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Old 04-05-2007, 05:53 AM   #1
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Is this a reasonable price to wire a basement?


I'm just starting to finish my basement (about 1,000 sq. ft). I'm doing most of it myself, but want to have the electrical done by a qualified electrician. I had an estimate of $4,000, and I'm wondering if that's reasonable. Here's what 4k buys:
  • Wiring for 20 outlets
  • 3 wall sconces
  • 14 6" recessed lights
  • Prep for light over kitchen area
  • Wire 4 new circuits
  • 5-6 switches
  • Outlet in ceiling for projector
  • 110v smoke detector
If I want dimmers (which I do), I have to buy them myself. They also quoted me $375 (extra) to wire 4 recessed lights under a cabinet. Is this a reasonable price? Thanks!

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Old 04-05-2007, 10:18 AM   #2
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Is this a reasonable price to wire a basement?


get two more quotes for the exact same work and compare them. Its WAY WAY expensive compared to a DIY job. It may be in line for what pros charge in your area. I assume that price would cover all materials, rough ins and final trim out. Your fixtures alone could cost that much if you went high end. Well, not really but you could easily spend $100 per recessed light and $200+ for a wall sconce if you wanted to. Or you could spend $15 per recessed light and $10 per sconce. Make sure you get apples to apples price comparisons.

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Old 06-04-2007, 03:09 PM   #3
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Is this a reasonable price to wire a basement?


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get two more quotes for the exact same work and compare them. ...Make sure you get apples to apples price comparisons.
I had another electrician out over the weekend. His quote was more reasonable $2,595. He quoted $35 per opening (i.e. switch, plug, light would be 3 openings). $70 per 6" can. If I want dimmers, I buy them. I also buy the wall sconces, and overhead light for the kitchen area. He was $1,400 cheaper, but I'm still going to get one more estimate.

If anyone has any thoughts/advice on this I'd appreciate it. Thanks!

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Old 06-04-2007, 03:18 PM   #4
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Is this a reasonable price to wire a basement?


If you can finish the basement yourself... you can also do the electrical yourself... my advice is electrical is kind of easier compare to the drywall mudding... and is more fun to do ... and you have the freedom to do it whatever way you want rather than tire by a contract.... I spent approx 1 month to 2 months to wire my whole basement part time... solely base on my high school physics plus the HD wiring book.... If I do it again.. I will for sure do the electrical part... and sub out the painful mudding part...

and I did going through appling the electrical permit...
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Old 06-04-2007, 03:40 PM   #5
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Is this a reasonable price to wire a basement?


Thoughts....
Are both companies licenced, insured, etc?
Are both companies going to pull a permit and have work inspected?
Are the bids for the EXACT same work? Same # circuits, etc? Are you comparing apples to apples?
Is one an established company, been around awhile, and will still be around when you need service done, warranty, etc, and the other company new, or a couple guys working out of a pickup?
References?



I think my point is that, make sure that price is not the only important thing. Please see below on my signature line!
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Old 06-04-2007, 03:44 PM   #6
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Is this a reasonable price to wire a basement?


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Originally Posted by KUI****G View Post
If you can finish the basement yourself... you can also do the electrical yourself... my advice is electrical is kind of easier compare to the drywall mudding... and is more fun to do ... and you have the freedom to do it whatever way you want rather than tire by a contract.... I spent approx 1 month to 2 months to wire my whole basement part time... solely base on my high school physics plus the HD wiring book.... If I do it again.. I will for sure do the electrical part... and sub out the painful mudding part...

and I did going through appling the electrical permit...
K,

You need to STOP giving this kind of advice out to every DIYer that asks about electrical work in their home. In many, many areas, it is required BY LAW, that a properly state licensed electrican must do the work (on various remodeling jobs, including basement remodeling). In my area, this is ''code required'' and enforced.

It may be Ok in the area of Canada where you are from, but when you tell someone on here to do it, in a locality where it is illegal for such, you are encouraging them to break their local laws and regulations.

Please be more discerning.
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Old 06-04-2007, 03:56 PM   #7
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Is this a reasonable price to wire a basement?


