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Old 08-13-2012, 10:35 AM   #16
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my electrician walked out on me


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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.

Man. I was so on your side until the no written contract. You screwed your self, not the electrician or your friend.

I would still speak to an attorney about the ORGINAL deal you guys had.

Way off base. You can't say he is a "lowball-the-bid-to-get-the-job-then-gouge-later-to-make-up-for-it" scenarios when you are the one who Ok'ed the ad ons.

Please tell me you honestly didn't think he would do the extra work for free.

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Old 08-13-2012, 10:56 AM   #17
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my electrician walked out on me


Electricians live for jobs they know they'll get extras for things missed on the prints. The profit margin is small on most bids. The money's made on the extras
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Old 08-13-2012, 11:00 AM   #18
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The money's made on the extras
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Old 08-13-2012, 11:00 AM   #19
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Every business gives an itemized bill, even hospitals. .
My dentists bills say filled cavity, tooth number XX. $350.00

Not much of a breakdown if you ask me.

I have not seen a car repair bill with a detailed breakdown either.
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Old 08-13-2012, 11:03 AM   #20
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my electrician walked out on me


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Man. I was so on your side until the no written contract. You screwed your self, not the electrician or your friend.

I would still speak to an attorney about the ORGINAL deal you guys had.

Way off base. You can't say he is a "lowball-the-bid-to-get-the-job-then-gouge-later-to-make-up-for-it" scenarios when you are the one who Ok'ed the ad ons.

Please tell me you honestly didn't think he would do the extra work for free.
yes, you are absolutely right... i screwed myself by not having the written contract and having him pull the permit... now i'm left to fend for myself as it doesn't appear any person in the trade is willing to help... lesson learned...

i thought there was a very small chance that he might just throw that in since he was such a close friend of a buddy, but i was totally fine with paying him for the extras... i simply wanted him to tell me how he got to $6k... is that something to walk out on?
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Old 08-13-2012, 11:06 AM   #21
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my electrician walked out on me


I dont know about walking out but if a friend of a friend agreed to have me do a job for $10k (obviously a round non itemized figure) then turned around and wanted line item detail on 6k of additional work, id be pissed...

In my profession (accounting/finance) here is about as detailed as we get:

Project $10,000
Additional Work (always clients fault) $6,000
Due now $16,000
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Old 08-13-2012, 11:07 AM   #22
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my electrician walked out on me


Electricians live for jobs they know they'll get lots of extras. Much of the time profit margin is low on initial bids. Extras are a way to make a bit of money. To be honest the price was fair. Asking someone for an itemized bill is crazy. You have parts labour and material. If you want to know how many staples were used your nuts. Hiring a guy to do your whole house with no contract and for cash..... Also crazy, he's probably doing the job as a side job from his regular employment. You should have taken a few bids. Red flags go off when someone comes in way under everyone else. As harsh as it sounds, you were trying to save a buck and cut a few corners and got screwed.
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Old 08-13-2012, 11:09 AM   #23
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my electrician walked out on me


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yes, you are absolutely right... i screwed myself by not having the written contract and having him pull the permit... now i'm left to fend for myself as it doesn't appear any person in the trade is willing to help... lesson learned...

i thought there was a very small chance that he might just throw that in since he was such a close friend of a buddy, but i was totally fine with paying him for the extras... i simply wanted him to tell me how he got to $6k... is that something to walk out on?
No, he shouldn't have walked out. I agree with you there. It's not that no ones willing to help. It's that there's nothing you can do about it at this point. He's got you by the proverbial short and curlies
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Old 08-13-2012, 11:10 AM   #24
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my electrician walked out on me


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My dentists bills say filled cavity, tooth number XX. $350.00

Not much of a breakdown if you ask me.

I have not seen a car repair bill with a detailed breakdown either.
Did you ask for itemized bill from the doctor? They are legally required in many states, CA and FL off the top of my head, to issue one. Many states say a doctor can not list a charge for "Other" or "Misc" . Everything must be accounted for.


