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Old 08-13-2012, 12:17 AM   #1
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my electrician walked out on me


hi...

my electrician walked out on me because i asked him to itemize everything since i wasn't happy about his "extras" that he's charging me for... i already paid him $9500 of the original $10k bid but he only finished about 80% of the work...

there were a number of extras that he recommended as well as some that i requested... he decided to jack up the bid to $16.3k... which included a charge of $1650 for cat6 wiring to 6 locations, $500 for a dedicated 15a circuit for a whirlpool bath... there were 7 more switches, 13 more receptacles, 5 more recessed lights, 16 more lighting locations and 1 more smoke detector... is that $6k worth of "extras"?

anyway, i've decided to go with someone else to finish up but so far nobody wants to finish up others' work... worst case i'm thinking is i'll do it myself... i already wired a 15a dedicated circuit for my whirlpool tub with no issues so i think i'm up to the challenge...

i just need some guidance to make sure i don't electrocute myself...

here's a photo of the panel... what's going in the circled area?


also, other than the hots not being connected to the breakers (for the most part) does anyone see anything amiss with this panel?


thanks
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Old 08-13-2012, 12:36 AM   #2
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my electrician walked out on me


For 42 extra openings, that's about $142 per. Doesn't seem that far out of whack. Maybe a little high, but I don't know the going rate and at what point the extras were authorized. Were they fished in?

Just so you know, when someone gives you a quote for electrical work, it usually is not itemized. You do not need to see his profit margin. If you agreed to the extras, you should pay the man. Did he give you a price? Did you sign something? Who pulled the electrical permit?
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Old 08-13-2012, 05:29 AM   #3
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there were a number of extras that he recommended as well as some that i requested... he decided to jack up the bid to $16.3k...
This statement speaks volumes.
You added a BUNCH of extras, yet it is he who is "jacking up" the price???



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....which included a charge of $1650 for cat6 wiring to 6 locations, $500 for a dedicated 15a circuit for a whirlpool bath... there were 7 more switches, 13 more receptacles, 5 more recessed lights, 16 more lighting locations and 1 more smoke detector... is that $6k worth of "extras"?
Impossible to say from here. We don't even know your location.
Some of it sounds kind of high, but overall the bottom line price is not that far out of whack.

Just HOW big is this house with that many extras???
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Old 08-13-2012, 06:40 AM   #4
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i already wired a 15a dedicated circuit for my whirlpool tub with no issues so i think i'm up to the challenge...
Did you install a GFI for the tub? How about bonding the motor? Are you sure 15A is the correct size circuit for the tub?
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Old 08-13-2012, 06:55 AM   #5
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my electrician walked out on me


Every business gives an itemized bill, even hospitals. He wasn't asking for their costs, it sounds like he was asking for what the total was. Every mechanic, plumber etc.. I have ever used lists "Labor" as an expense. A customer has a right to see exactly what he is paying for and exactly where that money is going. No, he doesn't need to see his margin but most customers don't care. We agree at a price and go from there.

Is this amount high? Beats me. Location is key. My guy came out on a Friday evening to rewire a light, crawled through the attic to do it. Couldn't finish on Friday and came back Saturday morning. Total cost to me: $315.

If it was me, I would check the contract. See what it calls for. If he is in violation I would take it to small claims court for what I owed him and the amount I paid the other guy to finish up.
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Old 08-13-2012, 07:34 AM   #6
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my electrician walked out on me


If he's fishing wires through drywall that doesn't seem all that bad really. The cat6 cable is worth a fortune just for the cable. There's not much you can do about the "extras" but you should be able to get him to finish the original scope of work covered by the contract.


You generally have to really p!ss someone off for them to take a chance at getting nailed for breach of contract. I suspect more to the story.
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Old 08-13-2012, 08:47 AM   #7
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I don't think it's that high. You added a whole lot of extra stuff that you personally don't believe is all that much. Can lights and CAT 6 cabling are expensive.

Per your circled area...What do you think that is? To me it looks like a ground wire going to the ground rod (acceptable), and a ground wire going to your water main (acceptable but should be marked green). I don't know for sure but those two larger wires look like they leave the panel and that would be my guess. You can see on the right hand side of panel a little solid copper piece that attaches to the "Neutral Buss" and the panel. That tells me that your electrician bonded (required) at the panel. Bonding is required but does not have to be at panel, it could be at the meter.
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:28 AM   #8
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my electrician walked out on me


thanks for the replies all...

- 2300sf 4br/3ba/2-car garage/2-story colonial, new construction, unfinished basement, walls completely open
- location: nj
- my electrician wanted to do a cash deal for $10.1k so he said no contract
- i pulled a permit as the homeowner... he's not on it but he did the 200a service upgrade and he is on that permit...
- after we agreed on price he started the work... a week goes by then he tells me about all the extras that are required by code... at this point he was encouraging me to do more since "you can do whatever you want, the walls are open"... for some reason, i thought this would be included in the original price... obviously i was so wrong...
- this electrician happens to be a very close friend of a buddy of mine which is why this is so disappointing...
- i asked 3 times for the breakdown which he said he'd get for me but he kept dancing around the issue and only came up with the few prices i listed at which point he brought up leaving the job
- in my rough calculations, the extras should have been at most $3k since it was about 25% more work based on the original estimate

should i just stop asking about the breakdown and cough up the $6k? i'm told that this was one of your typical "lowball-the-bid-to-get-the-job-then-gouge-later-to-make-up-for-it" scenarios... is this way off base?

it's interesting to get everyone's perspective on this matter...

thanks again.

