Ball park cost for breaker box replacement

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I'm calling around for some sort of quotes to replace my failing circuit breaker box and so far I've only received one estimate.
The price they quoted was about $2500 bucks roughly or $91/hour for their work - including permit and inspection. No other electricians want to release their hourly rate nor provide estimates. I'm not bitter about it, just interested in how much money I'll have to secure to do this.
So if you had to guess, what would it cost to replace a non-grounded circuit breaker with a grounded circuit breaker IF I SUPPLIED THE BREAKERS AND THE PANEL.
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Eigenvector wrote:

$2500.00 sounds to me like they should be holding a gun to your head. Not knowing particulars I would ball park around 300 to 500 or less being your furnishing the materials.
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That's kind of what I was thinking, that the quote was totally high. My presumption is that he didn't want my buisness or was just trying to make sure I knew what I was getting into. Again I'm not bitter about it, but this is one of those things I need to get done pretty quick, so I didn't want to go in blind and get taken.
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$2500 sounds ridiculous. Of course, he'd gladly accept that if you were willing to pay it. I'd get 2 more estimates. Then negogiate.
-
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I doubt very very much that job would take 27 hours of work. I am far from an expert, but based on electrical work that I have had done, I would think that "ballpark" time required would be 10 hours, or a bill of $910 at the quoted rate. Even going to 15 hours would be only $1,365, but that seems very high to me.
Now that I think of it, if they couldn't do the job in 10 hours or less, I would question their experience.
Of course, you know the best course of action now is to quickly get several more estimates.
--James--
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estimates over the phone. <click>" Hmm.
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Well, I wouldn't expect them to either. If you got that $2500 over the phone, that's the electrician covering his ass for the "jackpot!" he's half-expecting. They can't tell what needs to be done over the phone, nor can we over the Internet. Eg: does the service entrance have to be redone, how much does he have to do to provide a code-approved mounting, etc.
Get them out to give you an estimate.
_If_ the existing installation is good enough that the job is nothing more than a basic panel swap, $2500 (not including panel/breakers) is _way_ too high.
But, if there's no ground, he's probably going to have to install a proper grounding electrode system, redo the service entrance, likely do some carpentry to make an acceptable mounting arrangement, and do some timeconsuming and awkward things to re-establish the circuits. $2500 may be reasonable for that.
My SIL's new (old ;-) house needed: the service entrance and cable replaced, a disconnect and splitter box removed, main shifted to what had been a subpanel, the panel moved a few inches out from the wall, a length of conduit secured to the wall properly, and a couple of outlets got their hot-neutral reversed (they were wired backwards). Took two guys two days. I believe it was around $2000 (the previous owner paid for it).
She had them back for another job (about a day and a half) while we were visiting. These guys were good, no wasted time, _excellent_ workmanship, and they didn't do things that didn't need to be done.
I'm pretty good with electrical work. But, I'd hire these guys in a flash.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It\'s not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
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Thank you that puts the costs into perspective and makes it seem more reasonable.
I've seen the $2500 dollar guys work, at my office, their work is within reason (I had to escort them in sensitive areas) and I know a few of them that work for this outfit (although not well enough to hit up for side work). I think I'll give them a call on Monday and set something up - the independents who wouldn't even give me their hourly rates will just have to miss out.
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Eigenvector wrote:

So I give you an estimate over the phone of fifty dollars to install your replacement kitchen fixture. I arrive and you present me with a ceiling fan that you expect to have installed for the aforementioned fifty dollars. The existing, sixty year old, three and one half inch, round, ear less, box offers no way to support a new lighting fixture, let alone a ceiling fan but you expect me to replace the box with one listed for fan support, do all my own cut patch and clean up, assemble and install a ceiling fan, all for fifty dollars. If I gave telephone estimates; which I do not; I would tell you that it is a time and materials job not to exceed five hundred dollars excluding the cost of any new wiring needed in your home. You would call me a name and hang up.
I recently gave a family an estimate of $2000 for a heavy up from 150 to 400 amperes specifically at the existing service location. I excluded compliance with any unpublished portion of the utilities tariffs. The power company would not supply service to the existing meter location after the county electrical inspector had signed off on the completed work. Would you expect me to extend the service entry conductors, provide and install main lug kits and main breaker enclosures, and provide temporary service disconnect for the existing supply without any additional compensation? Just what are my kids supposed to eat that week?
--
Tom Horne

"This alternating current stuff is just a fad. It is much too dangerous
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On Sat, 16 Sep 2006 19:55:27 GMT, "Tom Horne, Electrician"

As a customer, I would consider it unreasonable to get a phone estimate for one thing, then expect additional work for the same amount.
I had a plumber out recently to fix a leak. He was already here when I asked him to install an additional shutoff valve (not related to the leak). I would expect to be charged extra for that.

