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Can You Tell Me Whether this is a Competitive Estimate for Electrical Work.

Can You Tell Me Whether this is a Competitive Estimate for Electrical Work.

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  #1  
Old 11-28-12, 02:17 AM
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Can You Tell Me Whether this is a Competitive Estimate for Electrical Work.

Hi:

I need to get some electrical work done in order to obtain a mortgage. The work is beyond my abilities so I have obtained the following estimate. The mortgage company identified the upgraded electrical service and the relocation of the meter to the exterior of the home as required repairs. The other work I believe is a good idea, especially since Hurricane Sandy and since the house was impacted by an electrical surge in the past. I live in central New Jersey. I would like to know whether you think this is a competitive estimate for the work that is scheduled to be done. I plan on getting at least one other estimate, but I would like your thoughts on this one in the interim. Thank you for your insight.

Upgrade electrical service to 200 amp
Install new meter pan, wire and new 200 amp panel (homeowner to provide panel)
Upgrade all existing grounding up to code
$2,700.00


Install outside twistlock outlet for generator
Prepare twistlock cord for generator
Install interlock kit in 200 amp panel
Install surge protection system
$1,200


Total= $2,700 + $1,200 + permit fees.
 
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  #2  
Old 11-28-12, 02:37 AM
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We don't know how much wiring (like distance) is required but since homeowner is supplying panel it seems to me like they are a tad high. I would think that a price minus the panel should be around the 2k mark. However, I'm just basing this on the norm. Best way for you to know for sure is with that second estimate.

On the generator wiring.......pretty close to what I'd figure as a standalone price........combined with service job should probably be closer to 1K.
outside twistlock for genny 85.00
twistlock cord 100.00
panel interlock 150.00
surge protector 150.00
10/4 from panel to outside twistlock 50.00
 
  #3  
Old 11-28-12, 03:48 AM
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Hi. Thanks for the insight. I was with the electrician when he did the measurements for the wiring, but he was adding the numbers up in his head, so I am not sure what the total distance is. I asked him about the price of wiring, and he said the cost of copper has increased since he had last given me the estimate for just the service panel and the meter relocation.

Do you think I should present the other electrician(s) with the paper estimate, and see if they can beat the price for the same work?
 
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Old 11-28-12, 04:11 AM
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The prices PJ posted for the generator setup are the prices I am seeing from the supply house for the materials alone, before taxes and markup.

I would not appreciate anyone sharing my prices to see if someone else can beat them. Of course you can beat a price when you already know what you need to beat and when someone else has gotten your material list together for you.
 
  #5  
Old 11-28-12, 04:21 AM
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.....also if a contractor is going off another bid, trying to beat the price - what corners might he trim to still be profitable

Just a reminder because I'm sure you already know this but always check references before hiring any contractor!
 
  #6  
Old 11-28-12, 06:53 AM
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Your best bet is to get a couple more contractors out to bid the job without them knowing the bid information you already have, then you can compare.
 
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Old 11-28-12, 06:00 PM
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I don't know about getting 2 more estimates, but I believe I would get 1 more for sure. This time I would hope the contractor would furnish ALL materials, including the panel, and I would also hope the permit cost was included. I don't like having additional charges added on at the end of the job, I want to know up front what the total cost is.

Also, be sure to ask for a certificate of insurance from whichever contractor you choose. Get it before the job starts!
 
  #8  
Old 11-28-12, 08:48 PM
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You mentioned that the electrician was adding everything up in his head and also that the price of copper had increased since you last spoke. For me those are two warning signs that you should be careful if you decide to go ahead with him (or her). As a homeowner I would expect a thorough description including the length and type of wiring as well as a breakdown of other materials required and the expected hourly or job rate for the work. (of course it depends on what you asked for - for me your quote would be ok as a starting point to narrow down to a single contractor to ask for better detail).

I think that if the work isn't laid out upfront you're leaving yourself open to additional fees as in "well I had to run another hundred feet of cable which is going to cost you $$$". I'm not sure of the timeframe between original quote and the current estimate but most pros are probably going to have a good idea of material costs and I wouldn't think they'd change substantially over a few months. Whatever you do, get a contract in writing since that protects your interests when someone is coming to work on your home.
 
  #9  
Old 11-29-12, 05:32 PM
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I got another estimate today. Would you believe the estimate amounted to $10,076???? Crazy right. And I made sure that this estimate included everything the other one did.
 
  #10  
Old 11-29-12, 06:39 PM
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As a homeowner I would expect a thorough description including the length and type of wiring as well as a breakdown of other materials required and the expected hourly or job rate for the work.
As a homeowner who asks for a "Bid" for specified work, you should get a description of the work and the bid price. The actual materials required and lengths are not pertinent. Why would you even care, it's a bid price. If you ask for a "Bid", there is no hourly rate. You have to remember that as a homeowner who is not a repeat customer, a small job like this is not worth the time of the contractor to lay out all the details and materials for you in his bid. You get what you asked for at the contractor's specified price. Nothing more and nothing less.