Last edited by danxp; 08-13-2012 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:28 AM   #9
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Maybe we just work it differently.

20 recepts....$2000
6 cat6 home runs...$1600
7 single pole switches....$700

That is as itemizes as we get.
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:31 AM   #10
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Maybe we just work it differently.

20 recepts....$2000
6 cat6 home runs...$1600
7 single pole switches....$700

That is as itemizes as we get.
I should say that a T&M job would be done differently.
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:38 AM   #11
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Did you install a GFI for the tub? How about bonding the motor? Are you sure 15A is the correct size circuit for the tub?
the tub's specs call for a 15a dedicated circuit...
http://www.us.kohler.com/onlinecatal.../1041915_4.pdf

i used 14/2 romex for the dedicated circuit and will have the gfi put in after the rough electrical inspection... will that part pass if i have the gfi receptacle installed right now or does it need to be unattached?

thanks.
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Old 08-13-2012, 10:06 AM   #12
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I would get pissed if someone asked me to itemize parts for all that work "after the fact"! That is because there are so many little parts - staples to staple down wire, romex clamps, wire nuts, etc. None of those are very expensive by themselves, but all those little parts add up!

And them measuring each and every wire run and how much wire used for each would be a LOT of work!

I imagine you could spend a half a day documenting everything and adding up all the parts used. So I would want to charge more for just having to do that as it would take more of my time.

Then there are other hidden costs which would be a pain to factor in. Like drill bits which get wrecked doing the work. An electric drill breaks or needs new batteries - that can be a $300 expense. Other tools have wear and tear. The truck or van used may have needed a repair for $800. Or new tires. Not to mention other expenses like insurance, rent of business property and expenses associated with that. Of course all that stuff would need to be spread over all jobs in a year.

What would be MUCH easier would be to "ballpark" all those expenses and sort of know how much needs to be charged for each day of work to cover all those expenses - along with a ballpark estimate of how much the materials will cost. It also takes time to go buy this stuff. One store might be out of stock for an item, so you need to go to another store - you can waste half a day buying materials.

Then there may be other jobs waiting to be done after this job is done. Maybe they do not want itemized bills and are "nicer" customers. Maybe the electrician estimated when he would be done with this job and could get their work done? Now he is being placed in a position where more time will be needed to complete the current job. So the choice is staying, itemizing, and arguing about price. Or going to the next job (on the date promised) and not having to put up with this nonsense.

Another factor is what type of work would the electrician prefer to do? Electrical work? Or frustrating paperwork? If he hates paperwork and can easily choose, well there you go! (Or there he goes...)
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Old 08-13-2012, 10:13 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danxp View Post
- after we agreed on price he started the work... a week goes by then he tells me about all the extras that are required by code... at this point he was encouraging me to do more since "you can do whatever you want, the walls are open"... for some reason, i thought this would be included in the original price... obviously i was so wrong...
.
This seems to be the heart of the problem right here. You thought you could upgrade to a loaded model for the same cost as the base model. If the job was bid based on a set of prints that had errors or lacked something the code requires I don't see that as the electricians fault. Had they corrected the prints and another contractor bid them as drawn the prices would have been greatly different and the more careful contractor could have lost the bid when the homeowners only looked at prices.
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Old 08-13-2012, 10:26 AM   #14
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You're asking for an itemized breakdown for work that you don't have a contract for and are paying in cash to your buddies friend. No wonder he's giving you a hard time, you're kinda giving him one.

That pricing doesn't seem too ridiculous, but may be a bit on the high side. But, then again, they are add ons, which sometimes carries a premium for a variety of reasons. Is all that extra work backing up his schedules for other jobs? stuff like that...

Sounds like your best approach is to call your buddy and him over, get some steaks and beers, and talk it out and find a happy medium (if there is one to be had).
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Old 08-13-2012, 10:28 AM   #15
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I would get pissed if someone asked me to itemize parts for all that work "after the fact"! That is because there are so many little parts - staples to staple down wire, romex clamps, wire nuts, etc. None of those are very expensive by themselves, but all those little parts add up!

And them measuring each and every wire run and how much wire used for each would be a LOT of work!

I imagine you could spend a half a day documenting everything and adding up all the parts used. So I would want to charge more for just having to do that as it would take more of my time.

Then there are other hidden costs which would be a pain to factor in. Like drill bits which get wrecked doing the work. An electric drill breaks or needs new batteries - that can be a $300 expense. Other tools have wear and tear. The truck or van used may have needed a repair for $800. Or new tires. Not to mention other expenses like insurance, rent of business property and expenses associated with that. Of course all that stuff would need to be spread over all jobs in a year.

What would be MUCH easier would be to "ballpark" all those expenses and sort of know how much needs to be charged for each day of work to cover all those expenses - along with a ballpark estimate of how much the materials will cost. It also takes time to go buy this stuff. One store might be out of stock for an item, so you need to go to another store - you can waste half a day buying materials.

Then there may be other jobs waiting to be done after this job is done. Maybe they do not want itemized bills and are "nicer" customers. Maybe the electrician estimated when he would be done with this job and could get their work done? Now he is being placed in a position where more time will be needed to complete the current job. So the choice is staying, itemizing, and arguing about price. Or going to the next job (on the date promised) and not having to put up with this nonsense.

Another factor is what type of work would the electrician prefer to do? Electrical work? Or frustrating paperwork? If he hates paperwork and can easily choose, well there you go! (Or there he goes...)

So you bid jobs without having any idea how much material you will need?
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