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Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 7
New Member
In central florida. I am trying to get some idea of the going rate, I have heard anything from $5.00 per sq ft to 10% of the overall building cost. I estimated materials to cost me around $4,000. It's a 4 bed, 2200 sq foot house. About 13 recess cans thruout. I bid about 12,000 and was told by the builder the bids he already had were between 6000 and 7500. That sounds way off to me. Do you think the builder is getting legitimate bids in that area, do you think my bids are that far off and that uncompetitive?

I have only got licensed this year, and I have never really dealt with any pricing or cost issues previously in my career while working with others. I've always worked for companies that didn't share cost info or budget info.

I'm trying to learn as I go, run my little operation in my free time while still working full time for another company. Until I can afford to support myself fulltime with leads and service work to pay the bills.

Latest Estimating Cost Guides & Software:
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,370
Likes: 1
Cat Servant
All I can say is that you need to document the heck out of this job - every moment, every little detail. Forget about making money right now .... consider the loss 'tuition'.

You need the data to appreciate exactly what your materials cost, how much time each task takes, and what complications arise. Only then will you have the info you need to accurately guess your costs on future (similar) jobs. Then, you can go about setting your prices.

Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,335
Although cost per square foot is a good reference, it is not a good ruler for costing out a project. It you are bidding jobs and you do not know what you are doing, you are a gutsier person than I. I strongly recommend that you hit the books on estimating. It is "easy" to do a residential estimate. You take a good takeoff of a project, i.e. recepts, GFCI (both the interior and exterior seperatley), switches, lights, etc. For each of the catagories, you will need a bare cost. You have to break down each catagory to cost them. Wire, device box, staples, faceplate, etc. add up each catagory and mutiply them by you take off quanities, then you have the bare cost of the project. Then you throw on you overhead costs of, tools, office expenses, business licenses, work truck, social security, taxes, bonding, insurance, kickbacks, smile and the big one profit just to cover the basics. After you get the job and sweated over what you missed on the bid since you were the lowest, you account for every penny you spend. This is typically down by breaking your bid down in several catagories. For example, you could have labor and material costs for project management, underground and exterior work, electrical service, interior rough in, and trim out of devices, and trim out of lights. More catagory reflects a better picture of you project but it can take more time and effort to keep it correct and accurate. This helps you manage your project and a reference to future projects. As you progress, you can add or modify as needed to best suit your needs for accurate and effective esimating. This is why contractors get gray hair and ulcers at an early age.

"Live Awesome!" - Kevin Carosa
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,056
In the Philadelphia PA area, working for large developers, you are expected to wire the home at cost, and make your profit on the options.
The home you describe would be priced at around $6,000.00, and the recessed at about $65.00 each.
I can't afford to do these.

For small builders, on the home you described, the going rate is probably around $8,000.00-$9,000.00.

But the square foot method is no good for bidding.
It doesn't account for number of bedrooms or bathrooms, family room or not, number of AC systems, gas or electric appliances, etc.

Sparkyinak sums up the unit pricing method nicely.

Last edited by Redsy; 11/23/07 07:36 PM.
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 85
Wire a home at cost.What the hell. How can you make any money off a $65 charge for an "extra light". Good grief I am so disapointed at the lengths some E.C.s will go to slice the next guys throat. Just to get the work.I don't want to start the on going debate of pricing methods in yet another thread. But I believe you name your price if you don't get it so be it. It's not worth doing it cheaper, to make the G.C. a larger profit.He certainly won't be sending you an envelope with cash if they sell for more than expected. He will however call you again knowing you'll bust hump wiring a house to make the big bucks of an extra few lights not shown on the print.
My point is if you don't get the job for your price its not cause your too high, usually most of the time, the other guy is too low. and usually he's the guy working out of a station wagon, using milk crates as a step ladder, ya get the picture

Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,056

I don't know about your region, but residential development work around here is a specialty business unto itself.

Low margin, low quality, high volume, cut-throat indeed.
Take an employee, show him how to wire a home, and in a year or so he underbids his boss and opens up shop. That's why I try to avoid it. Of course, you don't need a license in PA, and most local municipalities only require you to pay a fee to be "licensed".

I'll take industrial and commercial work any time I can get it.

Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 853
Well then, This is where you ALL Seize the opertunity!
"You want it done, WHEN? You want me to do it NOW? Fine, THIS MUCH!" ( PASS THE WORD TO THE OTHERS!!!) Then do it.
Your in the drivers seat. So long as we can get all those "FLY BY NIGHT" people outa the way. If we can't.. Charge double to clean up the mess.
We hold our own destiny!!!!! If we give it away.. WE starve.
IF as stated, It seams you are in the drivers seat. Get together with the other ECs in your area and buckle down.
Business sucks, But they're still selling cars,ins.houses.tractors ...........

Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 853
Here Recessed, new work $85- 125/ea- old work $150-180 ea.
Ya can't buy and transport them for $65. Let alone install.

Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 853
Please don't take anything as a personal "Rip".
Me ,Wirenuts' and others are trying to convey, We must take our industry back. Lets get paid what we are worth.If we all get on the same page, we can all make a good living.
You may loose 1 or 2, but you should not sell out.
This is why I'm a big advocate for licenseing and permiting.
We are Professionals after all.

Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 251
Michigan is terrible, $2 a sq.ft. and I hear guys doing homes for $1.78. I did the math after the contractor pays him employees he makes about $200 off the house. Rediculas.

Whats licensing and permiting going to do? The inspectors never check for a license.

The rule here is you must have 1 journeyman on site, that journeyman can supervise 2 apprentices. That rule is hardly ever followed and NEVER inforced. We have apprentices running jobs sites all over.

Shake n Bake
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