Price Books

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sd4524

Senior Member
I'm almost done putting together my price book for residential and commercial service calls. My question for companies that use price books, Do you show the customers the book and prices? Or do you just let them see that you are using a book to come up with prices?
I'm thinking that I just want them to see that I am using a book to price the jobs and not trying to over or under charge. I cant have customers looking inside the book because they wouldn't understand most of it.
What do you guys do?
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
I have still never figured out how you can set a price for anything in this trade. Nothing is ever consistantly the same.

With an automobile you can take certain tasks and put a price on them. Changing the brakes is similar enough from one vehicle to the next that you can call it the same work, you can still have a different price for certain vehicles that are different somehow.

Now come to the electrical trade where you work in buildings that are all different from one another. You can provide power to something in one building that goes very easy and takes less than 1 hour with minimal material. The next day you could provide power in another building to same piece of equipment but take most of the day to do so, may need specialty tools like a rotary hammer, or scaffold or mechanical lift, maybe the service is not capable of powering the added load, and who knows what else.

Working conditions at the site make a big difference also. Been in some houses where you spend more time moving junk so you can work than you spend actually doing your install.
 

sd4524

Senior Member
Right. The price book is a guide for standard tasks.
Change a breaker
Install 50 feet of conduit
Install a new outlet
Install 4 can lights.
Change a ballast... etc, etc.
A lot of companies use them. There is always fine print to add for core drilling, difficult working conditions, older homes, plaster. It helps to have a guide. Its mostly for residential... not for building a time machine.
 

sd4524

Senior Member
I like the pricebook idea to produce more consistent pricing. You are right about me being a salesman. If you don't sell yourself then... well I'm not going for one of those threads. I'm not opposed to any SYSTEM. Right now I have no set system other than pulling price out of my pocket.
Anyway, my question was more for guys that DO use pricebooks.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Price books are for when you have salesman.
I never gave that any thought but you are exactly right. The guy that does the work knows what it takes to get it done. Even for the salesman it works better for something more predictable like auto repairs.


Change a breaker - snap in breaker, plug in breaker, FPE, pushmatic, ???

Install 50 feet of conduit - 1/2 inch, 2 inch, 4 inch? standing reach level, 10 feet up, 30 feet up? EMT, rigid, PVC? bending necessary?

Install a new outlet - $.75 low grade duplex receptacle or $900.00 200 amp pin and sleeve 5 wire receptacle?

Install 4 can lights. - rough in, remodel, incandescant, CFL, HID?

Change a ballast... etc, etc. - CFL, HID, T8, T12, 8feet up, 30 feet up, 100 feet up?

That book can be pretty big and will need updated a lot.
 
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sd4524

Senior Member
If it is cool with the forum rules than I would post a link to the book I bought. Yes there are different prices for all sizes of conduit, wire, etc. You do have to put in all of your own prices though. It gets specific for some things and vague for others... its not a perfect system. There is not perfect system.
Its going to be about 40 pages and will absolutely need to be updated often as I gain more experience pricing out my own work.
Its mostly for residential fellas... and again it is just a guide. I just want to make sure that I am giving a fair price for ME and my customers.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
If it is cool with the forum rules than I would post a link to the book I bought. Yes there are different prices for all sizes of conduit, wire, etc. You do have to put in all of your own prices though. It gets specific for some things and vague for others... its not a perfect system. There is not perfect system.
Its going to be about 40 pages and will absolutely need to be updated often as I gain more experience pricing out my own work.
Its mostly for residential fellas... and again it is just a guide. I just want to make sure that I am giving a fair price for ME and my customers.
Don't see why you can't post the link. If they want a quote for something I have my notebook computer with me, work up an expected bill of materials, and throw in expected labor and I have a price for them.

I will not answer how much it costs to change an outlet or ballast or something like that over the phone. There is almost always something you need to see that makes the job non routine - or when you get there you find out that what they asked for is not what is really needed.
 

Joethemechanic

Senior Member
Location
Philly Pa burbs
Salesmen think that pricing everything by those idiotic books and ignoring the details is being a go getter and a super salesman

They tend to use those books and ignore the factors that make the job a loser.

Say it's an underground fed bunch of light poles

The salesman will ignore soil conditions

Say there is confined space entry involved

The salesman will ignore the additional costs to do a confined space job

The salesman love ignoring details, because when they ignore details they come in with a low price and make lots of sales.

Then poor smucks like me have to pull the job out of the toilet and at least minimize losses.


You can sell yourself all you want, but if you bid too low because you ignore details, you just break your back and wear your equipment out for nothing.
 

sd4524

Senior Member
Kwired the price book could replace your notebook computer. It is the same basic idea I'm sure. Yes every job is different but a 15 amp single pole qo square d breaker should cost the same every time. I know there is the one job where there are 17 pitbulls in front of the panel and you need to train them all from scratch before you change the breaker. :)
The price book came from: http://www.electrician-electricalcontractor.com/flatrate.html
The cost was only $200 which is about an hr of billable time. Now I need to get all of my own pricing in. You still need to pay attention to the job and look for things that will cost more than average such as soil conditions for parking lot lights.
Joethemechanic you won't have to pull my jobs out of the toilet I promise. Just give me an honest days work. Take a coffee and lunch break and be safe. My price book should help me catch every last detail for the job if I set it up right. If I tell the customer that it is hourly then they are going to stand over you and make suggestions. I bet you or your company uses some time of standardized pricing, no?
 

