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Old 04-16-2009, 10:01 PM   #1
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You know what? Just thinking about it, and posts from the past, I don't really know why I care. I was reflecting on a service call I did yesterday. The guy was really pissy about the whole job in general. He wanted me to use his second hand junk, and I refused, opting instead for new and unused wire, boxes and breakers. That really got his panties in a knot. Then he wanted to drill the holes and pull the wire, if it would save him some money.

I'm all for saving money, but when I'm running circuits for a pinball machine room, well, you probably got the money to spare. So, I told him sure, get to it. Then he wanted to make up the taps in the boxes, to save a little more money. I never told him it was saving him any money, he just assumed it would. He did everything but land the wire on the breaker. And it looked like hammered dog sh*t.

I handed him a bill for all my time except 1 hour. That was his discount. He scoffed. Got even more pissy and tried to chisel it down even more. Guess what? I didn't budge. He said if I worked with him a little, that he would have more work in the future. I don't want it. I would rather beg for change on the street than have a customer like him, and it seems there are way too many like him. Then he tried to argue that I did very little. I told him that as long as my truck was in his drive, he was paying for it.

I'm already on the low-end of the price spectrum, and I have a list of customer references long enough to soak up an oil spill. So, here lately, I haven't been taking too kindly to being chiseled. Kinda gets me all worked up, and on the precipice of hostile. I don't give a damn if I ever twist another wire nut again and have to beg Obama for a place to live at a town hall meeting, I'm sick of these ass-hat cheapo customers. They come back from a European vaction, then try to chisel my price down. Or the plumber's bill was a little high, so they ask if I can knock a little off.

Damn all that. Then I and others volunteer here pro bono, and I read threads all the time from hacks that ask questions and don't really want the answer, but instead just want to hear what they want. Or they spend $40,000 on a kitchen remodel, but can't afford the right range cord, etc.

To conclude this shapeless rant, I don't know why I care if all of you out there in DIY land do it right. So, go to town. Knock yourselves out with wrong conductor sizes and improper grounding, and wildly oversized breakers and fuses. Hell, it's just electricity. Those wires are flexible, so any idiot can put them in. Must be easy, just look at how bendy that cable is! Neutral, ground, bond, 1.21 jiga-watts, overcurrent... what's that? Who cares? Swimming pool? I wired mine with speaker wire 15 years ago and it's still working! So what's the problem!?

Good luck with all your projects. I've had some fun here, and learned a little along the way. See you on the flip side...

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Old 04-16-2009, 10:16 PM   #2
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Go have a nice cup of hot cocoa. You'll feel better soon.

Hey, I have to say. It's weird, but I have been feeling quite the same lately. You probably didn't notice but I hardly post here lately. I check in all the time, but rarely post.
Either it's that there really are more folks asking how to do things when they have absolutely no clue what they are doing, or maybe I am just noticing it more.
Maybe it is something in the air. I have gotten real cynical about all this stuff and people's attitudes about it. Maybe it's the slow work on all of our parts that's bringing it out on both sides of the argument?
Who knows, but I can understand where you are coming from.

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Old 04-16-2009, 10:30 PM   #3
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I handed him a bill for all my time except 1 hour. That was his discount. He scoffed. Got even more pissy and tried to chisel it down even more. Guess what? I didn't budge.
Stick to your guns. Good for you. You have been a voice of reason here for a long while, and I hope you don't quit here because of a douche homeowner. I remember a friend who did a job for a guy who didn't like the price. My friend says: "Well, you show me which parts are too expensive and I'll take them out."

I agree that there are many projects here that people should not be undertaking. All we can do is steer them in the right direction.
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Old 04-16-2009, 10:33 PM   #4
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You probably didn't notice but I hardly post here lately. I check in all the time, but rarely post.
I did notice. Hope you'll get around more. I took a long break myself.
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Old 04-16-2009, 10:36 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by InPhase277 View Post
I handed him a bill for all my time except 1 hour. That was his discount. He scoffed. Got even more pissy and tried to chisel it down even more. Guess what? I didn't budge.
Good for you! Your a highly skilled professional; and based on everything I know about you, I am sure your level of workmanship is very high. You clearly have a high level of integrity that many lack.

There are too many hacks out there doing sub par work in every field. Anyone that is lucky enough to hire you should be happy to pay you for your time. I honestly think, many times the cheapest penny pinching customers are the very worst customers you can have, many are not loyal, are ungrateful and don't even generate referrals.

Keep charging what your worth, (maybe that is even more than what you charge now), and work with the customers that are willing and able to pay for the quality of service you provide.

Take Care;
Jamie
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Old 04-16-2009, 10:40 PM   #6
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InPhase277, You did make one mistake the 1 hour discount you should have charged 1 hour more because he "helped".
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Old 04-16-2009, 10:52 PM   #7
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The vast majority of consumers get most of their education from: their parents/in-laws/siblings/neighbors or my favorite the Friend of a Friend (FOAF). Not to mention 'reality television', wikipedia, or The Internet.

Sadly, any or all of the above, gets more respect and bears more authority than the opinion of any licensed and certified contractor/plumber/electrician/inspector.

