Jump to content
liambesaw

Electric quote seem fair?

Recommended Posts

Well I just got a quote from a electrician for installing service for my kiln... 50a 240v circuit, wire run of 6 feet, weather rated enclosure... 

$780+tax!

There's no upgrade in panel or service, it's just a straight shot 2 feet from my panel through the outside wall.  I'm kind of checking around with friends now to see if they have any electrician friends who can beat it, but holy Christmas!  Didn't figure it would cost more than my kiln!  Really considering doing it myself now.

Anyone in the Seattle area know if this seems like a fair quote?  He offered to do it today and said it would take about an hour.  I priced it out doing it myself and the parts were about 90 dollars from home depot.  690 for 1 hour of labor seems intense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:o  Holy smokes! I'm in the wrong dang business!  If I ever want to become an electrician, I'm moving there!  Sorry I'm not in your neck of the woods, or else I'd try to help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Mark C. said:

I would get at least 3 quotes-they do make money on materials (mark up) and if its one hour it should be under 300$ my guess. Call a few more electricians.

Yeah I'm in the process of putting feelers out with friends.  If I'm gonna pay someone 780 dollars I want it to be someone whose life and well-being I care about, even tangentially

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Get 3 quotes, and ask them for an itemized estimate with time and labor. That way you can see exactly what you're paying for. If they won't itemize, find someone else. Itemization of the quote will also make sure they're putting in the correct outlet, breaker, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, neilestrick said:

Get 3 quotes, and ask them for an itemized estimate with time and labor. That way you can see exactly what you're paying for. If they won't itemize, find someone else. Itemization of the quote will also make sure they're putting in the correct outlet, breaker, etc.

Yeah it wasnt exactly itemized.  

 

IMG_20190104_140055.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok I've got feelers out now, a retired coworker of mines son is a commercial electrician and he looked it over and said 100 of that is the permit, about 250 in materials (apparently larger electrical service companies mark materials way up to cover their cost) and the rest is labor.  He also said it would take him an entire day, which I find extremely hard to believe.  I asked on Reddit too and was met with really colorful language!  But my neighbor is asking his parents for their electrician and I contacted a semi-retired electrician on craigslist (still licensed and insured) to come out and give me a quote.  I really hope it doesn't end up being 800 dollars, that would take me a year or more to save up for.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would be surprised if the electrician actually pulled a permit for it. In my experience, they leave the permit up to the homeowner, and never ask if you actually got one. Even if $100 was for the permit and $250 for parts, he's charging $430 for what he says will be an hour of labor. If it was a 3 hour job, then okay. But not for one hour.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I asked about itemized quotes on another forum and was told that electricians won't give out itemized quotes because cheapskates like me will nickle and dime them to death.  I don't know what that means but so far none of the electricians I've contacted today offer itemized quotes

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have gone out for bid twice for kiln plugs and have come to the conclusion that bids by most electricians just get absurd. I hired it out twice and ran my own once when I built a studio.

First kiln was an oval and was sitting right in front of box. Just literally needed to have a breaker added and dedicated installed inches from box. Had bids ranging from $500 to $3500. Finally found an electrician that would do it by the hour. $120 first hour and $80 after. He spent about an hour and a half and charged me $200.

When I moved into my house last year needed my two kilns hooked up and got in a hurry and went with a bid of $1200 which later the tech admitted he bid at 6 hours. I knew it would take 2 and a half three hours tops because he had to add a box and two plugs fished in wall but everything was on the wall right behind kiln. And it took the electrician they sent exactly 3 hours start to finish.

Same company bid $1500 last summer to install power for a split AC 30 feet from the box. 

Found a local electrical outfit that would do electric by the hour at flat $90 an hour, it took 3 hours and cost me $270 for the work that the other company 'bid' at $1500.

I will never, ever pay anyone by the bid to work on my house ever again. Did I say never.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, Stephen said:

I have gone out for bid twice for kiln plugs and have come to the conclusion that bids by most electricians just get absurd. I hired it out twice and ran my own once when I built a studio.

First kiln was an oval and was sitting right in front of box. Just literally needed to have a breaker added and dedicated installed inches from box. Had bids ranging from $500 to $3500. Finally found an electrician that would do it by the hour. $120 first hour and $80 after. He spent about an hour and a half and charged me $200.

When I moved into my house last year needed my two kilns hooked up and got in a hurry and went with a bid of $1200 which later the tech admitted he bid at 6 hours. I knew it would take 2 and a half three hours tops because he had to add a box and two plugs fished in wall but everything was on the wall right behind kiln. And it took the electrician they sent exactly 3 hours start to finish.

Same company bid $1500 last summer to install power for a split AC 30 feet from the box. 

Found a local electrical outfit that would do electric by the hour at flat $90 an hour, it took 3 hours and cost me $270 for the work that the other company 'bid' at $1500.

I will never, ever pay anyone by the bid to work on my house ever again. Did I say never.

How did you find a place that charges by the hour, just go through the phone book?  I'm in that unique situation here where I think electricians can just charge whatever because there's endless work right now.  In the mile around my home there's 400 new homes being built. Hard to compete with easy money! I'll keep trying though, propane getting expensive but I might just have to continue bisquing in my gas kiln and stockpiling bisqueware until I can afford to pay. 