If you want a "T&M" estimate that is just an estimate that could change then you may be entitled to an hourly rate and a rough idea of materials required. An increase or deduction in materials or labor then will directly affect your final price.

I got another estimate today. Would you believe the estimate amounted to $10,076???? Crazy right
Not necessarily crazy at all. The second contractor probably didn't want the job.
 
  #11  
Old 11-29-12, 07:03 PM
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Strange....most electricians have a set price for a service change.....like 1500.00 for 100 amp....1750.00 for 150 amp and 2000.00 for a 200 amp service.


THIS IS NOT AN AD...... i WON'T TAKE ANY WORK FROM THIS SITE !!
Unless you're talking some large cable runs our company would charge around 2k for a 200 amp service based on 200 amp service cable (aluminum) If you wanted pvc or galvanized with copper wire it would be extra.
 
  #12  
Old 11-29-12, 07:15 PM
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Cost of a panel is almost negligible. A 200 amp 40/40 Siemens panel is only about $130 at big orange.

You have two bids, get one more and see where you stand. Also, electrical contractors are likely quite busy right now due to the storm so their prices will reflect this demand.
 
  #13  
Old 11-29-12, 07:37 PM
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As a homeowner who asks for a "Bid" for specified work, you should get a description of the work and the bid price. The actual materials required and lengths are not pertinent. Why would you even care, it's a bid price. If you ask for a "Bid", there is no hourly rate.
Personal preference. I might be one of the few homeowners that does care about materials used and the time required for the job. If someone says its going to cost me $3k for something then I want to know how my money is being spent. I wouldn't expect every box of nuts to be itemized but I would want to see an outline. I know what you mean about the hourly rate - I guess what I was getting at was that I'd expect a timeframe and a dollar value associated with it.

Quite a difference between your two quotes..
 
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Old 11-29-12, 08:16 PM
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Personal preference. I might be one of the few homeowners that does care about materials used and the time required for the job. If someone says its going to cost me $3k for something then I want to know how my money is being spent. I wouldn't expect every box of nuts to be itemized but I would want to see an outline. I know what you mean about the hourly rate - I guess what I was getting at was that I'd expect a timeframe and a dollar value associated with it.
I can give you that or I can give you a standard bid. If that's what you really want, I'll work it up for you. No problem.

Your detailed estimate will include the cost of the extra work to draw that up, plus a PITA charge, plus whatever more I think it might take to not have my estimate come in as the winner. Only one of those costs will be labeled as such, of course. The cost of doing the detailed work-up. You will have to agree to that before I go to the time and trouble to produce it.
 
  #15  
Old 11-29-12, 08:47 PM
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I would like to know whether you think this is a competitive estimate for the work that is scheduled to be done. I plan on getting at least one other estimate, but I would like your thoughts on this one in the interim.

Do you think I should present the other electrician(s) with the paper estimate, and see if they can beat the price for the same work?
I don't know where you got your ideas about how to find and negotiate with contractors but, if I were you, I would scrap them and start over. Ask your neighbors if any of them have had electrical work done. If they have, and they were happy with the outcome, call those electricians and get quotes from them.

I don't remember the last time I did an actual job estimate. I almost always quote T&M. If someone gives me a hint that they're price-picking, the quote I have in my head doubles. If they start asking about details, it triples. I like to finish the day with a smile and a beer, and I like for my customers to finish their day that way too. Starting with nit-picking pretty much guarantees that the job won't finish in a happy way, so I usually just move on to the next one.

FWIW, I also don't install generator interlocks. The work I do is about preserving the safety of my customers and their property. For that reason, I only install transfer switches and transfer panels. I'll consider installing a panel interlock when I see one that stays in place when the deadfront is removed from the panel. Does the one you're asking for do that?

Without seeing your job, the first quote seems a bit high. The second contractor didn't want the job.
 
  #16  
Old 11-29-12, 08:56 PM
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The second estimate came from an established electric heating and air company with multiple employees. Two employees came out, one with more experience, another with less experience. They spent a good amount of time with me, and did not seem to rush through the estimate at all. So I didn't get the feeling that they just threw out a high estimate to be able to walk away from the job. This is a company that I have seen neighbors use in past.
 
  #17  
Old 11-29-12, 09:04 PM
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Which contractors have you talked to who were actually referred by neighbors?

The second estimate was more than double the first one, which seems a bit high itself. It sounds like they had other jobs they found more attractive.
 
  #18  
Old 12-03-12, 05:01 PM
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I might be one of the few homeowners that does care about materials used and the time required for the job
If you care about the matrerials, it would be your job to specify the materials you want used when you ask a contractor for a price. For example, specify if you want a copper wire and pipe service and don't want aluminum or even copper service cable. Personally, I don't like service cable and would tell the contractor that up front. Specify if you want a copper bus panel or better yet, call out the manufacturer and catalog number of the panel you want. Any competent contractor can give you a rough idea of time required to complete the work.
 
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