Crazy high!?

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CopperTone

Senior Member
Location
MetroWest, MA
it is too high if you don't get the job. it is too high if you lose all the jobs you bid. you know your costs of doing business, you know all the circumstances surounding this job - if you are losing 7-8 out of 10 jobs because you are the highest bidder then maybe you are too high. Or, you need to do a better job selling your services.

If the GC got a price for half or yours then why is he still talking to you?

I get jobs all the time that we are not the lowest price on - There certainly is some salesmanship to this profession too. If you can "sell" the higher price to the GC or owner then maybe that is what you need to work on - not how to lower your price.

Just the other day I gave a price to a homeowner - $1200 - He asked me if I would take $1050? I told him no, I suggested he get some more prices to compare our price to. They replied the next day with - ok we want you to do the work at your price.
 

ceb58

Senior Member
Location
Raeford, NC
I stated that I don't think he has much of a chance if he has to bid the job.

To many people out of work these days and a basement in January has always went cheaper than say in june or july because even in a good economy this is a slow month.

If the OP would give a breakdown of labor and materials used to figure the job it would give a better idea.

I don't like to tell anyone that they are to high when they have seen the job and I have not because they may know something that I don't.
I saw something the other morning on one of the morning news shows. They were talking about this was the time to do remodeling to your house to build up the value when the economy turns around. They plainly said contractors are needing work due to the down turn and you can really get a low price because they need the work. They would have been better off saying what they meant. "you have them by the balls, beat them out of making a liveing"
 

dbuckley

Senior Member
They would have been better off saying what they meant. "you have them by the balls, beat them out of making a liveing"
Yep, and it wasn't so long ago that ECs had more work than they could handle, and the EC had the customers by the balls, and charged what they could get away with.

It goes in cycles.

Its actually about what I call "the balance of desperation". Are you more desperate to do the work, or is the customer more desperate to get the work done. Solving that equation tells you the right price for the job.

And the balance of desperation equation works for many many things in life. Buying a car, getting a loan, club membership subscriptions, dating, the list goes on...
 

satcom

Senior Member
Yep, and it wasn't so long ago that ECs had more work than they could handle, and the EC had the customers by the balls, and charged what they could get away with.

It goes in cycles.

Its actually about what I call "the balance of desperation". Are you more desperate to do the work, or is the customer more desperate to get the work done. Solving that equation tells you the right price for the job.

And the balance of desperation equation works for many many things in life. Buying a car, getting a loan, club membership subscriptions, dating, the list goes on...
If that desperation equation was the way it worked, then I suggest you have not tried to bargain a car dealer lower then their fixed prices, or tried to bargain with the phone company plans or rates, take it or leave it, even a gym membership is usually a set plan amount, and if you do find a deal it will usually be for a plan that offers less, even in these depressed times I notice many of the trades are getting their prices, with a few exceptions, some electricians that have good paying day jobs with benefits , willing to stick it to the hard working full time EC's and reduce their prices to get work, then yes, the full time EC can get desperate
 

dbuckley

Senior Member
That's exactly the point.

If that desperation equation was the way it worked, then I suggest you have not tried to bargain a car dealer lower then their fixed prices, or tried to bargain with the phone company plans or rates...
In both these situations, you (the customer) are more desperate to have the service offered that the supplier is desperate to have your business.

You will pay the fixed price for the car, or you wont get the car. You are more desperate to have the car than the dealer is to sell it you. The dealer is willing to let you walk away, rather than conclude the deal at a lower price.

You are more desperate to have phone service than the phone company is to have you on their books. They are willing not to have you as a customer and let you walk out the door, but you need a phone line and will do whatever it is the phone company want, because you are the more desperate party.

That's the balance of desperation working perfectly. Its everywhere.

But I'd note that in both these examples, the customer is more desperate than the supplier.

Find an example where the supplier is more desperate than the customer, and the supplier will do almost anything to get the business.
 

satcom

Senior Member
In GC speak "nearly double the lowest bid" means you are about 20% - 30% higher.
Other then the GC's with good track records and a history of good working practices with subs,
A good number of the GC's out there take a wild guess at the job cost, and then try to feel out a sub for a low number, they do not have a formal
bid process, so when they say your high, they usually have no idea what the real cost is, they just tell all the subs they are high, then play games, until the sub catches on to the game playing and backs way

I attended a GC dinner meeting for a local assn.
As a guest, and the GC's thought it was funny how they could play the EC subs and get them to cave, they talked about how they would not get away with games with the other trades, buy EC's were easy, so hold your prices if you have a solid estimate.
 

