What would be a good bid to change a fuse box to a breaker box. Here is the
situation, I am licensed electrician but I work for an electrician and I am
trying to get some sidework of my own. I have changed out panels while
working with the guy before and I know what I am doing. Here is the what the
job would entail. This guy has a 14 circuit fuse panel right next to the
main panel which has a disconnect in the main panel for the fuse box. All I
would have to do is shut off the breaker to the fuse box, disconnect all the
wires, pull out the box and replace with new panel. I asked the guy that I
work for if he would be interested in doing it but he just kinda blew me off
because he is busy with some of the other work we have going on and he takes
evening courses at college so he just acts like he doesn't have the time. I
am asking how to bid the job because when ever he bids jobs he makes sure
that I am not around so I don't hear what he quotes the people so I don't
feel shafted with what he pays me to do the labor. I understand that (it's
his business) but it doesn't help me to figure out what to bid on jobs that
he is not willing to do. Basically in a nutshell how would I bid this job.
Would I do a set price or would I charge by the hour plus material?
If you know what you are doing, you also know how long it will take you. The
hourly rate is dependent o n location and local cost, but $60 to $100 an
hour is common. Figure your time plus materials.
You can do by the hour, but most people want to know the actual cost
beforehand, or a least a very close estimate. Having done electrical work
you know how much time it will take. Be sure to consider travel time and
time to go get the materials. That is often charged at a lower rate because
in a big shop, a lower paid go-fer will do that work.
Do you know about R.S. Means estimating books? See
Some libraries have them. When I did customer cost analyses, I started with
Means and then adjusted for local conditions -- usually a straight
There is a lot to consider when taking on side jobs. Obviously you want to
make it worth your while. Assuming that you have a truck, tools, and
insurance you need to calculate your overhead cost on an hourly basis. Then
throw in your labor costs for yourself which should include social security
payments. Figure out how many hours it will take to do the job and the time
spent picking up materials and traveling to the job site. Figure out your
material cost. Add all of this up and you should be able to come up with a
price that is profitable for you.
You can find out what the prevailing wage is in your area for journeyman
electricians and use that as a starting point for your labor costs. You
should be able to find this out by doing a search on the internet as I think
that the government has it posted somewhere for reference.
I think that most customers want a firm price up front and do not want to
pay by the hour. If there are some unknowns that you won't find out until
the job is started, just be up front and tell the customer that there may be
an extra charge for such and such.
When you are just starting out on your own there is a learning curve.
Customer service is important. Return calls, show up on time, do it right
the first time, be neat about your work, and clean up when finished.
Sometimes you may underbid, and other jobs you will make a decent profit.
Your best advertising is referrals from previous customers.
This is being done in his free time. My sense is that if he wasn't doing
this job he would be watching television.
Therefor it is based entirely on marginal cost. His insurance will cost the
same wether he is working or watching TV, so it is irrelevent.
His price should be something that is low enough to get the work, but high
enough to be a better use of his time than the TV.
You only figure in overhead when you are pretty well booked and only want
the best jobs. And even then you have to be very careful about it, for it
will lead to errors.
As an employee, he has no liability insurance that will cover his
professional liability, etc., ...
Well, unless he's going to do it "off the books", there's such things as
his liability insurance (he won't be doing "for pay" work w/o that,
surely?), business license(s) and whatever other fees may be applicable
in his jurisdiction, FICA and so on, ...
Of course, he can just "wing it" and hope nothing unexpected happens...
As a matter of fact I do have Insurance on myself and I would like to start
a business of my own, but at the moment I don't know how to bid a job. Now I
did some work for a woman that I worked with and I charged her per hour plus
material because it wasn't just "here install this light for me", I had to
troubleshoot the problem and that took time. Materials were next to nothing.
So, I guess I do have overhead when you factor in I have to make a quarterly
insurance payment. All I was really asking was how someone would bid this
job and RBM was pretty straight forward. I don't have much free time either,
but I enjoy doing electrical work. I have a 40hr per week job and work
evenings and weekends with the electrician, but sometimes he doesn't have
any work (I guess this would be the time that I would watch TV) or he has
other things going on and I could fill that time with doing my own jobs.
Thanks for all of your help.
In that case, I would recommend you look into the kinds of information
available from the SBA, etc., on business startup basics. Another good
source in most locales are the Community Colleges and Tech Schools who
generally have both incubation centers and training courses as well.
Depending on the kind of relationship you have w/ the fella' you're
working for, there might be some mentoring available there...
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