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#8361 - 03/20/02 11:01 AM Estimating...
JMichael Offline

Registered: 03/10/02
Posts: 60
Loc: Norwich, NY, USA
It is amazaing how different our estimates are from one another.. I mean essentially we all do the same thing. So just do a little test..
Lets say you are called to install 6 hi hats in a den. and a ceiling fan with no lights. You are to supply the hi hats and switches the homeowner will supply the ceiling fan. (Not purchased yet.) But the homeowner wants the hi hats on a dimmer and the fan on a fan speed controll.
*Side notes:
You have access to the attic area, above the den, where everything is open.
Existing switch on wall to switch outlet which they want to eliminate the switched outlet.
Existing service is a 60 amp federal pacific.
Hi Hats used Halo H7T old work with BR40 65 watt bulbs and white on white trims.
Ceiling fan to be installed at a later date. (When homeowner purchases fan)

For my estimate I would check the following first before estimating. I would trace the circuit, turn on all the appliances / lights on that circuit. Test the ampers to see if I have to run a new circuit.
I would then show the client/customer different lighting/hi hats and trim options to make sure there selection is truly what they want. This is done by means of catalogs or lap top.
If no additional circuits are needed I would fall to my basic prices. Old work hi hat installed for $125.00 per hi hat. upgarde from switch to dimmer $75.00 Fan controll $75.00. Fan installation $75.00 Total job would cost $975.00.

What would you charge??


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#8362 - 03/20/02 12:39 PM Re: Estimating...
Tom Offline

Registered: 01/01/01
Posts: 1069
Loc: Shinnston, WV USA
If you're talking a paddle fan, I don't think it is possible to charge enough, I hate those things. I think your $75 charge is reasonable.

As for the recessed cans, be tough to get more than $75 or $80 around here & dimmers vary quite a bit in price, but a decent one would probably fetch $40 or so if it is replacing an existing switch. Probably about the same on the speed control.

Best I could hope for would be $700 which would include a separate trip to install the fan.

Can't wait to see what Virgil would get in his neck of the woods. Knowing his so called competition, bet it is in the $500 range. How about it '66?
Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.

#8363 - 03/20/02 02:40 PM Re: Estimating...
Electricmanscott Offline

Registered: 01/12/02
Posts: 1478
Loc: Holden, MA USA
J, I think we are on the same page. The only question I have would be about the fan. Is there a box there now? If not I would charge about $200 or so to wire the fan switch leg, install the fan box and come back to install the fan at a later date. Also when they bought a junk fan that hummed and wobbled and decided to return it for a good one (which I would push from the getgo) I would charge an extra $100 or so. Hey dont forget to give em the old Federal Pacific talk.

#8364 - 03/20/02 04:17 PM Re: Estimating...
kenrod3020 Offline

Registered: 02/27/02
Posts: 15
Loc: ashland ky. us
I use plastic boxs as much as possible and try to get $20.00 a opening on rough in but dont have a set price . if your poor i help, an if your rich i help more .

#8365 - 03/20/02 06:13 PM Re: Estimating...
JMichael Offline

Registered: 03/10/02
Posts: 60
Loc: Norwich, NY, USA
I liked the talk about the federal pacific.. I through that in to see if people would consider the price of the breaker if one is needed. I agree with the higher price on the fan simply because you never know what the homeowner will get. I had one homeowner where they wanted to replace all there ceiling fans in the home and would purchase them at a later date, while I was doing hi hats. Well when I was done with the hi hats, they came to spackle and paint. When all was ready fro the final installation of plates and fans the homeowner has 5 hunter originals delivered. For those who do not know about these fans they are about 40-50 pound cast iron fans. Unfortunatly, in the ceiling I left what was originally there a couple of bar braces. But hunter originals needed blocking above it, to drive a threaded I bolt through it. Needless to say I should of considered that or asked if that was one of there choices in fans. SO I had to open the ceiling up because there was no access to install bracing. Then I had to pay for a spackler and a painter to come in and repair what I had to do.. Could I of fought it? yes, but by me loosing the money I fortunatly made it up 10x's over by doing a landscape lighting job for the homeowner.


#8366 - 03/20/02 07:30 PM Re: Estimating...
Redsy Offline

Registered: 03/28/01
Posts: 2138
Loc: Bucks County PA
With full attic access--
$85.00 each hi-hat
$150.00 for fan including 2x4 support
35-45.00 to fish each switch

(I would be hard pressed to buy and install a FPE breaker)

#8367 - 03/20/02 08:35 PM Re: Estimating...
The Watt Doctor Offline

Registered: 12/23/01
Posts: 443
Loc: Mont Belvieu, TX
I'm an estimator, but I wouldn't have clue as to how to do residential estimates. It is very difficult for me to give unit prices because the customer has a tendency to "gut" the project. Just as soon as I told someone that a Hi Hat is $125.00 per unit, installed, they would say, "OK, we want one."
To which I would reply, "Just one?" Customer says, "Yup, just one." I can tell you that it would probably cost us more than $125.00 just to set foot on their property. Now, if we were installing 10 of them, and the customer understands that deducting a fixture won't get him a full $125.00 deduct, I might be more willing to look at giving unit prices on an estimate.
Over here on the commercial/industrial side, things operate a little differently than the residential side. I'm not saying that either one is right or wrong, just different.
By the way, for those who have "microsoft excel", I have a spread sheet that I put together that might be of interest. Hit me with an e-mail, and I will send it to any who are interested.
Estimatologically Yours,
Director of Wattology, Electric University
The Watt Doctor
Altura Cogen
Channelview, TX

#8368 - 03/21/02 08:33 AM Re: Estimating...
sparky66wv Offline

Registered: 11/17/00
Posts: 2342
Loc: West Virginia
Hmmm... Yeah Tom, with that said, I guess I need to figure here:

6 cans @ $8 = $48
6 Can trims (I'll assume step baffles) @16 = $96
Ceiling Fan Box = $5
Roll of 12-2 = $25
2 Gang Cut-In Box = $2.5
2 Gang Cover Plate = $.75
Dimmer 600W = $12
Speed Control = $15
Staples, Ground Screws and Wirenuts= $5
Roughly $210 for materials (no markup yet)...

And figure 8 hours @ $25 and you have a total of about $410. This figure will be turned down because "Uncle Bob can do it for free" or some other similar phrase...

Good guess there Tom...

With the FPE Breaker (I have an entire collection) I'd give it to them to keep from having anything on paper that said I installed it.

However, I would strongly suggest a panel change as soon as I saw the FPE panel.

[This message has been edited by sparky66wv (edited 03-21-2002).]
Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
Member IAEI

#8369 - 03/21/02 03:56 PM Re: Estimating...
wirewiz Offline

Registered: 01/27/02
Posts: 123
Loc: WA.
Hey Tom, I don't know about 1966 but I do have some of my grandfathers old invoices from 1962. Anyone want to see them? It's hard to imagine anyone surviving on that kind of money.

How would I post them after they are scanned?


[This message has been edited by wirewiz (edited 03-21-2002).]

#8370 - 03/21/02 04:24 PM Re: Estimating...
aldav53 Offline

Registered: 08/22/01
Posts: 547
Loc: Chandler, AZ USA
First off, I would suggest upgrading the 60a panel, thats old. Otherwise sounds like your in the ballpark on prices.
You must live back east, I've never heard recessed cans called Hi-Hats, why do they call them that?
The Golden Rule - "The man with the gold makes the rule"

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