Use Homeowner As Helper To Rewire Home

I don't remember if this was mentioned, but also depends on if the job is T&M or bid. If it's bid, and he wants some money taken off because he is helping, no thanks. If he (or she) just wants to learn a little and see how it's done without payment, sure I'll give them a few things to do. If they are expecting to save money, I would explain there is no money to be saved. Ever watched a green person to electric and done the math on how long it takes them vs how much they are getting paid? Let's see, I am making 4 times as much and I am 5 times faster........🤔
 

James L

Senior Member
Location
Kansas Cty, Mo, USA
Occupation
Electrician
Ever watched a green person to electric and done the math on how long it takes them vs how much they are getting paid? Let's see, I am making 4 times as much and I am 5 times faster........🤔
I had to explain this to my oldest son when I told him I was losing money by paying him $7.00 per hour about 10 years ago.

Ok $7.00 per hour and he makes up 5 can lights in an hour. So I'm paying $1.40 to get a can light made up.

Experienced electrician making $25.00 per hour and making up 25 per hour. So I'm paying $1.00 per can light made up.

He couldn't believe it until I had him time me.
2 minutes and 12 seconds compared to 12 minutes
 

steven765

Member
Location
Mass
Occupation
engineer
Let's see, I am making 4 times as much and I am 5 times faster........🤔
The problem with that math is you're not there. So if they drill holes and pull a bunch of wire on the weekend when you wouldn't be working anyway then it is faster; it's their time. Even if they do it wrong walls are still open 25% faster is better than 0% faster.
 

jmellc

Senior Member
Location
Durham, NC
Occupation
Facility Maintenance Tech. Licensed Electrician
I forgot to mention a guy I worked with that used to work for HD & knew their system well. He would send a helper there & Facetime him down the aisles. Took some time but helper always got the right stuff. 😀
 

James L

Senior Member
Location
Kansas Cty, Mo, USA
Occupation
Electrician
The problem with that math is you're not there. So if they drill holes and pull a bunch of wire on the weekend when you wouldn't be working anyway then it is faster; it's their time. Even if they do it wrong walls are still open 25% faster is better than 0% faster.
So who's on the hook for materials that get wasted because a homeowner did it wrong?
 

steven765

Member
Location
Mass
Occupation
engineer
I had to explain this to my oldest son when I told him I was losing money by paying him $7.00 per hour about 10 years ago.

Ok $7.00 per hour and he makes up 5 can lights in an hour. So I'm paying $1.40 to get a can light made up.

Experienced electrician making $25.00 per hour and making up 25 per hour. So I'm paying $1.00 per can light made up.

He couldn't believe it until I had him time me.
2 minutes and 12 seconds compared to 12 minutes
And what higher level task could you have been doing during that time?
 

steven765

Member
Location
Mass
Occupation
engineer
So who's on the hook for materials that get wasted because a homeowner did it wrong?
That's a failing of leadership. I always tried to do everything myself but slowly learn you have to delegate if you want to accomplish more. Sure in small scale let them know ahead of time it will cost you an extra roll or two.
 

James L

Senior Member
Location
Kansas Cty, Mo, USA
Occupation
Electrician
That's a failing of leadership. I always tried to do everything myself but slowly learn you have to delegate if you want to accomplish more. Sure in small scale let them know ahead of time it will cost you an extra roll or two.
It's not always about delegating to accomplish more. Especially if you're talking about a one-off homeowner helper.

If you care about quality, and not only accomplishing more, you'll find that you're babysitting him more than he's working alone.
 

JohnE

Senior Member
Location
Milford, MA
There is just no circumstance that I can imagine in which I want the assistance of a homeowner in my business. If I'm doing something for a friend, sure. Carry this in, grab me a beer. That's about it.
 

junkhound

Senior Member
Location
Renton, WA
Occupation
EE, power electronics specialty
Usually never venture over into this business section, but sleepless tonight so browsing and could add this to the time factor discussions.

