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Old 07-28-2014, 09:46 PM   #16
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Tips for saving money when hiring an electrician?


Thanks for the clarification guys!

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Old 07-28-2014, 11:59 PM   #17
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Tips for saving money when hiring an electrician?


Yeah, leave the guy alone and offer to clean up.
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Old 07-29-2014, 12:19 AM   #18
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Tips for saving money when hiring an electrician?


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Originally Posted by Joe Link
I just purchased my first condo, built in 1970, which I’m currently in the process of renovating. I’m at the point where I need to find an electrician for a list of maintenance and upgrades I'd like to have done. I've had a couple offer to do side work, but the HOA mandates they be licensed and insured (which I'd prefer anyhow!). I don't have a large budget, but I'm not 'cheap', I won't cut corners to save a buck. Here's the electrical list:[*]Inspect breaker box, replace if needed (1970 Square D box).[*]Replace bathroom exhaust fan. Access to attic crawl space.[*]Install 7 can lights (kitchen, living room, and hall). Access to attic crawl space.[*]Wire office outlets to their own breaker, if needed.[*]Install power outlet in closet next to TV. Separate breaker, if needed.[*]Relocate bedroom power outlet for TV (raise 5 feet, same stud).[*]Relocate living room power outlet for TV (raise 5 feet, same stud).[*]Install new power outlet in bedroom closet.[*]Install new power outlet in office closet. Here's the low voltage list:[*]Relocate coax panel to closet next to TV[*]Install HDMI panel in closet next to TV[*]Install HDMI panel behind TV My Questions[*]I've heard the markup on electrical materials is very high, and that I should provide my own. Is this a good idea? Will this piss off my contractor? Are there specific things I should provide, and things I should let him provide?[*]Since there's quite a bit of work here, I should be able to have the work performed under contract rather than T&M, right? I'd really prefer they stick with the quote, and it seems this is the way to go. Any advice here?[*]Do most electricians charge for travel time? If so, I should factor their location into my selection process, right?[*]Should I hire a separate low voltage guy, or have the electrician do the work?[*]I'm pretty handy, and I have free time I could use to help, if it'd make the job cheaper. Is this an option?[*]Do you have any sort of ballpark as to what I should expect to pay for this? Thanks in advance!
First I applaud you for not asking for a quote. As stated in an earlier post nobody here can provide you with an accurate estimate. That being said find three reputable electrical contractors and have them quote the job. Their prices will include traveling to the job and such. Finally avoid anyone who will "do it on the side". While you may save money, they are not bonded or insured and if they burn your house down you're screwed. Especially if you and/or your family are in it. I like it when people ask me if I do side work. I tell them no I do it for a living and charge accordingly.
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Old 07-29-2014, 03:43 AM   #19
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Tips for saving money when hiring an electrician?


Is there such a thing as a slack time of year for electricians? Some other trades have slow periods when discounts are possible.

Sounds like you already understand the most critical part of saving money, which is that the cheapest job is the one that gets done right in the first place.
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Old 07-29-2014, 06:59 AM   #20
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Tips for saving money when hiring an electrician?


Unless you are buying a special color receptacle there is no reason for it to cost 8 dollars on line.

If you supply material you do not get a warranty and you will be charged when it breaks. I like how people think a contractors markup is so high. I guess they don't think about retail prices where even at half off the store makes money.
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Old 07-29-2014, 07:11 AM   #21
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Tips for saving money when hiring an electrician?


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Originally Posted by Run and find ou View Post
Is there such a thing as a slack time of year for electricians? Some other trades have slow periods when discounts are possible.

Sounds like you already understand the most critical part of saving money, which is that the cheapest job is the one that gets done right in the first place.
I find the slow time to be between mid-January (bills from Christmas arrive in the mailbox) and middle of March (people start to get the tax refund). That doesn't mean my rates change, but that's the lowest call volume period.

As far as markup goes, I use a sliding scale with 3x the highest amount for the smallest parts. The following is the reasons which I have posted before:

1) My level of knowledge of product quality/usefulness/ease-of-install was bought with trial-and-error (my time and money) and is worth quite a bit. In other words, I know what to use/not-use.

