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Thread: five minute service call for $XXX

  1. #11
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    My rule is, if it's close or on the way home and my tools don't come out of the truck and it's just a couple minute deal, I don't charge for it.

    If my tools have to come off the truck for any reason for any length of time, I charge the minimum.

    Works for me. I haven't had anyone abuse it yet.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coppersmith View Post

    I make a show of checking the other bathrooms with a tester and then check the kitchen receptacles. "Unfortunately", everything is wired correctly and working. Now comes the moment I was dreading. "I fixed the problem. It was a tripped breaker." She wants to see where this tripped breaker is located and I show her a spot in the small panel. "I checked the big one" she says. "I didn't know there were circuit breakers in there" pointing at the small one. I just nod my head.

    "That will be $XXX. Sorry" I say.
    no no no

    "Oh! it's a tripped breaker after all! I better check that circuit"

    (Often bring in Tasco Inspector circuit analyzer, won't usually tell me anything but impressive to customer with all the little lights)

    "Well, everything is safe, but it's good that you called me, better safe than sorry when it comes to electricity! Just the service charge today, only $XXX"

    And absolutely no "Sorry"
    Dave Ruth
    Ready Electric

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by brantmacga View Post
    Anyway, point is, always charge; if you work for free, they’ll expect you to always work for free.




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    amen
    Dave Ruth
    Ready Electric

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coppersmith View Post

    I've been advised in the past to change the breaker or GFCI in these kinds of situations just to make the client feel better.
    I have done that a few times but usually don't. One reason is that there might be an intermittent problem, once I change the breaker or GFCI it tends to be perceived as my fault if it happens again.

    So usually I check breaker and neutral and ground screws for tight, stuff like that
    Dave Ruth
    Ready Electric

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by readydave8 View Post
    . . . once I change the breaker or GFCI it tends to be perceived as my fault if it happens again.
    Or at least, "What you charged me for last time obviously didn't fix the problem!" Then you're compelled to do the second investigation free.

    So usually I check breaker and neutral and ground screws for tight, stuff like that
    To that I add the explanation that, "Either the breaker tripped because is should have, or it tripped with less current that it should have."

    If needed, I explain how the thermal breaker works, and that there is more than one way to heat up the internal parts of a breaker (terminals, stabs). Finding a warm breaker in their panel helps make the point.
    Code references based on 2005 NEC
    Larry B. Fine
    Master Electrician
    Electrical Contractor
    Richmond, VA

  6. #16
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    People don't realize the expenses we have. All they think is hey he / she is an electrician they can afford not to charge me. There have been instances when I've been to a house for a little old lady and have changed a lightbulb for free. But that's only when I know they are living on SS. Plus the way I look at it is I can always make that up on the next job.

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Besoeker View Post
    Wouldn't she have known there was a minimum call out charge? Wouldn't you have advised her up front?
    If we were attorneys, there would have been charges for the phone conversation as well

    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Alwon View Post
    If it is a past client and it isn't far out of my way I will usually not charge... I know that's stupid but IMO that is good will.
    I may do that at times as well. Use your own discretion, some of those same clients maybe do similar favors for me at times. Special trip and especially if on weekend or holiday, they better expect to pay minimum service charge regardless of how simple the problem may be.
    I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coppersmith View Post
    asked her if she had checked for a tripped breaker and she said yes. It stopped working when she ran the vacuum she had plugged into the GFCI.

    There I see a tripped breaker which I reset and then verify that the GFCI is again functional. "Uh-oh" I think. "This is not good. I've been here two minutes but I have to charge for an hour. She's probably not going to be happy."
    OK, why did the breaker trip? Was the circuit overloaded? Normally the bath circuit is 20 amp which should run a vacuum cleaner without tripping. Where there people useing hair dryers at the same time?

    If only the vacuum cleaner was being ran at the time I would turn it on and meter the current draw at the panel to see if the breaker is bad ( could be a weak breaker or a bad vacuum motor).

    When a breaker is tripped I always wonder why and until I have the answer I assume there could be a problem.
    The 95% of people that you can't trust give the other 5% a bad name.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by growler View Post
    OK, why did the breaker trip?
    Good question, but 99.99% of time you will never have enough information to re-enact exactly what happened, and client will not know what kind of things they should be trying to recall in the first place. Things that seem irrelevant to them they will overlook, you only get that information if you know what questions to ask, and sometimes knowing how to ask them.

    Those that think they know anything about electrical can be worst at providing information, they will exclude things they don't think is important, but if they don't understand GFCI's (like in OP's case) they really don't know what details are important either.
    I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

  10. #20
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    IMO - they knew the cost of a service trip. You made the effort to drive there and effect a repair. I would charge them whatever the normal rate is. You do not make money by working for free.
    Bob

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