Habitat here requires licensed folks doing electrical. >50 years experience, but have not maintained a license for over 20 years, so when a Habitat volunteer after 'retirement' simply got a $14 'trainee' license to stay in compliance with WA laws.
The journeyman on site would usually let me 'take over' any other 'trainee' on site.
Had a newbie one time with zero experience, found it took 3 to 4X longer to do anything than if by myself, interesting to teach someone which direction to wrap wire on a screw and explain why.

OTOH, my granddaughter and her husband wanted a new circuit in recently purchased house. I told them it needed a conduit between points A and B, handed them a bender, conduit and fittings and a couple of boxes and 50 ft of conduit, and told them the internet would show them how. 2 height changes and 3 corners.
Next morning was as good as could do myself, told them I was impressed. No idea how long it took them <G>. There was no waste conduit either
- unless they snuck to Big box early and bought more<G>
 
Last edited:

Fred B

Senior Member
Location
Upstate, NY
Occupation
Electrician
...............
OTOH, my granddaughter and her husband wanted a new circuit in recently purchased house. I told them it needed a conduit between points A and B, handed them a bender, conduit and fittings and a couple of boxes and 50 ft of conduit, and told them the internet would show them how. 2 height changes and 3 corners.
Next morning was as good as could do myself, told them I was impressed. No idea how long it took them <G>. There was no waste conduit either
- unless they snuck to Big box early and bought more<G>
Nice, They wanted to impress grandpa, and or it's in the genes. It sometimes skips a gen though.
Even if they snuck to the big box its impressive that they would have gotten the right stuff. So many HO going to big box you can tell them Exactly what to get and they will come back with the wrong stuff, the associates will assist by recommend the wrong item. Been there stalking the electrical isle and have many time heard associate doing just that.
HO: "My electrician says I need XX"
Associates: "Ok, but XY is cheaper"
HO: Will that work" No it won't
Associates: "Sure that is the same thing." No it's not.
HO: "Well if I can save 50 cent, or $5 great"
 
.....teach someone which direction to wrap wire on a screw and explain why.
This brings up an important point. To me, if a "homeowner is helping" that means he is a grunt. I'm not not teaching him stuff like I would an apprentice. So there is a difference there.

Don't get me wrong: I don't seek out homeowner help and can only recall it happening once, but I have a hard time believing you can't give a guy some basic wiring tasks if he really wants. This stuff isn't that hard guys. But it's a free country of course.
 

James L

Senior Member
Location
Kansas Cty, Mo, USA
Occupation
Electrician
Had a newbie one time with zero experience, found it took 3 to 4X longer to do anything than if by myself, interesting to teach someone which direction to wrap wire on a screw and explain why
I was thinking of this exact thing. But not only teach him which direction to wrap, also going back and double-checking. And then yelling at him when you find half of them are done wrong after patiently explaining. Then consoling him because you hurt his feelings
😅😅😅

It's exhausting and time-consuming
 

jmellc

Senior Member
Location
Durham, NC
Occupation
Facility Maintenance Tech. Licensed Electrician
Usually never venture over into this business section, but sleepless tonight so browsing and could add this to the time factor discussions.

Habitat here requires licensed folks doing electrical. >50 years experience, but have not maintained a license for over 20 years, so when a Habitat volunteer after 'retirement' simply got a $14 'trainee' license to stay in compliance with WA laws.
The journeyman on site would usually let me 'take over' any other 'trainee' on site.
Had a newbie one time with zero experience, found it took 3 to 4X longer to do anything than if by myself, interesting to teach someone which direction to wrap wire on a screw and explain why.

OTOH, my granddaughter and her husband wanted a new circuit in recently purchased house. I told them it needed a conduit between points A and B, handed them a bender, conduit and fittings and a couple of boxes and 50 ft of conduit, and told them the internet would show them how. 2 height changes and 3 corners.
Next morning was as good as could do myself, told them I was impressed. No idea how long it took them <G>. There was no waste conduit either
- unless they snuck to Big box early and bought more<G>
A few folks out there do catch on quickly.
 
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