cost to replace main panel?

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  #1  
Old 01-09-06, 10:43 AM
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cost to replace main panel?

Our 200amp main distribution panel is being replaced along with new ground rod on the other side of the house. The work is taking about 10hrs. I was quoted $3500, not including permit fees. I thought the materials would be really expensive, but dh said no. That even assuming a high $1000 for the materials, that would be $250/hr labor. Are we being taken to the cleaners? Or is the labor a combo of electrician plus a truck full of expensive stuff? I'm happy with the guy, and clearly there's a lot to this that isn't just electrical (drilling in our nasty soil, stuccoing, etc).

The guy said he just calls the shop and they give him a lump sum; so I'm getting ready to call and ask for a breakdown, but wanted a reality check.

I should add that we live in one of the most expensive parts of the country, so everything tends to be higher than average.
TIA, Bingle
 
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  #2  
Old 01-09-06, 11:46 AM
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It's better to just ask for quotes from other contractors. None should be required to give you a break-down. Estimating work is tricky business and we rely on the fact that some parts we will estimate too low and some parts we might estimate too high, but we hope for a good balance and a fair price in the end.

Sometimes giving a break-down is easy. It's often not, and it takes more time, and we usually are not getting paid to give estimates.
 
  #3  
Old 01-09-06, 12:14 PM
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Thanks

It's too late this time to get other quotes, but I'll know better for next time. Thanks for the explanation on breakdowns, I can see that it would be time consuming and not billable.
Regards, Bingle
 
  #4  
Old 01-09-06, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by bingle
Our 200amp main distribution panel is being replaced along with new ground rod on the other side of the house. The work is taking about 10hrs. I was quoted $3500, not including permit fees.
That price would be very high around here, but if you really are in an expensive area or if there are special circumstances it could be the prevailing rate.
 
  #5  
Old 01-09-06, 05:00 PM
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Wow that seems high

If it's truly too late to get other bids, I am sorry. I don't know where you live, but I live in SoCal, which seems like a pretty expensive area to live and why I spend so much time on this forum instead of hiring my work out. I got a "quote" from the city inspector who seemed to be fishing for the job, of $900 for replacing the main and about $400 if I did it myself. My neighbor was quoted for other electrical work at $60 per hour.

The job my electrician did of replacing my 100 amp panel and putting in a 200 with the meter took him and his apprentice about 6 hours for the main panel but I have to do the stucco repair (not that hard for me). Hope this helps.
 
  #6  
Old 01-09-06, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyger52
I got a "quote" from the city inspector who seemed to be fishing for the job, of $900 for replacing the main and about $400 if I did it myself."
The inspector was fishing for the job? You should have let him do it then negotiate how much of a discount you could get for not telling the City Manager or mayor.
 
  #7  
Old 01-09-06, 07:10 PM
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I would never give a breakdown on a service change. It would be near impossible to put a price on each aspect.
I will say, $3500 for a standard service change is a bit high, even for a high priced area.

Tyler, I think your example with the city inspector and his prices are not a true example of your area. I have heard some horror stories about So Cal (and Cal in general) as far as pricing goes. Like $3500 for a 200a service change.
 
  #8  
Old 01-12-06, 02:37 PM
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Cost for Main

Just to chime in a bit late.

I just had a house upgraded from 60 amp to 150 amp. The service included a new electrical panel, a new weatherhead (outside the house) and moving the meter from in the garage to outside the house. The cost estimates I received ranged from $900-1,300. I live in SW Ohio, so our costs could be a bit lower than yours, but that price seems quite high. BTY, this was an investment property, 950 SF, so there weren't a lot of circuits...8 if I remember correctly, so I guess additional circuits could increase the time a little bit, but still that price seems high.
 
  #9  
Old 01-14-06, 12:46 PM
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replaced an old federal pacific box with new westinghouse box both 200amp boxes. Took me about 6 hrs by my self and this included various breaks. Probably about 4 hrs if i had worked strait through. Have seen bigger boxes than this done in a couple of hours by the pros. Figure $500 for parts, This is 300/hr for labor. Seems like a rip to me.
 
  #10  
Old 01-14-06, 12:56 PM
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i sure would have liked to see the final breakdown on that. the "ground on the other side of the house" is kind of open ended. and since a 200 amp load center with a main breaker can run 400.00 you don't really know if the price was high. the bill of materials can vary greatly from a pro to a hack. that can make it tough for a reputable contractor. just giving the contractor the benefit of doubt.
 
