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#155717 02/03/05 10:38 AM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 494
i have a customer (Female) who constanly is asking.."when will this be done, when will that be done" I am doing a 6K sqf house for her and she constantly is bugging me. Her dad even shows up on the job asking, "when will that be done? When will you be done". Then she comes up with these dates she wants me to be done by.

She provided no schedule and knows nothing about the normal progression of a job.

What is your normal procedure for wiring a house?

I do the rough-in, then when the paint is up and ALL the fixtures and appliances are on-site I will come back and trim it out.

She is wanting me to go back now that the rough-in is done but no paint, and hook up the heat so that the painters and tile guys will have heat.

I asked her in the beginning if she wanted temp power.

I do not mind hooking up the heat but they want me to wire up the rest of the house bEFROE it is time.

She and her dad are real pains in the behind!

I am constantly trying to figure out what day I will have stuff done that is really none of her concern at this point.

When is the BEST time to make the wiring? I have seen it done before and after sheetrock.

So far I have handled the situation graciously but am running out of patience and I am not giving any work away!



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#155718 02/03/05 11:23 AM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,064
One of a couple things are happening here.
I'll try to tackle one.
Normally, I device after paint.

Having said that, I'll device rooms, and leave the tapers and painters the responibility for protecting the devices if they start blaming us for being behind.
Lights are on them, they are responible for their own temp lighting. I don't care if the Homeowner wants them up now, I don't do it.

Common sense plays a part in this as well, try to stay ahead of people, you have to keep up. If you need help, go get it. Pay another guy for a day or two to get ahead of others. If the bedrooms are first to get painted, knock them out first, that'll buy you a couple days to do something else. Get out of their way, they stay out of yours.

Some Homeowners want to be their own Gc as well, and no have idea what logistics are. They just assume that the painter can paint, the plumber, the Electrician and the Hvac guy can all work in the same room at the same time, while they sip their Latte'. They are ignorant to trades.

Don't let them get under your blood, shug it off, be as polite as you can.

However, if this bothers you, you need to get use to it, it happens alot doing new resi work, not just the homeowner, sometimes Gc will bug you every 5 minutes and want you to stop this and do this. That drove me bananas.

Good luck,


#155719 02/03/05 11:29 AM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 494
Thanks for the reply. I should have mentioned that I am not behind and never have been and she has never waited on me for anything..

I have been told a few times such and such was going to be done by x date and this was going to happen and that was going to happen but never did..

She was harrassing me when the plumbers were not even done and were not going to be out until a week or so.

I also noticed several pipes that were not tied in and she had to get the plumber back out to finish.

I was stalled several times because the builder could not get the roof on as predicted.

The job is 45 min drive.

I do not let my frustration show but I was wondering how much to give?



[This message has been edited by mustangelectric (edited 02-03-2005).]

#155720 02/03/05 12:28 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 156
I hope you are keeping a log as to the times and dates you are there doing work. Also all the problems you have had with the HO and other trades with scheduling issues. Show this to them and be honest about what needs to be finished before you will return. I will bend over backwards for some but turn my back to customers that are a pain. Meaning I will only do what I am required to do if they have no respect for my work. Explain to her that what she wants requires a trip charge if she needs you to return earlier than a typical schedule. Sounds like they need a scheduling education or maybe they just don't care. As Dnkldorf said.....always be polite.

"Just becuase you wear alot of hats doesn't mean you wear a cape."

#155721 02/03/05 01:42 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 272

I make up the wiring during the rough in before sheetrock.
Sometimes when you're making up the boxes you find you missed something. Better to catch it now instead of after the sheetrock is up.
I try to do as much as possible during the rough-in stage.
The less time spent at trim-out the better because now you have to worry about working around the cabinets, countertops, not damaging the newly painted walls, damage to the floors, etc.

#155722 02/03/05 02:08 PM
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 141

Sometimes I make up the boxes during rough-in, depends on how busy I am and how busy I expect to be when I'm going to be setting finish. Our inspectors require the grounds to be made up before rough frame inspection. So making up on rough saves some time on finish but not a ton of time.

