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#1177 - 04/30/01 07:48 AM Is an 'Educated Consumer' your best Customer?
Bill Addiss Offline
Member

Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 4196
Loc: NY, USA
Do you think that a consumer made more aware of their electrical systems' conditions, dangers, need for upgrade and current code requirements (where to GFI, outlet spacing etc) is more likely to have something done about it?

What are your thoughts (in general) on this?

What effect do you think all the How-to information out there is having on the consumer in general (focus on Electrical)


Bill

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#1178 - 04/30/01 11:11 AM Re: Is an 'Educated Consumer' your best Customer?
Redsy Offline
Member

Registered: 03/28/01
Posts: 2138
Loc: Bucks County PA
I think, in general the more that you explain to a residential customer, the better. I believe that it will often cinch the job for you in a close estimate. I recently quoted a 120 volt landscape lighting job, and clearly stated on the estimate that the cable would GFCI protected and be buried 12" AS REQUIRED. I also verbally discussed the safety and potential repair issues involved. This was a fairly pricey job for landscape lighting, but I feel that anyone else bidding it would now be forced the meet burial requirements if they wanted the work. How many times have we seen an uneducated consumer allow someone to install 120 volt lighting, and just lay the cable across a mulch bed. (BTW, I got the job.)
As far as how-to info., I don't believe most of it adequately deals with safety or code issues. As they say,"A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing".

[This message has been edited by Redsy (edited 04-30-2001).]

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#1179 - 05/01/01 04:28 AM Re: Is an 'Educated Consumer' your best Customer?
sparky Offline
Member

Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5545
I have prepared various handouts to this end.
generator 101 is an example, simply explains basic options...
saves much disscusion...


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#1180 - 05/01/01 06:34 PM Re: Is an 'Educated Consumer' your best Customer?
sparky66wv Offline
Member

Registered: 11/17/00
Posts: 2339
Loc: West Virginia
Absolutely!

But they usually don't want to here the ugly truth and would rather form the opinion that "sparky" (us in general) is an arrogant jerk trying to drum up some business...



[This message has been edited by sparky66wv (edited 05-01-2001).]
_________________________
-Virgil
Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
Member IAEI

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#1181 - 05/02/01 06:06 PM Re: Is an 'Educated Consumer' your best Customer?
sparky Offline
Member

Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5545
the 5 minute 'electrical 101' we all have to do is a feat in itself......
"You speak that electrical language"
as one customer put it. And i suppose he's right, we in the trade really do, and communicate comfortably as such.

So the problem comes in communicating needed info to individuals who don't know an outlet from an omlet, and probably don't want to.
( maybe there's a Dale-Carnegie course?)
The level of a customers participation is key, some are the 'just do it' or ' make it right' types, some like a rationale, or question the extent , as there are many snowball effects they'd rather do without.

how many times do you get asked "Is it safe?"
in regards to older wiring? Well i don't have x-ray eyes,a gaussmeter nose, or an amprobe finger (trying to outgrow that one), but there are generic items to look for. And if you format these and put them in the customers hands, they can't deny you did not tell them this or that, nor can Tom, Dick or Harry comparitively pick you apart.


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#1182 - 05/02/01 07:31 PM Re: Is an 'Educated Consumer' your best Customer?
sparky66wv Offline
Member

Registered: 11/17/00
Posts: 2339
Loc: West Virginia
Along these lines is my current job.

General Contractor installing a HotTub in a house with a 60A service...

Said contractor is my brother-in-law and a very intelligent sort. All about electrical safety, you know...

He has explained to her some of the big concerns about overloaded circuits, etc. before I get there, very well done I might add... done most of the hard work for me type thing.


Mrs Homeowner says "my dad's an electrician in Texas, all I want right now is what is needed for my hottub."

We explain with success that a 200A service upgrade is necessary, but today while marking circuits, I discovered that she doesn't have three outlet (light and recept) circuits, but only two... the third is a mystery... doesn't feed a thing as far as I can tell...

So, two 15A circuits, #14 BX, (which were originally discovered with 30A fuses) feeding the entire house...

I warned that she may have "nuisance tripping" when she cranked up the three window-type AC units (120V).

They're already pumping 11.6 and 9.9 Amps each under test with all lights, fans, TV's and puter on...

The fridge, furnace (pump and blower), washer, microwave share these circuits as well, but weren't on during the test.

I hope daddy comes to visit soon...
_________________________
-Virgil
Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
Member IAEI

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#1183 - 05/03/01 03:48 AM Re: Is an 'Educated Consumer' your best Customer?
sparky Offline
Member

Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5545
one of my favorite anologies is
" ya can't fits 10 lbs of potato's in a 5 lb sack"
which i reserve for the real knuckledraggers.

One that also has an effect is ampacity vs. heat ( ya gotta do the evil beavis & butthead laugh....fire, fire hehehehe)


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#1184 - 05/03/01 06:06 AM Re: Is an 'Educated Consumer' your best Customer?
sparky66wv Offline
Member

Registered: 11/17/00
Posts: 2339
Loc: West Virginia
Yeah, but this is one of those "it worked just fine before..."
_________________________
-Virgil
Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
Member IAEI

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#1185 - 05/03/01 12:28 PM Re: Is an 'Educated Consumer' your best Customer?
wayne Offline
Member

Registered: 04/04/01
Posts: 55
Loc: NC
Sparky66WV I know where you are comming from. They also didn't have microwave's, hair drier's, window A/Cs when they first wire there home.

as for the informed customer as Bill spoke about. The customer needs to adhere to what a qualified electrical contractor tells them what they need. There are two much information out there that if not utilized by the proper ( electricans ) in our case, will undoubtably will be miss interputed.

Leave the electrical work to the professionals like you would do with your health leaving it up to the doctors.

We all can give you a shock once and a while.

They the customer needs to know just enough information to, 1 let them know you are experence in what you are doing and, 2. enought info to make they feel safe.

what do you guy think.

Wayne.

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#1186 - 05/03/01 06:41 PM Re: Is an 'Educated Consumer' your best Customer?
sparky Offline
Member

Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5545
Wayne;
gaining a customers trust is key, but doing so blindly is not everyone's usual avenue, some like to know why this, why that...


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