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#155589 - 01/20/05 01:56 PM The true reason why we need Flat Rate Pricing
Knob_and_Tube Offline
Member

Registered: 01/17/05
Posts: 15
Loc: Santa Clarita, CA
I'm very skeptical about the actual usefulness of flat rate pricing. It seems to work best for plumbers and HVAC guys. They do the same tasks over and over, replace a toilet, FAU, whatever. In electrical, no two jobs are alike, conduit runs, worksite conditions, every job is a custom, hand crafted "work of art".

I think what the Flat Rate books allow you to retrieve a price from a third party and this appears to the customer as legitimate. This enables you to provide a higher price without seeming to assume personal responsibilty, after all, it's what the "book says"

Let's get real, what I'm about to say is not pretty. The general public has contempt for tradesmen. The see us as construction goons and they can barely tolerate our presence. When I've quoted hourly rates like $45 and hour, I've had many recoil in horror. When I asked what they thought a fair rate would be, it's usually $15 an hour. Since they are genuises and they don't make $45 an hour and you are a goon, they react poorly when confronted with hourly rates.

So, here's the problem, the public is convinced that we're contemptable low lifes, yet in reality we are business owners and have serious expenses and obstacles related to providing quality electrical wiring. So we find ourselves in a position where we must conceal our true rates. They view us as circus monkeys but the irony is they lack the ability to comprehend business.

This is the true problem. It's the public's misconception of trade workers.

End of rant.

....Richard



[This message has been edited by Knob_and_Tube (edited 01-20-2005).]

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Business, Office, Estimating, Legal:
#155590 - 01/20/05 02:06 PM Re: The true reason why we need Flat Rate Pricing
sparky66wv Offline
Member

Registered: 11/17/00
Posts: 2339
Loc: West Virginia
*applause*

*standing ovation*

I'm impressed, and relieved that I'm not the only one...

Imagine getting scoffed when one merely asks for $25... And then ends up losing money on the job to save face and hope to make it up in future work (which has yet to happen in 5 years of business).

I lost a 20% markup on my last big job because the owner gave me a deposit, which was about the same as the materials, and she felt that since she bought the materials, she shouldn't have to pay me a markup.

I was too desperate for the money to argue...


Some of us smart guys are actually lousy businessmen!!!



Welcome to my world.

[This message has been edited by sparky66wv (edited 01-20-2005).]
_________________________
-Virgil
Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
Member IAEI

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#155591 - 01/20/05 03:51 PM Re: The true reason why we need Flat Rate Pricing
Dave55 Offline
Member

Registered: 05/08/04
Posts: 666
Loc: Crystal Lake, Illinois, USA
I was going to respond to knob & tube until I read your post, Sparky. That is one sad truck & bank account. I think it's time to look for the nearest job within walking distance & forget about the electrical business. The next best would be to find a job that has an apartment as part of the deal. I'd guess you haven't been setting much aside for your retirement.

Really, knob & tube, my new improved lawyer quoted her rate at $225/hour & I choked. My old lawyer, may he rest in peace, charged $150. She would have been better off telling me our Will was going to cost $500, than to quote her hourly rate.

I have my own sheets that I am putting together with my own numbers, so if anyone asks I'll tell them they are my numbers. If they want me to do the job they'll have to hire me using my own numbers.

The beauty of it is that I used to walk away & tell people that I'd call tham with the price, because I'm so bad at working up the numbers on-the-spot. Now I can work it up in a few minutes, present them with the bid, draw up the contract & get to work...no competing bids needed. It works for me so far.

If you put together your own prices, it's not just 3rd party smoke & mirrors. As LK can tell you, flat rate and price sheets can work. Although we are artists, our art can be broken down into pieces and assemblies. When you get to the job you add up the pieces into the whole job & you have your bid. I'm just starting this & it's working.

Dave

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#155592 - 01/20/05 04:40 PM Re: The true reason why we need Flat Rate Pricing
sparky66wv Offline
Member

Registered: 11/17/00
Posts: 2339
Loc: West Virginia
Dave,

Sorry... I had second thoughts about my post...

(Many things were deleted)

Walking Distance?

How do you define walking distance? The amount one can walk in a day?

I live in the friggin' boonies...
Just getting my mail is a 1 mile one way trip...

Buying gas, or anything else is a minimum 15 miles to the nearest store...

The nearest EC? 20 miles away and he'd only offer $10 per hour if he was hiring and he's not.

Move? If I got enough money to move, I got enough money to stay.

The highest I made was $16 per hour here working for someone else. $15 per day per diem (insulting amount if you ask me) and they had too many complaints about me:

Once I was three minutes late for the job.
Once I floated a 4x4 because there was no LB's in the trailer...
And I made the mistake of busting tail the first week and they expected 110% from me all the time.

I hear Iraq is paying half a million per anum for electricians... If you survive...

Oh, and the pic of the truck I had posted was of it about a year ago. It is in much worse shape now (bootlegged a sticker last year but the cops are on to me). Add to that a $3000 lien still against it!!!

No kidding...

I really, really, really, really, really wish it were as easy as showing up at a job site with a toolbelt to get a job...

Anybody hiring (with a substantial sign-on bonus)?

[This message has been edited by sparky66wv (edited 01-20-2005).]
_________________________
-Virgil
Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
Member IAEI

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#155593 - 01/20/05 05:22 PM Re: The true reason why we need Flat Rate Pricing
Knob_and_Tube Offline
Member

Registered: 01/17/05
Posts: 15
Loc: Santa Clarita, CA
Dave55,
Can you send me your price sheets? Your email is not listed. I don't want to simply use you work, but I'd like to see what you are doing and maybe it'll give me some ideas. I'm tring to come up with something using Excel but I think I'm over complicating things...

