Electrical Contractor?

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bikeindy said:
Yeah I guess so, since I didn't write trouble I wrote CAN"T and so did he. Trouble doesn't = Can't.
The reality is that most 'electricians" will work in a very limited range of job types (eg: resi/romex and light comm'l/mc small emt) where after doing what they've been told by someone who CAN read the codebooks and job specs they have learned enough to install the related gear correctly and will know when something they've been told to do isn't what they've been told in the past to do.

They can usually do troubleshooting in this class of work as well and often the employee that the newest apprentice is assigned to to learn how to get the work done.

These guys are the backbone of most new construction EC's workforce. They KNOW better than you do that they can't find their way through the codebook and few of their employers care if they can. They also know that their pay rate often reflects this shortcoming on their part; but also just as often they are paid quite well.

As an employer of these folks it is the job of the EC and PM and foreman to make up the difference by explaining (visually) that the code has been changed or that the spec on this job is X and he'll need to do such and such *this way*. Then of course check their work to make sure, and usually it is just fine.
 

bikeindy

Senior Member
Location
Indianapolis IN
BryanMD said:
The reality is that most 'electricians" will work in a very limited range of job types (eg: resi/romex and light comm'l/mc small emt) where after doing what they've been told by someone who CAN read the codebooks and job specs they have learned enough to install the related gear correctly and will know when something they've been told to do isn't what they've been told in the past to do.

They can usually do troubleshooting in this class of work as well and often the employee that the newest apprentice is assigned to to learn how to get the work done.

These guys are the backbone of most new construction EC's workforce. They KNOW better than you do that they can't find their way through the codebook and few of their employers care if they can. They also know that their pay rate often reflects this shortcoming on their part; but also just as often they are paid quite well.

As an employer of these folks it is the job of the EC and PM and foreman to make up the difference by explaining (visually) that the code has been changed or that the spec on this job is X and he'll need to do such and such *this way*. Then of course check their work to make sure, and usually it is just fine.
I'm simply amazed that you could write that since your just an "electrician".

Oh I am so glad electricians are held in such high esteam here on this forum.
 
bikeindy said:
I'm simply amazed that you could write that since your just an "electrician".
Note the use of quote marks. I could have started with saying the reality is that most of the guys who are thought of or call themselves or are referred to as or are weekly paid as an electricians... without the quote marks but that seemed cumbersome.

I'll stand by what I wrote.
 

cowboyjwc

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Simi Valley, CA
Didn't mean to cause such a fuss. I've been in the trades for 30 years, but I also read at a college level when I was in grade school, so do not accuse me of generlizing.

I have actually been on a job, explaining the correction notice to the contractor, had him standing there nodding his head "reading along", and I look over and he was holding the notice upside down. They're out there.
 

emahler

Senior Member
being an electrician is a noble endeavor...unfortunately, it's also the refuge of last resort for many people...bikeindy, for you to get upset is odd to say the least, have you never dealt with a significant portion of the trades? the guys who are only in the trades because no where else would take them?

an electrician says "I can do that", then proceeds to do the work...

an electrical contractor says "I can do that, it's gonna cost you $X" before he does the work

:D
 

LarryFine

Master Electrician Electric Contractor Richmond VA
Location
Henrico County, VA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
cowboyjwc said:
I have actually been on a job, explaining the correction notice to the contractor, had him standing there nodding his head "reading along", and I look over and he was holding the notice upside down. They're out there.
Imagine a Christmas carroller doing the same thing:

"Leon, Leon, Leon, Leon..." :grin:
 

emahler

Senior Member
Tiger Electrical said:
Maybe my business is only a job, but it's a really sweet job.

Dave
Dave, from what you post, and how you run, i personally would classify you as an EC...
 

kkwong

Senior Member
LarryFine said:
Imagine a Christmas carroller doing the same thing:

"Leon, Leon, Leon, Leon..." :grin:
Reminds me of that movie when the dog eats the turkey and they go to the Chinese restauraunt for dinner. :grin: (is it Christmas Story?)

Bike-

Like several inspectors, I've been there trying to explain to someone a correction notice and get blank stares, not because they cannot read, but because english is not their first language. In CA as in many other parts of the country, many trades are hiring non-english/spanish speakers. Due to NFPA printing only english and spanish versions of the NEC, are we saying that only english/spanish readers/speakers are to perform electrical work?

