Quote from Electrician

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maggabelle
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Quote from Electrician

Post by maggabelle » Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:35 am

We need to have 3 interconnected smoke detectors installed in a home. 2 in a basement (one in unfinished areas, one in an area with access to the backside of the finished wall - so easy I would think) and one upstairs in the finished space of the house. There is attic access from above and access in the basement from below, so also not too hard I think?

We have gotten 2 quotes of around $1000 to do this. It would be less than $200 in supplies and probably less than 4 hours of work, plus the permit with the city. By my calculation they are charging $180+ per hour to do this. This seems outrageous.

Is it just because this is a small project? How can this be so expensive? It's a rental and the city won't let us do it ourselves or we would.

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dm200
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by dm200 » Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:40 am

maggabelle wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:35 am
We need to have 3 interconnected smoke detectors installed in a home. 2 in a basement (one in unfinished areas, one in an area with access to the backside of the finished wall - so easy I would think) and one upstairs in the finished space of the house. There is attic access from above and access in the basement from below, so also not too hard I think?
We have gotten 2 quotes of around $1000 to do this. It would be less than $200 in supplies and probably less than 4 hours of work, plus the permit with the city. By my calculation they are charging $180+ per hour to do this. This seems outrageous.
Is it just because this is a small project? How can this be so expensive? It's a rental and the city won't let us do it ourselves or we would.
1. How much would your employer charge a client per hour for your services? Maybe $180/hour might not seem that outtageous.

2. Why do smoke detectors need to be interconnected?

GT99
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by GT99 » Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:46 am

Are you not allowed to use battery operated smoke detectors (like so: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Kidde-Batte ... /206093602)?
Please don't tell me that you live in a city that legally requires hard-wired, interconnected smoke detectors? If yes, I'd move to a different city because that's just nuts.

Also - if it's a rental, why are you installing it? The property owner should be the one paying to install it.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:56 am

Interconnected smoke detectors have been required in my town (and I suspect the entire state) since I bought the house in 1992. Ours are all hardwired and have battery backup. The cost, I'm sure is the work involved to run wires from the single circuit (they have to be on their own, unshared ciruit) to all detectors. That is a lot of money for the work described. Have you gotten at least 3 quotes?
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mevans154
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by mevans154 » Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:58 am

dm200 wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:40 am
maggabelle wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:35 am
We need to have 3 interconnected smoke detectors installed in a home. 2 in a basement (one in unfinished areas, one in an area with access to the backside of the finished wall - so easy I would think) and one upstairs in the finished space of the house. There is attic access from above and access in the basement from below, so also not too hard I think?
We have gotten 2 quotes of around $1000 to do this. It would be less than $200 in supplies and probably less than 4 hours of work, plus the permit with the city. By my calculation they are charging $180+ per hour to do this. This seems outrageous.
Is it just because this is a small project? How can this be so expensive? It's a rental and the city won't let us do it ourselves or we would.
1. How much would your employer charge a client per hour for your services? Maybe $180/hour might not seem that outtageous.

2. Why do smoke detectors need to be interconnected?
1. As an Electrical Engineer I speak from experience that you are paying someone else for their knowledge as well as there labor. If you can't do it yourself you have no choice but to hire it done. $180/hour may seem high but how much do other skilled trades (i.e. plumber, car mechanic, etc) cost in your area? Maybe it's not too far off base.

2. The smoke detectors are interconnected so that when one goes off, they all go off. This is so if there is a fire in the basement and you are asleep on the second floor you may not hear the single smoke detector just in the basement. Home Depot sells AC powered (with battery back-up) smoke detectors for $15 each. I just bought three of them last month.

3. As far as the city not allowing you to do this yourself, I would double check that. As a homeowner (at least in NJ) you have the right to fix any violations yourself and then have them inspected by the city inspector to verify that it meets code.
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by TomatoTomahto » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:03 am

FWIW, I would not be without interconnected smoke detectors any more than I’d drive without a seatbelt.

barnaclebob
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by barnaclebob » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:05 am

Keep in mind the electrician probably can't do another job that day so you may as well be paying for their whole day. $1000 seems good to me, I doubt you will get any "custom" trade to give you nearly a days work for less than a grand.

Is it worth your time to maybe save a few hundred? If so keep looking for quotes.

Andyrunner
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by Andyrunner » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:25 am

From what I have found, trades people are pretty open to cash discounts, especially if it's a smaller company. You might want to ask about that. I know people who have even asked the non-owner what the cost would be if the guy did it on the side, which in my opinion that is a bit unethical.

Also $180 sounds about right. As someone said, a 4 hour job probably kills most other jobs for the day. 4 hours is one thing, but the electrician also needs to be there for the city inspector so he may work on it in the morning and wait all afternoon for the inspector to arrive.

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unclescrooge
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by unclescrooge » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:32 am

In my town, any job involving a tradesman spending more than 2 hours morphs into a $1000 job.