Thanks!
...............Richard

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#155594 - 01/20/05 05:26 PM Re: The true reason why we need Flat Rate Pricing
Dave55 Offline
Member

Registered: 05/08/04
Posts: 666
Loc: Crystal Lake, Illinois, USA
I didn't mean to make light of your financial situation, Sparky. To be more serious about it, if I lived in the boonies where it was hard to earn a living, I'd do anything...not just electrical work. I'd wire, weld, fence, paint, whatever it took to save enough money and move to a place where people had a little more money to spend. Even if it took more than one move.

Eventually you could be in a town of 30,000 (like I am) where there are a few thousand homes and they have the money to spend.

Good luck!

Dave

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#155595 - 01/20/05 05:29 PM Re: The true reason why we need Flat Rate Pricing
Dave55 Offline
Member

Registered: 05/08/04
Posts: 666
Loc: Crystal Lake, Illinois, USA
Richard,

LK is much further along with pricing sheets than I am. Tomorrow I have a job that involves recessed cans and I'm doing the sheet for it tonight.

I'll have to fix the e-mail thing.

Dave

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#155596 - 01/20/05 05:56 PM Re: The true reason why we need Flat Rate Pricing
Dave55 Offline
Member

Registered: 05/08/04
Posts: 666
Loc: Crystal Lake, Illinois, USA
Just to stick my nose in your business one last time, Sparky...you seem to be an artist with a computer. Maybe you can figure out how to make some $$$ online & not leave the house at all.

Dave

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#155597 - 01/20/05 06:13 PM Re: The true reason why we need Flat Rate Pricing
hbiss Offline
Member

Registered: 12/16/03
Posts: 893
Loc: Hawthorne, NY USA
The general public has contempt for tradesmen.

I absolutely think that is true. I also think it's the reason why we have so many problems with customers not wanting to pay what we have to charge in order to make a decent living.

How many parents these days would recommend to their kids that they should become an electrician, plumber or carpenter? They all tell their kids to get good grades in high school, get into a good college and get a white collar job. THAT'S the key to success, THAT'S politically correct.

Fewer and fewer believe that you should get your hands dirty these days. The assumption is that those of us who do only do it because we are not good enough.

So, who are we to try to take their hard earned (LOL) money so we can have a standard of living equal to theirs.

Sorry to vent, but this is the only reason I can think of for a customer basically telling us that we are "not worth that kind of money".

-Hal
_________________________
www.myphonetechs.com

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#155598 - 01/20/05 06:40 PM Re: The true reason why we need Flat Rate Pricing
sparky66wv Offline
Member

Registered: 11/17/00
Posts: 2339
Loc: West Virginia
Dave,

Warning! Threadjack still in progress...

You're not sticking anything where you weren't invited...

I have many talents... As you mentioned before. Everyone wants me to do things for them but no one feels they need to pay me for it. Heck, my last job was a friends house that caught fire and I can't really ask for any money... 84 Lumber is supplying things for free... It happened at Christmas, etc.

I could play Bass Guitar in any band around here, in fact I play in two now (and I'm the sound-engineer, the roadie crew, the maintenance man, etc.) I make about $50 per gig in one, and nothing in the other. Counting loading-up, unloading and setting up the PA and equipment, I average about 10 hours per gig. $5 per hour even sucks for a musician. By the time I pay gas and bar tab... Well, you can guess there's not much left.

I'm a world class bass player, really. I can play bass better than I can do anything. If I moved to a City, that is what I would want to pursue... However... Many years of this business has caused Carpal-Tunnel Syndrome in both wrists, Trigger Finger in both index fingers, and Arthritis in almost every knuckle. Playing the bass is quickly becoming something of my past.

Glad to Have Life : A song I wrote about 15 years ago. I'm the lead singer and lead guitarist (solo).

Theme for a Cop Show : A song I wrote whimsically. All instruments are MIDI and composed with Noteworthy Composer. Think of it as a combination of Miami Vice, Hawaii 5-0, and Chips.

I'm currently designing an ultralight airplane. No simple plane either, using a NACA 6515 Airfoil, Leading edge slots, Full-Span Junkers flaperons, Inverted NACA 6515 for the tail-plane, full-flying rudder...

I'm shooting for a CL of 3.0 and the smallest wing possible. 22.5' span and 3.75' chord. 27 mph stall, 55 cruise, 64 Vne... Take-off in 100 feet or less (I have a really small field). 254 lbs dry, single seat, 5 gallons of fuel, 25 to 30 HP, Steel-tube (EMT?) and fabric.

BTW, is EMT made of chromoly steel?

Pretty much a ZenithAir CH701 in ultralight form. (FAR part 103)... but I digress...

It's really just a brain exercise since I doubt I'll ever have the dough to follow through, but still fun to do.

Spreadsheets are fun and easy, but impossible to copyright. Guess I need to learn visual basic, C++, or something similar, then I could sell them.

But here's reality:

Tomorrow, my only plan and goal is to see if I have enough gas to get to the store, and take my loan dollar bill and buy a lottery ticket (I've only bought a few in my life).

God will have to do the rest.

[This message has been edited by sparky66wv (edited 01-20-2005).]
_________________________
-Virgil
Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
Member IAEI

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