Asked on Feb 28, 2012

Calling all electricians - please help! What's a fair market rate?

HandyANDY - Handyman & All Repairs, LLCGlkirk Builders Inc.Clay B


To the electricians out there . . . I'm very concerned that my electrician is using some unfair pricing practices.
Example #1 - Charge of $250 for $20 electrical permit for the garage.
Examples #2 - Charge of $350 for $75 electrical permit for house addition
Example #3 - Cost to supply and install floor boxes (work involved removing old box, installing new box, cutting floor board of new wood floor) - $210/each
Example #4 - Jacuzzi Tub (unclear why the high rate for one plug/outlet) $195
Example #5 - New meter/200 AMP main disconnet, remove old panel/meter and refeed via J-Boxes $2,250. While this might be within range, he has charged an additional $1,100 for 'demo work and power and wiring checks.
Can you please share with me your pricing guidelines and advice? Thank you.
6 answers
  • What market are you in? The permit charges are normal...might be a little high if he is doing both projects at same time. Here in Atlanta, we might have to wait all day for the inspector to show can't continue and someone has to be there for the inspector. Could actually be several sadly...those are fair charges; Slightly high on the floor boxes but not out of line. The only charge that raises a potential flag is the additional $1,100 for demo work & wiring checks....usually, at least on our past jobs, that would be included in the panel work.

  • KMS Woodworks
    on Feb 28, 2012

    One of the electricians I have worked with in the past charges a flat rate of $65 hr...1 hr minimum. Code requirement for a hot tube require a separate (disconnect) located a short distance from the unit. If your jacuzzi is inside this may be handled buy a simple 20 a GFCI outlet. If power is already there this would indeed be a bit of a gouge...since these outlets only cost about 15 bucks... There is a sound reason why most folks get "multiple" quotes for this type of weeds out the unreasonable.

  • Belco Electric
    on Feb 29, 2012

    It sounds like your electrician has a "flat rate" pricing structure, if so, you are likely going to pay too much. The concept of flat rate pricing is taking an average of what a specific job costs and assigning a price to that task. When the technician arrives on site, he simply looks in a book and charges what the book tells him to charge. He cannot take into account the actual conditions that exist at your home and adjust the price down for a much simpler installation. In most cases, you are going to pay too much when dealing with a "flat rate" company. Handy Andy is correct with regards to the permit fee issues. In addition to what he stated regarding time involved to wait around on inspectors, some cities & counties charge not only for the initial permit fee, but also charge a fee for each inspection that takes place. This can substantially increase the price of a permit from the original fee to get the permit issued. My advice would be to stick with companies that have good reviews on line and will come out and give you a custom price based on what is going on in your home rather than using a national price list to quote your project. The one-size-fits-all mantra of flat rate pricing rarely fits anyone very well!

  • Clay B
    on Feb 29, 2012

    Never hire a "Pay by the job" plumber/electrician. Go with a by the hour place, and get an estimate on how long it will take as well. The pay by the job places, you are paying for the worst case senario, hence the warranty, and with every customer doing this, they make a great deal more money at your espense. I called a place like this here once to replace a shower valve, wanted $1800, I threw them out, got a by the hour place and they did it for about $500 including the valve.

  • Glkirk Builders Inc.
    on Mar 1, 2012

    Brooke, The only way for you to feel like you get a fair price, is for you to get 3 prices from electricians in your area. You will need to define the job. I understand that is difficult for the homeowner to do, but is required if you are going to compare apples for apples.

  • It's a toss up either way.....find a reputable firm that posts on places like Hometalk and you're better off by the job. There is alot of risk in any type or repair/remodel work and you're better off having a firm pricing. I do it that way when I am the contractor as handyandy or when I am bringing in other vendors for some of the houses I flip with other investors

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