Taken from another thread:
[My worst case of T&M (when I had a 1 hour min. at $25/hour...no trip charge) was driving 1.5 hours round trip and doing 1 hour work. I made $10/hour that trip (less gas, insurance, taxes, etc.).
On the other hand, I'll still reset breakers or other short jobs and walk away without charging. It's good for business and you never know when it could bring you a $10,000 job. I consider it an advertising expense since I don't have any advertising expense.]
Please no offence Dave but for the Crystal Lake area $25 an hour sounds extremily low to charge to a customer. I can't hardly get a pizza delivered to my house for $25. Mchenry County is not much of a poor or depresed area. An experianced electrician will get the $20-$30+ /hr range in this area. He normaly gets workers comp, unemployment insur., cell phone, vacation, and maybe a truck with fuel and equipment.
If you charged the customer $50 for the first 1/2 hour and $75 each hour after that you would have $87.50 for that call. I'm not telling you what to charge or to copy the other guys. I am sugusting looking into your overhead costs, hours booked a week, calculating a labor rate, and mark-up. Think about how much you want to make a year and how much your Co. should make a year. There was a link to an excell program for calculating labor rates. Also a great book Mark up and Proffit by Stone.
As far as doing freebe's does your insurance cover work done for free? If I'm resetting a breaker I would rather spend a little time investigating. Open the panel. Fix a small violation. Replace and old $3 breaker to avoid a possable call back. Give the their moneys worth. Put that $50 into advertising. I do also feel some customers think what you are charging relates to your quality and service leval.
I have seen other do things dirt cheap of for free as "advertising". I have found they are advertising to the wrong people. Their clients all want somthing dirt cheap or for nothing.
Sorry for bringing this up except when I see a local business owner chargeing a custor by the hour much less than an electrician emploiee costs I think it is bad for everyone.