upgrade panel to 200amps -- too high? too low?

smleeSeptember 1, 2010

Hi this is my first post on Gardenweb.

Just bought a 1950's 1200 sq foot home in Southern Calif that needs up grades. I plan to put in central air once we get the electric upgraded (a few electricians recommended 200 amps). I would appreciate any advice you may have

I plan to upgrade electrical to 200amps with new mast, panel and meter pan. The quote we got was $3200. Does this sound reasonable in terms of amps and price?

Thank you in advance!

Leigh

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Ron Natalie

A load calculation would have to be done. I suspect if you have multiple electricians that have recommended 200A, I suspect at least one of them have done so. Prices vary with location, but the quote doesn't sound too out of line.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 8:41PM
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hrajotte

Sounds like a pretty good price for CA. Here in MA, I paid $2250 a couple years ago for the work you describe.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 10:10PM
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petey_racer

California is way high as far as pricing goes. I know that most all of the panels there are outside and it is considerably more work to do a service upgrade.
I know that $350 is not at all uncommon, so I think you are OK.

A house that small, with typical loads and then central air, I think 200A is necessary.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 7:05AM
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petey_racer

Damn web site with no edit function and my poor proofreading.

Should read $3500.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 7:06AM
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Ron Natalie

Yes, to give a data point. Out here in the east where prices aren't cheap but aren't horrendous, just replacing the panel alone would typically run $2000. Throw in the new meter pan and weather head and whatever else needs doing, and it could easily run $3000 here.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 9:19AM
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smlee

Thanks for all your help!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 4:46PM
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manhattan42

Don't know where the guys in the "east" are located but that job in my state would run about $1200 to $1500. (shrugs)

    Bookmark   September 4, 2010 at 9:20AM
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petey_racer

You can't be serious. If that is the case then the contractors in your area don't take their business seriously.

That is pricing from 10-15 years ago.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2010 at 11:25AM
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spencer_electrician

I bid $1300 to $1600 on most 200 amp upgrades and still lose the bid often. Usually $400 to $600 in materials plus $60 for the permit. Full 8 hour day with 2 guys, then have to figure all the time dealing with scheduling poco, inspector, pulling the permit, etc. If I could get $2,000 I would feel like the job was worth doing (:

    Bookmark   September 4, 2010 at 9:44PM
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manhattan42

"You can't be serious. If that is the case then the contractors in your area don't take their business seriously.
That is pricing from 10-15 years ago."

One could not get more for a 200amp service upgrade installation in my region, so the electricians are taking their business seriously....if they want to keep working, that is....

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 11:38AM
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petey_racer

My point is if everyone keeps dropping their prices they will ultimately be working for free. Real contractors and trades people need to charge what they are worth, not just enough to survive.
Dropping your pants (prices) just to get work goes against what the business models say. When things got slow I RAISED my prices and I started doing better. Then when things really picked up my price structure was more profitable.
The other way around when things pick up you need to scramble to keep up with the demand all while working for LESS money.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 11:50AM
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bill_g_web

I know I'll give offense here, but a panel tradeout is a 5-6 hour job, with the radio going and a nice lunch. That's 800k a year with a month off. Not much sympathy here.

As a hoomeowner, I'd rather be charged an hourly fee, say $150/hour. About what an emergency room doctor makes.

Bill

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 7:07PM
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petey_racer

Bill, I am certainly not offended, but you are off you nut if you think we do one a day. Even one a week.

800k a year with a month off. What a joke.

If you don't want to pay $1200, $1500, or even $2500, DON'T. Do it yourself and see just how easy it is.

I can do one with my eyes closed, in less than a day, and it will be neat and very nice looking, perfectly to code, no questions asked, inspected, and hooked up to the POCO. And I have NO problem getting the work charging what I charge.

Here's an idea, go ask a plumber what he charges to replace a boiler.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 8:00PM
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bill_g_web

I did do it myself and yes, it was easy, though I cheated and kept my eyes open the whole time.

So, I'm curious; if a panel switch-out is so easy, why do you charge so much more per hour for that work, compared to more difficult work troubleshooting an electrical problem, which may require a deep understanding of our power system?

I know, you already answered that question: because you can. :)

Barriers to entry into the electricain's union or plumber's union. And the AMA is doing a pretty good job too. Such talk, and on labor day!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 8:49PM
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petey_racer

Good for you that you did it yourself. 99.5% of people out there cannot and do not want to.

Yes, because I can. Every electrician and plumber I know agree.
Don't be jealous.

I hope you see how dumb your 800k remark was.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 9:20PM
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manhattan42

"My point is if everyone keeps dropping their prices they will ultimately be working for free. Real contractors and trades people need to charge what they are worth, not just enough to survive.
Dropping your pants (prices) just to get work goes against what the business models say."

Price is based on what the market will bear and nothing more.

In my region $1200-$1500 to change out a 200amp seervice is all the market will bear.

Price it any higher than that and even the 'real' electrician won't be doing the job...no matter how much he thinks he is worth. "I hope you see how dumb your 800k remark was."

No dumber than your remarks that "You can't be serious. If that is the case then the contractors in your area don't take their business seriously.
That is pricing from 10-15 years ago." :)

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 10:04PM
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petey_racer

Yeah, OK.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 10:14PM
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bill_g_web

All I'd like to add is a hearty thank you to all the pros here who take time to answer questions. I particularly like the posts that end up with pros batting ideas and opinions back and forth. I'm amazed and humbled by the depth of knowledge required to solve some of the stickier issues.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 10:49AM
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spencer_electrician

Had a good one today for $2400, that includes trenching however. One of my guys was there running the ditch witch and homeowner brought up that in the future a garage might be added where the proposed trench was to be located. An alternate route requiring a disconnect and 60 ft of 200 amp copper sub panel cable (City of Leawood in KS, one of the few cities that will not allow an aluminum service entrance) was decided on. My guy told them it would likely be $2000 more and they agreed. Change order already agreed on before I even got there. I'm glad I didn't have to tell them the news of how much 200 amp copper SER costs!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 12:07AM
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peste

I just had a panel in the basement and service to house upgraded to 200 amps in MD for $1500.
Electrician was very good, took care of the permits, inspections and dealing with the local power supplier.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 12:50PM
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