Joethemechanic

Senior Member
Location
Philly Pa burbs
I have yet to see a salesman, that needed to use some kind of flat rate book, bid jobs right.

Maybe it was just me, I really only ever did industrial work,,

Maybe some kind of book might work for resi, but I kinda doubt that too
 

satcom

Senior Member
I have yet to see a salesman, that needed to use some kind of flat rate book, bid jobs right.

Maybe it was just me, I really only ever did industrial work,,

Maybe some kind of book might work for resi, but I kinda doubt that too

A price book may not work, but a price guide should work well for pricing projects, all you need is the basic understanding of job conditions, and material costs, and adding your overhead and operating expenses.
 

Joethemechanic

Senior Member
Location
Philly Pa burbs
I've heard all about guides for pricing tasks before, highfalutin talk from college boys who never got their hands dirty a day in their lives. And yet I'm 50, and been doing this kinda work all my life, and I have NEVER seen it work.

And, I got to tell you, When I oversaw a small sales department (3 people) as part of my job (VP of Operations) if I heard that kind of price guide bs talk from a salesman, he already had one foot out the door. And the reason is because I know as sure as god made little green apples that he is going to screw up.


BTW, you know what happens when you lose money (even if you have deep enough pockets to eat it)?

You start to lose your bonding. Then you are picking ____ with the chickens

In this day and age, bonding companies get nervous really quick.
 

Riograndeelectric

Senior Member
Don't see why you can't post the link. If they want a quote for something I have my notebook computer with me, work up an expected bill of materials, and throw in expected labor and I have a price for them.

I will not answer how much it costs to change an outlet or ballast or something like that over the phone. There is almost always something you need to see that makes the job non routine - or when you get there you find out that what they asked for is not what is really needed.
Kwired, your pricing guide you have on your computer is this something that you mad or is this part of an estimating software like Accubid, Conest etc?
 

cadpoint

Senior Member
Location
Durham, NC
First off they are your prices, go buy more books of pricing and compare them to it.

At best your price is a reflection of possible base line prices of what involved. Your price as a baseline is what's required then + add more...
 
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kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Kwired, your pricing guide you have on your computer is this something that you mad or is this part of an estimating software like Accubid, Conest etc?
It is my Quickbooks accounting software which is used to keep track of purchases as well as sales. If I have purchased it before I have a price for it. Now if it is a big dollar item I may want to check with suppliers for current prices. If using items from inventory they have already been purchased and you are not going to lose anything but may have to sell at a different price when inventory is replenished.

I can make an estimate, customer approves the work and just a click or two and the estimate is now an invoice.
 

cadpoint

Senior Member
Location
Durham, NC
I never gave that any thought but you are exactly right. The guy that does the work knows what it takes to get it done. Even for the salesman it works better for something more predictable like auto repairs.


Change a breaker - snap in breaker, plug in breaker, FPE, pushmatic, ???

Install 50 feet of conduit - 1/2 inch, 2 inch, 4 inch? standing reach level, 10 feet up, 30 feet up? EMT, rigid, PVC? bending necessary?

Install a new outlet - $.75 low grade duplex receptacle or $900.00 200 amp pin and sleeve 5 wire receptacle?

Install 4 can lights. - rough in, remodel, incandescant, CFL, HID?

Change a ballast... etc, etc. - CFL, HID, T8, T12, 8feet up, 30 feet up, 100 feet up?

That book can be pretty big and will need updated a lot.
It is my Quickbooks accounting software which is used to keep track of purchases as well as sales. If I have purchased it before I have a price for it. Now if it is a big dollar item I may want to check with suppliers for current prices. If using items from inventory they have already been purchased and you are not going to lose anything but may have to sell at a different price when inventory is replenished.

I can make an estimate, customer approves the work and just a click or two and the estimate is now an invoice.
Why does the price change if it's in inventory, the price Should still be the same! I don't concure!
 

Joethemechanic

Senior Member
Location
Philly Pa burbs
Why does the price change if it's in inventory, the price Should still be the same! I don't concure!

The price you charge has to be what it costs to replace inventory (current price) plus mark up.


If I buy something 3 years ago because I got a good price, that is a big plus mark in the Joe column not a big price break for the customer.

Not to mention, prices go up, I have to replace what I use. If I buy something for $2 sell it to the customer for $4 and go to the supply house to replace stock and find out that my cost is now $6 , then I just lost money.

Not to mention my cost to store it, handle it, and the fact that I am taking a risk that I might never sell it, or that it could get damaged or stolen while it's in my storehouse
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Why does the price change if it's in inventory, the price Should still be the same! I don't concure!
And it very well may be sold for the original price, but when the inventory is replenished the next time the same item is sold it will have a price adjustment - whether the adjustment is up or down.

Inventory already has an existing cost from whenever it is purchased. If you overstocked a whole bunch of copper and the prices suddenly started to plunge you may have to sell it for less than you paid for it just to get rid of it, but if you bought a bunch when price was low and it suddenly spikes you may make very good money on it if you mark it up to current prices - makes up for when you had to take a loss.
 

Riograndeelectric

Senior Member
It is my Quickbooks accounting software which is used to keep track of purchases as well as sales. If I have purchased it before I have a price for it. Now if it is a big dollar item I may want to check with suppliers for current prices. If using items from inventory they have already been purchased and you are not going to lose anything but may have to sell at a different price when inventory is replenished.

I can make an estimate, customer approves the work and just a click or two and the estimate is now an invoice.
Thank you.
 
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