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Old 04-23-2007, 05:49 PM   #16
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need to finish unlabeled rough-in


First, industry standard for T&M jobs is per man hour, not per hour. Your ignorance about industry standard is not the fault of the electrician. It is your fault for not knowing what you got into.

Second, you are lucky to get a discount on the helper. Some shops charge the same for both men.

Third, If the men were slacking off and took a couple extra hours you have a claim. If they were working on the job steady, or running for matierial, or answering your questions, then you have no claim at all.

Fourth, all those twists and caps are the lables for the wires. Another electrician could likely pick up on the system fast. The fact that you feel hosed and don't want to hire these guys to come back does not mean they did bad work. They left the stuff just as they should, so that any qualified person could trim the job without ringing out wires.

Fifth and last. Devices do not go in till finish, or you would be complaining about the paint and stuff all over the devices.

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Old 04-23-2007, 06:37 PM   #17
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it's customers like this that make me want to charge everyone double. And I actually do if you have worked on it yourself first. go ahead and just start hooking up wires ignorantly...home you have a place to live afterward
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Old 04-23-2007, 09:49 PM   #18
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Yeesh.

Did not say I got hosed, said I wasn't sure if I got hosed.

As a layperson, there is no way for me to divine that when someone says 'per hour' it is 'per man hour.' I would have been less upset if it was clearly communicated as I would at least have known what to expect. I don't want to hire them back because I want to work with people that communicate clearly and do not expect the people who hire them to magically be familiar with "industry standards". I also have concerns that the person doing the estimating does not accurately assess how long it's going to take, I'm assuming this is because of eternal optimism.

And I'm sure the guys did great work. I have not and would not say otherwise. It just did not meet my expectations regarding the level of finish, that I had after their boss came to assess the job before setting them to work; and it for sure did not meet the expectations I had after speaking with the boss, regarding the cost.

Anyway, apparently I got into the wrong chatroom. I was looking for a chatroom for DIY folks, not a chatroom full of cranky electricians. Thanks for all who gave good tips!! Best wishes...
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Old 04-24-2007, 07:10 AM   #19
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It just did not meet my expectations regarding the level of finish, that I had after their boss came to assess the job before setting them to work;
This is a rough in. That typically means boxes, wire and recessed cans. Even then, sometimes we just leave whips out for certain things.
What did you expect done???




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Anyway, apparently I got into the wrong chatroom. I was looking for a chatroom for DIY folks, not a chatroom full of cranky electricians.
A textbook reply from someone who is not getting the answers they want.
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Old 04-24-2007, 09:11 AM   #20
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When they quoted you, did they tell you how many men would be on the job? If they told simply - the job will take 4 hours to complete, then that is perhaps a little misleading. IF they told you that it would take 4 hours and that two guys would be on the job, then its surprising to me that you wouldn't know that in any trade jobs are billed per man-houir. The assumption is, it takes half the time. If they told you that two guys can do your rough-in and it would take 4 hours - then the assumption across any trade in any industry is that it would take one man 8 hours. Most people know this, if you didn't, and they did tell you it would be 4 hours and they didn't tell you one guy would do the work, then you probably should have insisted on a clearer explaination of charges. If you are not familiar with the way that a company charges you, whatever you are buying, you should ask for a bottom line. Instead of accepting that $80/hr is the rate and the time it will take is 4 hours, you should have said something like - "so, it will be $320?".

As for the condition they left the wiring in - they did what It sounds like they were asked to do - rough in. They cannot assume that a homeowner will be the ultimate terminator of the work, they left it so that any qualified electrician, themselves included, could finish the work. Asking them to label the wires for a homeowner to finish is not only above and beyond the entire industry expectations and common practice - but it is actually somewhat a open door for liability if you happen to run a nice steady current across your heart because it looked as though the electrician made it simple and suggestive for you do your own work. In fact - seeing you say now that you just want to start attaching wires and see what happens kinda makes me think they did the right thing by NOT facilitating you to take action. I dont' mean to offend you but you do need to respect the dangers of electrical work and take precautions that are necessary.

I just hope you use this as a learning experience and not be soured toward tradesmen and tradeswomen. When you deal with the trades, its really up to the consumer to make certain that everything is clear and they understand what is being done. There is no charge for asking questions before the work has begun, so to safeguard yourself ask as many as necessary that you are 100% clear. Its a little different than department stores and such, where the store has the responsability to provide every detail.
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Old 04-24-2007, 09:46 AM   #21
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Looks like the best is really,

Either do all by yourself

or let them do all...

I do all my basement wiring include 20 can lights, bath fan, washer, dryer, large number of outlets... all myself, no problem and pass inspection... (except one minor problem, or someone think it is major, one of the switch is hidden in one of the drywall, although this is really drywalling problem rather than wiring problem, and I left it alone for that particular utility light)...
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Old 04-24-2007, 11:21 AM   #22
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I was not told it was going to be a rough-in. I told the guy I talked to (owner of the company) I wanted switches put in for each item and where. He did not mention that there were going to be no switches and that it would only be a rough in. So my disappointment is not unrealistic, given the communication I received.

When he quoted us the hourly cost it was 85/hour, not 85 per man hour; and at no time did he tell us he was bringing two guys. In fact, I was surprised when he came out, that he had two guys with him, as I had (probably naively) thought he was doing the work himself. He did not at that time, either, qualify that it was per man hour. He then set them to work and left. I still was under the impression that his original statement was correct and had no reason to even suspect that it was not. I figured he probably just wasn't paying his guys much. I suppose the upside of all of this is that he is probably (hopefully) paying his guys more than I originally supposed.

