"Now if i was charging 40/hr in 1970 would it be fair to charge 200/hr in 2005."
No it would not be fair, i want everyone to be my buddy, and like me, if i charge them too much, they may not like me, also i feel the need, to help anyone, that tells me they can't afford my work, i would rather take a loss, and help them, before i worry about my own bills, You have to understand, i am an electrician, it's my job to watch out for the other guy.
I put in the $400 a 200Amp service upgrade cost in 1965, and it came back $2383 , so i figure instead of raising my rate, i can just do more $400 dollar upgrades, to make up the difference, gota be fair you know.
You bet it would be fair. Who would it be unfair to? Since we know you offer upfront pricing to your customers, then they are satisfied to sign your proposal for the work to get done. And you are alledgedly making the sum of $200/hour. That would be fair to both parties. The only people I think that this might be unfair to is the type of electrical contractor who is offering to work for 1/5 the price, and has to work 5 times harder than you to make his living. Its unfair to him, because at $200 an hour you will soon put him out of business since you can afford to advertize your services better (and even if he does better work than you do, you can still convince the public that you are the superior entity, since you present a much snazzier convincing package.).
I've talked with several successful contractors who say one of the keys to their success is that they don't do favors. They charge what they need to for their business success. Personally I'll probably continue to do favors until I hire help & the favor is coming out of my pocket and into someone's paycheck.