You charge what?

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kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
I don't price by the square foot, but I know guys who have. Brand new construction was at $3.00 minimum 15 years ago. That would be almost $22,000

I'd be completely dumbfounded to see a 7,200 sf rewire at less than $5.00/sf which would be about $36,000
I don't price by SF. But if this needed new service, particularly if more than 200 amps or even needs extensive outside work to get the new service, that is usually in addition to the SF price isn't it? That and what the POCO provides or does not provide can vary quite a bit from place to place and must be considered.
 

Coppersmith

Senior Member
Location
Tampa, FL, USA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
He proceeds to tell me that you can’t justify changing over $400 dollars an hour.
Different people run their businesses differently, but in my experience it's a huge mistake to give the potential client enough information so that they can calculate a dollars/hour figure. Potential clients get extremely irritated because they think you are pocketing all that money. They don't stop to think about all the expenses of operating the business. They say stupid things like "That's more than my husband makes!" So instead of pissing them off right from the start, I give them a flat rate price. I don't explain the price. I don't breakdown the price. Potential clients will accept a flat rate price even if it's the same price estimate they would turn down if you gave it to them T&M. It may be more than they anticipated, but knowing the exact price going in gives them comfort.

"How much will that cost me?"
"I can do your job for $2500."
"How much do you charge per hour?"
"I charge by the job, not by the hour."
"How long will it take?"
"It's gonna take a while but it will work great when it's done. We can start at 8am on the 14th. Is that good for you?"

@Fulthrotl mentioned Ellen Rohr above. Read her book "How much should I charge?" It's a tiny book, that will have a major impact on your business's profitability. You are in business to make money. You don't need to win every job. You don't want to win the jobs where you break even or lose money. Let the handyman hacks have those jobs. Give your price and offer an appointment for doing the job. If they need to "think about it" or "ask their wife" or "get another bid" or "check their budget" then say "OK, give me a call when you are ready" and move on to the next bid.
 

James L

Senior Member
Location
Kansas Cty, Mo, USA
Occupation
Electrician
I don't price by SF. But if this needed new service, particularly if more than 200 amps or even needs extensive outside work to get the new service, that is usually in addition to the SF price isn't it? That and what the POCO provides or does not provide can vary quite a bit from place to place and must be considered.
For sure, anything more than just a basic meter and panel we have to be in addition to square foot pricing.

But I use opening price because there's a specific quantity. Gets much closer to objective
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Different people run their businesses differently, but in my experience it's a huge mistake to give the potential client enough information so that they can calculate a dollars/hour figure. Potential clients get extremely irritated because they think you are pocketing all that money. They don't stop to think about all the expenses of operating the business. They say stupid things like "That's more than my husband makes!" So instead of pissing them off right from the start, I give them a flat rate price. I don't explain the price. I don't breakdown the price. Potential clients will accept a flat rate price even if it's the same price estimate they would turn down if you gave it to them T&M. It may be more than they anticipated, but knowing the exact price going in gives them comfort.

"How much will that cost me?"
"I can do your job for $2500."
"How much do you charge per hour?"
"I charge by the job, not by the hour."
"How long will it take?"
"It's gonna take a while but it will work great when it's done. We can start at 8am on the 14th. Is that good for you?"

@Fulthrotl mentioned Ellen Rohr above. Read her book "How much should I charge?" It's a tiny book, that will have a major impact on your business's profitability. You are in business to make money. You don't need to win every job. You don't want to win the jobs where you break even or lose money. Let the handyman hacks have those jobs. Give your price and offer an appointment for doing the job. If they need to "think about it" or "ask their wife" or "get another bid" or "check their budget" then say "OK, give me a call when you are ready" and move on to the next bid.
Most what I do is T&M. I do occasionally set a price beforehand somewhat informally on many smaller projects, have written contracts on larger projects though.

One thing I stopped doing was itemizing hours and labor rate on invoices (even on T&M). Get practically no complaints on labor rates since doing that.

If you itemize say 5 hours at $100 = $500, you get complaints all the time about how much you charge.

If you do the same job and simply put a line item of "Labor - $500" instead, you made the same thing and they don't complain about it.
 

James L

Senior Member
Location
Kansas Cty, Mo, USA
Occupation
Electrician
They don't stop to think about all the expenses of operating the business. They say stupid things like "That's more than my husband makes!" So instead of pissing them off right from the start, I give them a flat rate price. I don't explain the price. I don't breakdown the price. Potential clients will accept a flat rate price even if it's the same price estimate they would turn down if you gave it to them T&M. It may be more than they anticipated, but knowing the exact price going in gives them comfort.

"How much will that cost me?"
"I can do your job for $2500."
"How much do you charge per hour?"
"I charge by the job, not by the hour."
"How long will it take?"
"It's gonna take a while but it will work great when it's done. We can start at 8am on the 14th. Is that good for you?"
👏👏👏
One time I gave a price to a guy, it was about $400 to hang some lights in house. He said "but I have a guy who will do it for $40 per hour"

I asked him what if that other guy takes three weeks. The look on his face told me every brain-cell melted at that moment. He said there's no way it could take 3 weeks. I asked him how does he know.
 

