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Old 02-28-2012, 03:07 PM   #1
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Electrician materials markup


I am hoping to hear from some professionals about this issue.

My husband and I hired an electrician to add some outlets and new fixtures in our house. We agreed to an hourly rate. The electrician estimated it would take one day. It took two days. Materials were not discussed. At the agreed upon price of $65.00 per hour, we know what our labor costs are: $1040.00.

Our bill is over $2400. Can any professionals comment on how the materials for the work below came to be $1400?

-8 regular, inside outlets (we supplied the face plates)
-3 outside outlets
-4 boxes for one new light and three smoke detectors. (we bought and installed the light and smoke detectors)
-enough wiring for all that in a 1400 sq ft, 2 story and a basement house.

I am aware that contractors markup materials and I have no issue with that. I am curious if the professionals on this site feel like the materials charges for this job are customary or over the top.

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Old 02-28-2012, 03:32 PM   #2
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Electrician materials markup


Was this electrician working alone or was there a helper or a second electrician? That would mean an hourly rate for each.

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Old 02-28-2012, 03:38 PM   #3
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His helper was my husband. So, just one paid electrician.
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Old 02-28-2012, 03:47 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashebrook View Post
His helper was my husband. So, just one paid electrician.
Maybe that's why he charged so much!
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Old 02-28-2012, 03:52 PM   #5
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Seriously, that does seem like a lot. Maybe you should ask the electrician.
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Old 02-28-2012, 04:06 PM   #6
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Electrician materials markup


Time and materials is how the cost is usually figured in. If the sparky has been doing it for a long time, they usually know what problems they may run into on various jobs. Btw, it is an estimate, it is not written in stone, until the job is done.
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Old 02-28-2012, 04:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HouseHelper
Seriously, that does seem like a lot. Maybe you should ask the electrician.
How much did the hubby get in the way, or slow down the job? Did they run imto problems along the way?
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Old 02-28-2012, 04:07 PM   #8
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Electrician materials markup


I canít comment on residential, but when I used to wire machines. The company I worked for would bid on the job for a flat rate. Any engineering changed were billed time and materials. T&M which what we called time and money, T&M always cost more!

Writerís information is for discussion purpose only and should be confirmed by an independent source.
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Old 02-28-2012, 04:32 PM   #9
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Electrician materials markup


I definitely get your point about my husband!

We are waiting for the electrician to return our call. In the meantime, I appreciate any feedback from professionals about what is customary.

From reading the electrical pros board, I understand that markups are large.

But if my estimate of the materials from home depot is in the right ballpark, we are talking a 500% markup.
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Old 02-28-2012, 04:33 PM   #10
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To be fair to my husband, he made things faster. He was just the grunt getting things from the truck, running up and down the stairs, and passing things.
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Old 02-28-2012, 04:41 PM   #11
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That is a very high bill for the work being done. Do you have any idea how much wire was used? Were there new breakers supplied and installed? Were permits pulled?

But, either way, you should ask your electrician for a bill with a list of materials used (he should have already included this with the original bill). This is a good practice so that the customer knows exactly what is being used and what is being charged for.
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Old 02-28-2012, 04:48 PM   #12
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Permits were not pulled.

I do not believe new breakers were supplied or installed. We upgraded the service last year, so we have a whole new box.

When I get home, I am going to do an assessment of the amount of wiring. This house is only 1400 square feet with a 700 sq ft footprint. We can't be talking HUGE amounts of wire.
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Old 02-28-2012, 05:09 PM   #13
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Electrician materials markup


I really appreciate the input that you all are providing.

I thought it would be helpful to say that we are in the DC metro area to give a fuller picture.
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Old 02-28-2012, 05:13 PM   #14
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I'm also curious as to why this job took 2 days. Where were the 8 receptacles located that he installed? And where were the outside receptacles located? Did he have to go through a lot of finished walls to install the new wiring? Was there patching involved?
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Old 02-28-2012, 05:18 PM   #15
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The new outlets were in the living room and three bedrooms. This house is from 1939 and had very few outlets. For the bedroom outlets, he dropped the wires from the attic through finished walls. There were very few cuts made in the walls and we patched what there were.

The outside receptacle went through the masonry basement walls so that we now have two outlets near our front door and one near the backdoor.

The timeframe might be a problem, but at least I know the actual number of hours and what the hourly rate was. The $1400 for materials is almost a complete mystery.

Someone has just explained to me that the supply shops where many electricians shop charge a lot more than the big box stores. Perhaps that is true, but could it totally explain this $1400 materials bill?

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