Knownot

Member
I stood by my price and didn't get the job. The plumbing side of our company is doing the plumbing, so I'll find out who's doing the electrical. 48 man hours at 135.00 = 6480 + 4000 materials our retail = 10480 + 20 dinner = 10500
 

JOHNEO99

Senior Member
Does this seem crazy high?

1308 sq ft basement fininshing in Charlotte, NC

Install new sub panel for basement finishing

Install NEC compliant 120v electrical wiring, boxes, switches (does not include dimmers), receptacles, breakers and safety switches for finishing of basement.

Install up to eighteen (18) customer supplied can lights in pre-determined locations in basement.

Install 240v wiring for 10kw furnace and new heat pump and make final electrical connections.

Install customer supplied smoke detectors for basement finishing bedrooms.

Prewire for three ceiling fans and mount three customer provided ceiling fans

Install dedicated circuit for sewer lift and wire alarm

Install dedicated circuit for stereo equipment

Provide electrical permit

$10500
You would not get many jobs around here for that price and we mostly pipe everything. This would go for 4500-6000 here
 

nyerinfl

Senior Member
Location
Broward Co.
I stood by my price and didn't get the job. The plumbing side of our company is doing the plumbing, so I'll find out who's doing the electrical. 48 man hours at 135.00 = 6480 + 4000 materials our retail = 10480 + 20 dinner = 10500
$135/hr for a contract bid? If you can get any work bidding at that rate more power to you, I haven't seen an hourly rate like that for a contract job since bidding IBEW 3 in New York, and that was for multi-million dollar projects. And $4,000 in materials without supplying the recessed lights or smoke detectors? You have a true cost of $1,000 - $1,500 in material tops on this. Doesn't suprise me your price was double.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
To many people out of work these days and a basement in January has always went cheaper than say in june or july because even in a good economy this is a slow month.

Problem I always run into with this situation is I am giving them a price in January but the work usually doesn't take place until June or July so if I give them a low price just to get the job while it is a little slow I end up doing the low ball priced job during a busier time. I don't really give lower prices just because it is a little slow. In general no body else ever gives me a lower price on any other goods or services just because it is slow.

Retail sales places are a different game. Bottom line is total profit. If they want to slash prices to try to boost sales then they are hoping there is a big enough increase in sales to offset the loss of reduced prices. They never sell anything below their cost unless they truly have a good reason to think selling it at a loss is better in the end, like getting rid of a seasonal item so they don't have to waste space that could be used for displaying current items, or getting at least something from a perishable product before it is too old and needs disposed of.
 

LarryFine

Master Electrician Electric Contractor Richmond VA
Location
Henrico County, VA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Problem I always run into with this situation is I am giving them a price in January but the work usually doesn't take place until June or July ...
The fix is a "this proposal may be withdrawn if not signed within 30 days" or similar clause.

If they want to slash prices to try to boost sales then they are hoping there is a big enough increase in sales to offset the loss of reduced prices.
They don't have to hire twice as many people to sell twice as much merchandise.
 

Belton

Member
Knownot,
I am a little North of you in NC and this seems like a good price to me. How well do you know the GC? I would find it hard to believe someone has priced it correctly for half the price. I don't mind making less money on a job in order to stay busy but I certainly can't afford to NOT cover my costs. You can only manage a job so efficiently.
 

Knownot

Member
Thanks for the replies. I don't know the GC at all. I'm a rookie electrician and estimator, so it's refreshing to see that I'm not totally out of range.
 

CopperTone

Senior Member
Location
MetroWest, MA
$135/hr for a contract bid? If you can get any work bidding at that rate more power to you, I haven't seen an hourly rate like that for a contract job since bidding IBEW 3 in New York, and that was for multi-million dollar projects. And $4,000 in materials without supplying the recessed lights or smoke detectors? You have a true cost of $1,000 - $1,500 in material tops on this. Doesn't suprise me your price was double.
I agree - the material cost is $1500 your cost - tops. Mark it up 30% comes in around $2000. $135/hr seems high to me - let me rephrase that - I can't get $135 per man per hour. I can get $135/hr for a licensed guy and an apprentice.

I would estimate 64 man hours which includes picking up stock and filing permit.

For me I would guess this

32 hrs X $135/hr for lic. and apprentice = $4320.00

$2000.00 material including mark up

$200.00 permit fee

total $6520.00

unforseen PITA factor $500.00

Total $7020.00

Your companies overhead may warrant charging $135.00/hr per man - seems like a service rate - not new construction rate.
 
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