Electrician rates question

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  #1  
Old 08-01-14, 11:12 AM
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Electrician rates question

This is not in answer to the original poster, but I have my own question about electrician rates. When I called an electrician out recently, I was told it was $65/hr plus a $35 trip charge. Two guys showed up - one guy who definitely knew what he was doing, and a second guy who seemed like more of an apprentice type.

They spent about 6 hours to (1) run thicker gauge wire from breaker box in a finished basement to my kitchen for a slide-in range, (2) move some outlets/jacks in my living room wall to a slightly different area on the wall to accomodate an entertainment console, and (3) fished a speaker wire that had fallen back behind the living room wall.

I was there the whole time and it sure seems like they weren't sitting around, so I don't have a big deal with that, but the final bill was nearly $800, almost all of it labor. Turns out, that second guy was a "journeyman electrician" and I was charged $45/hr for him in addition to the $65/hr for the first guy. They didn't tell me that. Did I get ripped, or is that ok?
 
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Old 08-01-14, 11:30 AM
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If they were both working the whole time, I think this is ok - I would have assumed $65/hour to be a per person rate. Still, would have been nice to know up front.
 
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Old 08-01-14, 11:54 AM
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In fact you may have gotten a deal. A journeyman electrician is fully qualified to work on his own and a higher rate is paid then an apprentice or helper. Most times if you call a larger company, that's who you will get. If this was a smaller company, then the 1st guy may have been a master electrician or the 2nd guy may have just completed his apprenticeship and still needed supervision.

If it was a 2 man job (and running the cable probably was) they could have sent 2 journeyman at $65/hr each if that's all who were available, then it might have been $65 each.

I agree, would have been nice to know it ahead of time, but it seems like a fair rate. In some parts of the country, it probably could have easily been almost double.

There was an old thread from 2007 I was reading, where a customer in the Seattle area was charged a ridiculous amount just to fix an outlet. 10 min of actual work cost $145 labor (min 1 hr labor charge) $55 service charge (just for showing up w/in 48 hrs), and $15 minimum parts charge (even though the only item used was some electrical tape). And their repair wasn't even done correctly!
 
  #4  
Old 08-01-14, 12:11 PM
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Personally, I think that was bad business.
Usually a company's charge is for a truck regardless of how many people are on it.

Hell, I could just go down to a street corner and pick up some bodies and charge for each of them and say "well they're working."

I could go on but I'll leave it alone. Bottom line is it was bad business to tell you an hourly rate and trip charge and then almost double it.

Sounds like some of the commercials I see on tv about a/c tune-ups for $39...lol yeah right.
 
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Old 08-01-14, 12:15 PM
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I think this is going to come down to whether you inferred the charge to be per person, as Vic and I did, or per truck, as Wirenut did.

That said, I think we all agree you should not have had to infer in the first place; they should have made it clear up front.
 
  #6  
Old 08-01-14, 12:27 PM
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Yeah, like I said, they both appeared to be working, so I don't really question that part of it. Sounds like I didn't get ripped off, they just shouldn't have said $65/hr since they were sending two people out on the job.
 
  #7  
Old 08-01-14, 01:25 PM
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I think they should have told you they were sending two people, most service calls only require one man. In addition, they should have told you the rate was for one man and given you an hourly rate for the second man too. That being said, I don't no where in the country you'd get an electrician any cheaper than those two. In many areas of the country the rates are now in the mid $90s or higher per hour for a service truck and ONE service electrician.
 
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Old 08-01-14, 01:40 PM
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Another thing to consider (though everyone agrees that the extra charge should have been mentioned), how much longer would it have taken one man working alone? Since you said they both appeared to be working the whole time, you kinda have to assume it was at least a 10-12 man hour job. If it had been just the one guy for 10 hrs it only would have been $10 less. If it went to 11, it would have been $55 more. And what if he had to split it into 2 days? That would be a time pain for you as well.
 
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