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dm200
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by dm200 » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:36 am

My guess as well is that the quote may include a few dollars to cover the situation where - once the get into attics, etc. - there may be some added complications.

While you may not be "allowed" to actually do or complete electrical work, might there be parts of the project you could do yourself?

cherijoh
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by cherijoh » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:45 am

GT99 wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:46 am
Are you not allowed to use battery operated smoke detectors (like so: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Kidde-Batte ... /206093602)?
Please don't tell me that you live in a city that legally requires hard-wired, interconnected smoke detectors? If yes, I'd move to a different city because that's just nuts.

Also - if it's a rental, why are you installing it? The property owner should be the one paying to install it.
I think the issue is that it is a rental property that they own. I can definitely see why the city might not want the landlord doing the work themselves.

Big Dog
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by Big Dog » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:50 am

have you checked with the city to understand the permit requirements? in addition to the fee, say $50-$100, does the electrician have to stand around awaiting the inspector to come and look at any open walls/wiring before close? How much paperwork is involved if the electrician files for the permit? Can you save money (and electrician's time) by ordering the permit yourself?

Housedoc
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by Housedoc » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:58 am

You can replace one of your existing detectors with a combo smoke C02 unit. To interconnect others get the 10 yr battery operated models that use RF signals to talk to the base (s) that are wired in. These pass code in most areas. Interconnected is ONLY way to go!
Another FYI, all detectors technically expire after 10 years. Check the fine print stamped on it or on a label.
Manufacturing CYA I guess.

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jharkin
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by jharkin » Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:06 am

GT99 wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:46 am
Are you not allowed to use battery operated smoke detectors (like so: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Kidde-Batte ... /206093602)?
Please don't tell me that you live in a city that legally requires hard-wired, interconnected smoke detectors? If yes, I'd move to a different city because that's just nuts.
Hardwired and interconnected alarms are required by code for all new installs in my state for over a decade now. Other states as well.

Its not nuts - it saves lives:
http://www.thewfsf.org/sap_usa_files/FE ... ay2010.pdf


As far as the cost... it always gives me a chuckle (both on the forum and IRL)... when people get a bill and declare that "the amount is nuts" with no context or understanding what goes into the work. Case in point I recently had my roof done and it cost 5 figures. On of my relatives declared hat was a ripoff and should be half. I asked why and the answer was "just because" When I looked up the cost of materials on the home depot website and showed that materials alone was more than the amount my relative thought the entire job should cost, and I asked them if they would spend a week hammering on a roof in 90F weather for free.... well they had no answer. :oops:
Last edited by jharkin on Thu Aug 16, 2018 12:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.

mortfree
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by mortfree » Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:06 am

maggabelle wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:35 am

We have gotten 2 quotes of around $1000 to do this. It would be less than $200 in supplies and probably less than 4 hours of work, plus the permit with the city. By my calculation they are charging $180+ per hour to do this. This seems outrageous.
did the electrician(s) tell you it would take 4 hours? Assumption 1.

Is it only one person on the job or two people? Assumption 2

What if in Assumption 1, the electrician takes the whole day to do it (8 hrs)? that is $100/hr

What if in Assumption 2, two people work and get it done in 4 hours (8 man hours)? again, $100/hr

LawEgr1
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by LawEgr1 » Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:14 am

I work with this trade all the time for large chemical / construction projects. I bid out a lot of contracts in general in addition to design work.

- How many people?
- Weekend or off hours work? Expect it to cost a lot
- Is this fixed price / lump sum or T&M work? Not to exceed?
- Trades are expensive. Market conditions and labor rates vary considerably by locale. The range may be $100 to 150 / hour pending the trade, union v non-union, market and demand
- If you're willing, knocking 5% off shouldn't be a problem by just asking.
- Get more quotes, these guys are all over the map pending the above.
- Does this include permit?
- Does your estimate of cost include wire, EMT, potential new breakers?

- This is unlikely, but do you need an entire new circuit and breaker for this? What's the existing load like? There may be additional work beyond wiring to an existing circuit. Perhaps code dictates circuit MUST be on it's own breaker. (I doubt the tradesman went this far...)

My initial thought was: A little high, but not crazy. Low end I'd expect you to fall around $750.


Permitting:

-If you're uncomfortable, have the electrician pay for the permit
- If you have no idea what code or little desire to understand it, have electrician pay for permit
- Permits are cheap, in general, for small residential work.
-Do YOU even need a permit? See city code (google it)
- Or do you need multiple permits (electric and fire)?
Last edited by LawEgr1 on Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:17 am, edited 2 times in total.

