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Dealing with other contractors... #157384
10/26/05 05:44 PM
10/26/05 05:44 PM
DougW  Offline OP
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,143
North Chicago, IL
If you get called in as a sub for another contractor, what price do you charge the other contractor?

As an example, at the FD I work with a guy who runs a landscape business. there have been times when he's sold the customer the idea of lighting as a part of his patio/wall projects, and he's turned to me as the EC to do the electrical side of the job.

I'm not going to get into the various problems I have with his methods sice he's a buddy (they're numerous, but I'll wait for the payout and a sit-down over coffee with him to discuss his "estimating" methods [Linked Image] )... I've asked a few other guys in the area and they've so far all agreed that as a "courtesy" they knock a % off of their normal billable hourly rate.

Just curious.

Doug W

Business, Office, Estimating, Legal:
Re: Dealing with other contractors... #157385
10/26/05 08:21 PM
10/26/05 08:21 PM
Electricmanscott  Offline
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 1,457
Holden, MA USA
I know people do this but I don't understand why. Business is business. Do you feel you owe the contractor something for hiring you? I don't. Doing the job you agree to is all that you owe. If it is a contractor that is more or less keeping you in business it might be worthwhile to give them a little better deal but even then your bills still need to be paid. I doubt the mortgage company is going to give you a courtesy discount.

Re: Dealing with other contractors... #157386
10/26/05 09:28 PM
10/26/05 09:28 PM
Jps1006  Offline
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 615
Northern IL
I think what you need to ask yourself is :"Is this other guy adding value to the job that would justify a discount?".

If he keeps your trips down, makes decisions easy and takes responsability for his decisions and placements etc. IF he brings something to the table that means you make more than just working directly for the owner...... then yes a slight discount. But if having him in the equation complicates things but means you get one more job..... I'm not sure I would offer a discount.

But if you are busier than you know what to do...... No body gets discounts.

[This message has been edited by Jps1006 (edited 10-26-2005).]

Re: Dealing with other contractors... #157387
10/26/05 10:57 PM
10/26/05 10:57 PM
LK  Offline
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,429
New Jersey
"Business is business. Do you feel you owe the contractor something for hiring you? I don't. Doing the job you agree to is all that you owe."

I agree, at times we charge more when working as a sub, because it may require scheduled hours.

Re: Dealing with other contractors... #157388
10/27/05 08:45 AM
10/27/05 08:45 AM
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Blue Collar Country
When I price a job, I consider a lot of things besides the simple cost of materials and labor.

It all goes back to my definition of a "good" customer. A good customer is, to me, someone who knows what they want, provides me with regular business, and pays promptly.

For a given job, it is very possible that my price will differ between contractors- as well as between the customer and the other contractor.

If at all possible, I prefer to collect directly from the customer; other contractors seem to like to hold on to the customers' payment for a while.
There are situatins -an on-going job, with only incidental electric work is one example- where collecting from the contractor makes sense.

In short, the attitudes of the customer does affect the price they get! Some guys are so bad I prefer not to work with them; there price may be double the price I give a prooven performer.

Re: Dealing with other contractors... #157389
10/29/05 12:44 PM
10/29/05 12:44 PM
Active 1  Offline
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 687
Grayslake IL, USA
Hay Doug,

My take on this is..

Concider your business as having 2 divisions:
a) Service work

Advertising service work can be a big expence expecially for a younger company. It can cost you xx$ to get a new customer. It may generate answering number of waist of time phone calls. If you do the free estomate thing well that costs you too. Service calls may not last as long as projects. So you tend to waist time in a day going from one job to another. The jobs may need to get done right away and you could need some unforeseen material. So a quick supply run. Most service work is on a tight schedule. Most customers want to know exactly what day and time you will arive.