Speaking of making up, usually I pigtail for the receptacles (unless I'm using spec-grade outlets with the screw-clamp backwire terminals). But when the 'rockers bury a box, if everything is pigtailed, it's harder to find the box. Especially if they've pushed it back flush with the stud.

If there are no splices in the hots or neutrals, I can use a telephone style toner/tracer and find the box really fast. If the condictors are all spliced for pigtails, the tone carries on through the whole circuit.

And I DO NOT install any devices or fixtures until after the paint is dry. I tried it once (trimming out before paint) to accomodate an owner builder, and it was a disaster. They didn't mask anything, paint all over the plates, switches and outlets, and the inspector required it to be cleaned or replaced before he'd issue COO. Owner-builder tried to blame me, I was glad to have made a notation on the field invoice about the order of work, that I had him sign.

Anyway, I've had a client or two like yours. One signed a work order (contract) for a small job--adding a circuit and outlets to a butlers pantry in an old house. Did work to her apparent satisfaction, presented invoice, got check.

Set date to return to trim out. Called her a couple of weeks later, a few days before my scheduled return visit to trim out. She said cabinets were late, needed to reschedule. Fine. Didn't hear back ,called her. Oh, she says, you're too expensive, I'm having someone else do the rest. No Problem, is he licensed? Yes, she says. O.K., take care and good luck.

A week later, she calls. Her guy can't figure out the switching layout, has spent hours and has run more cable, still can't make it work. (it's a simple switch loop). Can I come a finish up? Turns out her licensed guy is a carpenter, and when I get there, she's mad as hell at the world.

I tell her I'll have to un-do what he's done before I install the switch and fixture, it'll take a coule of hours at my T&M rate, just like the original work. She says O.K.

I fix things, then she says she's not going to pay me! She says that I should have trimmed out when I was there the first time! Well, after threatinging to lein her house, she finally paid me. This for a couple hundred bucks. It wasn't pleasant. She later apologized for taking it out on me.

So, I hope you have a written contract with your anxious client. Get progress payments and if things get too difficult, get out, and make sure you cancel the electrical permit for the job.

Good luck,


#155723 02/03/05 05:43 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 1,457
This one's easy. (I know nothings easy) Tell her the price for the job was to rough the house in one stage, and finish the house in a final stage. Any addtional trips needed, such as special trip to tie in heat, will incur addtional charges. At a minimum I would think a trip charge and maybe an hour for setup/cleanup of tools.

#155724 02/03/05 08:31 PM
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 259
Make it a point to call her 2-3 times a day to see if the things you need done have been done. She may get the point, or may not.
I would get the heat going for the trades though. Temp power is part of my price, how can anyone work without it? Even if I devise, I power up then shut it down. When everyone uses the recepts they get marked up or damaged so no way. Power up after job is complete and temps are removed. It is a safety issue on a job site to be using anything but GFI protected power.

#155725 02/03/05 08:41 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 494
Thanks for the replies and advice. I provide temp power. I normally would not even worry about it but the gal (cute as a button) calls, emails and drops by the job to bug everybody!

She is almost compulsive about it now she has the old man calling too!

I went out today and connected the heat and setup a GFCI for power and I put a light up next to the panel.

I am not sure if I will charge her or add it in to something else.

I have already given her the farm! She uses those eyes and that figure of hers to take advantage of the situation...she almost makes you volunteer to do everything!

I may chalk it up to good customer relations..I dont want anything to sour the job now!



#155726 02/03/05 10:01 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,445
Likes: 3
Cat Servant
Some folks demonstrate why the word "customer" starts with "cus!"

That said, DO NOT GIVE ANYTHING. You are being milked. When the job is done, this *** will think that is the time to re-open negotiations. Have your lien ready, and play hardball. Greet every request with "is it on the print?" If not, get a change order.
Some folks also like to ignore your advice, and mould their recollections to sit the moment. DOcument. And charge for everything, even a wasted trip.
The worst that can happen is they fire you....and that might be an improvement.

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