JHU ALmuni
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by JHU ALmuni » Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:16 am

Seems a little high but that's life. Even if they can do it in 4 hours they probably charge for 6 or 7 hours. Similar to mechanics, provide quotes based on 3 hours of labor then magically do the work in an hour because of their experience.

maggabelle
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by maggabelle » Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:19 am

GT99 wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:46 am
Are you not allowed to use battery operated smoke detectors (like so: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Kidde-Batte ... /206093602)?
Please don't tell me that you live in a city that legally requires hard-wired, interconnected smoke detectors? If yes, I'd move to a different city because that's just nuts.

Also - if it's a rental, why are you installing it? The property owner should be the one paying to install it.
I own it. It's a rental. The city requires licensed electricians and plumbers to do any work in rentals besides minor repairs on already existing items.

And yes, I live in a city that requires interconnected smoke detectors and they must be hard-wired. They cannot be battery operated and wirelessly interconnect. This is because we got a permit to do some basement finish to the house and when you get a permit for pretty much anything on a house in my city, you are apparently required to upgrade the smoke detectors.

maggabelle
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by maggabelle » Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:22 am

mevans154 wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:58 am
dm200 wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:40 am
maggabelle wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:35 am
We need to have 3 interconnected smoke detectors installed in a home. 2 in a basement (one in unfinished areas, one in an area with access to the backside of the finished wall - so easy I would think) and one upstairs in the finished space of the house. There is attic access from above and access in the basement from below, so also not too hard I think?
We have gotten 2 quotes of around $1000 to do this. It would be less than $200 in supplies and probably less than 4 hours of work, plus the permit with the city. By my calculation they are charging $180+ per hour to do this. This seems outrageous.
Is it just because this is a small project? How can this be so expensive? It's a rental and the city won't let us do it ourselves or we would.
1. How much would your employer charge a client per hour for your services? Maybe $180/hour might not seem that outtageous.

2. Why do smoke detectors need to be interconnected?
1. As an Electrical Engineer I speak from experience that you are paying someone else for their knowledge as well as there labor. If you can't do it yourself you have no choice but to hire it done. $180/hour may seem high but how much do other skilled trades (i.e. plumber, car mechanic, etc) cost in your area? Maybe it's not too far off base.

2. The smoke detectors are interconnected so that when one goes off, they all go off. This is so if there is a fire in the basement and you are asleep on the second floor you may not hear the single smoke detector just in the basement. Home Depot sells AC powered (with battery back-up) smoke detectors for $15 each. I just bought three of them last month.

3. As far as the city not allowing you to do this yourself, I would double check that. As a homeowner (at least in NJ) you have the right to fix any violations yourself and then have them inspected by the city inspector to verify that it meets code.
I am a homeowner and own the house - but because it is a registered rental and we are using it as a rental property they won't let us do the work even with a permit. We are required to use a licensed electrician.

We could do it ourselves, but we aren't allowed to. That's why this is extra frustrating. When the first electrician was in the house, he said it would be around $300-400, but when he sent the quote it was closer to $1000.

ponyboy
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by ponyboy » Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:27 am

My electrician charges $25/hr...and he's on point! He is a family friend and he gets paid under the table. $180/hr is laughable. I can see maybe $70/hr on the higher end. But $180/hr is highway robbery. My guess is they really dont want the job, but if you're willing to throw that much money at them they'll take it.

maggabelle
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by maggabelle » Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:28 am

jharkin wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:06 am
GT99 wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:46 am
Are you not allowed to use battery operated smoke detectors (like so: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Kidde-Batte ... /206093602)?
Please don't tell me that you live in a city that legally requires hard-wired, interconnected smoke detectors? If yes, I'd move to a different city because that's just nuts.
Hardwired and interconnected alarms are required by code for all new installs in my state for over a decade now. Other states as well.

Its not nuts - it saves lives:
http://www.thewfsf.org/sap_usa_files/FE ... ay2010.pdf


As far as the cost... it always gives me a chuckle (both on the forum and IRL)... when people get a bill and declare that "the amount is nuts" with no context or understanding what goes into the work. Case in point I recently had my roof done and it cost 5 figures. On of my relatives declared hat was a ripoff and should be half. I asked why and the answer was "just because" When I looked up the cost of materials on the home depot website and showsed that materials alone was more than the amount my relative thought the entire job cost, and I asked them if they would spend a week hammering on a roof in 90F weather for free.... well they had no answer. :oops:
We do have a pretty good idea of the time and skill involved in the project. We do a lot of home remodeling and plumbing and electrical work ourselves. We used a concrete saw to add an egress window in the basement and we added a bathroom, etc. so it's not like we're unaware how much work and training goes into these kinds of projects (although the 4 years required to become a licensed electrician in my state seems a bit long since most of it is pretty straightforward).

