What you need to know about Electrical Contactors.
Wiring Home > Electrical Contractor Tips
Secrets & Tips that will save you money with your electrical contractor.
Hiring and electrical contractor to work in your home can be very expensive, and depending on what needs to be done it can put a very large dent in your pocket book. I’m going to share a few tips with you that I’m sure a lot of contractors will hate me for, but I’m going to do it anyway. I just hope my boss don’t see this!
How to save money on travel time.
Let’s start off with travel time, most contractors will charge you for the time it takes for the electrician to travel to your home. If it is a contract job this will already be figured into the price of the contract, so make sure you choose a contractor that is reasonably close to your location. Now where this really comes into play is when it’s a service call, most contractors allow their employees to take their trucks home so if at all possible have your service call scheduled first thing in the mourning. Ask the contractor what time they start work and request the electrician to be at your home at that time. This way you pay no travel charge at all, if you schedule your service call at others times throughout the day it is quite possible that you will be charged a half hour labor even before he gets to your house.
Save by supplying your own electrical parts.
Now let’s move on to the next issue which is parts, I have seen electrical contractors charge a 300% markup or more on parts. Never let the contractor supply parts that you can simply buy yourself much cheaper than they will charge you for the same part.
Do your best to figure out what parts are needed to do the job and go buy them ahead of time.
Never let the contractor supply simple things such as light bulbs, lighting fixtures, switches, outlets, electrical boxes, circuit breakers or service panels. These are all items that you can go to your local home improvement store and purchase for the fraction of the price that the contractor will charge.
Wire is a big expense but your local home improvement store is not the place for you to purchase wire. The best process for this is to find what size wire you need, than find out where the electrical supply houses are in your area. In most cases you can purchase from them direct and even though the contractor will get a better price on the wire than you will, it will still be cheaper than the price that the contractor will charge you for it. The only down side of doing it this way is the quantity of wire you must purchase. For smaller size cable you may be required to purchase a full roll of cable, for larger size cable you will be able to get cuts in the size of the cable you need.
Note: Don’t forget to buy screws and wire nuts! Small things can add up.
Have the contractor bid the job with you supplying your own electrical parts.
You can have the contractor bid the job with you supplying the parts; this will save you a lot of cash. It also brings me to another point, it most cases it is better to have multiple contractors in your area give you a bid and do the job under contract. You will be able to find the best price for the job, some contractors have slow work periods and they will give you a better price than a busy contractor. It is also important to read the small print of the contract, some contractors will give you a price to do the job only to find out that they where wrong in giving you that price for the job. Then they want to increase the price of the contract, their job is to estimate the cost of the job correctly which is why you signed a contract with them. It is not your fault that they where wrong in the amount of work that they estimated, it is their job to estimate the amount of money it takes to do the job. Why should you pay more because they cannot do their job correctly? I have seen contractors come back on contracts time and time again and try to get more money. The bottom line is when they agree to do a job under contract for a specific price, you should not pay more for their incompetence.
Should your job be done T&M or under contract?
I jumped the gun a little and never discussed if you should get the job done under contract, or have it done on a time and material basis or T&M. If the job is a small there is nothing wrong with doing it T&M, but you should still try to supply as much of the material as possible. If the job is an emergency you will have no choice but to have and emergency service call done on a T&M basis. But if it is a larger job it would be best to get it bid by multiple contractors under the agreement that you will supply the material. That is the most cost effective way for you to have a electrical contractor do work in your home.
Should you stay home while the job is going on?
Now lets answer the question of if you should be home when the electrical contractor is there doing the work. Partly this is a personal decision, do you feel comfortable leaving them in your home. In most cases I would say that this is not a problem, make sure the contractor is insured and ask for references. If the job is being done T&M I would suggest that you stay home, this will help insure that work is being done. If you decide to stay home, I would advise to leave the electrician doing the work alone. Don’t badger them with questions or stand there as stair at them while they work. Remember that you are paying by the hour and that the more you talk to them and distract them from what they are doing the more you will pay.
Using the techniques when dealing with your electrical contractor will help you get the most work done at the best price, and will surely help you save money.
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