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Joined: Jul 2004
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I agree with those who say the mere fact that you keep up the bonding, insurance, taxes and CEUs necessary for a license is significant "overhead" before you bought your first screwdriver or wirenut.
What does happen to the customer when "mr. trunk slammer" screws up and does a $50,000 "oops"?
I suppose you might be able to sue him but there is a good chance you come up empty.


Greg Fretwell
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Originally Posted by BigB
Originally Posted by stevecheyenne
With that kind of overhead you are going to need to focus on larger jobs.


What do you mean? Are you saying a 40K truck and 20K in inventory is a high overhead?


He said $20K in tools, not inventory.

Schlepping around $20K in tools to do ceiling fans is never going to pencil out, nor is using a $40K truck to schlep them in. Ceiling fans and the like just aren't profitable enough justify that sort of investment. Too much down time (driving around, permits, cleanup), little or no material markup, too many risks, not enough work time to justify the expense incurred to get there and do the work. Even at $350 per a guy is likely to make more money just parking the truck and staying home.

Unlicensed contractors irritate me just as much as they do the next guy, and the fact the CSLB won't do anything about it irritates me even more. Even if they all disappeared tomorrow however, you can't make enough money doing ceiling fans to support $20K in tools and a $40K truck, along with all of the other business expenses you're going to incur when you run a legitimate business.


Last edited by stevecheyenne; 04/22/07 12:56 AM.
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I see where you are coming from Steve. Small jobs are always an issue. I have gone around and around with minimum charges, trip charges, trying to organize them by area etc. I can't really turn them away, but I know they are not very profitable. Sure some turn into bigger jobs or referrals for bigger jobs, some are just for regulars and you can't say no to them. Fortunately I am able to charge decent rates for them and still get most of them, there are many people here who will not hire an unlicensed electrician. But they are still not as profitable as most of the larger jobs.

One thing I try to do is schedule them near the end of the day, so they don't get in the way of the bigger jobs. (I am just a 2 man shop)Then we can hit it on our way home. If the job is over 2 hours I will try to put several of them together on one day.

Also I can usually give a rough estimate on the phone for things like fans and such, after asking them a series of questions. This eliminates the first trip out there, which is especially good if you don't get the job.

I also keep a well stocked van and can do almost any small job without chasing parts. This way I can offer to do the job right then and there if I am there for an estimate, giving them a slightly better price and making more myself by saving on another trip.

The small jobs are always tough, it would be interesting to hear how other small shops handle them.

Joined: May 2005
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Here in Northern Illinois most of the carpenters do their own wiring. Work with a permit requires a license, so they don't get permits. If you're caught working without a permit, they ask you politely to get one.

I don't worry too much about the work I don't get. I work on adding to the work I can get. I still get my fill of playing around in insulation, but I wouldn't complain if someone else got it.

Dave

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I hear ya Tiger, hey were you a Crystal Lake Tiger? I lived in Coventry as a kid, both my brothers went to CLHS.

Joined: Jan 2005
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Originally Posted by Romex Racer
Anybody with a license number that starts with a "7" is suspect for this reason.

The CSLB has done more harm to our industry that can be imagined. This is what happens when the Government gets involved. Instead of setting standards, the CSLB lowers them.

Thank you CSLB!



I don't think I like that remark. My lic. # 734685 I earned mine lic. I had to certif. 5 years journeyman (or higher) experience just to get a test date, then waited 6 months for the test, five hour test (whitch took me under three) and I do industrial government work for 10 years. Never had a complaint. So don't be spreading rumors that my lic. was handed to me for doing nothing. I took my test in april 1997.

Last edited by skipr; 04/23/07 12:40 AM.
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I hear Illinois doesn't license electricians but I assumed the IBEW would whack anyone working without a union card.


Greg Fretwell
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Greg,
Don't go down that road.

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Illinois doesn't test, but you test from some of the local departments and they all honor it (except Chicago).

Tiger, Gator?

Dave

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Unfortunately most homeowners are more concerned with price than they are with bonding and license. If you watch “flip this house” you might notice the only thing some people care about is the bottom line.

As a trade no matter how much we would like for the cheap labor/competition to go away, it won’t; they got to eat too and there will always be somebody will do it for less, sans license.

The flip side to this if the Contractors board did govern this with an iron fist the public would be livid that the contractors were price fixing, because why should they pay you $350 to hang a ceiling fan when they know a guy who will do it for $50?

Just my thoughts on it, but I don't think chasing service calls will work out for you if you have $60K invested in your truck and tools.


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