I'm mostly thrown because his on the spot guesstimate was almost 1/3 of what his official quote came back as. We've had electrical work done in the past and were billed at $80 per hour, not $180.

maggabelle
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by maggabelle » Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:30 am

ponyboy wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:27 am
My electrician charges $25/hr...and he's on point! He is a family friend and he gets paid under the table. $180/hr is laughable. I can see maybe $70/hr on the higher end. But $180/hr is highway robbery. My guess is they really dont want the job, but if you're willing to throw that much money at them they'll take it.
That's what I was thinking. We seems to be short on electricians in the area. I've called 20+ and gotten calls back from 3. Two of them have given estimates around $1000. The third one wasn't sure, but thought $500 to $1000. Two of them have been unwilling to even talk about scheduling until about a month from now, when they said they would be in touch.

maggabelle
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by maggabelle » Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:31 am

Housedoc wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:58 am
You can replace one of your existing detectors with a combo smoke C02 unit. To interconnect others get the 10 yr battery operated models that use RF signals to talk to the base (s) that are wired in. These pass code in most areas. Interconnected is ONLY way to go!
Another FYI, all detectors technically expire after 10 years. Check the fine print stamped on it or on a label.
Manufacturing CYA I guess.
They all have to hard-wired, not just one. :(

And this is a small house, about 800 square feet. You can hear any smoke detector go off from anywhere in the house.

maggabelle
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by maggabelle » Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:39 am

LawEgr1 wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:14 am
I work with this trade all the time for large chemical / construction projects. I bid out a lot of contracts in general in addition to design work.

- How many people?
- Weekend or off hours work? Expect it to cost a lot
- Is this fixed price / lump sum or T&M work? Not to exceed?
- Trades are expensive. Market conditions and labor rates vary considerably by locale. The range may be $100 to 150 / hour pending the trade, union v non-union, market and demand
- If you're willing, knocking 5% off shouldn't be a problem by just asking.
- Get more quotes, these guys are all over the map pending the above.
- Does this include permit?
- Does your estimate of cost include wire, EMT, potential new breakers?

- This is unlikely, but do you need an entire new circuit and breaker for this? What's the existing load like? There may be additional work beyond wiring to an existing circuit. Perhaps code dictates circuit MUST be on it's own breaker. (I doubt the tradesman went this far...)

My initial thought was: A little high, but not crazy. Low end I'd expect you to fall around $750.


Permitting:

-If you're uncomfortable, have the electrician pay for the permit
- If you have no idea what code or little desire to understand it, have electrician pay for permit
- Permits are cheap, in general, for small residential work.
-Do YOU even need a permit? See city code (google it)
- Or do you need multiple permits (electric and fire)?
To be fair, he didn't say how many people, but I think he just works for himself, so I was assuming it was just him. He said he didn't think it would take that long and we have a good idea of how long a project like this should take.

It would be during the week and we need it done hopefully by the middle of September.

It does include the permit, but he already told me that's about $80 with the city. It does include the cost of smoke detectors and a breaker because it needs to be arc-fault protected. He said he would need to branch off the existing panel. And yes, it needs to be on it's own breaker as required by the international electrical code (I believe that's the one - there's that and then the city has amendments they've made to it in city code).

The permit would be required. Pretty much EVERYTHING needs a permit in my city except minor repair work. Running ANY new electrical wiring requires a permit. It seems a little excessive.

maggabelle
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by maggabelle » Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:41 am

We would much rather put in the battery operated wirelessly interconnected smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms, but that's apparently not an option.

MathWizard
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by MathWizard » Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:47 am

I would not consider $1000 out of line for this.

The electrician is getting the permits, and probably has someone
else with home for the install. He has to drive to your house and back,
He has lots of overhead in running a business, and hopefully liability insurance
for anyone who might get hurt.

I would not focus on the hours involved at your house, but on the value to you.

maggabelle
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by maggabelle » Thu Aug 16, 2018 12:22 pm

Thanks everyone!

I think the quote mostly seemed outrageous because it was almost 3x his initial guesstimate. I also read some reviews on that specific electrician about how his quotes and billing didn't always line up, so we've gone with a better reviewed electrician who can still do the work before the end of the month.

barnaclebob
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by barnaclebob » Thu Aug 16, 2018 12:37 pm

ponyboy wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:27 am
My electrician charges $25/hr...and he's on point! He is a family friend and he gets paid under the table. $180/hr is laughable. I can see maybe $70/hr on the higher end. But $180/hr is highway robbery. My guess is they really dont want the job, but if you're willing to throw that much money at them they'll take it.
Well if OP called 20+ people and the only two who responded are charging $1k then its not highway robbery, its the market rate.

iamlucky13
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by iamlucky13 » Thu Aug 16, 2018 1:06 pm

I just looked up a couple past quotes from a fixer upper that was a mix of lender-mandated repairs and a few upgrades - moderately high cost of living area, economic conditions more favorable to the homeowner at the time. It included interconnected smoke detectors as required per current code.

Cost was $2,800 + tax for a job that I recall took two days for an electrician and an apprentice. The other bid was similar.

I don't know if you might be able to get better quote if you keep looking, but $1000 for a small job with the current market conditions in many cities does not surprise me.

