The homeowner should be able to describe the problem as accurately as possible when calling electricians and comparing rates. In this way, the electrician will be able to give a more accurate estimate of how much the repairs will be, and the homeowner will be able to make a more informed decision.
The electrician should be willing to tell the customer as best as possible what the job will entail, and how much time it should take. If the electrician is reluctant to do this, the homeowner should look for one that will.
The homeowner should not hesitate to ask the electrician about his or her experience. The reputable, competent electrician will not mind giving this information, and indeed may volunteer to tell the homeowner this before the homeowner even asks.
Many emergency electrician will supply references, either voluntarily or on request. The homeowner can then speak with someone who has actually used this person, and can determine if he or she is the right one for the job.