As for electrical work - I have a great deal of respect for electricity (please believe me in this) and always do any type of construction work with a maximum of safety precautions. I wouldn't dream of going at this half-assed, and as with any type of new work I undertake, will make sure I fully know what I'm doing before starting the project. In addition, I only undertake projects I feel confident are within my level of skill. And yes, I do realize these statements are going to be considered an open invitation by some, to tell me that I'm an idiot and half-assed for even attempting it (I can see the quotes popping up even now), but some people just live to be insulting and beyond those advising caution (which I fully respect and appreciate), I suspect that those who cross the line into insult, do so because they feel their jobs are threatened by some DIYer trying to do a little something on her own.

I do have to say to KUI****G and a couple of the others here (I can't look back for your names without losing this reply) - I really appreciate your suggestions. As I'm doing more research and comparing what I've got to various research sources, it is all becoming much more clear how the wiring is set up, and what you said previously about the wires (one hot sometimes, one hot with switch, etc), somehow made it click. I went back in and was able to see which wires are what and to understand how/why they're set up like they are. I've got quite a bit more research to do yet as I want to make sure that I get switches that can handle the loads asked of them - I'm guessing that this varies by what is being turned on by that switch. Or maybe not, but anyway, that's my next bit of research.

So for those with tips - thank you!! For those of you advising caution, thank you also and yes, you can be assured I will go at this with full precautions and only after I feel comfortable that I've fully sussed out the situation. For those who are insulting... well, I'm sorry you feel that is a useful method of communication. A tip for you regarding effective communication styles - being insulting only pisses off the recipient and makes them completely unwilling to hear anything else you might be saying - regardless of how useful or accurate it might be. So if you want your point to get across (vs. just venting your spleen), you might want to reconsider your communication style.

Finally, just to clarify - I am not/would not say the guys doing the work did bad work - they did great work. I have every confidence in that. I'm just saying the head boss does not have the clearest communication skills and it resulted in a customer with unrealistic expectations, who ended up not satisfied. This could have been easily remedied by simply communicating more clearly. Likely he is just used to working with more experienced people than us. I am not looking to file any kind of ridiculous claim against them (as some seem to think I want) they did a good job - even if it was not communicated to me, how exactly that job was going to be different than what I asked for and how the cost was different than what I was told. I did not come on this DIY forum to complain about the work that was done, but to gain some knowledge that I can use to prepare myself so that I can go about the finish with all my facts in order and with all necessary precautions taken.
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Old 04-24-2007, 04:57 PM   #23
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Before you take any of the connections if any that were already made apart. look in the boxes and see if purhaps the only wires left unhooked are the ones that will go on the devices that need to be installed.

In a switch you can expect to find two hots and a ground. For a rec you can expect one set of wires or two plus a ground. If it is a gfi switch look for what kind of marking was used for the line side. I usually just pinch the insulation a bit with my pliers. You cant see the pinch, but you can feel it with your hands.
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Old 04-24-2007, 05:13 PM   #24
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In view of this whole thread I do feel the need to clarify some things...

1. You are the one who said, "Never mind. I'll just install the outlet, put switches on the other boxes and then turn them on to see what works. Seems the easiest plan."
That will draw a lot of negative (lack of a better word) comments from the professionals that come to this board to help the rest of us out.
Honestly, I myself could not believe someone would even think about writing a comment like that when they are asking for help.
No one wants to give someone advice and then hear that they went and hurt themselves trying to do something they weren't qualified for, or something they didn't know the risks of.
I have only been here a short time but have already seen how a lot of these guys will hold back from saying anything unless you can show that you know what your doing enough to just need a LITTLE help.
They will not tell you how to do a major electrical job if you don't know how to use a test light or a multimeter. (Nothing to do with you, just a comment) I for one respect them for that. They are honest and hard working people who don't want someones death or injury hanging over them, or the fact that someone lost their house because they encouraged someone to do something they weren't qualified for.
You should also understand that most of these people deal with this kind of stuff on a daily or weekly basis. Someone telling them that anyone can do what they are doing or that they only need them for a small part. Problem is you don't go to the bakery and ask them to just mix the dough and you'll do the rest. You shouldn't really expect that from skilled tradespeople either.
I've rambled enough. I apologize if I've offended anyone.

Good luck.
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Old 04-25-2007, 07:23 AM   #25
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This thread points out one glaring defect that quite a few contractors are guilty of: NO WRITTEN CONTRACT.

I agree that it sounds like the work was done correctly and with good workmanship but the contractors communication skills were piss-poor. This type of work is asked for frequently and pretty easily covered in a boiler plate contract, not much extra work for the contractor to do.

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Old 04-25-2007, 08:28 AM   #26
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This thread points out one glaring defect that quite a few contractors are guilty of: NO WRITTEN CONTRACT.

I agree that it sounds like the work was done correctly and with good workmanship but the contractors communication skills were piss-poor. This type of work is asked for frequently and pretty easily covered in a boiler plate contract, not much extra work for the contractor to do.

Rich
I will only slightly agree with you. If there should be a written contract - I feel that it is the ultimate responsability of the consumer to make demand. Its a natural relationship - the contractor knows what he or she is going to charge and how, the other party should make diligent effort to bring clear those intentions. If you aren't going to look out for yourself, you can't expect others to look out for you. Thats just my opinion.
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Old 05-28-2007, 06:41 PM   #27
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Mute subject at this point I am sure but why not just call and nicely ask the electrician to finish it up and get the total cost this time... I for one never want to leave behind an unhappy customer because of miscommunication/expectations on either end. Some customers tell me I over explain and some just won't ever get it but I try. I am sure most Electrical contractors work the same way. It never benefits me or the customer to instantly go on the defensive/offensive because of miscommunication just try and work it out nicely and I am sure it will be fine.

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