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New to Residential work, need advice #156012 03/08/05 11:25 AM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 88
J
JFLS41 Offline OP
Member
I am new to this forum and just recently started my own electrician business in Western Pennyslvania. My background is with industrial electricity but I do not want to do that anymore. Can someone give me pointers or help in determining what to charge customers for doing residential work. So far I have found I estimated too few hours for doing things I think are simple to do, like re-wire outlets, etc... I learned fast things are not what they seem once you get into the job. So whats the best method for someone like me who is learning. Whats the best way of pricing a job so I don't scare the customer when I give them an estimate yet I don't give them free work when I realize I have not estimated enough hours. Should I not tell them the hours or my rate that I charge? Any input and feedback you guys can give is much appreciated. Also, I enjoy reading through these forums and I am learning alot.

Also, I am taking the Electrician course throught Thompson Learning-Education Direct so I am learning the code stuff and electrical as it applies to residential and small commercial work. Plus reading this forum and being able to come on here and ask questions is a great resource, like having a retired experienced electrician as a neighbor.

Jeff

Business, Office, Estimating, Legal:
Re: New to Residential work, need advice #156013 03/08/05 07:21 PM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 697
D
Dave55 Offline
Member
I'm a little shocked that you're running an electrical contracting business while taking an electricin course. I short-cut the process myself, but had to pass an exam on "the code stuff" first. I'm almost afraid to give you any advice here.

Dave

Re: New to Residential work, need advice #156014 03/08/05 11:42 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 88
J
JFLS41 Offline OP
Member
well, to alleviate your fears, If you had read the full post you would see I have industrial electrical experience. as for codes, its not rocket science, I have the NEC book as a reference and keep the codecheck charts with me.

Re: New to Residential work, need advice #156015 03/09/05 12:45 AM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 697
D
Dave55 Offline
Member
Then all you need to do is a break-even analysis, learn to estimate, come up with a marketing plan, sharpen your sales skills, get a license and insurance and you'll be all set.

Seriously, if you read 10-15 hours per week on all of the above and more, you'll have it made.

Dave

Re: New to Residential work, need advice #156016 03/11/05 07:49 AM
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 4,283
electure Offline
Member
Unless things have changed, Dave, Pennsylvania has no licensing requirement for Construction Contractors unless they're working on Public Works projects.

Write "Electrical Contractor" on the side of your car, and you is one.

Re: New to Residential work, need advice #156017 03/11/05 09:20 AM
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 56
D
detubbs Offline
Member
thats how it still is here in PA people slap there name on the side of there truck after they graduate tech school and they think they're gunna take goin the world. my father was an electrician working for my uncle for 20 years before he "took over" the business.


Scott
Re: New to Residential work, need advice #156018 03/11/05 10:40 AM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 88
J
JFLS41 Offline OP
Member
To be honest, I was glad when I found out PA had no lic req on the statewide level for electrical contractors. It made it feasible and fast business startup to get my business going. There is some positives and negatives to that of course. Biggest negative being any Tom, Dick and Harry can say he is an electrician. The positive is the serious, educated person can grow a business affordably and doesn't have to go through all the beaucratic garbage I read about. I wouldn't know PA if your someone like me, 5 years industrial electrical experience who decided he wanted to stay closer to home and start his own residential & commercial business. As for the electrical codes, it's not rocket science, get the codebook, Mike Holts course and study away...

[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited 03-11-2005).]

Re: New to Residential work, need advice #156019 03/11/05 10:45 AM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 88
J
JFLS41 Offline OP
Member
and just to add to that, in case anyone wants to view me in a negative light, there is alot of Tom, Dick and Harry's doing work around here, thank God someone like me is getting into the business and doing work the right way. one last thing, I came to this forum because I saw it is a great resource for electricians, I hope I have wandered into a bed of disgruntled guys who want to pick a scab...

[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited 03-11-2005).]

Re: New to Residential work, need advice #156020 03/11/05 10:46 AM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 88
J
JFLS41 Offline OP
Member
hope i "haven't" wandered, I meant to say...

Re: New to Residential work, need advice #156021 03/11/05 10:54 AM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,143
D
DougW Offline
Member
+1 for the Education Direct class (my alma mater for booklearnin'). They're not bad for a good general overview.

As far as codes go, make sure you check your local AHJ's for additions / mods / changes, and what version of the NEC they're using currently.

Nothing beats hands on experience, however. You might want to try acting as a "sub" for another resi shop in the area until you get more experience with the "little" stuff (compared to your industrial history) [Linked Image]

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