ECN Electrical Forum - Discussion Forums for Electricians, Inspectors and Related Professionals
ECN Shout Chat
Recent Posts
by renosteinke - 01/27/23 09:52 PM
Does NEC 551.71 (F) apply to dwellings?
by BigB - 01/20/23 10:46 AM
Power submeter connections
by HotLine1 - 01/19/23 09:09 AM
AFDD's coming to the UK
by Texas_Ranger - 01/17/23 07:22 PM
New in the Gallery:
Burger King crown sillyness
Burger King crown sillyness
by wa2ise, December 11
240/208 to a house
240/208 to a house
by wa2ise, October 9
Who's Online Now
0 members (), 40 guests, and 11 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Rate Thread
#205969 05/03/12 05:27 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 4
Ronny Offline OP
New Member
It has been a while since I been asked to bid for wiring a new home, seeing how the economy up here in southern Maine has been lousy, not allot of new construction for a while,Last house I did was almost 2 year's ago since then I been doing maintenance and service repair work and just about anything residential related to put food on the table to feed my 4 kid's,honestly it has been very tough especially raising these kid's by myself. Just lately I been asked by a gc who would like me to give him an estimate on a 4800 square feet total. it is a 2 story cape, 3 bedroom, 2 bath, kitchen , dining room, office room, and walk in pantry/laundry,unfinished basement, no garage just the house. I really like to get the job, but, as I mentioned ealier it has been a bit since I last did this and I am not sure what I should bid on my labor and what my material cost will be. I could really use some help in some estimate's in what you might all be pricing out for your material's and how many man hour's to do the job and @ what rate? Thank you in advance for your replies.

Latest Estimating Cost Guides & Software:
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,273
Is this a design-build?

In which case you'll want contractual protection for your design efforts.

If this is per specifications -- an existing print -- then begin with a take-off on light fixtures, switches, smart switches, receptacles, Service size, etc.

Dedicated runs can be estimated as solo home-runs. The remaining circuits will have to be chained together by you, one by one, to get a crude estimate of Romex requirement.

Without a pretty solid materials list you're standing on air.


Next, estimate just how many days you're going to need/ get to wire. In most residential, the EC is permitted solo-access -- not required to work around other trades nor follow any critical path tempo.


As for your hourly rate: taking this project on only makes sense if it beats your alternatives. If you're already lined up with intermittent work, will the GC permit you to pull off and attend to higher paying gigs? Doubtful.

If not, then price it to include enough $$$ to really carry you.

Jumping after deals that are too-good-to-turn-down is how most ECs go bankrupt.

In my neck of the woods, most ECs are working to negative profit margins. So, they're dying like flies.


Beyond all other considerations: will you get paid on a TIMELY basis? Money too late = complete insolvency. You can't 'carry' the GC for a single day.

EXTRAS: will dictate whether you make any real money on the project.


Does the GC have other EC buddies of regular standing? If yes, you're being roped around. It must be the case that the GC has either burned his prior subs or he intends to get you to submit a pricing jab against a fellow destined to get the bid no matter what in the world you bid. That is, you're being abused.

If you're NOT his buddy of long acquaintance -- it would be most unwise to take this deal at face value.


With regard to staying alive during this Greatest Depression: you need to be a PRIME CONTRACTOR -- the fellow getting paid directly by the customer/ owner. Without deep pockets, sub-contracting is the road to hell. The GC is absolutely destined to sandbag you. And the builder is destined to sandbag the GC. It's the way of the world in hard times.

( Even the Federal and State governments are notorious slow pays. They're so slow, you'd never believe the statistics. California and Illinois are supreme deadbeats. Can you wait nine months to get paid? That's what's happening right now. The Federal Government typically pays five to nine months behind. All government contractors have banking arrangements to carry them, there are no exceptions. -- Bankers LOVE that action, of course. )

As a Prime Contractor, you're NOT LIMITED to being an EC. In my state, and most others, ONLY certified ECs can perform as electrical sub-contractors. The amount of wiring performed by Prime Contractors is typically quite limited. ( Think of HVAC players wiring up their own stuff. )

But, an EC can perform almost anything not excluded; typically: plumbing, elevator, or acting as a GC. Acting as a GC means: hiring more than two sub-contractors in the performance of a contract.

So you could sub a plumber and a concrete sawyer and not need GC certification.


All of which means: think about pursuing work, within your capabilities, that is currently performed by other players. They're certainly cutting you out of any action they can!

Out my way, it's extremely apparent that ALL of the GCs active in remodeling are performing all of their electrical work, in house. They don't care if the task takes them three times as long, nor that the work is slip-shod. All that matters is that they passed inspection.


Areas to pursue: irrigation controls gone wrong. Most landscaping outfits can install brand new systems. No way can they fix -- even find -- shorts, opens and stuck switches. For an EC, such systems are primitive, simple.

Most homes are under lit for their landscapes. They need after dark / fun time illumination. This is a huge hole in the market place, as there are very few backyards able to party when the sun goes down.

Security lighting is another huge hole in the market: everyone knows they need more of it -- but they're not wire-minded. Learn what's out there. Then proactively pitch security lighting/ motion sensors.

Lousy grounding and bonding plague older homes. Some fine day the plumber cuts out the metal and installs CPVC. You should flog this problem to death.

Sat dishes are lousy, lousy money out my way. But they do offer an opportunity to make a house call on someone else's dime. The point is to up-sell the homeowner WRT the above items. ^^^^

Sub out the ditch digging and go after hot tubs. In particular, think about solar augmented hot tubs. PEX makes it possible for even an EC to plumb a solar collector for a spa.

When the $$$ is there, think about flipping houses -- for your own account. This beats being dependent upon a GC. In this gambit you entirely focus on older homes that need a heavy-up, at best, and trash removal. All over the nation, there are one-home slums created by the real estate bust.

Stay entirely with these isolated bust-ups. Stay out of the 'hood until you've really got some experience and $$$$$$ in hand. ( Risky )

Since the typical flip entails clean-up, wire-craft and a touch of plumbing... it's something that you can perform AROUND your other work... by subbing out the dumb-grunt stuff... and subbing out just the plumbing and perhaps the painting.

There is a glut of sabotaged houses all over the land. If you don't over pay... you might even be a big success.

Your mileage may vary.

Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 251
Damn your a good poster. ^^^.

Shake n Bake
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,333
Likes: 7
Yes, Tesla does a lot of good details!!


Link Copied to Clipboard

Tools for Electricians
Tools for Electricians

* * * * * * *
2023 National Electrical Code (NEC)
2023 NEC Now Available!
* * * * * * *

2020 Master Electrician Exam Preparation Combos
2020 NEC Electrician
Exam Prep Combos:
Master / Journeyman


Member Spotlight
Fullerton, CA USA
Posts: 4,291
Joined: December 2000
Top Posters(30 Days)
BigB 4
triple 3
Popular Topics(Views)
302,857 Are you busy
232,024 Re: Forum
216,757 Need opinion
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5