Keep in mind that billable hours for an electrician typically are less than 1000 hours per year (~50% of full time), and it can be even lower in some areas or specialties (on contractor talk, the range I see stated is 25-50%). In addition to non-billable time ordering supplies, preparing bids, designing installs, they also have non-trivial overhead for vehicle and tools, insurance, keeping their license qualifications current, record-keeping, and probably a few more things I'm forgetting.
dm200 wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:36 am
My guess as well is that the quote may include a few dollars to cover the situation where - once the get into attics, etc. - there may be some added complications.

While you may not be "allowed" to actually do or complete electrical work, might there be parts of the project you could do yourself?
As far as I know, in most jurisidictions you are allowed to do electrical work in your personal residence, but it is normal for work beyond replacing existing outlets, fixtures, or breakers to require a permit and inspection regardless of whether you DIY or hire the work out.

Also depending on jurisdiction, it is common for a licensed electrician to be required for electrical work on rental or commercial properties.

Since this is a rental property locally requiring licensed electricians to do the work, I expect the OP can do partof the work as you suggest, such as creating a path way for the wiring to be easily run, and taking care of any restorative work after the electrical hookup is done. If the full wirepath is visible for the electrician and/or inspector to verify, I think you can even run the wire, and leave it to them to twist the wirenuts, etc.

Whether or not the electrician will be interested in bidding for so little work if the local market is hot is a separate question.

In my area, I was also able to handle the permit and schedule the inspector myself, and the electrician reduced his bid for not having to hassle with that.

GT99
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by GT99 » Thu Aug 16, 2018 6:32 pm

jharkin wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:06 am
GT99 wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:46 am
Are you not allowed to use battery operated smoke detectors (like so: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Kidde-Batte ... /206093602)?
Please don't tell me that you live in a city that legally requires hard-wired, interconnected smoke detectors? If yes, I'd move to a different city because that's just nuts.
Hardwired and interconnected alarms are required by code for all new installs in my state for over a decade now. Other states as well.

Its not nuts - it saves lives:
http://www.thewfsf.org/sap_usa_files/FE ... ay2010.pdf
Smoke detectors save lives, sure...probably not as many as most people think (http://freakonomics.com/2012/02/06/how- ... ally-save/), but anyone is foolish not to have smoke detectors in their home. Do laws requiring hard wired, interconnected fire alarms save lives? Doubtful, especially in single family houses but really hard to find the data to support it, and I live by data.

maggabelle
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by maggabelle » Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:51 pm

Smoke detectors save lives, sure...probably not as many as most people think (http://freakonomics.com/2012/02/06/how- ... ally-save/), but anyone is foolish not to have smoke detectors in their home. Do laws requiring hard wired, interconnected fire alarms save lives? Doubtful, especially in single family houses but really hard to find the data to support it, and I live by data.
I also find it doubtful. It is an 800 square foot house. You can hear any of the 5 (that's how many are required) smoke alarms in that house go off no matter where in the house you are.

I would argue that they are less safe, actually. All of our battery operated smoke and fire alarms are dual sensor (p and i), but when it comes to hard-wired interconnected fire alarms they do need to be dual sensor, but they can be carbon monoxide as the second item. Seems like this is less safe in the event of a fire. (We do already have a carbon monoxide alarm in the house as well).

denovo
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by denovo » Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:50 am

maggabelle wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 12:22 pm
Thanks everyone!

I think the quote mostly seemed outrageous because it was almost 3x his initial guesstimate. I also read some reviews on that specific electrician about how his quotes and billing didn't always line up, so we've gone with a better reviewed electrician who can still do the work before the end of the month.
How much
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

wilked
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by wilked » Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:19 am

Electrician will need two to three trips to the job site (pull permit, do work, get inspected). Could obviously combine two of those but permitting offices can be unpredictable, show up and no one’s there, or inspections rescheduled last min. He/she has to price that in. For each trip depending on city and traffic he/she might price in 1 hr travel.

So let’s say 4-6 hrs priced in just for permit stuff. Fire chiefs can be really picky also, so need to price in risk of unexpected rework.

The job itself involves getting in the panel, possibly moving a couple things around in the panel to accommodate the new circuit, maybe a little cleanup depending on age of the panel. 1-2 hrs there.

Fishing wires I would plan on 2-4 hrs, you gave some detail but seeing in person is important.

I’m going to say 12 hrs plus $200 parts. In HCOL city $1000 not out of line

ddurrett896
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by ddurrett896 » Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:32 am

maggabelle wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:35 am
We need to have 3 interconnected smoke detectors installed in a home.
Just out of curiosity, why do you all the sudden have to have 3 smoke detectors installed?

smitcat
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by smitcat » Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:44 am

ddurrett896 wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:32 am
maggabelle wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:35 am
We need to have 3 interconnected smoke detectors installed in a home.
Just out of curiosity, why do you all the sudden have to have 3 smoke detectors installed?
Above post....
"And yes, I live in a city that requires interconnected smoke detectors and they must be hard-wired. They cannot be battery operated and wirelessly interconnect. This is because we got a permit to do some basement finish to the house and when you get a permit for pretty much anything on a house in my city, you are apparently required to upgrade the smoke detectors."