From what I've read online most people pay around 3-400 which sounds reasonable to me, I'm fairly confident I could do it myself but not fairly confident in my ability to decipher the electrical code.  I've replaced bad breakers, rewired my furnace, etc, but those were all non-permitted changes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a contractor, I could fill several pages of horror stories about customers. Potters have their customer horror stories as well. I stopped bidding time/ material  over a decade ago.  I might spend one hour on your job; but I spent one hour coming out to give you a bid. I will spend another hour fetching material if needed. I will spend 30-60 minutes driving to your job. Before I closed my office, I had a framed sign in the meeting area: " some jobs are too small."  Those little jobs interfere  with the big jobs I normally do. 

All that said: I would have bid $450.00. 

The  HBA did a survey of the trades in 2017: for every ten getting out/ retiring, only 3 are getting in. So hold on to your wallet, in 3-5 years the bids will be 1500 for the same work; and expect to wait. Supply and demand.

t

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, glazenerd said:

As a contractor, I could fill several pages of horror stories about customers. Potters have their customer horror stories as well. I stopped bidding time/ material  over a decade ago.  I might spend one hour on your job; but I spent one hour coming out to give you a bid. I will spend another hour fetching material if needed. I will spend 30-60 minutes driving to your job. Before I closed my office, I had a framed sign in the meeting area: " some jobs are too small."  Those little jobs interfere  with the big jobs I normally do. 

All that said: I would have bid $450.00. 

The  HBA did a survey of the trades in 2017: for every ten getting out/ retiring, only 3 are getting in. So hold on to your wallet, in 3-5 years the bids will be 1500 for the same work; and expect to wait. Supply and demand.

t

I've got no problem paying, but I only budgeted 500 for the job.  And I will pay eventually haha, let's see if these other guys come in a little bit less though.  I'm not a cheap person, I'm just poor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Liam:

just giving the contractor perspective. Let me put this in pottery terms. If you set up for wheel throwing sales- mugs, plates, vases, etc. customer ask you to do five pieces that require a mold. You have to buy the mold, the slip, and spend the extra time on five pieces. The same time you are shutting down your wheel throw bread and butter income. They got a price from a potter who specials and does mostly mold casting. Can you compete? Or do you bid higher? 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a former electrician I would just do it myself but that aside 90.00 is probably a bit light for parts. The job is 300.00  - 500.00. Find a local electrician and he will do it as side work for that or less. You are still too far for me to drive there though. LOL

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah and I'm guessing they use primo parts too.  When I was pricing it out myself I don't know the difference between a 10 dollar 2 pole 50amp breaker and a 100 dollar one that on the surface look the same.  There are also weather rated nema boxes that are 10 dollars, and others that are 60.  So my pricing out of things is probably on the conservative side haha

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, liambesaw said:

Yeah and I'm guessing they use primo parts too.  When I was pricing it out myself I don't know the difference between a 10 dollar 2 pole 50amp breaker and a 100 dollar one that on the surface look the same.  There are also weather rated nema boxes that are 10 dollars, and others that are 60.  So my pricing out of things is probably on the conservative side haha

I will take a stab at this from a distance just to see what we can expect:

Scope assumptions: Small distance heavy wall pipe all the way through, probably not worth using thin wall on the inside so run pipe from panel to pull box within 2 feet of panel. Bore hole through wall to pulling elbow on the exterior, pipe to new disconnect (operable = $60.00, pullout =$20.00). Run sealtite  from disconnect to kiln. Pull 3 #6 THHN & 1 #12  ground from panel through junction terminate In disconnect switch. Pull 3#6 from disconnect and one # 12 Ground, terminate in Kiln. New terminals for kiln connection, one new 2 pole 240 V breaker to match existing panel manufacture locknuts for rigid and fiber bushings as necessary. Grout solid pipe penetration after installation (exterior if brick), firestop interior overcut (finished interior drywall surface or cavity?)  Size conduit = 1" in the event that you later want to add a weatherproof GFI adjacent to the disconnect. Pick top hub disconnect or add one pulling Ell for side penetration (rain tight), probably same overall cost. Misc. one hole straps and anchors as necessary depending upon anchoring surface.

cost guesstimate:

  • Disconnect - $60.00 (Padlock by owner)
  • Pipe - $30.00
  • Wire - $25.00 (15' each - 3 ft in panel(Work loop), 6 feet in seal title, balance in run + work loop terminations)
  • Pulling Ells - $10.00
  • Pull Box - $10.00
  • Fittings, Hardware, Anchors, terminals, fiber bushings, truck stock - $15.00
  • 2 Pole Breaker - $10.00
  • 6' Liquid tight + connectors $20.00
  • Grout, firestop, caulk - $15.00

 

  • Parts Guess - $130.0 - $195.00
  • Labor Guess - $320.00 - $400.00
  • OH&P  - $100.00 - $200.00

I would say you are reasonable, maybe on the low side a bit. With setup, cleanup, travel and acquisition 1/2 day job for single skilled electrician, try and schedule with another small job or use repair tech labor otherwise this costs a whole day for one electrician.