My apology..... DIY only if the law allow and you are comfortable with wiring...
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Old 06-05-2007, 05:58 AM   #8
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Is this a reasonable price to wire a basement?


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Originally Posted by JohnJ0906 View Post
Thoughts....
Are both companies licenced, insured, etc?
Are both companies going to pull a permit and have work inspected?
Are the bids for the EXACT same work? Same # circuits, etc? Are you comparing apples to apples?
Is one an established company, been around awhile, and will still be around when you need service done, warranty, etc, and the other company new, or a couple guys working out of a pickup?
References?



I think my point is that, make sure that price is not the only important thing. Please see below on my signature line!
Thanks (to everyone) for the feedback...

I noticed the 2nd estimate included 2 fewer cans (I decided I probably didn't need the extra two between the kitchen & home theater area). Since they're $70 each, I'm still comparing apples-to-apples.

Here's my plan: http://www.finishabasement.com/proje...ng_started.htm

The first electrician wanted another $400 for two lites under the cabinets in the walkup bar (dry) area.

The first company, I've used for heating & cooling for years and they've been very reasonable. I just found out they do electrical too.

The 2nd is a Master Electrician (licensed/insured) who runs the business from his home. Since he's working for himself, that's probably the main reason for the price difference. He was referred (highly recommended) to me by a friend who had him wire an upstairs addition.

I'm not a big fan of working with electricity. It scares me. My brother-in-law offered to help me with it. He's an electrical engineer (but not an electrician) and has done two of his own basements himself. I'm sure he knows what he's doing, but my gut feeling is to leave it to a pro.

Both companies recommended I pull permits, but don't require it. The problem is that if I pull permits, I need to get an egress window too. That's an extra $3-4k. Not sure I want to do that...

Thanks for the advice!

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Old 06-05-2007, 08:38 AM   #9
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Is this a reasonable price to wire a basement?


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Originally Posted by Webguy64 View Post
Thanks (to everyone) for the feedback...

Both companies recommended I pull permits, but don't require it. The problem is that if I pull permits, I need to get an egress window too. That's an extra $3-4k. Not sure I want to do that...

Thanks for the advice!
If you or your family are ever trapped in that basement during a fire, you'll wish you had spent $3-4 million on that egress window.
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Old 06-06-2007, 10:03 PM   #10
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Is this a reasonable price to wire a basement?


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Originally Posted by Webguy64 View Post
$70 per 6" can.
geez I just bought a 6-pack of 6" cans for about $70 today.... that's $12/each. At an hour install per can (IF that)... that's like makin $58/hour... forget law school, I gotta become an electrician and make some real money!

you're scared of electricity, do you want to not be? Why not spend some of that money on a course or two on electrical wiring at the local community college?

or you could always mount everything where you want it, pull all the wire, and hire someone to hook it all up...

I guess it all depends on how cheap/rich you are... I'm more of a cheap person than a rich person myself

Last edited by johnny331; 06-06-2007 at 10:15 PM.
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Old 06-07-2007, 06:25 AM   #11
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Is this a reasonable price to wire a basement?


Quote:
Originally Posted by johnny331 View Post
geez I just bought a 6-pack of 6" cans for about $70 today.... that's $12/each. At an hour install per can (IF that)... that's like makin $58/hour... forget law school, I gotta become an electrician and make some real money!

you're scared of electricity, do you want to not be? Why not spend some of that money on a course or two on electrical wiring at the local community college?

or you could always mount everything where you want it, pull all the wire, and hire someone to hook it all up...

I guess it all depends on how cheap/rich you are... I'm more of a cheap person than a rich person myself
Here's to being honest with yourself cheapo = "cheers"

Anyways, just realize that putting in 6 cans is hardly even the tip of the iceberg as to what electricians have to do for work. Really, that's a "cake" job in and of itself - electrical-wise. I'm sure the pro-electricians on here will tell you how demanding, difficult and physical their jobs are at times. Example: sometimes they are crawling around in the mud underneath a house, or freezing their bunions off in 20 degree weather while they run hundreds and hundreds of feet of wiring....

