Price quote seems high?

jimracSeptember 28, 2012

Hi all,

Reside in CT; received quote for $800 to install interlock switch within my 200A panel; the outdoor inlet will be installed on exterior side of the service panel which is near my garage. Nothing really fancy. Maybe I am missing something. From my search it seems like even the best of materials will run, maybe $300 or so? so the rest labor, for 3-4 hours of labor tops? Seems on the high end to us..

Just curious. Many times I think, vendors venture into somewhat affluent neighborhoods and think consumers don't care about price or are aware of basic building improvements.

P.S. To all of those that might get offended by the post, we have never nickle/dime anybody.

Thanks in advance.

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Get a competitive quote. That will be much more revealing than any opinion on this site.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 9:13AM
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"so the rest labor, for 3-4 hours of labor tops?"

Do you think the material needed are going to magiaclly appear out of thin air?

What about the permit?

The electrician has to go pull the permit, then purchase the materials at the supply house.

He also has to pay insurance, gas, tools, taxes, and likely would like to retire before dropping dead.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 10:23AM
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I thought it was the homeowner who should obtain the city permit, no? At least, this is what I was told for my remodel.


FWIW, when we remodeled the bathroom 5 years ago, the electrician charged $110 or $130 per hour. There also might have been a charge just for coming in. I can't remember for sure b/c he charged the GC, not us, so the cost was included in the overall bill.

So, if it takes 4 hours plus permit, it would be a real "deal" in our area. :-)

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 10:39AM
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I'd say it seems pretty middle of the road to me. As a contractor, one needs to make "X" amount of money every day to pay overhead and profit. If he spends an hour picking up permits and material, 4 hours installing your equipment with his tools, truck and knoweldge and finishing up by doing paperwork. How many other jobs is he going to get done that same day. Maybe one more service call if he is lucky. Your job will pretty much eat up his entire day. He is just trying to make a living and keep his company above water. Too many home owners think the check they write goes straight into the contractors pocket. So many times, he will be lucky to see 20% of the invoice on his personal draw/check.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 11:42PM
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Remember this old joke:

"There was a story of a plumber being called to a doctor's home to do some work. After working for about an hour, the plumber gave the M.D. a bill for $200. The doctor said, "Good Gracious Man! I have been to medical school and residency and have been practicing medicine for over 20 years and I can't charge that kind of money!" The plumber smiled and said, "Yeah, I couldn't either when I was in practice."

No, "we" don't think that, btharmy. At least, I don't. :-)

"We" just don't understand why electricians charge so much more per hour than other contractors who seem to be in a similar situation (materials, trucks, tools, paperwork, needing to feed their families).

When we remodeled our bathrooms, I did not even see the electrician, the GC let him in. IDK if he obtained a permit or not b/c I had no idea he had to. Now I am worried that I can get in trouble when selling the house.

Many of these questions are just due to lack of knowledge about what's involved. E.g., when I worked for my previous company, we had to give an itemized estimate when bidding for a project (it was a different line of work).

Now, thanks to the explanations from this board, I am much more clear about what "you guys" do and I really appreciate it. :-)

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 12:18AM
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Keep in mind, many contractors use a flat rate pricing schedule. It is nearly impossible for them to accurately break things down into labor and material. I will say, these guys are usually on the much higher end of the pricing scale. This way, on some jobs they might lose money if something unforeseen happens, but all the other easy jobs make up for it.

Also, some guys will price a job high for several reasons; They have a lot of work and the new job will overburden them so they bid it really high, this way if they get it it's worth the money; Travel time and off site time is another reason a job might be higher priced. Service changes fall into this category many times; Some will even take into account the client's personality or habits. If someone is a PIA to work for it costs them more.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 7:30AM
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The tradesman pulls the permit as the homeowner's agent.

That makes them responsible for completing the work to the satisfaction of the AHJ in every place I have ever heard of, at the possible penalty of loosing their license.

Whomever pulls the permit is the one finally on the hook, and if a homeowner pulls the permit they may be denied access to various e bonding and public funds for work that is not completed.

Non-licensed tradesmen are NOT allowed to pull permits as a homeowner's agent.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 9:24AM
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Appreciate everyones input. All in all, the work was good, service good and followup good and if the price is on the higher end of the scale, marginally, no big deal. So have no real complaints. Just thought the hourly rate might be a bit steep, maybe in the range of $150-$165hr. I pulled the [permit, after the job was completed( only cost $12). I was under the assumption, that the contractor would automatically do it, since he/she is the professional, and this should be second nature to them. Actually, it is all done on-line now.


    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 3:54PM
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Glad you got it done to your satisfaction jimrac.

Brickeyee thanks very much for your clear explanation about permits, their pulling and who is responsible for completing the work to satisfy inspectors. I've seen all sorts of permutations (as probably have others) of late, but always feel it is the contractors job. One question, is it typical for them to charge you to pull them, extra to the quote for the job or is this a way to get you to pull them thinking to save money and not knowing the responsibility shifts? Thanks.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 8:55PM
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