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jharkin
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by jharkin » Fri Aug 17, 2018 8:02 am

GT99 wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 6:32 pm

Smoke detectors save lives, sure...probably not as many as most people think (http://freakonomics.com/2012/02/06/how- ... ally-save/), but anyone is foolish not to have smoke detectors in their home. Do laws requiring hard wired, interconnected fire alarms save lives? Doubtful, especially in single family houses but really hard to find the data to support it, and I live by data.
The thing about data is it works both ways. You have a "hunch" that this rule doesn't save lives - but do you have data to prove it?

The thing is, I don't have the time, the expertise, or frankly the interest to comb though statistical data and make my own decisions on every element of the construction of my house , cars etc. I am not going to go out and do research on average live loads in residential buildings to compile my own joist span tables. Nor am I going to comb through NTSB crash data to make my own determination on the value of anti-lock brakes and airbags.

Luckily we don't have to... that's what building codes and automotive safety standards are for- we collectively as a society have outsource this to subject matter experts. We should have good reason to believe that the agencies who are making those determinations are doing so on data. If you dont believe they are using data, then you need to get out and vote and lobby to change the law.

maggabelle
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by maggabelle » Fri Aug 17, 2018 8:21 am

wilked wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:19 am
Electrician will need two to three trips to the job site (pull permit, do work, get inspected). Could obviously combine two of those but permitting offices can be unpredictable, show up and no one’s there, or inspections rescheduled last min. He/she has to price that in. For each trip depending on city and traffic he/she might price in 1 hr travel.

So let’s say 4-6 hrs priced in just for permit stuff. Fire chiefs can be really picky also, so need to price in risk of unexpected rework.

The job itself involves getting in the panel, possibly moving a couple things around in the panel to accommodate the new circuit, maybe a little cleanup depending on age of the panel. 1-2 hrs there.

Fishing wires I would plan on 2-4 hrs, you gave some detail but seeing in person is important.

I’m going to say 12 hrs plus $200 parts. In HCOL city $1000 not out of line
I asked for clarification on the drastic difference in quote and he said he was planning on 3 hours and must not have been thinking when he spoke in person. So, to take the assumption out of the time required, the electrician was counting on 3 hours of work.

maggabelle
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by maggabelle » Fri Aug 17, 2018 8:25 am

"Well I put in 3 hours of labor at $115 an hour. Maybe, I was just rattling off numbers. But the labor alone is $345. Permit $85ish. Then material. Since they're required to be on an arc-fault circuit and we have to install a sub-panel, that's where the additional cost comes from. We could do it as a price not to exceed, so if we do it quicker it would be less expensive. "

This is the response I got when I questioned the drastic difference between the ballpark figure and the quote.

The other electrician that we've decided to go with just charges hourly and will bill based on how long it actually takes. We've used them before and their hourly is lower, so while I don't have an exact amount on that, I feel that the other electrician has been more straightforward about pricing and charging hourly plus materials. This electrician seems to be leaving out details.

GT99
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by GT99 » Fri Aug 17, 2018 9:59 am

jharkin wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 8:02 am
GT99 wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 6:32 pm

Smoke detectors save lives, sure...probably not as many as most people think (http://freakonomics.com/2012/02/06/how- ... ally-save/), but anyone is foolish not to have smoke detectors in their home. Do laws requiring hard wired, interconnected fire alarms save lives? Doubtful, especially in single family houses but really hard to find the data to support it, and I live by data.
The thing about data is it works both ways. You have a "hunch" that this rule doesn't save lives - but do you have data to prove it?

The thing is, I don't have the time, the expertise, or frankly the interest to comb though statistical data and make my own decisions on every element of the construction of my house , cars etc. I am not going to go out and do research on average live loads in residential buildings to compile my own joist span tables. Nor am I going to comb through NTSB crash data to make my own determination on the value of anti-lock brakes and airbags.

Luckily we don't have to... that's what building codes and automotive safety standards are for- we collectively as a society have outsource this to subject matter experts. We should have good reason to believe that the agencies who are making those determinations are doing so on data. If you dont believe they are using data, then you need to get out and vote and lobby to change the law.
This is not the forum for taking this any further, but sounds like we just have a very fundamental disagreement on the expertise of the folks who put laws like this in place.

Liberty1100
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by Liberty1100 » Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:14 am

maggabelle wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 8:25 am
"Well I put in 3 hours of labor at $115 an hour. Maybe, I was just rattling off numbers. But the labor alone is $345. Permit $85ish. Then material. Since they're required to be on an arc-fault circuit and we have to install a sub-panel, that's where the additional cost comes from. We could do it as a price not to exceed, so if we do it quicker it would be less expensive. "

This is the response I got when I questioned the drastic difference between the ballpark figure and the quote.

