I called an electrician (from the yellow pages) to come to my home
(florida) and wire up an RV power outlet that I had bought online ,the
electricians bill just came in and it seems high ($378).
They came out and said yes we can do it, and started work, I asked what
it would run/cost, the guy said I dont know. All I think that they
needed for supplies was a circuit (60amp), 4 #6 wires for about 30 ft,
and pvc pipe to go around the wires, I had already bought the rv power
outlet. This week the bill came in for $378. 2 guys came out and spent
1 to 1 1/2 hrs working. One fiddled about mostly, and installing a new
doorbell (probably charging me time while he did this!).
I did not sign anything, didnt get an estimate, but asked for the
estimated amount, he couldnt tell me about what it would be. What can I
do? Do I have to pay this bill? I only figured it would only be around
$200, since I already had the rv pwer outlet.
I'm not an electrician, but based on electrical work I've had done at my
home, it seems reasonable. I've paid more for less than your electricians
did for you. Yes, they should have provided a written estimate beforehand.
Yes, you probably have to pay.
What you think doesn't count. You need to get an estimate before the
That said, I think $378 is reasonable. The wire alone is fairly
expensive. You listed 3 man-hours of work and they usually charge
something for travel. So, let's say a half man-day. Tradesmen are
charging about $800 per day, so you got an OK charge.
If you don't get an estimate, you have two choices: let them do the work
and pay what they ask, or, tell them not to do the job.
Agreed. The materials cost is probably $100-$150 (wire, conduit and fittings).
$200-250 for 3 manhours including taxes etc is rather good for most areas.
Chances are that it would have been more if you had based it on a formal
estimate (their CYA for unforeseens. Like finding a steel beam in the way
of the conduit).
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It\'s not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
doesn't seem high to me. cost of copper and PVC is out of this world
at the moment. someone had to go to their supplier and pick up the
materials. they also had to drive there from somewhere...electricians
in my parts charge for the drive, too. someone had to figure up the
bill. small jobs are unprofitable, so they have charge a premium to
make it worth showing up for an hours worth of work.
i am no lawyer, but you asked them to do the work with the
understanding that they would be paid when it was done. that is an
oral contract. no signature is necessary. when you asked them what it
would cost and they didn't know, did you tell them to stop?
Maybe a little high, but not by a whole lot. Three man hours plus travel
time is $250 to $300 around here. Material is about the other $78. I don't
understand the comment about hte doorbell though. Was it ours? If not, you
paid too much.
Others have answered your question about the price. I have a question
about your comment re: the doorbell.
Were you expecting someone, a hired hand, to install the doorbell for
free? If so, your view of how these things work is seriously flawed
and you should never have work done without a written estimate. If you
need to have things spelled out for you, have them spelled out.
I believe it's been said before but I'll reiterate. You should have
demanded a written estimate. Settling for "I don't know" is not acceptable
and quite frankly, you're pretty much obliged to pay the price they give you
since there was no pre-agreed price. Additionally, get yourself 3 seperate
estimates (written!) in the future particularly if you think it'll cost a
bit. If someone refuses to give a written estimate, say "thank you" and
call another person. Pay it and chalk it up to inexperience.
As an electrician myself, the price they are charging sounds very
reasonable to me. I understand that you thought that it might cost up
to $200, however, based on the materials that you mentioned were
neeeded, and knowing that the price of copper wire has almost doubled
in the last several weeks, I believe that the amount they charged for
their services was extremely reasonable. As an electrician, I know
that in my area, the cost of the wire and breaker is a little more than
1/2 the amount you were charged for the installation.
As for the issue of estimates prior to having the work done, that is my
preference. However, realize that there are many excellent
tradespeople out there who have started their own business and haven't
yet learned the skills to estimate projects well, in advance of the
job. This doesn't mean that the work or service provided is lacking,
they just prefer to do the work and charge a fair price for the
services provided once they have completed the job. In this way they
are certain of the time involved and the cost of materials and they
know that they aren't overcharging or undercharging based on the
possibility of an unforeen issue.
My recommendation is to always get 3 estimates up front (especially for
larger projects), but as was mentioned, when you have a contractor
provide the estimate up front, they have to try to allow for the
unforseen and things like the cost to travel out to your home to
provide an estimate for work that they will only have a 1 in 3 chance
of winning, and then the time to travel to the supplier to pick up
materials and then travel to the jobsite to perform the installation
and allow for the possibility they might have to return to the supplier
for something; so chances are quite good that the price you would be
paying would be much higher.
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