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Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 3
Jugum Offline OP
Junior Member
My brother and I started an Electric business a few months ago and after replacing several services and doing lots (and I mean lots) of crap jobs nobody else wanted we began to bid some new construction.
Now we are bidding resedential jobs from $1.35 to $1.50 per sq.ft and are still losing bids. My question is what is the deal does everybody have this much trouble or what. Now I know that this may seem like b&%#@ing but I needed to vent just a tad. Oh, and by the way we have some builders that tell us that "we just do our own wiring".
Thanks for listening.

Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,389
I takes time to cultivate a clientel
or should i say, a good clientel...

competing agianst those who blatantly rip up all the rules to throw in a viable tradesmans face is one of the first things i learned to pass on

this, of course, was after having to make concessions with those very same sorts to eat at first... [Linked Image]

it's less a crapshoot as time goes on , hang in there Jugum


Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 324
It took me about year to find good contractors to work for. Started out as a bottom feeder and worked my way up. It is frustrating but nothing worthwhile comes easy.

Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,429
LK Offline
When we first started, we worked 12 hour days, seven days a week, just to pay bills, it took about 4 years before we broke even and another 4 years to build up a good base, and draw a good pay check. As they said it takes time.

Joined: May 2002
Posts: 1,716
Jugum, welcome to the forum. I'm not realy up to speed with the residential market, but have you tried to look at actual bidding (material+Tax, labor, OH & profitt) verses SQ ft pricing?

As the others have stated, it won't come overnight. [Linked Image]


Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 206
One thing to keep in mind too is that bidding too low don't awys look great either. They might be wondering what kind of shoddy work you're doing for such low prices.

Best way to do it I've found is to figure out what the job is going to cost you and then sell it for a bit higher.

Also, one thing that did wonders for me is that I joined the local BIA (Building Industry Assoc) and started going to functions and meeting people. Let them meet you as an equal and a fellow business person. Sell yourself and do it well...that's a big part of it...

my 2 cents

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 914
It sounds like you may be in an area with no licensing requirements. That could make it tough to compete.

I've found that trying to compete on price isn't going to get you the best contractors, instead bottom feeders. I don't want to work for a contractor that will drop me just because somebody comes in $10 cheaper. If a good contractor is happy with their current electrician, then they won't switch for anything, but when they are unhappy with them, they will pay me more to do a better, more reliable job.

[This message has been edited by Electric Eagle (edited 01-29-2004).]

Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 3
Junior Member
where are you located? It's seems to me that you are so low that you could hardly make any money from that. Unless you take $1.50 X Sq ft. X % for overhead and profit. I would try a new approach. Do you break down what is included in the bid # of switches, Rec, Light opening, etc. That might help if they know what there getting? maybe you do all that. just trying to help.

[This message has been edited by wall-i-slayer (edited 01-29-2004).]

Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 3
Jugum Offline OP
Junior Member
We are located in N central Arkansas near Greers Ferry lake. Where the walleye wil be running in about 3 weeks.

Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 615
Sometimes they're still happy with EC, just not their prices. They just want your price to either beat the other guy down a little more, or just check him. Even if you are lower, if it's not significantly lower, they may not want to risk getting rid of some one who is adequate to work with someone who could turn out to be a disaster (as far as they know).

I personally don't want work if I'm the low guy. I also don't want to work for GC's that are the low guy. I try to work with with and off of reputation exclusively.

The only time it's okay to be low guy is with public work (because you pretty much have to be, unless your uncle is govener) or when competing against companies with a alot more overhead.

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