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side work #39318 06/16/04 06:39 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 17
seattleman Offline OP
Hello all

I have a question about side work. I'm a union electrician with about 8 months of resi experience and 6 years of commercial.

A friend wants me to do a bid on his shop, and possibly his garage. I have no experience in the bidding process. I feel confindent in wiring the house from start to finish but can somebody out there smell what i'm stepping in?

How do you feel about doing work for friends?

Also I have no insurance, bonding, business licence etc. I'm a jw waiting for dispatch.

I would appretice any advice

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
Re: side work #39319 06/16/04 07:55 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 914
Electric Eagle Offline
It's one thing to do a small job for a friend, but if you want to stay friends you probably shouldn't do this project. Also, it sounds like you might not be set up right to do a project like this.

Re: side work #39320 06/16/04 09:22 PM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 91
rizer Offline
you will be legally (criminally) liable. worse stillyou would be getting paid for it which makes you look twice as bad in a court of law. don't do it.

Re: side work #39321 06/16/04 10:45 PM
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 349
Radar Offline
To me, since he wants you to bid on the work, it sounds like you may be in deep water. If he wanted to just pay you by the hour for your knowledge & labor, that might be different. But this sounds like you have all the risk here and he's looking for a good deal. I think I'd pass.


There are 10 types of people. Those who know binary, and those who don't.
Re: side work #39322 06/17/04 07:03 AM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 1,716
Roger Offline
Seattleman, check out the following link.


Re: side work #39323 06/17/04 07:50 AM
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 751
earlydean Offline
Also, the IBEW doesn't permit side work to be done. You may request permission to do work on a buddy's house through the executive board, but you may be e-boarded for doing paid work in competition with the companies you could work for. Just as bad as working for a non-union shop, as far as the union is concerned. Don't do it.

Re: side work #39324 06/17/04 06:29 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 1,457
Electricmanscott Offline
As far as the friend issue goes probably a bad idea. As for the union not allowing side work...uh yeah ok. This would be a "union" in the United States of America would it not?

Re: side work #39325 06/17/04 06:45 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,143
DougW Offline
I'd definitely consider the consequences of unlicensed (more importantly, uninsured) work - especially if your're representing yourself as an independent entity

A friend wants me to do a bid on his shop, and possibly his garage. I have no experience in the bidding process. I feel confindent in wiring the house from start to finish but can somebody out there smell what i'm stepping in?

If he's a real friend just getting an idea of price, that's one thing. Along the lines of what Radar posted, if he's reverse auctioning you, that's intolerable - especially if he's calling up the "buddy" card. I've been known to work at significantly under-valued rates for friends I might call for help one day, as well as family. I've never heard any of them (seriously) complain about the price, or quality of work.

As far as the union thing, the Union I belong to, while claiming to represent the "working man" (and woman) consistently supports candidates who favor more taxes be taken out of my checks... I don't understand that completely.

I was going to address Scott's point, but it'd sound waaaay too conservative. Let's just say I support unions to protect labor from misguided / malicious management, and I recognize organized labor's contributions to workplace safety, benefits, and work environment. I still have a problem with the union putting the union above the workers, and protecting slackers who IMHO deserve a kick in the pants. BTW, I'm not IBEW...

I'll stop now [Linked Image]

[This message has been edited by DougW (edited 06-17-2004).]

Re: side work #39326 06/17/04 10:16 PM
Joined: Feb 2001
Posts: 159
CRW Offline
Seattleman--I know exactly how you feel, as I am in the same boat. I signed our book last fall and since then have only worked for 6 weeks, and that was out of town. I'm still looking for work out of town because it looks like it will turn up before work at home. It's hard, especially when the unemployment runs out, and I'm not sure how the situation is in your area, but I know it's tight all over.

A lot of guys I know do a lot of side work, paid under the table, often w/o a license, and w/o insurance. Also while they're collecting unemployment, so that's illegal as well. The union agreement states that you can't contract your own work, but basically the view is that nobody says anything as long as you're not taking work away from other union contractors. So most residential, small service changes, etc., are fair game.

I've done small jobs for friends before, usually for free or on a barter basis, like swapping favors. Here in PA, there is no state license requirement, and the permit requirements vary from township to township. I'm pretty much staying away from any side work in the city because I have a license in escrow and I don't want to lose it because of unpermitted, uninsured work that I may get caught doing. I don't want to get into conflicts with the unemployment department, the city, or some lawyer after a customer's house catches on fire and they say "well I DID have this guy doing work in my basement" even though it was his own faulty extension cord shorting out----the list goes on. Too much trouble for what it's worth.

Even though your electrical skills may be excellent, without the necessary insurance, license and business experience, you could get in over you head very quickly, as well as lose a friend in the process. Give this a lot of thought. Hope you catch a call soon, brother....

Re: side work #39327 06/18/04 11:42 AM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
iwire Offline
Just trying to understand this.

You want the advantages of being in the union but you do not want to follow the unions rules?

They did tell you the rules before you joined?

Why did you join if you want to make your own way?

Also I agree with the others, this is a large 'side job' to do with no insurance.

Here we must have liability insurance to pull a permit, a good idea IMO.


Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician
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