The Electrical Contractor Network

ECN Electrical Forum
Discussion Forums for Electricians, Inspectors and Related Professionals

Books, Tools and Test Equipment for Electrical and Construction Trades

Register Now!

Register Now!

We want your input!


2017 NEC and Related
2017 NEC
Now Available!

Recent Posts
Parking lot pole light swap....
by gfretwell
10/24/16 08:46 PM
International Wire Colour Codes
by Tjia1981
10/23/16 12:08 PM
Son of Sparky
by HotLine1
10/20/16 07:43 PM
Speaking of Plugmold ...
by gfretwell
10/17/16 02:37 PM
Broken battery charger? Check for cobwebs!
by gfretwell
10/17/16 02:30 PM
New in the Gallery:
12.5A through 0.75mm˛ flex (just out of curiosity)
Shout Box

Top Posters (30 Days)
gfretwell 14
HotLine1 7
ghost307 7
renosteinke 6
Potseal 4
Who's Online
0 registered (), 275 Guests and 5 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#155249 - 12/19/04 12:15 PM Customer Supplied Materials
Electric Eagle Offline

Registered: 04/20/02
Posts: 928
Loc: Alpharetta, GA
What's your policy on customer supplied materials?

Our work order clearly states that we guarantee our materials and labor for 12 months. Customer supplied materials and the labor needed to repair are covered by the manufacturers warranty only.

We won't even bid if the customer starts asking if they can supply all materials. It's usually a good indication that the customer is cheap! It's OK if they want to provide light fixtures(other than cans, under cabs., and puck lights), but when they want to buy the switches and cover plates or the wire nuts and boxes I walk away. Occasionally a customer will ask to break out 1 item, in that case I take out our cost, but leave the mark up in.

What do you do when the customer want to provide some labor? I had a customer that wanted to drill all of our holes. I tried to explain that it would take me longer to show him where to drill than for our guys to do it, but he insisted on a discount. I took off $30, he let us drill.

Business, Office, Estimating, Legal:
#155250 - 12/19/04 03:07 PM Re: Customer Supplied Materials
LK Offline


Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 1721
Loc: New Jersey
About the same as your policy, however we will work with the homeowner, provided it is agreed in advance, and the owner understands, that anything he does, that need to be re done, he will pay for.

#155251 - 12/19/04 04:00 PM Re: Customer Supplied Materials
slumlordworker Offline

Registered: 12/20/03
Posts: 88
Loc: south bend indiana
I only let the customer supply fixtures and light bulbs.

on bigger jobs like a rewire I will let them supply everything as long as I can give them a list and they get exactly what is on it and I allow nonthing to be inner changed with a different product. this saves me time

#155252 - 12/21/04 03:04 AM Re: Customer Supplied Materials
Dave55 Offline

Registered: 05/08/04
Posts: 666
Loc: Crystal Lake, Illinois, USA
I'm pretty tolerant with what people want to do. I usually request that they get any personal taste/decorator items like fixtures. I also ask them to get dimmers so I don't have to warrant them.

If they're a pain-in-the-butt-save-a-few-bucks-on-materials-guy, they usually also like to watch my every move to learn how to do it themselves. I give them a partial material list, then send them to the store often to keep them out of my hair. I also try to keep any money they're trying to save by buying the materials themselves.


#155253 - 12/25/04 01:11 PM Re: Customer Supplied Materials
Obsaleet Offline

Registered: 04/05/03
Posts: 361
Loc: Pa
I tell flat out I don't care for that. And explain to them the 1st thing they give me that is wrong and I run for parts they loose any savings, not to mention there time and warranty. If they persist I price myself out.(really really high price for the job).
Had a guy shopping a $300. job Fri. another contractor shows up will I'm there. Guess what kind of price he'll get

PS I have more work then I can handle right now, mostly word of mouth and refferals.
Choose your customers, don't let them choose you.

#155254 - 12/26/04 03:05 AM Re: Customer Supplied Materials
Pat@Amber Offline

Registered: 08/23/04
Posts: 107
Loc: Gaithersburg, MD USA
Not many of my customers ask to buy their own materials but a few have. You have to charge extra because you know they will buy the worst/cheapest stuff they can find and it will take you longer to install everything. I do love it when they offer to buy the dimmers because of the warranty issue mentioned by Dave.

I actually like teaching the homeowners a few basic tricks when they are peeking over my shoulder the whole day. It makes the situation a little less uncomfortable and if they are going to try some wiring themselves I want them to do it right. They ALWAYS call me back to help them after they get in over their heads - "You made it look so easy I thought I could do it too----I'll pay whatever you want to get my wife off my back"

If they get too annoying, a well-timed short to ground with a few sparks works wonders.

Power to the people

#155255 - 12/26/04 02:00 PM Re: Customer Supplied Materials
Wirenuttt Offline

Registered: 11/10/02
Posts: 267
Loc: Massachusetts
Just to let you know I'm on your side. I remember years ago an electrician had to show a license at an electrical supply house to qualify for contractors prices. Since the big box stores came into play that kind of faded away. Not in my case, I worked the trade for 20 years and now I'm selling from an elec. supply house. When I see a home owner come in he automatically gets charges 20-40% more. If they squack, there's always the big box stores. I still feel that the electrician always get the best price no matter what. If that sounds old fassioned so be it.

#155256 - 01/12/05 03:52 AM Re: Customer Supplied Materials
Trumpy Offline


Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8532
Loc: SI,New Zealand
Les, Doug and Members,
I'd like to put a foreign point of view across, it may sound like a bit of a whinge, but I'd like to relate this to you guys.
First of all, I'd like to say that I don't in general have a problem with customers providing Light-Fittings, Receptacles or anything else for that matter for a job, provided that the fittings are approved for use and Comply with our Regulations.
That said, I have on occassion done re-wires of houses and got to the fitting-off stage and said that I'm going to get the switches and so forth, when I'm told by the H/Owner that they are providing them, only to be greeted by a large box of old junk that the guy has saved up over the last 20 years.
I mean things like 5 Ampere switches and old Socket-Outlets that don't have switches and the pin contacts are spread.
Sure, it's OK for the Homeowner, he doesn't have to sign a legal document to say the work is safe and I'd also like to be able to sleep at night too!.
This was one of the main reasons why I'm a Faultsman now, I don't have to deal with the arguments with skin-flint Home-owners and my former Boss asking why an argument started.
Another thing, I once installed a new switch-board in a house and the land-lord (who was told by me before-hand, that it needed upgrading, because it was a Fire hazard) hit the roof when I didn't use the box of old Porcelain fuse bases he gave me.
I made a phone call and handed the phone to him, he changed his tune after one of the PoCo Electrical Inspectors asked him what planet he came from.
Self-certification is enough of a nightmare here without cheap-skates trying to get you to cut corners.
After all, they won't be losing thier registration.
But hey, don't get me wrong, the good jobs far out-wiegh the bad and to see a nice fancy Chandelier(sp?) fitting that the customer has bought, actually light up at the end of a job and the look on thier face seeing it working, well, what more need be said, eh?.
Let's face it, these days if you're not young, you're old - Red Green grin


ECN Electrical Forums - sponsored by Electrical Contractor Network - Electrical and Code Related Discussion for Electrical Contractors, Electricians, Inspectors, Instructors, Engineers and other related Professionals