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#12584 08/12/02 07:08 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 122
wirewiz Offline OP
Ever get a call like this?

Me: Hello, Blah Blah Electric! [Linked Image]

Potential Customer: How much would you charge to hang a ceiling fan in my bedroom? We have a little globe light over the bed now. I bought a fan at home depot for $50.00 and a thingy to go across the ceiling. The guy at Home Depot said "I have everything I need"

Me: Is there attic space above the bedroom area, has anyone been up over the ceiling above the bedroom? How old is the house?

Potential Customer: The house is about 10 years old. Yes, we have plenty of storage up there.

Me: Will the stuff being stored be there when I come and do the work?

Potential Customer: Yes you can just push the boxes out of the way.

Me: Well just by what you told me your probably looking at anywhere between $300.00 to $500.00 But I would be more than happy to come out and take a look and give you an exact price.

(Did I mention that we happen to be in our warmest time of the year here in the northwest)?

Potential Customer: Just to hang a ceiling fan!!!! But all you have to do is take the light down and put the fan up. I have everything you need!

Me: Is the fan assembled?

Potential Customer: NO! Why would that matter?

Me: Well it takes time to put it together and I’ll have to go in the attic and remove the old box and install a new one.

Potential Customer: So, I'll have to by more parts? "The guy at Home Depot said I have everything I need"

Me: It's possible that bar you bought to go across the ceiling may be all I'll need and it may not take more than an hour and a half. I can charge by the hour if you like.

Potential Customer: How much by the hour?

Me: $75.00 for the first 30 Minutes and 75.00 for each hour after the first 30 minutes.

Potential Customer: That's way out of my price range!

Me: I'm Sorry, if I can be of any help to you let me know.

Potential Customer: Silence..... Hangs up!

I wish the guys at Home Depot would start installing what they sell since it's obvious they're the experts! [Linked Image]

I don't think I am that expensive, as a matter of fact I was told today that I was reasonable. How do you handle those kinds of calls?


Joined: May 2002
Posts: 1,716
Wirewiz, I don't think you could have been any more courteous and yet truthfull.

If your rates are in the ball park with your competitors, ( they have to be or you wouldn't be in business [Linked Image] ) let him call somebody else.


Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 2,233

Have I had calls like that!? HAH! Oh man that is a good one. I have had TONS of calls like that. You handled it correctly. I was in business for over 15 years (and I didn't even advertise.) Still some of my customers would ask for a "ballpark" figure. Every time you give a "ballpark" figure, they wold hold you to it like it was written in stone. I got so tired of "ballpark" figures, that when so one said, "Just give me a ballpark figure." I would say, "Oh, about a million dollars. However since you are one of my "good" customers, I am certain that I can do it for a lot less." It use to shut them up real fast. By the way, did you ever get this one, you get a call for an emergency, you go to the job, and you find you need a part. You go to the supply house to get it. Then when you bill them they ask you, "Are you charging me for the time you went to the supply house? Why?" Well, DUH, it is for YOUR part, and some one has to pay me for my time.


Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 914
I get calls like that every week. Ceiling fans are a specialty for my company, I have several stores that give our card out when they sell one, so we're fast at it and very reasonable or even cheap for fans. The other day I had a guy call and ask how much to install 3 fans, builder prep'ed for fans. I told him as long as the bracing was correct, we charged $75 for the first fan and $55 for each additional. The guy about had a heart attack and told me he wanted somebody to put all 3 in for $50(total, not each). I told him good luck, but he wouldn't find a licensed, insured electrician for that price. He hung up. Oh Well!

[This message has been edited by Electric Eagle (edited 08-12-2002).]

Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 95
I put one up for the lady up the street that had helped raise me, I asked for $30 she insisted on $50 and I felt bad about that, Metal box already screwed into blocking good wires and all. 45 minutes just up the street from the house.
She talked to a lady at church that had paid more than that for a couple installs, and was sure it was worth at least $50.

Lighting the way
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
Not much call for ceiling fans here, but I've had several cases like this with the instant electric showers that are becoming increasingly common.

Somebody goes to B&Q (that's our big orange place! [Linked Image]) and buys one of these units for anything between £50 and £120 (about $75 - $180). Occasionally they'll even spend a few bucks more to buy the switch and cable, but don't bet on it.

Then they ask for a quote to hook it up to the juice. 8 to 9kW heater, dedicated 40A homerun needed. More often than not I'll find there's no spare space in the panel, or the panel main is too low a rating, so I'll either need to add a panel or replace the existing one.

I had one a few weeks ago like this, and I quoted £290 ($435) for the job. Never heard from him again.

Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 2,233

On the other hand, did this ever happen to you. The lady wanted a paddle fan, old house, need to replace ceiling box, etc. I was going to stop in with a helper, knock it out in an hour or 2. ( The ceiling was old plaster. and no attic above.) I was going to charge about $150-$200. Well anything that could go wrong DID go wrong. No box, old plaster that was falling down, Knob and tube wiring, (K&T) water pipe in the way of new paddle fan hanger box, you got the picture? Well 5 hours later, I still charge the same price and chalked it up to a bad day. The lady remembered me and always used me again and recommended me to everyone else she knew.


Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 324
Unless I have done the original install, I wont even flatter them with a price. I get over ten calls a day at the office from people who some how get my number. I don't advertise but always have someone begging for this type of stuff. I'll usually say "we are an electrical contracting company that works strictly for contractors. I suggest looking in the yellow pages under electricians".

Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 206
Will someone find a way to let the consumer know that many of the employees at Big Blue and Big Orange know as much about what they are selling as the the guy in the Wal-Mart Electronics department knows about Electronics...

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