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Thread: Giving a quote without a concrete scope of work?

  1. #1
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    Giving a quote without a concrete scope of work?

    I looked at a job yesterday. Really old structure, on Main Street in a small rural town.
    Main level is typical storefront (old "Coast to Coast"), has its own service. Not touching that.

    Upper level was typical individual offices that were individually rented out. Also this upper level had a communal bathrooms (men's and women's).

    Owner wants to take half of this upper level and convert it into a living space for themselves.
    The other half will be left alone for now, but will probably be upgraded in future.

    The majority of the wiring (other than a couple changes) is knob and tube.
    They don't want to open up walls. Want to do things on the cheap.

    About the only thing I could suggest is doing surface mount EMT...
    Kind of a funky job, not quite sure how to give them a bid.
    Probably have to talk with inspector to get his 2 cents worth on what he expects.

    Just talking out loud here...
    Any guidance is appreciated!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by sw_ross View Post
    I looked at a job yesterday. Really old structure, on Main Street in a small rural town.
    Main level is typical storefront (old "Coast to Coast"), has its own service. Not touching that.

    Upper level was typical individual offices that were individually rented out. Also this upper level had a communal bathrooms (men's and women's).

    Owner wants to take half of this upper level and convert it into a living space for themselves.
    The other half will be left alone for now, but will probably be upgraded in future.

    The majority of the wiring (other than a couple changes) is knob and tube.
    They don't want to open up walls. Want to do things on the cheap.

    About the only thing I could suggest is doing surface mount EMT...
    Kind of a funky job, not quite sure how to give them a bid.
    Probably have to talk with inspector to get his 2 cents worth on what he expects.

    Just talking out loud here...
    Any guidance is appreciated!
    Get a stamped set of prints and specs for the project before you start throwing out numbers. If they are serious about doing this project, this is the first step they need to do.

  3. #3
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    Run far and fast.
    It's my name going on that drawing, not yours. If what you want ain't right, it ain't going on the drawings!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by sw_ross View Post
    They don't want to open up walls. Want to do things on the cheap.
    do you have drawings, besides what might be on a bar napkin?
    ~New signature under construction.~
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  5. #5
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    Do a quick sketch code minimum electrical plan (based on EMT surface mount), price it properly including permit, present it to them and let them say yes or no. If they say no, you have nothing to feel bad about. You are entitled to make money. You're not running a charity. If they say yes, get 50% upfront and hope they don't stiff you for the rest.

    ETA: this assumes there is no plan review or your sketch is acceptable for plan review. In my jurisdiction, I'm allowed to draw plans for anything up to 400 amps.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coppersmith View Post
    Do a quick sketch code minimum electrical plan (based on EMT surface mount), price it properly including permit, present it to them and let them say yes or no. If they say no, you have nothing to feel bad about. You are entitled to make money. You're not running a charity. If they say yes, get 50% upfront and hope they don't stiff you for the rest.

    ETA: this assumes there is no plan review or your sketch is acceptable for plan review. In my jurisdiction, I'm allowed to draw plans for anything up to 400 amps.
    +1 on this. A job like the OP describes is not going to have drawings, and if it does the electrical aren't going to be much help.
    If Billy Idol or John Denver is on your play list go and reevaluate your life.

  7. #7
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    That's the general feeling I'm getting as I think about the project...
    I have concerns about "the budget", and their ability to pay.

    I'll probably do similar to what Coppersmith suggested and work up a number for surface run EMT, after having a conversation with our local AHJ.

    It's definitely a job that I want to have everything on paper, and a very specific terms of payment, with a sizable deposit before I show up on the jobsite with material!

  8. #8
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    If you are seriously concerned about getting paid, you can ask for the entire amount in advance. I have done this on occasion. Some customers react badly, others just hand you a check (which you should take to their bank and cash before starting work). It's better than getting stiffed. You can file lien paperwork if you followed your lien law precisely, but it's a hassle and won't necessarily get you any money.

  9. #9
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    You could also do Wiremold tho it will cost more than EMT.

    Cheapest I'd think is abandoning all existing K&T wiring in place, run the EMT or wiremold, and fishing in as little as possible the circuits necessary to give them a code-compliant living space. Whether the kitchen oven or dryer is 'here' or 'there' doesnt matter for a bid too much. You need a rudimentary layout tho and whatever they intend to have up there. Once you get that you can give a fairly accurate quote, and get a finalized layout, and build to that.

    I'd get funds for all (100% of) materials and a third of labor up front, and get your next and final thirds before you commence that work. All change orders are 100% up front
    Electricians do it until it Hertz!

  10. #10
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    I would do a rough verbal to give them a ballpark idea.

    If they were still interested, I would sit down and sketch something out with them to give them a more concrete number if they wanted it. We're getting ready to do an office remodel that I gave them a ballpark number on, but the project will be T & M because there are too many unknowns.

    If I have no choice but to bid something like this, I cover myself and add exclusions.

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