  #11  
Old 01-14-06, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by JimmieDee
This is 300/hr for labor. Seems like a rip to me.
So the only time worth anything is the actual time on the job?
Trips to the supply house, billing, estimate time, write up, calling and meeting inspectors, acquiring permits, clean up? These are all things that the contractor should not get paid for in your eyes?
There is WAY more to any job than the actual time his feet are on your property.
 
  #12  
Old 05-29-06, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Speedy Petey
So the only time worth anything is the actual time on the job?
Trips to the supply house, billing, estimate time, write up, calling and meeting inspectors, acquiring permits, clean up? These are all things that the contractor should not get paid for in your eyes?
There is WAY more to any job than the actual time his feet are on your property.

I don't think he's saying that at all.......

Trips, plural? It should be one trip to the supply house, none if your in this type service, you should have everything for this job in your shop or on your truck....

If an upgrade takes one skilled guy 5-6hrs to do. You bill for the day...Lets say on the high side, you bill at $100 hr.

Materials for an upgrade are @ $800, complete.
Labor at 8 hrs.......................$800
permits................................$100
Inspections..........................$100
Total...................................$1800

And that leaves 2 hrs for clean-up,travel, and misc....

Get 3 estimates.......
 
  #13  
Old 05-29-06, 03:30 PM
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I read an interesting thread on a different forum. It is restricted to the electrical trade. It dealt with estimating and pricing jobs. Most of the "pros" that responded had absolutly no clue on how to cost estimate and bid a job. Apparently most of them just named a price that they thought they could get. It had no relationship to their business expenses, expected profit, competition etc. One guy even posted that he was forced to charge double for jobs because he just wasn't getting enough work. Now there's a guy that's going to be in business for a long time

Getting multiple bids on a job like this is on of the few ways you can protect yourself. The other is making sure the contract protects you as much as it does the contractor.
 
  #14  
Old 05-29-06, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Dnkldorf
I don't think he's saying that at all.......
No? But obviously you are.
8hrs? How about all the things I mentioned. When did you call the inspector? When did you go file for the permit. When did you go to the supply house? When did you write up the invoice?


Originally Posted by Dnkldorf
Trips, plural? It should be one trip to the supply house, none if your in this type service, you should have everything for this job in your shop or on your truck....
1) No Bubba, not trips. Not for the same job at least. I was being general, yet of course someone like you takes me literally.

2) $100/hr is NOT the high side any more. Not by a long shot.

And very few contractors I know, or have know, have all the material for a service change on their truck or in thier shop. In today's world that would be a very foolish thing to do.
Do you have the material on hand to do such a job? What is it you do by the way. Your profile is conspicuously empty.

I said it before. I do not, nor do ANY real contractors I know of, price a service change by the hour or give a price break down.
You want one? Go find another electrician.
 
  #15  
Old 05-29-06, 09:17 PM
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I had my service changed out 5 or 6 years ago. I upgraded from 100 to 200 amp service in preparation for an addition and kitchen renovation. I got 3 bids and picked the lowest (he had done work for a guy I knew).
The guy was a real pro. He showed up at 8 AM with all the material, worked the job alone and finished just after noon. Per our contract I took care of pulling the permit ($10) and getting the inspection (free) with the contract requiring that he correct any inspection issues related to the work he did.
Total cost for the work was around $700.
 
  #16  
Old 05-29-06, 11:54 PM
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I'm curious to see Dnkldorf's breakdown of materials for $800. I personally can't see it especially since the cost of pipe and wire have quadrupled in the past month.

I'm seeing materials at closer to $1200 and labor at over $100/hr

Do they require licenses where you are Dnkldork ? I know that some states/city's don't and therefore the prices are lower due to lower overhead and the fact that the contractors can do whatever they feel like to meet code.

By the way, I heard Sam's Club is havin a sale on Viennna sausages this week


Wayne, I was wondering why you the homeowner pulled the permit ? In your "Contract" you understand that you are now liable if anything happens right ? You also know that in most states it is illegal for a homeowner to pull a permit for work to be done and then hire out a contractor to do it ?

R....
 

Last edited by rich3236; 05-30-06 at 12:19 AM.
  #17  
Old 05-30-06, 05:00 AM
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[QUOTE=Speedy Petey

I said it before. I do not, nor do ANY real contractors I know of, price a service change by the hour or give a price break down.
You want one? Go find another electrician.[/QUOTE]

Niether do I.