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnny331 View Post
At an hour install per can (IF that)... that's like makin $58/hour... forget law school, I gotta become an electrician and make some real money!
Now, I'm not mad at you, just chuckling to myself as I read that point...

HA, HA,HA...spoken like a true homeowner....You guys always think that ALL that money goes into a contractor's pockets as disposable income ....
You have NO idea what our expenses are (regardless of which contracting field)

This is what is deducted from an hourly rate, if you are an independant contractor:

1.) Do you have any idea how expensive Workman's comp is? Forget if you get a claim (injury)...it will double the next year's costs.
2.) The cost of Liability insurance (Our's more than doubled this year).
3.) The cost of gas (OUCH).
4.) The cost to insure our vehicles.
5.) The cost to purchase our own health Insurance.
6.) The adminstrative costs for the business accounting and check cutting. (We use Paychex for our weekly accounting and check writing and they charge for all that)
7.) We pay our taxes out of an hourly wage as well.
8.) The costs for license or certification renewal.
9.) The costs for finance charges when a deadbeat doesn't pay us, or pays us late. (We currently have lawyers and collection agencies on trying to get back over $13K owed to us - unfortunately, that money comes out of our own pocket)
10.) There's also the maintenance of our work vehicles.
11.) The cost of tools and tool maintenance comes out of that rate.
12.) We look at a decent amount of jobs that we may bid on and not get. That time = loss of money.
13.) There's all the time that we put in on a specfic job - that Home owners don't see. Preparing the original estimate, work change orders, Time at supply warehouses, picking up materials or returning them, etc...(last night: I was doing paper work after I got home till 10pm - 3 hours, and that is a good night)
14.) For some, there's also the cost of advertising in some kind of monthly format....
15.) etc....(There is more)

You see, that hourly rate is far, far....... from being disposable income. It has a place to go and it has to go there.....and what is left after, is a small fraction versus what is paid out to take care of the obligations and expenses listed above and more.



The only guys in the trades making good hourly wages are the Union guys. My business partner's dad worked as an independant Carpenter & GC for most of his life, and then finished off his last 20 years in the carpenter's union. He's now living the comfortable life in Florida in a place literally right on the Gulf...NICE!

(BTW-About the cans; Just make sure that you have the right "cans" for the application. If you are insulating the ceiling, you want IC rated cans)

Last edited by AtlanticWBConst.; 06-07-2007 at 07:38 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 06-07-2007, 08:25 AM   #12
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Is this a reasonable price to wire a basement?


Quote:
Originally Posted by johnny331 View Post
geez I just bought a 6-pack of 6" cans for about $70 today.... that's $12/each. At an hour install per can (IF that)... that's like makin $58/hour... forget law school, I gotta become an electrician and make some real money!

you're scared of electricity, do you want to not be? Why not spend some of that money on a course or two on electrical wiring at the local community college?

or you could always mount everything where you want it, pull all the wire, and hire someone to hook it all up...

I guess it all depends on how cheap/rich you are... I'm more of a cheap person than a rich person myself
Well, I like to get the most for my $$, but I wouldn't say I'm cheap. I'm definitely not rich either!

I'm sure I could spend the time to learn to wire the basement, and I know people who have done theirs who would help. However, it's a time/money tradeoff. If I spend $300-400 on a course, then spend 50-100 hours of my time to struggle thru it (plus still have to buy the materials), am I really ahead? Being a DIYer is great, but some things are better left to a professional IMHO.

To Atlantic: yes the cans will be rated for insulation. I'm planning to use R19 in the (drop) ceiling to (hopefully) keep the theater sound out of the upstairs. Thanks for pointing that out.

Can anyone recommend a good dimmer system (Lutron Maestro?) that I can use to have programmable dimmers with different light zones, at different brightness settings, that I can control with a Harmony 880 remote? I want to be able to create preset lighting conditions for "movie night", "party", "reading", "full on", etc.

Everyone on this forum is very helpful. I REALLY appreciate it!

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Old 06-07-2007, 09:41 AM   #13
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Is this a reasonable price to wire a basement?


Thanks for explaining the whole overhead thing Atlantic...I was going to do it, but I was just worn out from giving that exact same speach to the last 92 homeowners I talked to....lol

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