2) When you buy it from me, it's right there at your house. The things involved in that happening include:

a) Vehicle expense to drive to supply house/store
b) My time to travel and shop
c) Bookkeeping and Accounting costs
d) Inventory time to make shopping lists (to make sure the truck is always stocked properly)

3) Other factors
a) Waste (if I buy a 250' roll and have 15' left over it goes to waste)
b) Items involved in installation that are not itemized on the bill
i) Nails, screws, anchors
ii) Connectors, staples, pig-tails, wirenuts
iii) Caulk, duct-seal, tape

4) Warranty - Buying from me means that I warrant the item for a reasonable period of time. If something is defective, then it costs me the following:
a) Labor and Travel to replace the part
b) Time and Travel to return the part

5) Tools - The cost of replacing tools is really proportional to the amount of material installed and not time spent on a job. Five hours of troubleshooting is no wear on my tools, but virtually every part I use puts some wear on a tool.

If all this doesn't justify a 3x markup on small things and a 1.3x markup on the largest -- well then just buy it yourself and do it yourself.
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Old 07-29-2014, 07:20 AM   #22
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Tips for saving money when hiring an electrician?


An item to remember when furnishing your own material, if it is fails after installation there is no warranty and you are eating any labor.

Contractors are in business to make money, money (for most firms) is generated off selling material. In residential I have seen anywhere from 15% to over 100% markup.

You should be able to get an EC to give you a firm fixed price. Look for a local, been in business for a while, good reputation and myself I recently had my roof replaced after getting all the quotations I went with the middle quote. The middle and high were a few dollars apart (on a 36,000.00 job) while the low guy was LOW. If it seems to good to be true, it most likely is (NOT TRUE).
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Old 08-01-2014, 11:45 AM   #23
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Tips for saving money when hiring an electrician?


A question I asked elsewhere that I'd also like to ask here, is there any reason to replace this Square D breaker box 'because it's old'?

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Old 08-01-2014, 12:13 PM   #24
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Tips for saving money when hiring an electrician?


Looks like a split buss panel that someone has taken out a double pole breaker and put in two single pole breakers.This violates the listing of the panel.

I have never seen breaker locks in a home panel like that.
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Old 08-01-2014, 12:20 PM   #25
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Tips for saving money when hiring an electrician?


That depends on things we can't possibly know. I suggest hiring someone for "preventive maintenance" on it, which includes inspecting the guts and scanning for hot spots. Ask about whether there have been recalls on the breakers while you're at it. It's not too expensive.

Has anyone heard of age-related problems with load centers that are regularly maintained and have no visible problems?
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Old 08-01-2014, 01:47 PM   #26
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Tips for saving money when hiring an electrician?


Quote:
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I like it when people ask me if I do side work. I tell them no I do it for a living and charge accordingly.
What can you do for cash?
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Old 08-01-2014, 02:41 PM   #27
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Tips for saving money when hiring an electrician?


After a brief (very brief) skimming of this thread, I am going to add one more thing:
Yes, stay out of the way, and offer to clean up. ALSO- if there are any obstacles in the area in which he has to work, get them out of the way! The last thing you want to have to pay for is having him clean up the area so he has some room to work! Pay him to do the skilled work, not the grunt work!
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Old 08-01-2014, 02:51 PM   #28
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Tips for saving money when hiring an electrician?


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Old 08-02-2014, 12:10 PM   #29
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Tips for saving money when hiring an electrician?


Not to bust your balls or anything but Stop worrying about material mark up and just get some quotes. The quotes most likely will not give you a break down on materials and labor, but rather a total to do X Y and Z.

When you go to your doctors do you bring your own band aids and rubber gloves ?
Do you take the parts to your car mechanic ?

Here's a hint that nobody has mentioned( or I missed it) When your going over the project with the Electrical Contractor - DO NOT bring up supplying the materials. When you do , Most likely he will automatically assume your a cheap customer and his price will reflect it. I know guys who let customers supply materials and they add $$ to the bid anyway to cover time spent working with crappy lights,receptacles and plates that break and so forth.
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Old 08-02-2014, 01:38 PM   #30
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Do you take the parts to your car mechanic ?
Actually, yes I have done that. and the mechanic doesn't mind. I have also done several electrical jobs where the customer supplied at least some of the materials. Not a big deal.

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