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Old 05-06-2008, 01:02 PM   #16
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Is My Contractor Ripping Me Off???


Quote:
Originally Posted by beer_geek View Post
The materials are less than $200 at any big box. The rest is labor. How your accountant divides it up is irrelevant.
Unless you are a licensed contractor, this number would seem very high....but try this: What if one of the cans shorted out of caused a fire...would it be nice if the electrician were insured and bonded? That isn't cheap, and comes out of the $600.......how about the years working for low wages to get to make decent money and have the license? And last of all...how about the peace of mind knowing it is done correctly? You live in this house.....with your family. These reasons are why I hire only reputable subs with insurance for our work, and they have to make a living. Overhead is much higher then anyone outside the trades would ever guess.

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Old 05-06-2008, 01:17 PM   #17
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i agree...but he's done great work before. I know a licensed guy would be best...but i'll take my chances for now. Thanks for the help...I do think im going to look somewhere else
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Old 05-06-2008, 04:13 PM   #18
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Is My Contractor Ripping Me Off???


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Originally Posted by beer_geek View Post
The materials are less than $200 at any big box. The rest is labor. How your accountant divides it up is irrelevant.
"Overhead" is NOT simply CPA hand-waving. Do you consider the cost of tools, gas to get to buy supplies and drive to the job, payments on a work vehicle, cost of leasing workspace, paying for phone lines, advertising, licenses, insurance, etc etc? Is all of that "labor" in your mind, and the tradesman is simply lining his pockets with all these fancy ways of saying "profit"?

A plumber charges $75 to come to your house and fix your faucet. It takes him 30 minutes of work when he gets there, and he uses a $5 part. So he makes $140 per hour, right??? I think we'd see a lot more plumbers and a lot less doctors if that were the case.
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Old 05-06-2008, 06:14 PM   #19
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Is My Contractor Ripping Me Off???


I consider the cost of all of those things. However, those costs are spread out over every job. Tools, gas, wear and tear are all business expenses spread out over every job. 6 cans in an unfinished basement is what? a 3 hour job for a "pro"? That includes getting the materials. How much of a month's business expenses are covered by that 3 hours work? Sorry, he's charging a lot.
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Old 05-06-2008, 07:45 PM   #20
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My principal business is steel erection, and we make decent money at it...there are times that if you used a set rule of the "job" and divided time into the price, it may look like we are pirates, but that is dead wrong. I have a lot of money invested in my equipment...you could say that I shouldn't get $200 an hour.....but we don't actually make that....we are working by the job, if things go well, we can turn that easily, but not every day. See my point?

Anyway, the advice from the beginning of this thread from the contractors was all the same: Get other bids. It would be impossible for me to know if the price is high in say, New York City, since I am in Oklahoma.
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Old 05-06-2008, 08:10 PM   #21
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My principal business is steel erection, and we make decent money at it...there are times that if you used a set rule of the "job" and divided time into the price, it may look like we are pirates, but that is dead wrong. I have a lot of money invested in my equipment...you could say that I shouldn't get $200 an hour.....but we don't actually make that....we are working by the job, if things go well, we can turn that easily, but not every day. See my point?

Anyway, the advice from the beginning of this thread from the contractors was all the same: Get other bids. It would be impossible for me to know if the price is high in say, New York City, since I am in Oklahoma.

I'm not just dividing time into price. If you guys stop latching onto that red herring, maybe others will see through the smokescreen. One contractor said that his *minimum* for 6 cans is $800. I said that's high for that job. See MY point?
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Old 05-06-2008, 09:02 PM   #22
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Is My Contractor Ripping Me Off???


Beer geek -

As a contractor, would you do the job for no profit and eat all the overhead and consumables?

Then there is the question of liability and the unknowns since you have not seen the job.

Is it easy to get everything down into the basement, especially around the corners and down the stairs?

Don't forget about wire and breakers from a box with an unknown location and an open space for another breaker.
How far away is the job?

If you do the job you could possibly write something off as a donation if you had some profit from another job that you could have done.
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Old 05-06-2008, 10:14 PM   #23
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Give me a break. He said his MINIMUM was $800. That's sight unseen. No matter how you look at it, it's less than $200 for materials. That's FACT. That's cans, trim, bulbs, wire, breaker, switch, wire nuts, box, clamps to hold the wire in panel. $600 for "overhead" ain't charity.