Just because someone does not speak/read english or has a limited understanding does not mean that they cannot be trained in a way to perform the work to acceptable standards. It is an issue, I will grant you that, but as we have an increase of immigrants it is a hurdle that we will have to face each and every time we go to the field.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
kkwong said:
Just because someone does not speak/read english or has a limited understanding does not mean that they cannot be trained in a way to perform the work to acceptable standards. It is an issue, I will grant you that, but as we have an increase of immigrants it is a hurdle that we will have to face each and every time we go to the field.
I would bet some contractors would use trained monkeys if they could train them to do something they could make money off of.

Acceptable is the issue. We have guys in our shop that can run rings around virtually all electricians at actual wiring. But try to get them to bend up a few pieces of conduit, and ...

A lot of things have changed since I got into the work force. It used to be that no one wanted anything but copper or SS air tubing on machines. you ever see that these days? its virtually always push-on plastic. The guys that did the pretty SS tubing work for $30 an hour have all retired and been replaced with $12 an hour guys who push the tubing into the fittings. And you know what, it works just as well in virtually all cases.

used to be low pressure hydraulic and coolant lines were all SS or pipe. These days it is mostly push-lok fittings and rubber hoses. Does anyone really want to go back?

Does anyone really want to get rid of Romex and use EMT instead? It might be 'better" in some ways, but it is usually adequate where it is being used, and the cost savings are substantial.

Remember when plumbers used to make up lead an oakum joints? Now its PVC and some glue.
 

480sparky

Senior Member
Location
Iowegia
petersonra said:
I would bet some contractors would use trained monkeys if they could train them to do something they could make money off of.

Acceptable is the issue. We have guys in our shop that can run rings around virtually all electricians at actual wiring. But try to get them to bend up a few pieces of conduit, and ...

A lot of things have changed since I got into the work force. It used to be that no one wanted anything but copper or SS air tubing on machines. you ever see that these days? its virtually always push-on plastic. The guys that did the pretty SS tubing work for $30 an hour have all retired and been replaced with $12 an hour guys who push the tubing into the fittings. And you know what, it works just as well in virtually all cases.

used to be low pressure hydraulic and coolant lines were all SS or pipe. These days it is mostly push-lok fittings and rubber hoses. Does anyone really want to go back?

Does anyone really want to get rid of Romex and use EMT instead? It might be 'better" in some ways, but it is usually adequate where it is being used, and the cost savings are substantial.

Remember when plumbers used to make up lead an oakum joints? Now its PVC and some glue.
OK, here's your trained monkey..... :D

 

jaylectricity

Senior Member
Location
Massachusetts
After the first page of replies I couldn't read the rest, so here is what I have:

Being an electrical contractor means that you sign contracts with customers to get the electrical work done. Period.

I have seen many many many licensed, insured, bonded, accounted, lawyered companies that do NOTHING BUT "HACK" work. Everything about them is completely legal, but their work sucks.

A self-employed electrician shows up and does the job. They are licensed, insured, bonded, accounted, lawyered and have the same propensity to do a job well, or hack a job up.

In both instances the work can be pristine or it can be hack.

The key is the contracts.

Don't make this a debate about labeling the honest vs the wicked.
 

emahler

Senior Member
jaylectricity said:
After the first page of replies I couldn't read the rest, so here is what I have:

Being an electrical contractor means that you sign contracts with customers to get the electrical work done. Period.

I have seen many many many licensed, insured, bonded, accounted, lawyered companies that do NOTHING BUT "HACK" work. Everything about them is completely legal, but their work sucks.

A self-employed electrician shows up and does the job. They are licensed, insured, bonded, accounted, lawyered and have the same propensity to do a job well, or hack a job up.

In both instances the work can be pristine or it can be hack.

The key is the contracts.

Don't make this a debate about labeling the honest vs the wicked.
i'd add that a contractor works for a profit, while a self employed electrician works for wages....
 

Tiger Electrical

Senior Member
emahler said:
i'd add that a contractor works for a profit, while a self employed electrician works for wages....
IMO the bottom line is the difference between having a job as an electrician and having a business as an electrical contractor. That is after the following:

You pay yourself at least as much as you could make working as a journeyman for someone else, including decent health and retirement benefits.

Your pricing includes replacing the things you use in your business like the truck and tools.

If your wife or children are helping out they are paid at least as much as they could make working for someone else.

I don't have employees or a commercial property, which is why I call it a job for myself. I lack the ambition to build a multi-million dollar business. I like the business and I've learned how to keep it profitable.

Dave
 
jaylectricity said:
Being an electrical contractor means that you sign contracts with customers to get the electrical work done. Period.

The key is the contracts.
Don't make this a debate about labeling the honest vs the wicked.
Bingo!

Operating as a profitable business (or as a trunk slammer) is a whole other discussion.
 
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