by Steve Thurman, Abstract Electric
We often receive calls from homeowners wanting to know how much it will cost to get a dryer outlet installed, or hot tub fixed, etc. Most of the time, we are reluctant to provide a price over the phone. The caller gets frustrated because, to them, it is a simple question. I would like to help potential customers understand that it really isn’t.
Generally, for smaller projects, I will tell them that I charge by the hour plus materials, simply because there are so many variables that it would be impossible to give an accurate quote over the phone. It isn’t the same as calling a mechanic and asking them how much to change a fuel pump on your car. Houses are all somewhat different in the way they are constructed, different eras used different materials, and the only way to provide an accurate price is to take a look at where you want the item installed, get measurements and see what kind of obstacles might hinder or help in the installation.
When we offer to do the job at an hourly rate, you should know we are really trying to do you a favor and save you some money. In most cases, if we are forced to provide a price ahead of time over the phone, we must account for the worst case scenario, which often results in a higher price than if we were to come out and do the work by the hour. By the same token, it may not cost you to have someone come out and give a “free” estimate, but you should know that the cost in fuel and manhours that provider has to absorb in order to provide the “free” estimate is normally included in the price to do the work.
Finally, don’t get upset if a provider refuses to come out and give you a free estimate for a small job such as hanging a ceiling fan or adding a switch. If you look at it logically, the provider would have 1-2 man hours plus fuel in giving you an estimate that might only take an electrician 1-2 hours plus materials if they just came out and did the job. Don’t misunderstand; we love helping people, but we also need to stay in business in order to be able to help people.
For all of your residential electric needs, call Steve and The A-Team at Abstract Electric!