--
100 days until the winter solstice celebration

Mark Lloyd
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Me neither.
However, the question is what is that "one thing"?
You get an over the phone estimate for $50 to hang a new fixture. The electrician arrives, and discovers that the support point has rotted out, the wire's insulation is falling off and is half melted, and it'll require routing a new circuit, with wall teardown and fishing thru a muddy crawlspace.
"You said you'd do it for $50". Well, he can't, because that "one thing" was a lot more work than anticipated.
Watch Mike Holmes sometime, and see how a "bit of water leaking through a windowsill" can turn into a full roof tearoff, and gutting several rooms.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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On Mon, 18 Sep 2006 16:26:49 -0000, snipped-for-privacy@nortelnetworks.com (Chris Lewis) wrote:

I would know that that $50 is an ESTIMATE (certainly not a guaranteed amount) that couldn't possibly include unknowns.

--
98 days until the winter solstice celebration

Mark Lloyd
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_You_ would, but not everyone is that reasonable.
Furthermore, that's not how the courts interpret "estimates", and the trades are compelled to treat them the same way.
As guaranteed amounts. Think "car repair estimates" most jurisdictions consider those to be _firm_ upper limits.
I'd also suggest that in renovations (rather than new construction), "ballpark estimates" (where you tell the tradesperson UP FRONT that you're only using the number for budgetary purposes, and would get them to give you a more accurate estimate on inspection) often vary so wildly as to be _useless_. Because of the infamous "jackpot!" problem.
Case in point: watched what was supposed to be a dirt simple fixture swap turn into the electrician fighting for three hours with too-short K&T, a non-existant box, too small hole, etc. The alternative (new wire) would have taken over a day.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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On Mon, 18 Sep 2006 17:35:55 -0000, snipped-for-privacy@nortelnetworks.com (Chris Lewis) wrote:

And the rest of that is something I've had to get used to. You have to suffer for the failings of others. In this case, that's not getting the estimate because OTHER PEOPLE misuse it.

--
98 days until the winter solstice celebration

Mark Lloyd
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It doesn't seem unreasonable to get a base estimate ahead of time to me. We aren't talking about a $100 job, we're talking a potentially multi-thousand dollar task. People don't have that kind of money floating around. As the person paying, I fully feel entitled to know that ahead of time - otherwise how do you know I'll be able to pay you? There's nothing wrong with asking over the phone for an estimate of the costs.
You don't go to a car dealership, take a test drive, have the salesman show you the works, get to sign the paperwork, then look at the price and walk away - "sorry I can't afford this." You need to have a reasonable idea of what it costs first. How do is that accomplished you ask????? TV ads, sticker in the window, website, etc.
As to your question, I would expect to pay you for the work you did, irregardless of what you quoted me. I think you get the impression I'm penny pinching or trying to cheat someone here - not at all. But even if I was, what do you care - you're gonna charge what you're gonna charge regardless of whether or not I'm wheelin' and dealin'. Isn't it in your best interest to be forthright with your rates and estimates ahead of time, if only because it wards off the skinflints?
Doesn't matter to me now, I already have a contractor picked out and am going to set something up with him on Thursday. Why did I pick him, I know his company from previous work they did for my employer AND BECAUSE HE GAVE ME A ROUGH ESTIMATE OVER THE PHONE. He politely understood why I was asking.
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Eigenvector wrote:

I know that this may seem quarrelsome but I do not see how any estimate for electrical work given over the phone will not either under price the job or raise false expectations for what is included. I simply cannot imagine giving a price on a job sight unseen.
--
Tom Horne

Well we aren\'t no thin blue heroes and yet we aren\'t no blackguards to.
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Thomas D. Horne, FF EMT wrote:

When I was in the electrical business I gave estimates over the phone everyday. It qualified my buyers. It saved me time. I never had a problem.

That's because you simply have NO imagination.
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I doubt if you could find anyone to do the job if you were providing materials. People like to use what they are used to using. Anything else is perceived as a PITA. Plus, there's liability problems, etc. etc.
Before you go ballistic, see what the price of the inspection is.
Eigenvector wrote:

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Eigenvector wrote:

Problem is it's a pain in rump and thats why you are getting the high estimate. Keep looking.
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Old electrician joke: How long does it take and how much will it cost for an electrician to change a breaker box?
Who cares? You got a problem with that?
Electricians are specialists, and you want to get the job done right. Your life depends on it.
That being said, what you want done is a royal PITA for an electrician who can just as easily be out installing the same panel in one quarter the time on a new install. You just need to get more estimates and take the best, or find a friend or family member who's qualified for the task and will give you a break.
Steve
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