The other electrician that we've decided to go with just charges hourly and will bill based on how long it actually takes. We've used them before and their hourly is lower, so while I don't have an exact amount on that, I feel that the other electrician has been more straightforward about pricing and charging hourly plus materials. This electrician seems to be leaving out details.
The good news is, once the electrician completes the work and passes the inspection, you should be able to sleep at night knowing that if a fire was to occur in your rental unit, you have properly wired smoke detectors. If they do not function as properly and someone gets hurt, your liability should be severely limited.

Also, you may want to tell your insurance agent about the added smoke detectors & features. They may provide you a discount.

barnaclebob
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by barnaclebob » Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:19 am

GT99 wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 9:59 am
jharkin wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 8:02 am
GT99 wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 6:32 pm

Smoke detectors save lives, sure...probably not as many as most people think (http://freakonomics.com/2012/02/06/how- ... ally-save/), but anyone is foolish not to have smoke detectors in their home. Do laws requiring hard wired, interconnected fire alarms save lives? Doubtful, especially in single family houses but really hard to find the data to support it, and I live by data.
The thing about data is it works both ways. You have a "hunch" that this rule doesn't save lives - but do you have data to prove it?

The thing is, I don't have the time, the expertise, or frankly the interest to comb though statistical data and make my own decisions on every element of the construction of my house , cars etc. I am not going to go out and do research on average live loads in residential buildings to compile my own joist span tables. Nor am I going to comb through NTSB crash data to make my own determination on the value of anti-lock brakes and airbags.

Luckily we don't have to... that's what building codes and automotive safety standards are for- we collectively as a society have outsource this to subject matter experts. We should have good reason to believe that the agencies who are making those determinations are doing so on data. If you dont believe they are using data, then you need to get out and vote and lobby to change the law.
This is not the forum for taking this any further, but sounds like we just have a very fundamental disagreement on the expertise of the folks who put laws like this in place.
Based on what data?

You can use logic to determine that interconnected smoke detectors must save equal to or a greater number of lives than non interconnected. The question is whether the added cost justifies the near certainty of some amount of lives saved relative to non interconnected. Its also not entirely about saving lives, interconnected is nearly certain to decrease the total amount of fire damage done in this country relative to non interconnected.

Building codes are not direct laws but the laws say the codes must be followed. Most of the time lawmakers do not write codes so you are implying that the building construction experts that write codes might be corrupt and want to generate more money for their industry. Lets assume you are correct. Do you think there is more money to be made in rebuilding properties that have more fire damage or in installing a few wires on new construction or remodels?
Last edited by barnaclebob on Fri Aug 17, 2018 11:00 am, edited 4 times in total.

theshovel
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by theshovel » Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:22 am

Paying the electrician the quoted price for the work is probably going to be cheaper than paying a City fine. It will definitely be cheaper than paying an attorney if a serious fire does occur.

As has been said previously, you're paying for the skillset, the business overhead, etc.. not just paying a guy to run a few wires.

LawEgr1
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by LawEgr1 » Fri Aug 17, 2018 11:57 am

barnaclebob wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 12:37 pm
ponyboy wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:27 am
My electrician charges $25/hr...and he's on point! He is a family friend and he gets paid under the table. $180/hr is laughable. I can see maybe $70/hr on the higher end. But $180/hr is highway robbery. My guess is they really dont want the job, but if you're willing to throw that much money at them they'll take it.
Well if OP called 20+ people and the only two who responded are charging $1k then its not highway robbery, its the market rate.
+1



1) Do it, pay the $1k and get it done
2) Don't do it and/or find a cheaper method (ie no permits / yourself etc)

The choice is yours at this point, not ours. You had great feedback on this thread! Good luck.

(should be /thread)

GT99
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by GT99 » Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:12 pm

barnaclebob wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:19 am
GT99 wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 9:59 am
jharkin wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 8:02 am
GT99 wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 6:32 pm

Smoke detectors save lives, sure...probably not as many as most people think (http://freakonomics.com/2012/02/06/how- ... ally-save/), but anyone is foolish not to have smoke detectors in their home. Do laws requiring hard wired, interconnected fire alarms save lives? Doubtful, especially in single family houses but really hard to find the data to support it, and I live by data.
The thing about data is it works both ways. You have a "hunch" that this rule doesn't save lives - but do you have data to prove it?

The thing is, I don't have the time, the expertise, or frankly the interest to comb though statistical data and make my own decisions on every element of the construction of my house , cars etc. I am not going to go out and do research on average live loads in residential buildings to compile my own joist span tables. Nor am I going to comb through NTSB crash data to make my own determination on the value of anti-lock brakes and airbags.

