed or wants to perform outside my control. I don't have a flat fee for safety surveys, for laying out jobs, for preparing specifications, and for other such tasks. Instead, to help you in these ways I bill by the hour, charging more than my base rate.
I also provide more formal consultation; I charge a higher premium for depositions, formal reports, or other testimony; work that leads to them; for consultation on others' electrical books and articles; and for ghostwriting.

I charge a premium to take over legal, professional, non-hazardous work that another licensed electrician has left unfinished. It is rare that an electrical inspector will inspect incomplete work, and by doing so clear me of liability for it if I carry it forward.
I undertake a very limited amount of follow-up work troubleshooting, rewiring, or otherwise completing such installations and repairs. This may involve my exposing part or all of the previous work in order to evaluate it. After this, I will determine whether it needs replacement.
When I need to pull a permit to take over such a job, as is often the case, I note on the permit that the work was begun by another. When I am hired to take over a legitimate but incomplete job, I need a letter stating that the previous contract is closed uncontested; and that there is no other legal hindrance to my removing or changing what I find. While I will complete legitimate installations begun by others when I judge that it is safe to do so, I can not accept ultimate responsibility for any part of the wiring that I have not performed myself. I note this on my bill.

Example: I was asked to pull a permit to cover work that had included burying wiring in a concrete floor. This offer is one I could not consider, at least not without the jackhammer work needed to expose, and if necessary unearth and replace, the hidden wiring.

In addition to the premium for taking on uncompleted work, any surcharges described in the section that follows may apply. For example, when I consider something potentially unsafe to work on, if I agree to correct the wiring -- as opposed to simply ripping it out and rewiring -- a different surcharge applies, beyond the premium for completing another's installation.

Time Surcharges

I charge extra for work performed outside my standard schedule:
Rush jobs;
Evening, weekend, and holiday work;
and work beyond 7 hours in one day, which takes more out of me.

Finally, I charge for working under unusually difficult or unpleasant conditions. Some of these are under your control. One example is leaving the cat's litter box--or rubbish, or obstructions--near where I am to work. This charge may also be entailed by my performing repairs after a fire or flood, where the damage has not been cleaned up. Here, I might be exposed to carcinogens or mold.
I was asked to repair or replace an electrical service, including as usual its outside ground rod, and the customer commented that I might run into snakes or vermin in the rubbish and weeds growing outside the house near the meter. Surcharge.
Another hazard that may be less immediately obvious is leaving delicate items stored in the areas I will have to get past in the course of my work, so I need to tiptoe around and to gingerly restack your treasures before I carry a ladder through, or drag an extension cord or cable. I may ask you to move them, if necessary while my clock is ticking. If you want me to work around them or move them, by so choosing you take responsibility for any damage that occurs despite my efforts.
Some conditions that entail a surcharge are not under your control: for example, sometimes the work means clawing my way through an unventilated attic or a crawlspace. Sometimes, the latter examples may constitute hazardous conditions, not merely unpleasant. I will not risk asbestos exposure, for example, or significant loose fiberglass.

I don't need to walk away and leave you stranded. If you know that I am likely to have to work in an environment where breathing could be unhealthy, I can bring a hood-type (supplied air) respirator. It's bulky and a bit difficult to manage, but it lets me draw air from up to 50 feet from where I'm working.

Surcharges and premiums add together. For an extreme example, if someone wants me to repair illegal wiring and write up a report or testify, I will charge not my base rate of $95 an hour plus travel, not $130 for correcting someone's illegal installation, nor even my top rate of $150 an hour for formal consultation, but rather a doubled premium of $185 ($35 extra for the remediation and $55 extra for the write-up).


Calls to fix problems with my work are free, and I give them very high priority. Sometimes, it turns out that a problem for which I have been called back does not stem from my materials or workmanship:
for instance, when the problem represents the failure of marginal parts of your existing equipment that I did not replace and fully rewire;
for instance, when a job fails inspection due a customer offering to take on a part of the job such as installing cover plates, and forgets to do;
or from an environmental cause such as a water leak.
Then the call is not free. When this turns out to be the case, if I rush out you will need to pay any extra charges that giving it rush priority entails.


