We are in Atlanta. We would not do residential work for T&M. Most homeowners would choke if I quoted them $150 an hour for a 2 man truck, but have no problem paying $400 for do a 2 hour job quoted upfront - flat rate.
I have to finish a job that a non-licensed electrician started without a permit. I looked at the job, and it's finishing a basement with a sheetrock ceiling. It didn't seem to me that there was any way to estimate the job. The only way I could do it was by time and materials, unfortunately. I don't have much overhead, but at the same time, I don't want to be at the "handyman wages."
Sid, My company has lots of overhead and yours doesn't, that means legitimately you can/should charge less than we do. At the same time we can offer the customer a few things you can't, like always(almost) same day service and faster service. But, there is nothing wrong with either of us, we are just offering slightly different packages to our customers. When I was in your position I would try to get about $60 per hour for myself. I also would find that many customers who started with a non licensed contractor were unwilling to pay the price of a legitimate contractor.
If the homeowner balks at your rate just remind them of the fact that you are licensed and insured, then remind them of the reason They called you. With the other guy they got a " deal" thats why they're paying now to have it corrected !
For what it's worth. A friend (EC) moved to Atlanta several years ago. I spoke with him this summer and he told me he just went up from $38 to $40/hr. He hopes the increase doesn't hurt him. He tells me local EC's are between $35-$45 in the area.
Leer, Are you sure this guy is in Atlanta and a legitimate EC? If so he can't be breaking even, much less making a living. What type of work does he do? About the only thing I can think is that he is a sub for residential tract home new construction, even then he should make morethan $40.
EE - Not sure what he is doing. I 'think' retail/commercial. I thought it was low too but he tells me that is the going rate in his area. Next time I talk to him I'll get more info. He is for sure a legit EC.