Fair pricing

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Old 08-28-14, 03:16 PM
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Fair pricing

Today I had a GFCI receptacle replaced by a local company. Afterwards, I looked over the receipt and it seems excessive.

- Labor - $125 an hour for tech
- $23.70 for GFCI receptacle
- $5.00 gas surcharge

When I went to pay by credit card, the guy said "you may want to pay by check to avoid the 3% fee that YOU have to pay to use the card".

I used this same company many years ago, but it seems things have changed a lot.

Why is changing a receptacle so expensive? I get the whole "electricians are trained professionals blah blah", but $125 an hour on top of the other charges?

I used to work as a software programmer and wrote complex code that ran on thousands of users systems. My pay per hour never came close to $125.

Guess I will be looking for another fair electrician soon.
 
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Old 08-28-14, 03:43 PM
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The GFCI included a small mark up. Fuel surcharge is understandable. 3% credit card can't always be absorbed by the vendor and they pass it along to the customer...reasonable. The labor charge was nominal unless it took 2 hours to do the job.

Often the supply and demand of trades is lopsided. How many programmers did you have doing that type of work? Probably thousands. You may only have 2 electricians for a small town, or they may have union affiliations.
 
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Old 08-28-14, 04:01 PM
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Yeah $125 for 20 mins of work is fair. The GFCI 3 pack at lowes(customer pricing) is $27. His mark up is almost the same price. Guess the next 2 customers he does is 100% profit on those extra GFCI receptacles.

I had been in the wrong business all along. This has prompted me to take some classes and learn more about it.
 
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Old 08-28-14, 05:34 PM
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Remember you are not just paying for the the time he was there. He had to get there, and get to the next stop. $5 for fuel? That will get my service truck about 15 miles.


As for the price of the GFCI, that part didn't just appear in the truck. He had to pick it up at some point. You paid about $8 extra.

Plus add:
Insurance (liability, health, Unemployment, etc)
Bonding
Truck maintenance
Taxes
Licensing
Payroll
Training

Things are starting to make sense better aren't they?

All things said though, I would have only charged actual cost for the part, rounding up to the next dollar. We do not mark up materials unless it is a lot of work to get it.
 
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Old 08-28-14, 05:36 PM
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I'm an electrician and unfortunately in my area of NJ most people wont pay 125.00 for a one hour service call. I very rarely see anywhere near that amount per hour in the residential sector but there are a lot of electricians in this area. I don't take credit cards.

My customers would shoot me if I hit them with a fuel surcharge.

There are many types/brands of GFI receptacles. I don't use the HD cheapies as they don't last long. The last batch of GFI receptacles I bought from the supply house were around $18 each.
 
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Old 08-28-14, 10:22 PM
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Also remember that the $125 was not going into the techs pocket as his salary. I will bet that your company didn't bill at just your salary either.
 
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Old 08-29-14, 03:42 AM
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Good reason to be a DIY-er!
 
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Old 08-29-14, 03:49 AM
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There are many types/brands of GFI receptacles. I don't use the HD cheapies as they don't last long. The last batch of GFI receptacles I bought from the supply house were around $18 each.
Not that it matters , but technically HD carries Leviton slimlines which are high quality at 12 bucks a piece. You are overpaying at the supply house too.
 
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Old 08-29-14, 08:22 AM
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The GFCI 3 pack at lowes(customer pricing) is $27
That price is for three plain 15 amp GFCI receptacles, but you didn't buy three, you bought one. Code requires they be tamper resistant. One tamper resistant GFCI 15 amp GFCI receptacle at Lowes is about $18. If this was installed outside, the device must also be weather resistant which is around $23 at Lowes. Contractors aren't in the business of selling material wholesale, you are paying retail with the device being delivered to your home.

As for the price of the GFCI, that part didn't just appear in the truck. He had to pick it up at some point. You paid about $8 extra.

Plus add:
Insurance (liability, health, Unemployment, etc)
Bonding
Truck maintenance
Taxes
Licensing
Payroll
Training
In addition, the initial cost of a one ton service van equipped with ladder racks, shelving and parts bins is around $50,000 +. Assuming the hourly rate is competitive in your area, you got a fair deal.
 
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Old 08-29-14, 09:53 AM
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Hey marchvet, just saw your location. You should have asked here first. I lived in Hampton for 20 yrs, I could have given you a reference or 2. A good friend and old neighbor owns one of the largest electrical contracting companies in the area.

I do agree though, that the price was pretty reasonable for your vicinity. The service/labor is probably initial service call plus 1 hr (or any part of). Many companies work that way.
 
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Old 08-29-14, 10:09 AM
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Haven't hired an electrician in a long time but I had a locksmith out last year and they hit me with a $95 trip charge which they said covered up to one hour onsite.
 
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