Payment is due right away, at the time services are rendered, except when we have agreed to another arrangement beforehand. Following the week of work, payment is overdue, except when other arrangements have been made up-front. Interest is charged on any outstanding balance at the rate of 2% per month. Collection costs, including legal fees, accrue to unpaid bills. Non-payment, or a bounced check that isn't corrected as soon as you're informed, can mean a property lien. It is very important that you ask me questions, check assumptions, and discuss concerns as they arise, so that disputes are avoided.


I accept cash and valid first-party checks; no plastic.


Materials I provide are billed at least at full retail list prices as specified in catalogs such as those published by Grainger's, Inc. and lighting manufacturers. I guarantee materials that I provide, just as I guarantee my work. If you want me to install extra-premium components, let me know and I will be happy to do so. For example, a regular 120 volt Tamper-Resistant (TR) wall receptacle (TRs are required in most residential locations) can cost less than two dollars or more than thirty-and this is without any markup and without my warranty. I recommend a version that costs around $6.00
I will gladly install customer - provided materials that are legal and suitable, without any extra charge for doing so. However, you take full responsibility for the time involved in rejecting, installing, removing or replacing materials you provide that turn out to be defective or inappropriate. Warning: salespersons--especially in hardware stores and most-especially in Big Box stores--rarely know the Electrical Code; a fixture or other part is not necessarily appropriate for the purpose for which someone tries to sell it.
Example: in order to return a customer's exterior, antique light fixture to service, I needed silicone sealant, in a squeeze tube. The customer volunteered to pick some up at the local hardware store. Instead, the salesperson sold my customer a tube of silicone-fortified caulking compound, designed for use in a caulking gun and not at all the same as silicone sealant.
Also, "I've seen something just like this elsewhere" doesn't make an installation legal. I can shop with you or as your agent, so that you pay what I would pay, plus the cost of my time. I do not, however, warrantee materials that I haven't sold you (and of necessity marked up).
I am happy to answer simpled, limited questions about materials by phone or email. However, I cannot take responsibility for mistaken purchases, unless I myself made them, based on information I collected for myself.
I also cannot review a list of potential purchases by manufacturer or supply house item numbers by glancing over them, so if you want to buy materials, find a supplier whose knowledge and integrity you can trust. It would be more expensive to pay me to visit stores' or manufacturers' web sites, and sometimes follow up with their technical support, than to simply hire me to buy the materials for you.


All work done by me or under my supervision will meet or exceed applicable National Electrical Code requirements, as modified by your local jurisdiction's adopting legislation. If you want something done that I believe does not meet Code, I will check with appropriate authorities if I am unsure. If I remain convinced it is illegal, you are welcome to pay for any time you have had me put in, and find an alternate installer.
All new wiring, including "Just run me one more outlet," requires a permit and, after it is completed, inspection. The rare exception--I haven't seen this in quite some time--is where a jurisdiction allowed the use of a postcard permit, whereby they allowed me to certify the safety of my own work, generally without their review.

When I design and run a job, I take responsibility for signing the permits and performing the work so as to pass inspection to Code. You are responsible for the cost of the permit and for obtaining it, and for paying for my time waiting for and meeting the inspector; or, if this is allowed and in my judgment appropriate, meeting the inspector yourself after the work is complete.

I understand and agree to these terms Date: ______________


Phones: Day [Call between ____ a.m. and ____ p.m.]: _____--________--__________________

Fax ______-_______-_____________________

Eve. [_____ am- _____ pm] ______--________--___________________Add'l #, for ________ [ ___am.-__ pm]: _____-_________-_____


Second adult's name or Co. name _____________________________________Email:<__________________________@__________________>


Your address, if different than the job address______________________________________________

If you'd like to work with me under my terms of business, I need this last set of information: names, phone numbers AND hours to call, address, and email.

It also is extremely helpful to tell me
what you need me to do and with what degree of urgency;
whether you have fuses or circuit breakers, and if circuit breakers, the brand and product line if you know it;
how you came to me;
the name of the nearest cross street, plus any driving or parking suggestions;
and if any wiring at all needs to be installed, your lot, square, subdivision, whose name the property is in and finally, if a building permit has been pulled, the permit number.

You can email this to me at: safety {at} davidelishapiro {dot} com email or if it's time-urgent, call me at home between 9AM and 9PM at 301-699-8833. Normaly I respond to email promptly, so if you don't hear back within a day or so, it is judicious to assume that there has been a glitch, and call.

If you'd like to sign up with me, just hit this button and you'll come to a link that lets you do so online. alternately, if you make an appointment, it means you're agreeing to these standard terms.