I'm sure you must have had this sort of thing happen.
Landlord of a local pub asked for separate quotes for various work. One quote is to install an exhaust fan in the pub's kitchen, as at the moment it has a window-mounted 4-inch job which is totally inadequate.
I quoted for a 12-inch fan (good rugged commercial model, as requested & as makes sense) complete with two-speed reversible controller & all wiring of course.
Installation would have to be through a 10-inch brick wall. I included the price for my GC neighbor to make the opening, make good the wall afterward etc. (he's much better at brickwork than I am, and this being a commercial kitchen the job would need to be done as quickly as possible).
Total I quoted came to £439.76 (about $660) plus tax (which he would reclaim).
The problem is that his associate told him that the whole job shouldn't come to more than about £100 ($150), and apparently the guy nearly had a fit when he saw the quote.
Just the fan and controller alone would cost me £275 at the electrical warehouse.
If you are an honest person (I'm sure you are) you will win in the long run. It may take time, but they wil realize after a few quotes that they are clueless. Or they will be beat-up by someone who low-balls the quote, and then raises the price when they start the job. Either way, your integrity will remain untarnished.
Paul don,t feel alone on this. As a matter a fact, it's just another example of how much in common we have. There will always be the know it all, that in truth knows nothing and tends to make life a little more trying. He is also the one that probably has money and does'nt want anyone else to succeed. I gave a quote for a job not long ago and was told by the (well to do) customer that he could hire electricians all day long for $10.00 an hour. I proceeded to tell Him that if they were truly electricians, I would appreciate him sending them my way after they completed his work. Your quote for this job is absolutely in line. He will most likely call you after he gets some other quotes. If not, I'd rather loose the job than loose money doing it.
Thanks for the encouragement guys. Just for your comparison on what you might charge for similar jobs, I gave him two other quotes at the same time (which he also thought were too high).
First was to install a basic intruder alarm for the bar/saloon area: Central control panel, one remote keypad, 3 PIR motion sensors, 1 panic button under the bar, and the usual outside siren/strobe unit. Quoted £480 ($720) plus tax including all adjustment & configuration.
Second was to install a 2kW downflow fan heater in the ladies restroom. Quote came to £153 ($230) plus tax. The latter deserves a comment in itself.
At the moment, he has a portable convector heater standing just inside the door, partially under the washbasin. The cord from it runs under the door, across an adjacent entrance door to the lobby under the carpet, and up to a receptacle on the wall on the other side. This circuit is already overloaded as he's having trouble with a C/B tripping out due to the excess load in the kitchen, yet his know-it-all friend assures him that I could wire the new heater into that nearby cable. My quote was to run it back to the main panel as a new branch (about 30').
Oh, by the way, he can't be too short of money for these projects. Apparently he's just come back from a vacation in Thailand.
Just stand by your quote and your quality. I personally give my best price up front and if the price along with my quality aren't good enough then they can let some one else try. The only exception I make is on large projects, I will adjust one or two line items if that's what it takes to get the bid, I'm not going to loose out over 10 cents an outlet. Good Luck.