Continue to circle the wagons boys.
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Old 05-06-2008, 10:27 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beer_geek View Post
I'm not just dividing time into price. If you guys stop latching onto that red herring, maybe others will see through the smokescreen. One contractor said that his *minimum* for 6 cans is $800. I said that's high for that job. See MY point?
If I were GC'ing a remodel, I would have more then one bid. If this were a new home I am building, the bid would be extremely high....since I am a general contractor, I also know the variables and if I had comparable bids in the same range for this job at $800, then that is it....that is the price. I am not trying to be argumentative on this point, but to end, a tradesman can charge whatever he chooses to, the customer decides whether to hire them or look elsewhere.....if the tradesman is too high, then sooner or later he would have to lower his rates.

I had a plumber call me, wanting to have a chance to bid on a new home we are starting in a few weeks....and he wants $1250 per opening. He wasn't interested in looking over a set of blueprints....just hit me with the number. Is it too high? Yes.....my regular plumber bid the house for $7200, about half of what the other guy hit me with....both are licensed and insured, but obviously, I am going with my regular plumber. The point? Multiple bids, and market determines price.
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Old 05-06-2008, 10:33 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by beer_geek View Post

Continue to circle the wagons boys.
This is not about "circling the wagons" it is about what we do for a living. This is America, you can choose to hire or reject anyone for price or whatever, as long as you are within the law on codes, no one will really care. Since this is simply a forum, we cannot see the job, and an electrician puts out a price you think is high...those of us that do this for a living, everyday, see things from a different perspective.

Your comment would appear that you believe we "protect" our "profits".....that is hardly the case.
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Old 05-07-2008, 07:30 AM   #26
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Your comment would appear that you believe we "protect" our "profits".....that is hardly the case.
Prior to this post, I have not used the word "profit". I haven't mentioned it. I don't begrudge it. It is the contractors on this thread who have become defensive over my post. The contractors brought up "profit". The contractors brought up "hourly". The contractors brought up carrying a 100' coil of wire around a corner might not be "easy".

I said $200 for materials and $600 for "labor" aka "the cost of doing business" is high. That's it. That's all I said.
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Old 05-07-2008, 08:11 AM   #27
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Let's put it in terms you can appreciate. What do you do for a living, beer-geek?
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Old 05-07-2008, 08:29 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beer_geek View Post
The materials are less than $200 at any big box. The rest is labor. How your accountant divides it up is irrelevant.

I think the miscommunication here is some guys are saying that it's not $600 that goes directly into their pockets after getting paid in this scenario. beer_geek, I wouldn't argue that after materials, it's about $600 left. However, of that $600, what a contractor actually gets to keep can be much less.
Without getting into specifics, I generally charge around $10,000 labor for a complete kitchen remodel. On my last one, all of my expenses caught up with me. I had to buy screws ($150 in bulk), a new crown stapler ($120), insurance payment ($800), bought a fancy yard sign for advertising ($56)....That all came out of what would considered "profit". However, what I think guys are saying is it's not profit until all expenses are paid. Yes, on my next job I might not have any unseen costs so the $10,000 may go to me in full (doubtful). I don't think anyone is trying to say you're wrong with $200 in materials = $600 left over. I think what people are saying is you can't justify calling all $600 profit.
Still, the customer can accept or deny a quote of that magnitude. The contractor has to be able to sleep at night with what they charge. No one feels sorry for me when it's 10 outside and I'm in an unheated garage cutting tile or when it's 120 in an attic and I'm up there moving electrical around. I don't feel bad collecting money from a customer that I earned. Each situation is unique.
As it has been said many times, GET MORE ESTIMATES. If you had 3-5 contractors come in with a very similar amount, chances are there's something you don't understand to why it will be that much. I can't feel so sorry for a home owner that is adamant about using a guy "on-the-side" (aka no permits) to do electrical and then complain about price.
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Old 05-07-2008, 09:07 AM   #29
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I think what people are saying is you can't justify calling all $600 profit.

Where did I do that??????? Find the post. QUOTE ME!
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Old 05-07-2008, 09:15 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Tscarborough View Post
Let's put it in terms you can appreciate. What do you do for a living, beer-geek?

I'm a self employed computer consultant AKA "a contractor". So, go ahead. Use terms that I can appreciate.

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