Luckily we don't have to... that's what building codes and automotive safety standards are for- we collectively as a society have outsource this to subject matter experts. We should have good reason to believe that the agencies who are making those determinations are doing so on data. If you dont believe they are using data, then you need to get out and vote and lobby to change the law.
This is not the forum for taking this any further, but sounds like we just have a very fundamental disagreement on the expertise of the folks who put laws like this in place.
Based on what data?

You can use logic to determine that interconnected smoke detectors must save equal to or a greater number of lives than non interconnected. The question is whether the added cost justifies the near certainty of some amount of lives saved relative to non interconnected. Its also not entirely about saving lives, interconnected is nearly certain to decrease the total amount of fire damage done in this country relative to non interconnected.

Building codes are not direct laws but the laws say the codes must be followed. Most of the time lawmakers do not write codes so you are implying that the building construction experts that write codes might be corrupt and want to generate more money for their industry. Lets assume you are correct. Do you think there is more money to be made in rebuilding properties that have more fire damage or in installing a few wires on new construction or remodels?
Oy vey. I've worked most of my career in data analytics. Look at the data in the link I provided (and links from that page). It shows that smoke detectors in total only save a few hundred lives per year nation wide. That's regardless of battery powered or interconnected, whether or not they were installed by a licensed electrician, or whether or not they had to meet legal specifications. You would then have to control for battery power and non-interconnected, and non-professionally installed to find the difference between a law stating "all homes must have a working smoke detector" and "all homes must have a hard wired, interconnected smoke detector installed by a licensed professional," but "logic" says it's immeasurably small. You can get a set of 3 batter powered interconnected smoke detectors at Home depot for $80. Laws like this are usually more designed to benefit electricians, etc, than to save lives.

There are almost infinite laws that could be put in place that would save handfuls of lives each year - or, put another way, reduce your chance of death by about 1 in 10+ million. If they all were put in place life would suck. Would you support a law banning people from swimming in the ocean? Because that law would save an order of magnitude more lives than laws requiring hard wired, interconnected, professionally installed smoke detectors.

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sleepysurf
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by sleepysurf » Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:13 pm

I just had an electrician out to my home yesterday. Charged $180/hr as well, which was significantly more than he charged ~4 yrs ago for similar work. He told me his hourly rate is much higher now because all the new local construction has created a shortage of trade personnel, and his business is booming. They charge what the local market will bear.
Retired 2017 | ~50/45/5 (partially sliced and diced) | Current WR 2.8%

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dm200
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by dm200 » Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:27 pm

sleepysurf wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:13 pm
I just had an electrician out to my home yesterday. Charged $180/hr as well, which was significantly more than he charged ~4 yrs ago for similar work. He told me his hourly rate is much higher now because all the new local construction has created a shortage of trade personnel, and his business is booming. They charge what the local market will bear.
Also, with high demand, they may have to pay more for workers.

renue74
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by renue74 » Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:49 pm

I just had a 80 year old house rewired. (all studs showing....I had demo'ed all the plaster/lath)

I take that back....I ran the all the home run wires, installed the switches, and receptacles, and light/ceiling boxes.

I bought all the wire, boxes, etc. and ran everything back to the new breaker box.

I think hired an electrician to come in and finish the work.

I realistically thought it would take them one day and about $1000 to $1500.

They did this:

• installed 2 bathroom fans
• wired the breaker box
• ran the 6/0 wire for the oven
• installed the outside meter can box and ran wire from meter can to breaker box

Total cost? $4500. :shock:

I was shocked....but they did stuff I did not know how to do.

I hate to see what they would had charged to run all the wire that I ran.

maggabelle
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by maggabelle » Fri Aug 24, 2018 7:43 pm

Just had the electrician out yesterday and today on it. This electrician said we did not need a separate breaker or branch circuit even though the other one said we did. This one tied in with the lighting in the house and says that everything is up to code. The first one said he'd have to branch off, but I've reviewed the code again and it all looks ok to me based on what I've read.

We will be receiving the bill in the mail, so I'll update when we get it. The electrician who came seemed newer and he accidentally drilled a hole through the baseboard and wall. I called his supervisor, who offered to have him come fix it, but I told him that since he made the error in the first place that we didn't trust him to fix it and would rather have a discount and we'd fix it ourselves, but I'd happily send photos of the damage for his review.

Oh, and I guess no permit was required. I asked the supervisor about that too. They ran new wiring for it and connected into the circuit already there. From my reading of the city code, a permit might be required for that, but they seem to be purposefully vague.

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gasdoc
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Re: Quote from Electrician

Post by gasdoc » Sat Aug 25, 2018 8:27 am

Just yesterday, I hired an electrician to replace a single kitchen ceiling light fixture in my mom's house. I supplied the new fixture. The charge was $220 for the labor Not sure how long it took because I was not there, but the charge was a guaranteed charge, given before the work was started, so it really doesn't matter how long it ultimately took. The estimate for $185 sounds about right to me.

gasdoc

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