Changing lamps

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jmsbrush

Senior Member
Location
Central Florida
Have you guys ever had a service call where you had to change out one light bulb for an older lady? Did you charge here $95.00 for your time?
I guess we have to if want to stay in business!
 

aline

Senior Member
Location
Utah
Have you guys ever had a service call where you had to change out one light bulb for an older lady? Did you charge here $95.00 for your time?
I guess we have to if want to stay in business!
Pull the covers off the electrical panels, check for loose connections, signs of overheating, etc. Test GFCI breakers and receptacles. Test the smoke detectors. Do a quick safety evaluation of the electrical system. This way you'll feel better about charging the $95 and she'll feel better about paying it. It can also lead to more work.

Don't forget to put your sticker on the panel.
 

jmsbrush

Senior Member
Location
Central Florida
I know, me too. The thing is if your sending a tech out to do a job. He has to be payed. I had a teacher tell me 2 years ago! "IF you can't go to an older ladies home and flip a breaker and then ask for a hundred dollars, Then you do not need to go into business."
 

jmsbrush

Senior Member
Location
Central Florida
Pull the covers off the electrical panels, check for loose connections, signs of overheating, etc. Test GFCI breakers and receptacles. Test the smoke detectors. Do a quick safety evaluation of the electrical system. This way you'll feel better about charging the $95 and she'll feel better about paying it. It can also lead to more work.

Don't forget to put your sticker on the panel.
You know. Thats very good advice. Thank you. I would feel better:smile: if I did that.
 

aline

Senior Member
Location
Utah
I've had calls where I could have just reset a breaker and left. After doing a safety evaluation of their electrical system and presenting them with my findings I've ended up installing GFCI receptacles, whole house surge protection for power, phone, Satellite and other items in the home. Mention installing a dimmer switch when changing out the light bulb. You can give them a discount since you're already there.

I carry a z-wave dimmer & lighting demonstration kit with me and demonstrate how they can control every light in the home from their bedroom, car remote, etc. Set up timed events to give the appearance that they are home while the're away. I also mention door bell intercoms with cameras so they can see who's at the door and reply without opening the door. The elderly really appreciate this kind of stuff and have no clue this stuff is available.
 

Rewire

Senior Member
I always tell my guys not to just walk in and walk out but let the customer feel like they have gotten something foir the money even if it is a short lecture on how GCIs work.
 

satcom

Senior Member
Do the call and charge your rate, if the senior is a real needy person, you can make an adjustment in the charge, just say your going to check the bulb in the frig, and take a look to see if it has eniough food in there.
 

A-1Sparky

Senior Member
Location
Vermont
I had a call one time to remove a broken lamp from a socket. The elderly homeowner was trying to replace the lamp, lost his balance, and tried to use the lamp to steady himself. Result...broken lamp in socket. So he had his wife call me because he was too embarassed. I was close by at the time, so I swung over and took care of it for them. Charged them $20. I didn't really make any money, but I felt good about helping them out.
 

LarryFine

Master Electrician Electric Contractor Richmond VA
Location
Henrico County, VA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Do the call and charge your rate, if the senior is a real needy person, you can make an adjustment in the charge, just say your going to check the bulb in the frig, and take a look to see if it has eniough food in there.
If there's plenty of food, tell them you'll settle for lunch. :smile:
 

MarkyMarkNC

Senior Member
Location
Raleigh NC
You never know, that little old lady may have 5 million dollars in the bank. She may have called just to have someone to talk to. Maybe all her kids have moved away and she's lonely. You just never know.

I have no problem with adjusting a price or even doing a job pro bono for someone in desperate need, but I would need to have some pretty good evidence that was the case.
 

TOOL_5150

Senior Member
Location
bay area, ca
I have had quite a few times where I fixed something small for free. Last time, I was at a customers house [he is scared of electricity] we were doing a service changeout. He asked me if I could take a broken lamp out of a socket. I had my apprentice doing something and I had some time, went and pulled it out, and even put a new one in that he supplied. He offered to pay me for it, I said to not worry about it. Just by the way he acted towards me the rest of the day, I know he will refer our business to his friends and family. It really comes down to the small things that can really set you aside of other contractors.

~Matt
 

emahler

Senior Member
I have had quite a few times where I fixed something small for free. Last time, I was at a customers house [he is scared of electricity] we were doing a service changeout. He asked me if I could take a broken lamp out of a socket. I had my apprentice doing something and I had some time, went and pulled it out, and even put a new one in that he supplied. He offered to pay me for it, I said to not worry about it. Just by the way he acted towards me the rest of the day, I know he will refer our business to his friends and family. It really comes down to the small things that can really set you aside of other contractors.

~Matt

Matt, you are correct as long as you can recognize the difference between you doing something like that while you are already onsite performing paying work, and making a separate service call trip to do the same small task...
 

brantmacga

Señor Member
Location
Georgia
Occupation
Electrical Monke
did something similar just a couple of months ago. changed out a half dozen 60w's in wall sconces and about a dozen t12's. I can't remember the bill exactly but it was a little over $400.

once you get tired of starving you'll have no problem asking customers to show you the money.
 

Sharpie

Senior Member
Location
PA
Pull the covers off the electrical panels, check for loose connections, signs of overheating, etc. Test GFCI breakers and receptacles. Test the smoke detectors. Do a quick safety evaluation of the electrical system. This way you'll feel better about charging the $95 and she'll feel better about paying it. It can also lead to more work.

Don't forget to put your sticker on the panel.

This is pretty good advice, but I might feel that my sticker on their panel somehow could associate me with the existing electrical system (good or bad). I would have to make a judgment call on that one. Maybe I'd leave a magnet for the fridge instead.

Just my thoughts:roll:
 

satcom

Senior Member
did something similar just a couple of months ago. changed out a half dozen 60w's in wall sconces and about a dozen t12's. I can't remember the bill exactly but it was a little over $400.

once you get tired of starving you'll have no problem asking customers to show you the money.
Or you can help everyone that you fee is in need, and just wait to come home to an empty house some day, when your family gets tired of living on leftovers.
 

charlietuna

Senior Member
I guess i'm just too soft, but the times i have run into these cases i basically would not charge them. I had a case where an old retired guy-living on social security -- needed a backup generator for his dyalisis machine in the event of a hurricane. When his wife called me--i could tell they didn't have the money for the install --their church had purchased the generator for them. She told me she had been saving for almost a year but had to do something since hurricane season was right around the corner... I told her i would do the job at no cost. The estimates she had from other contractors were near double what they should have been. She had her grandson there to help me and a great lunch when we finished !! From that job, i was contacted by three different accounts for work, one of which was the Superbowl Commitee which called on us everytime they came to town. I have never looked back on any pro bono job that i have done. I have had people treat me the same way on some things and it all balances out...
 
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