Did you ask the mechanic for breakdown? I have and have received it.

Anyone who thinks a customer should not be made aware of where his money is going should not be in business. I am the customer. How a business can think they can just give a single line bill and think that is fair is crazy to me.
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Old 08-13-2012, 11:16 AM   #25
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my electrician walked out on me


I took a Karass Negotiating Course. They taught us:

1. If your the buyer, always get a cost breakdown
2. If you are the seller, never provide one

There is little upside to providing one and there is the deadweight loss of compiling it. Whether its an electrician, mechanic, or CPA the time it takes to itemize is either eaten by all clients in the form of higher labor rates or is eaten by the professional in terms of unbillable time.

When I worked at a CPA Firm we had to break down our time in 15 minute increments. But we still sent 1 line bills.

When determining if a bid is reasonable, the best way is competing bids, as already mentioned. Even with a cost breakdown, that doesnt tell you if $100 for a SP switch is high low or whatever.

Kevin

Last edited by kevinp22; 08-13-2012 at 11:20 AM.
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Old 08-13-2012, 11:29 AM   #26
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my electrician walked out on me


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...Anyone who thinks a customer should not be made aware of where his money is going should not be in business. I am the customer. How a business can think they can just give a single line bill and think that is fair is crazy to me.
Well ask for an itemized bill BEFORE any work is done. Simple as that.

Then the time it takes to count staples and romex clamps can be added to the cost as well.

And you can be sure someone who wants an itemized bill might just go through and count every single staple and part used. Then make a big deal about it if the count was wrong. So I would add extra on for "aggravation"!

Note federal and other government agencies can place all sorts of paperwork and other requirements on contractors. I have heard of some projects where NO ONE bid on them due to all the hassle. Just not worth it. Those who do bid jack up the price.
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Old 08-13-2012, 11:33 AM   #27
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Note federal and other government agencies can place all sorts of paperwork and other requirements on contractors. I have heard of some projects where NO ONE bid on them due to all the hassle. Just not worth it. Those who do bid jack up the price.
I've seen this more times than I can count. So the question is, how do you line item "dealing with bullstuff"? It's easier to just walk away...
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Old 08-13-2012, 12:35 PM   #28
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Well ask for an itemized bill BEFORE any work is done. Simple as that.

Then the time it takes to count staples and romex clamps can be added to the cost as well.

And you can be sure someone who wants an itemized bill might just go through and count every single staple and part used. Then make a big deal about it if the count was wrong. So I would add extra on for "aggravation"!

Note federal and other government agencies can place all sorts of paperwork and other requirements on contractors. I have heard of some projects where NO ONE bid on them due to all the hassle. Just not worth it. Those who do bid jack up the price.

Funny. I've never had anyone turn down my money once I asked.
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Old 08-13-2012, 12:38 PM   #29
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I've seen this more times than I can count. So the question is, how do you line item "dealing with bullstuff"? It's easier to just walk away...

There is always someone who will do it.

There seems to be a misunderstanding on exactly what a customer-who is paying you-deserves. No wonder so many people cite customer service as important.
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Old 08-13-2012, 01:23 PM   #30
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There is always someone who will do it.
That contradicts many of the bids I oversaw for cities that had ridiculous "breakdown" requests. I've had multiple bids that were not bid upon because they asked for so much breakdown.

One such case, which was the worst I ever saw, was the city broke down the scope of work into each individual item that was to be purchased (ex. toilet paper dispenser, towel bar, door knob, etc.) on a $4 million job....their reasoning was they wanted to see exactly where people were bidding too high and be able to take away certain things if they wanted.

When they called all the firms that came to the pre-bid they all responded pretty much the same in that such bid formats were a waste of time and budget suicide...essentially they could have reduced the scope to one toilet paper holder...how do you incorporate O&P into bids like that without it being a "ludicrous price"?

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