This in my view would be quality commercial install as listed above. Not sure everyone will do this though in a home environment.

Maybe I should drive there, this is way cheaper as DIY!

 

 

 

Edited by Bill Kielb

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah if only teleportation was a little more stable, haha.  I'd really like to be involved in the work and I know that would really piss off a professional so I won't, but it's too bad something like this can't be a learning experience.  I know no one want someone looking over their shoulder though. 

Don't worry, prince or princess charming will find me sooner or later, just need to be a toad a little while longer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, liambesaw said:

How did you find a place that charges by the hour, just go through the phone book?  I'm in that unique situation here where I think electricians can just charge whatever because there's endless work right now.  In the mile around my home there's 400 new homes being built. Hard to compete with easy money! I'll keep trying though, propane getting expensive but I might just have to continue bisquing in my gas kiln and stockpiling bisqueware until I can afford to pay. 

From what I've read online most people pay around 3-400 which sounds reasonable to me, I'm fairly confident I could do it myself but not fairly confident in my ability to decipher the electrical code.  I've replaced bad breakers, rewired my furnace, etc, but those were all non-permitted changes.

Both times, I just contacted every electric company stating plainly that I was trying to find a company that would work by the hour. I jumped the gun and hired the $1200 company and the next day after I signed off on the bid and scheduled a local company emailed and said they would do work by the hour. Hired them for split AC and they were great. $90 and hour. 

Thing is by the hour is bid by the actual labor expended, They prefer bids because they can just charge what the market will bear. No way the guy coming out realistically thought he would spend 6 hours doing my job and he didn't. He spent 3.

Good luck!

Edited by Stephen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would say that a major part of the problem right now is supply and demand. I live in the Sacramento, CA area and retired about 2 years ago from a very lucrative 38 years in the remodeling business, the last 28 as a general contractor. The majority of my jobs were done by bid with an eye toward accuracy in both time and materials. I was reasonably priced for my needs and generally below market with regard to the rest of the industry. As such, I never lacked for work, and at one point in time had a backlog of jobs more than 2 -3 years deep. Yes, I had customers waiting more than 2 years after accepting a bid to get the job done. In northern California over the past 3-4 years, more than 40,000 houses have burned to the ground. Many folks want to rebuild...what do you think that is going to do to supply and demand for the construction industry? I've talked to some friends about some of the prices they are paying for work of all types to be done and almost regret getting out when I did...almost. Some of the prices are ridiculous, but, with a scarcity of contractors, the prices will have a tendency to be ridiculous since they are charging what the traffic will bear...just saying...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Might be worth checking your local 'big-box' stores (Lowe's, etc.).  IF you can find someone in the electrical dept that's been there for a while, he/she might know somebody that does small jobs on the side.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@liambesaw I agree with others that a kiln circuit should cost in the neighborhood of $500. When I bought my second kiln it cost $450. However, when I bought my first kiln, I also needed the electrician to punch a hole in my wall, not for the kiln circuit but for the vent duct. He did a few other things as well (a baseboard heater and some extra  outlets) but I think the total bill was $1200 (in 2002 dollars). So my question for you is, what type of wall are you asking him to punch through? Mine was cinder block and brick, but any type of wall can be complicated, and poses some unknowns for the contractor. If your quote is $780, and roughly $500 is for the circuit, then $280 for punching the hole doesn’t sound unreasonable. 

Edited by GEP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you're confident in your abilities to safely install a new circuit in your panel, then you are also more than likely confident and skilled enough to bore a hole in your wall, and wire the rest up. To me, it seems way high! I ran about 80' of #6/3 W/G wire to my kiln a few years ago; by far the biggest cost was the wire, and my total budget cost less than your quote; If I remember correctly it cost me about $500. For a short run like that, youd likely have as much in the wire as you would in the breaker/conduit/outlet/etc. More than likely, if you're like me, you probably have a lot of the odds and ends that you need (glues, sealants, fasteners,etc) lying around your garage. Ive also found materials online (amazon mainly), which are much cheaper than the big box stores. Also look into electrical supply stores; youd think that if they are a specialized retailer that they'd be more expensive; While a lot of these generally only cater to contractors (with licenses), a number of them will work with homeowners and their prices are also, a lot cheaper than the orange/blue stores. If you prefer brick and mortar over online.

If you're not confident in your abilites, you might try finding contractors on different platforms; Ive used Thumbtack.com to find a few different specialized trades; oftentimes the people on there, are full time professionals employed by someone else, who do small jobs on the side to supplement income. For example, I needed a welder to do some specialized aluminum work for me; big shops quoted me over $1500; found a guy on there who did it for 1/3'rd and he was supremely professional.

Edited by hitchmss

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's t-11 exterior and drywall interior, and I would have to repair myself after, I live in a manufactured home, no brick here!  Anyway I've had a few more replies from guys that have said this is what they call a blow off quote.  Not worth their time with so much work around so they bid way high in the hopes I don't accept.  Gonna keep asking around and hope one of my friends has a buddy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.