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Adding Elect for 3 Kilns


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I just wanted to share my experience hiring an electrician to add dedicated plugs for three kilns outside of San Antonio and using a San Antonio, Tx company. 

I needed 3 plugs. Two 50 amps and one 20 amps. My Main electrical panel is on the outside wall of the the garage wall I needed them on so the run is through the wall behind the panel and a couple of feet. Walk up access to both inside and outside, no brick and no attic access needed. Panel was full and needed a 2nd box attached next to it.

In the area I am in there is a lot of new home building and I definitely got the impression that everyone is busy. I went out for 3 bids. One didn't respond for a week, one bid $875 (including parts) and the third was $1234 including parts. The $875 bid was a very local company that did not come see the job but just bid it from pictures. He was slow to respond to a couple of questions and when he did it was one liners that were a bit cryptic. He might well have been doing it from a phone. I waited for a few days for answers to my questions and then picked the $1234 company and set up the job and signed the acceptance paperwork.  The $875 guys responded the next day with good answers to my questions and the $875 was firm and included parts but since I had already agreed to the other bid I stuck with them. 

I'm not an electrician but I built a 300' studio building on my last property in the NW and I dug the 100'  "L"  trench, hung the sub-panel and ran all the inside wire, installed all the receptacles (12 110 plugs and a 50amp one) and paid an electrician $80 an hour (about $1200) to inspect everything, actually run the outside line in the trench and power up the new panel and sign off on it all for building inspection.

Based on that experience I honestly thought this job was about 3 hours on the outside with the sub-panel.

It took almost exactly 3 hours but I think he stopped several times to do other things.  

The 3rd company finally responded after all was setup as well and they said they would do it for $90 and hour plus parts (and I could buy them if I wanted).

My take away from this was I got impatient and will never hire another electrician for a flat rate bid again. They just pad the bid too much to make sure they don't blow it. I get that a lot of electricians don't want to mess with residential but I now know that if you are patient you can find one that will work by the hour and I think you will always come out ahead. Works well for them too as they just come do the work and don't have to worry about some gotcha blowing the bid.

I personally think that anything at or south of $150 and hour is a fair rate for this type of work. I say this based on doing the bulk of one and watching two others. The guy that bid mine, in a discussion over flush mounting my plugs, flat out told me he bid it at 6 hours and they had the equipment at $500

If I had bought my own equipment and hired the hourly company i would have paid about $200 for the parts at Lowe's and $270-$360 for labor so about half what I paid by bid.

Still I was impressed that I got 2 fairly reasonable bids. The guy that did the work was very nice and did a very nice, clean job and best of all all of our kilns are ready to be hooked up and our new studio finally up and running! 








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A good electrician is worth every dime, however I do not like flat rate bids. Chances are they are making more than their regular hourly rate when they bid it that way. When I give quotes for kiln repair, I break it down parts and labor, and give an estimate on the labor, and a 'not-to-exceed' rate.

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