Electrical Contractor Fees

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  #1  
Old 04-29-14, 02:47 PM
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Electrical Contractor Fees

This seems kind of suspect to me, what do you think?

I want to hire a contractor for some electrical repairs. A larger co. in town charges a 50 dollar fee to come out, assess the situation and then quote you a price for repair which the 50 bucks would then go towards?

I figured a set hourly fee is standard?

Does this seem out of the ordinary? Or a risky proposition to wager 50 bucks and then get slapped with a large bill to actually have the worked performed?

Would you avoid such a scenario?

Standard hourly rates in our are range in the 100 dollar range for a standard service call from other companies.
 
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Old 04-29-14, 04:25 PM
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$50 sounds like a bargain. Even in tiny, town NC it costs me $85 to have an HVAC tech show up and my John Deere dealers shop rate is well over $100 an hour.
 
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Old 04-29-14, 04:27 PM
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It cost them money send someone out, spend time not working making money for thecompany, spending the time to write up the quote.
 
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Old 04-29-14, 05:03 PM
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Guess I am used to flat rate or free estimate...

so its not a racket as in 'you owe me 50 bucks even if you don't like the 300 bucks I am charging to change that hang that light fixture ma'am.'
 
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Old 04-29-14, 05:24 PM
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Most companies give free estimates, you called one that doesn't. That being said, $50 doesn't cover the cost of an estimator to come look at your project and do an estimate. The companies that do give free estimates spend literally thousands of dollars each year having a project manager/service estimator look at and quote smaller projects. Many times estimators will go to look at a project that won't generate enough profit to even cover the estimator's cost. If you have a small project, you should have just asked for a time & material rate.
 
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Old 04-30-14, 09:26 AM
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For service work, this company would not do time and material. I had to cancel the appointment because I cant take the risk of losing 50 bucks if they come back with some inflated charge for repair.

I know plumbers do the same thing but I think its bad practice... money is tight and this is essentially gambling.
 
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Old 04-30-14, 09:40 AM
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money is tight and this is essentially gambling
That works both ways. A lot of people try to pick brains and others go bargain shopping, and the company loses money and time going out on wasted calls, especially if they're a very small or one person company.
Just trying to explain the other side of it.
 
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Old 04-30-14, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by zmike View Post
For service work, this company would not do time and material. I had to cancel the appointment because I cant take the risk of losing 50 bucks if they come back with some inflated charge for repair.

I know plumbers do the same thing but I think its bad practice... money is tight and this is essentially gambling.
It is absolutely not bad practice - it is the industry standard. I will give you another example. I own a computer repair shop. If you bring your computer to me to figure out what's wrong with it, I do not do free estimates. I charge a $40 diagnostic fee for my time to figure out what's wrong with it and write up a repair estimate. If you go forward with the repair, then the $40 is waived. If you decide not to, then you pay $40 for my time.

It's just the way things are done, because the company is taking a gamble on you too. If they give you a free estimate and then you decide to go to one of their competitors, you've just kicked them in the groin twice - not only did they lose a sale to a competitor, but they wasted the money they had to pay the guy to come out and give you the estimate. As it stands now, if you go to their competitor, at least they haven't wasted the money having someone quote your project.
 
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Old 04-30-14, 12:25 PM
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I've had free estimates on 3 things. A/C Package unit (roof)...just replace what was there. Concrete block walls, and concrete parking pad. The first and last were by just going over to companies working in the neighborhood and asking them to stop by when they had time...rough figures only, but with basic caveats that would be on any quote.

The wall quotes were also free by several recommended companies, exact pricing and no charge, but it took all of them 3-4 days to stop by. I didn't need it NOW, so it was no big deal. I even told them, when they had time or were in the area. It would have been a different matter if they had to travel out of their area or actually do any work (removing panels, crawling in the attic, or making some basic tests) to see WHAT the job actually entailed.

$50 is pretty cheap IMO.
 
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Old 04-30-14, 01:45 PM
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I don't charge for remodeling quotes. We live in small town USA, and our work zone is about a 20 mile circle, so not a lot of fuel. If I am asked to do an estimate that I really think the client is fishing, I will recommend another contractor, who is less busy. I don't often do estimates where I don't get the job, so it washes. Certain things like installing doors or windows, I can just about quote over the phone, but in depth remodels you just have to see it.

A client asked me to replace two boards that were showing signs of rot on the front of his porch (1960's rental house). Turned out the beam was pith, black, and crumbled in your hands. On those you gotta step back and assess the real damage and what caused it. More money is involved. So what turned out to be a $100 job will turn into a $750 job.
 
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Old 04-30-14, 02:29 PM
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Estimate

Standard hourly rates in our are range in the 100 dollar range for a standard service call from other companies.
Then $50 pays for 1/2 hour. Seems like a short time to do an estimate. Looks like a really good deal to me.
 
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Old 04-30-14, 06:22 PM
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For service work, this company would not do time and material.
I have yet to run into a company that wouldn't do a service call or a very small job (3 to 5 hour) on a T&M basis. Everyone wins on these small jobs, including the homeowner.
 
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