What's the take home lesson? I don't know. But here's a little pat on the back
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Old 04-16-2009, 11:40 PM   #8
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I completely understand what you are ranting about. I am a professional mechanic, and I encounter this type of person at least once a week. I went to a local print shop and had a sign printed.it reads:

Due to the number of people offering to assist me in my job, I have developed a new pricing scale.

1. If you leave me alone and let me do it, it costs $15 an hour
2. If you buy the parts, it costs 25
3. If you tell me how to do it, it costs double
4. If you help, it costs $350 an hour, plus lunch.

So far, no one has helped me, of even offered.
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Old 04-17-2009, 09:29 AM   #9
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InPhase:

I totally understand and agree with what you are saying, but this is a "DIY" chatroom for DIY'ers, so that is in general what you get here. I do not post much but I do read often.

Much of what you stated is very true but as with many occupations in this country, the few have ruined it for the many. The people like you that do take pride in your work are well worth the money. However, I have seen some "qualified" and "ceritified" workers do some pretty shoddy work for a ton of money.

When I dug into my basement project, I saw many things with electrical that was pretty sad from "professionals' that built this house 10 years ago.

For many DIYers we have the ability to spend much more time on our projects. In my case, I ran a 100 amp sub panel from my garage main to my basement and wired the whole basement. It took me 4 months. Why because I love doing it. I had it inspected and the inspector said he wished he would see more work done like mine. Clean, organized, not one cable twisted, well planned, and well exceeded code (which is the minimum anyway). Same result from the building inspector for framing.

I never have been trained, never worked construction, and never wired anything in my life. I cut every board and hammered every nail and it was because of books, forums, internet, NEC 2008 code book, and Building code books.

My cost is material and a some books. I don't count my time because it has been a blast.

As with you in your work, there are many DIY that take extreme pride in their work and many do value the information that many of you provide and we thank all of you for that.
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Old 04-17-2009, 09:41 AM   #10
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It took me 4 months. Why because I love doing it.
Amen, my friend. I could not transform my house into our dream by hiring people. We simply do not have the financial resources. But, I NEVER undertake any job without researching it extensively to know how to do it properly, safely and in compliance with all governing codes. When in doubt, I always run my ideas through the inspectors at our local buildings and standards department.

And I'd like to thank 277 and all the other regular professionals who have kindly offered their time and experience to help me understand the NEC to the degree that I do (and I'm still/always learning).

Jimmy
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Old 04-17-2009, 10:11 AM   #11
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Damn all that. Then I and others volunteer here pro bono, and I read threads all the time from hacks that ask questions and don't really want the answer, but instead just want to hear what they want. Or they spend $40,000 on a kitchen remodel, but can't afford the right range cord, etc.

Good luck with all your projects. I've had some fun here, and learned a little along the way. See you on the flip side...
There are some people who don't want and can't be helped, they just want approval. This is nothing new. You are just encountering more of this and the chiselers and you are discouraged.

Sorry you feel this way, but don't let a few bad apples get you down.
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Old 04-17-2009, 11:31 AM   #12
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All I know is that I appreciate you, your knowledge, and your time. As I am sure others on this site do. I understand your frustration as well as the frustration of other pros on this site but I sincerely hope that when things calm down for you you would reconsider and not leave the site. It took me a long time to find this site and I love it. I have posted before at my amazement of the knowledge that people freely share here as well as sharing their time. Before finding this site I swore that all electricians took a course on which they were taught how to predict a doomsday scenario to anyone asking questions about electricity. I could just never get any answers. I have learned a lot here and am willing to learn a lot more. All this is possible because of people like InPhase, Speedy, Scuba, 220, Jamie, RSG, just to name a few who are always willing to share their knowledge and time. I admire this quality about you guys and hope that you can stick around for as long as possible. Thanks for your time.
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Old 04-17-2009, 11:56 AM   #13
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Don't leave Inphase... you are one of the few who both knows his s**T and explains things well. Having to deal with lousy customers is part of what we have to do, but for every A-whole, there are 10 who really appreciate what we do.
As far as the DIYers that are only looking for approval, they are always gonna be around sites like this. By and large, this is one of the better DIY sites around, due mostly to people like you, Petey, Stubbie, and others that try to lend a hand whenever possible and do it in a professional, courteous manner (well Petey isn't always courteous, but he's from NY )
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Old 04-17-2009, 12:13 PM   #14
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I am just a noob with no real expertise at all. I come here to learn, and sometimes I ask questions. But even I GET frustrated reading all the questions that are asked, over and over again.

So I commend all you experts who have the patience to answer these questions time and time again. And if you have had enough of the crap, I can understand that completely.

But know this: YOUR EXPERTISE AND CONTRIBUTIONS ARE APPRECIATED BY MOST OF US. I don't think you guys hear that enough.

So here is my Thank YOU.
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Old 04-17-2009, 12:23 PM   #15
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I just wish people would so much as search the forum for their topic. I don't know how many times I too have seen things repeated, ad nauseam.

My boilerplate post on the HVAC forum is to "search the forum for X, Y, and Z".

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