warranty on work

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Old 06-18-15, 08:41 AM
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warranty on work

Taking bids on electrical work out at my cabins. Aside from the usual liability and workman's comp insurance, what kind of warranty on materials and workmanship should I expect?

I'm a low voltage contractor (cat.5, fiber, etc.) and give 5 years on material (95% of my installs are Commscope and/or Corning) and life time on labor.
 
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Old 06-18-15, 08:51 AM
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Depends on what kind of work you're having done. Warranty on a full service replacement for example is pretty common, but not as much on T&M jobs like repairing old circuits. In other words, it's tough to guarantee anything you didn't completely do yourself. Some of the panel and breaker manufacturers offer pretty good warranties on the equipment.
 
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Old 06-18-15, 08:53 AM
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I'm just a retired general contractor, but I wouldn't expect to get anything more than the mfg's warranty on materials and maybe 1 year on labor.

As for what you offer, if you are going beyond what the mfg offers, technically, you should be backing that up with sufficient assets where the cost may have to come out of your pocket. And, a lifetime warranty is only valid if you or your company will be around that long. Sounds like you are over promising and thus you may expect too much from your electrician.

Not trying to be critical, just realistic.

bud
 
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Old 06-18-15, 08:54 AM
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Would be a completely new install from the pole to the outlet.
 
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Old 06-18-15, 09:04 AM
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I hear ya on expecting too much and promising too much.

Been out on my own for 22 years, so far, so good. I do all the work myself and have to show my face to the customers, no subcontractors. Plus, my wife answers the phones

All my work is word of mouth, no advertising, so my mind set is very different.

Anyhoo, was wondering what I should expect.
 
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Old 06-18-15, 09:08 AM
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A 1 year is typically on labor and materials.

IMO, you are taking on too much liability with what you are offering.
 
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Old 06-18-15, 09:11 AM
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Both liability and WC should come in the form of a certificate of insurance from his insurance co.
Plus, anything else he offers should be in writing.

But, as you know, the bottom line is the integrity of the person/company.

Bud
 
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Old 06-18-15, 11:09 AM
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If you have your electrician install a premium line of panel and breakers like Square D Q0, Eaton CH or Siemens Ultimate they all have variations of a lifetime warranty on the equipment itself. Most other lines come with a 10 year warranty. The electrician of course is not providing the warranty, but the manufacturer. Something around 1 year on all of the new labor is reasonable.
 
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Old 06-18-15, 02:58 PM
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I think that the length of time that labor is warranted varies from area to area quite possibly influenced by market variables. Around here I think quite a few electricians offering at least 2 years and several up to 5 years for a complete installation like the OP is doing or for a new residence. I really don't think that's too much to ask for in shouldn't be a problem for the electrician to provide. After all the equipment itself is warranted by the manufacturer as long as it's installed correctly so all he is really warranty is his labor which is actually quite cheap for him to replace should a problem occur.

As a follow-up, what do members here think should happen if the warranty on a piece of electrical equipment such as a panel is ruled ineligible for a warranty replacement because it wasn't installed correctly? In that case should the electrician be held responsible and be sued to replace it?
 

Last edited by Msradell; 06-18-15 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 06-18-15, 03:29 PM
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I assume you mean "ineligible". Yes, and that is where the insurance kicks in. Not sure if it is Errors and Omissions, or liability.

IMO,
Bud
 
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Old 06-18-15, 04:20 PM
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Hate to get technical, but I'm going to.

This is really a legal question if I'm not missing something. A good example is my line of work, Kitchen Remodels.

My work is warranted for one year, but my intention is for the work to last a lifetime. The cabinets and such have longer warranties than 1 year.

On the other hand, I can be responsible for negligence up to 10 years in the state of California. This is where permits and inspections come in handy. Myself, as a contractor, have confidence a job was performed well. The inspector will confirm that all work performed is according to local or established building codes using specified material.

I have seen unpermitted room additions wired with lamp cord. Just an example of what can happen when permit process is avoided.
 
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Old 06-19-15, 06:54 AM
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The biggest problem for me, an individual or small business, offering a lengthy written warranty is that I don't have the resources to fend off angry and quite possibly wrong former customers and their lawsuit threats over issues that aren't my fault and wouldn't have been covered by my warranty anyway. They're just trying to get bad luck paid for by someone else. Look at the kind of stuff that goes wrong with electric -- it's almost all either "act of god" like lightning or ice storms (homeowners insurance), failure of the hardware itself (manufacturer warranty), failure to maintain the house/yard (homeowner responsibility), shoddy DIY work or other contractors work (their problem). If somebody has a legitimate problem with work I did I will be happy to go back and look at it no matter how long ago it was. I would offer to repair it for free if I thought I had made a mistake on the original install, but making it a written guarantee is far too much liability and legalese writing than I want to deal with as an individual. Sadly it only takes one or two bad apples to wreck a contractor in legal fees, and I simply can't provide them with a noose to hang me with. The good customers get taken care of with or without written contracts.
 
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