Fulthrotl

~~Please excuse the mess. Sig under construction~~
Red Adair made a lot of money over the years but he certainly earned every penny of it!
my dad actually knew him personally. dad was a driller, also shot holes (early fracking)
and put out fires. there is a price to be paid later. i watched my dad make the
payments on it the last five years of his life.

the least of it was an extreme allergic reaction to nitrates. being around someone
like me shooting a handful of 22LR at a target 25 yards away brought on a 4 hour migrane
that whiskey wouldn't faze. and whiskey was his go to solution for most things.

hearing loss in one ear, after being lowered into a crude storage tank in a hard hat diving
suit on the end of a winch to make repairs while it was full. you can't swim in crude.
lowered in, and out with a winch, working by touch. he made a flat rate of $10,000 for
doing four hours of work. in 1925, at 23 years old, for standard oil in california. cash.

the minimum wage in california at that time was sixteen cents an hour.

it's not a free ride. every bit is earned.
 

Fulthrotl

~~Please excuse the mess. Sig under construction~~
@Fulthrotl mentioned Ellen Rohr above. Read her book "How much should I charge?" It's a tiny book, that will have a major impact on your business's profitability. You are in business to make money. You don't need to win every job. You don't want to win the jobs where you break even or lose money. Let the handyman hacks have those jobs. Give your price and offer an appointment for doing the job. If they need to "think about it" or "ask their wife" or "get another bid" or "check their budget" then say "OK, give me a call when you are ready" and move on to the next bid.
huge. i've still got the handwritten weekend biz plan i did with my wife waaaaaayyyyy back then.
something happens between the pencil and paper that doesn't happen between the mouth and surrounding air.

it costs $10 for the plan. i've been singing it's praises for ten years now. most people will ignore the
advice, and keep asking "how much an hour can i charge?" "my competition charges $65 an hour. i can't go over that."
and on, and on.

they won't do the biz plan, and then they come on places like here, and wonder how much to charge.
i give up. my best net year was the year before i started doing lighting certs. i netted taxable $325K as a one man band.
in 8 months. how? flat rate pricing.

at this point, i don't give a poop if someone does it or doesn't do it.
 

Mr. Sparkles

Member
Location
Northern California
Occupation
Electromagician
I applaud your money making abilities Fullthrotle. As a first year business owner I do feel that "I can't go over the competition" but am slowly raising my prices. I have seen that book pop up on Amazon under suggested and am going to order it, but how much can a plan change your rates? Here's my example from my P n L for 8 months since I started around March....

Income 110 k
Gross 60k
Net 40 k

I do work a good amount, and spend a lot of the time figuring out how to run a business but don't grind like crazy, i.e. do take days off if I feel like it. But to do 325k net I would be charging about 8x what I charge now. 80 x 8 = 640/hour. I just don't see anyone, no matter how rich they are wanting to pay that much for an electrician. I get mark up, etc. you will have income from material but it doesn't matter how good of a craftsman you are. Sure a Shasta cola isn't the same as a Coke but are you willing to pay $10 for a can of coke vs. $1 for a Shasta cola just for the authentic experience? Not trying to knock you or anyone else saying what the make/charge but even the biggest electricians in this area don't charge more than 150 or maybe 175 for one man.

Is there a commonly agreed upon income vs net ratio that we should be striving for here or is it based on your companies income? Appreciate the input and support of all here.
 

winnie

Senior Member
Location
Springfield, MA, USA
Occupation
Electric motor research
I do work a good amount, and spend a lot of the time figuring out how to run a business but don't grind like crazy, i.e. do take days off if I feel like it. But to do 325k net I would be charging about 8x what I charge now. 80 x 8 = 640/hour. I just don't see anyone, no matter how rich they are wanting to pay that much for an electrician.
I believe the point is that you should find those jobs which you are particularly suited for, which you can do faster and with better quality than the competition, and then charge per job, not per hour. If your competition charges $125 per hour and takes 8 hours to do a job, and you quote the customer $600 for the job and then do it in 3 hours, both you and your customer come out ahead.

-JOn
 

James L

Senior Member
Location
Kansas Cty, Mo, USA
Occupation
Electrician
I applaud your money making abilities Fullthrotle. As a first year business owner I do feel that "I can't go over the competition" but am slowly raising my prices. I have seen that book pop up on Amazon under suggested and am going to order it, but how much can a plan change your rates? Here's my example from my P n L for 8 months since I started around March....

Income 110 k
Gross 60k
Net 40 k
Find your niche, as has been stated.

And share with somebody else if possible.

I got a call the other day, somebody needed a new meter can and overhead Riser because of storm damage. Most guys think that's pretty good money. But for me, it's nothing but a giant hassle. I hate all the time it takes to get a hold of the power company and get a planner out there, those kinds of things.

A couple of years ago, I jokingly said to someone that I'm going to change my name to "Inside Electric" because honestly, I just hate working outside. Too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer. The weather is just right for about 4 weeks in the spring and 2 weeks in the fall.