A GC can (or should) screen out the nonsence phone calls and estomates. Yes you may have to bid out the jobs and see the site. If the project may be bigger so it may not have to get that morning. That give you more time to make a material run if needed. The schedule may be more flexable as to when you can do the work. So you could use it more like filler work between service calls. A GC could also relieve you from waisting time with the customer like answering general questions. The bigest con with a GC for me is colecting da money. Are you going to waist time tracking down your cash. So you need to look at the GC as far as when you would get paid and how much you trust them. Also look at how much time you spend on them. Do you bid out lots and lots of jobs only to get a few. Or do you get most of what you bid. Also how organized it the GC. Are they on top of problems oor is it every trade for themselves. Is the scheduling good, are things done in the wrong order, or all at the same time.

For thesr reasons I charge more for small jobs then big ones (normaly thru a GC).

When are you going at it full time Doug?


Re: Dealing with other contractors... #157390
10/31/05 02:28 PM
10/31/05 02:28 PM
VinceR  Offline
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 35
Edgewood, WA, USA
Doug and All,

Well said.... Here is my 2 cents for what it is worth.

On of the main things a contractor does for us is screens out those who decide NOT to go through with the job because, after hearing what it will cost, decide they have other things to do with their money. This eliminates a lot of time on our part holding the prospective customer's hand as they get over sticker shock. This can take 2 to 3 phone discussions and a trip to the job. After all that, we usually land about 60% of these jobs. By screening, the Contractor can save us as much as an hour of time per job. On a 5 hour job that is a 20% discount. However, you have to week out those contractors who are "high maintenance" who always want you to help them land the job. Those guys get no discount and we really should charge them a 20% premium for our selling skills.


Re: Dealing with other contractors... #157391
11/02/05 06:14 PM
11/02/05 06:14 PM
DougW  Offline OP
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,143
North Chicago, IL
Like you said, Tom, the biggest problem is how organized the GC is.

One of the contractors I'm working for called me to install pillar lights and a receptacle for a fountain in the backyard of a house he was putting a brick patio on.

Oh, BTW, do we need to trench anything? [Linked Image]

I came out to look at the site, and discovered he hadn't JULIEd the site, despite the fact that the fountain was 15' away from a resi dist. xformer (BIG GREEN BOX), a cable TV hub (big gray box) and a phone hub (big putty box).

I told him JULIE or I walk. That stalled the job a week or so until the all marked/clear.

I also gave him a rough number for materials. I got my mats $$, then busted my butt digging 50 some feet for 2 trenches through that lovely southeastern WI clay soil (he ablked at using a trencher so close to UG lines).

I finished everything but the trim out, and asked for some dinero, I was told that he'd told the H.O. "X" dollars as a rough total, and received half up front.

After getting changes from the H.O. (and not having a specific change order policy), he'd dipped into his own company money to pay for the extras, and was going to bill the H.O. at the end of the gig.

After we were all done, I gave him a "statement" with the rate section blank - just showing that I'd spent 35 hours working at the site. He told he he'd just given the H.O. a flat rate for running the power.

He's been decent wit hme on a few smaller jobs before, but there's a difference in the "friends and family" rate, and the one as a sub.

A big difference.

I'm going to have to have a sit-down with him, and tell him that I don't give out prices for snow plowing and grass cutting - he shouldn't give out prices for running wire... at least before knowing how much materials will cost.

When are you going at it full time Doug?

So far, I'm still doing the FD thing as my main gig... something about being eligible for my pension on 8 years [Linked Image]

A buddy I've subbed for just got his ticket, and supposedly has a few GC's lined up who want him to do some new construction - if he actually gets all the work that's promised, he'll use me as a foreman.

In the meantime, one of the EC's we used to "swap" folks with at my old shop is looking for a call-in guy, and my old foreman suggested me. I've gotta call the owner and talk with him.

Re: Dealing with other contractors... #157392
11/02/05 06:40 PM
11/02/05 06:40 PM
Electricmanscott  Offline
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 1,457
Holden, MA USA
Who is Julie and how is she involved?

Re: Dealing with other contractors... #157393
11/02/05 07:52 PM
11/02/05 07:52 PM
Tiger  Offline
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 706
Crystal Lake, IL USA
Information for

or something like that


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