By using your labor rate, and determining how long a certain task would take, you can establish your price,(on the labor end), then by adding materials with a profit, you can achieve a price to ensure a profit for the contractor. This also enables a consumer the ability to compare services from contractors, to ensure the consumer is recieveng a fair job at a fair price...


Originally Posted by rich3236
I'm curious to see Dnkldorf's breakdown of materials for $800. I personally can't see it especially since the cost of pipe and wire have quadrupled in the past month.

....
Supply houses here have pre-made upgrade kits for these type installations. Kits come complete with SE cable, new mater boxes, panels, breakers, ground rods ect....

200 Kits are @ 500....so I added profit margin to arrive at the 800...

Granted, this may not be available in all areas, it was just a idea for the Orginal poster and other consumers to use as information..
 
  #18  
Old 05-30-06, 09:48 AM
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When you provide an estimate for an upgrade, say 100A to 200A, do you provide a load center filled with breakers or a load center with breakers only for existing circuits? With a 2090 amp kit selling for $500 passed on to the consumer at $800 that's a pretty good markup for a 20 minute stop at an electrical supply house. Do electrical contractors typically inflate material prices by 60%?
No surprise why so many people are choosing to do their own work.
 
  #19  
Old 05-30-06, 10:20 AM
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Wayne, a typical business profit margin maybe around 30%..

The 500 does not include all breakers, depending upon the installation. Most of the kits, come with predetermined breakers from the supply house. The don't include GFI breakers, AFCI breakers, or numerous other 2 pole or single pole breakers that one may need to do the job properly...we are talking very basic here..Every job has some amount of unforseen variables to them...

Some places in the country require Ridig pipe to the meter can, some areas you can use the SE cable..some prices will vary quite a bit....

Not every contractor has a predetermined profit margin, some as you found on that other site, just look around the home, and come up with a price that "the market will bear".

Remmember, we don't know where the OP is located, he could be in MWC Oklahoma, or in Pebble Beach California...But either way, there should be some "average" for a given area...hense the 3 estimates I keep talking about..
 
  #20  
Old 05-30-06, 11:26 AM
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I have a serious question.
What is wring with "What the market will bear" pricing?? IMO ALL residential service upgrades are priced this way. Why do you think a 200 amp upgrade in California is $2500 and I am lucky to get $1600? The overhead cannot possibly be that much higher. It is all in what a man thinks he is worth, what he is willing to charge, and what the market is willing to pay.

As I have stated several times before. Folks don't want to hear about behind the scenes work, preliminary work, or correspondance. They don't want to pay for anything not done right at the jobsite.
Well, guess what. They are paying for it.
 
  #21  
Old 06-01-06, 01:48 PM
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There is more to this.

Originally Posted by bingle
Our 200amp main distribution panel is being replaced along with new ground rod on the other side of the house. The work is taking about 10hrs. I was quoted $3500, not including permit fees. I thought the materials would be really expensive, but dh said no. That even assuming a high $1000 for the materials, that would be $250/hr labor. Are we being taken to the cleaners? Or is the labor a combo of electrician plus a truck full of expensive stuff? I'm happy with the guy, and clearly there's a lot to this that isn't just electrical (drilling in our nasty soil, stuccoing, etc).

The guy said he just calls the shop and they give him a lump sum; so I'm getting ready to call and ask for a breakdown, but wanted a reality check.

I should add that we live in one of the most expensive parts of the country, so everything tends to be higher than average.
TIA, Bingle
I have quoted the OP so that I can highlight some of the particulars. It is possible that the entire service rather than just the ground is being relocated to the other side of the house. That may well involve a service disconnect and a run of rigid conduit across a finished basement such as is required in the Chicago area, plus a second run to carry the relocated circuits from the new location back to the old one.
It could also mean just running the grounding electrode conductor clean across a finished basement with a whole lot of cut and patch.
In other words the job could be a minor nightmare. I'm just trying to point out that without a lot more information no one here is in position to comment on the price at all.
I also want to comment on Speedy Petey's question by saying that I quote a different price in some neighborhoods than in others to adjust for job expectations. A neighborhood were the expectations include shoe covers, hall runners, and a work with permit so that there will not be temporary service splices on the outside of the home while someone gives the outside wiremen a round toit gets a far higher price than one were I can get into and out of the basement through the garage and provision is made for me to park off the street without needing to stop for a temporary tradesman's parking pass at the district police station. We just don't have enough information to comment intelligently on this situation.
 
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