But I have a buddy, and that's in his wheelhouse. He loves those short gigs and doesn't mind the phone time and driving around to meet.

So I called him. As it turned out, he had somebody who wanted him to add some can lights and some LED ribbon in a display cabinet. That's right up my alley. Those are two of my most profitable scopes of work. So we traded leads.

As far as hourly rate, dump it. Charge by the opening and get good at some things.

For example, I charge $105.00 to add a can light.
Recently I went to add 9 can lights, two switches, and one receptacle. Altogether almost $1,200.00

Materials were about $225

I was done in about 6 hours and called it a day

That doesn't add up to $300,000 per year, but it's good enough. Beats slugging around in the mud
 

McLintock

Senior Member
Location
USA
Occupation
Electrician
Those people don't make enough as a general rule as it is for what they usually have to deal with.
Last job my wife have was for one family, 2 boys, at our house, $12 an hour. She babysits for a family, 1 girl, who vacations up here and make almost $ 40 an hour. So I think she’s doing very well


“ shoot low boys their riding shetland ponies”
 

Rdcowart

Member
Location
North Carolina
Occupation
Electrician
I’m flat rate but it works out to be around 425 an hour. But when I price a jobs out if it’s an all day job I will only charge for three service hours. I can pay all the bills and still make a good profit with 3 sold hours. If it’s a half day job I will charge 1.5 sold hours. Then I have 30 minutes time task with is $212 and a 15 minute time price $137. 95% of the time I come out on top, but there are those jobs that have the unforeseen things and take a little longer. I have made my pricing so I can make a great living and make my business grow. I hate getting pricing objections, you just got to work through those. Each customer has a balloon over their head when you arrive, and you have to deflate that balloon. I take as much time as needed with my customers answer all their questions before I present them an estimate for the work. I also do a through evaluation of their electrical system and usually if I find a problem they are happy I found it before it became a bigger issue. Every customer tells me they can’t believe i actually spent time to answer all their questions. Customers are so used to a contractor coming to their home and going right to the problem. Then the problem is fixed and they don’t even know what they paid for. By the time it’s all said and done most customers are happy to pay my flat rate pricing. I have to say it but some customers are just not my customers.
 

Fulthrotl

~~Please excuse the mess. Sig under construction~~
Is there a commonly agreed upon income vs net ratio that we should be striving for here or is it based on your companies income? Appreciate the input and support of all here.
do the bare bones biz plan, by the same author.
it reverse engineers how much you need to charge
per hour to end up with a paycheck out of all of it.

this is why you have to flat rate stuff. i'm getting a roof
in january. good guy. i want glace fire and ice, charcoal
asphalt shingles and foil underlayment.

he measured, and he came back with $19,300. and a per
foot charge for rotted wood replaced. how long will it take?
hopefully, two days. i'd like that. but.... it'll take longer, obviously.
do i care what he's making an hour? nope. i checked his license.
he has $2M general liability, workers comp state fund, and a current bond.

the work, done right, is worth that, given the slope, and the amount of
hips and valleys he has to deal with.

i hope he makes $10k on the roof. the last thing i need is a broke contractor
who can't bid work properly failing on my house in the winter.

to make $150k taxable a year, i need to gross $217k. divide that by the number
of hours i have to work, which is like 1500, and it comes to $145 per hour. most
people use an hourly rate around $225.

i'm a deal. ;-)
 

wwhitney

Senior Member
Location
Berkeley, CA
Occupation
Retired
i'm getting a roof
in january. good guy. i want glace fire and ice, charcoal
asphalt shingles and foil underlayment.
What's foil underlayment?

Have you looked at the Solar Reflectance Index of various roof colors? Choosing a lighter color than charcoal will reduce how much your roof, attic, and house heat up, which I think would be beneficial in you rclimate.

Cheers, Wayne
 

Fulthrotl

~~Please excuse the mess. Sig under construction~~
What's foil underlayment?

Have you looked at the Solar Reflectance Index of various roof colors? Choosing a lighter color than charcoal will reduce how much your roof, attic, and house heat up, which I think would be beneficial in you rclimate.

Cheers, Wayne
OSB sheeting that has a foil on one side.

and charcoal is the color jill picked. i think it's wonderful. whatchoo think? :cool:
 

winnie

Senior Member
Location
Springfield, MA, USA
Occupation
Electric motor research
For roof energy savings, I came across an interesting concept.
1) Old roof is removed.
2) A set of purlins is installed, with a gap of 2 feet between each purlin.
3) Insulating foam sheet is installed between and over the purlins.
4) A set of furring strips are installed in the direction of the rafters. The reason for the purlins is to provide an easy target for long screws to attach the furring.
5) A new roof deck is laid over the furring, and the roof installed as normal.

This allows a huge amount of insulation to be retrofit while also venting the space under the roof, with no rafters acting as thermal bridges.

I figured something to explore in detail whenever I need to get a roof done.

-Jon
 

hillbilly1

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,Ga
Occupation
Field coordinator/ technical support
I installed temperature sensors tied to the energy management system for a customer. They had black roofs and white roofs on their stores. Talked to their project manager later on, he said the difference was negligible.
 
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