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Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 449
"don't see how anyone can price a job using per opening as a basis, it is nothing more then dart board pricing, a good guess, win some, loose some."
Price per opening is the best way I have found to estimate over the years. How would you "walk" a blueprint? My price per opening varies with the wiring method and materials specified. For instance:
NM cable and NM device boxes in wood frame construction have a set per opening price.
NM cable and metallic devices in wood frame have another price. MC cable and metal boxes in wood frame have yet another price. Steel stud construction changes the per opening price and so does the use of conduit. Some specs call for EMT but do not allow 4 sq boxes w/mud rings for devices. All of the specs figure into the per opening price. Once you have worked all of these different variations for several years you can come up with a per opening pricing formula but it will still vary as NM cable prices wander from $110.00 per 1000 to $225.00 per 1000 in 90 days time.

Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,064
Interesting how alot of people do things a different way. Some guys break it down so small.

For my input, I do it this way.

1. How many days will it take, rough and finish?
2. Materials X Markup.
3. Permits & inspections.

Lk, has an intersting point. How many of us seen a basment done with ferring strips glued on block walls? Or metal studs used as framing. The cheap plastic boxes won't work there, so without "walking" the job, you opened yourself up for headache.
And on the flip side, if you've done one basement in your area, and the neighbor down the street wants something similar, then you know what to expect.

I think what I am trying to convey here is, that experience in your niche area will guide you how to price things.


Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 615
I've been using per opening prices for many years. It has worked out quite well. These prices get tweaked and can get bumped up depending on job site conditions. Better than sq ft pricing because it takes into account what the openings that are actually getting installed. Its weakness is in jobsite conditions. But if you note things like that a dedicated circuit that has to be run a long distance, you can adjust that number specifically.

There is a little bit of "dartboard" in any pricing method. To predict what the job will actually cost is every bit of predicting the future. It is really no more than an educated guess. The educated part is the part that keeps you from losing the house, whether all at once or brick at a time.

When pricing something I have not done before, I think through every detail of the job and guess how many man-days it will take and throw a little bit more on for problems. But I often think how risky this business can feel when you imagine all the things that could go wrong.

Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,429
LK Offline
It is ok to use any method per opening, sq ft. or, actuals, as was stated, all these methods have good points and bad, but the important thing in working any old work job, is to check the conditions, for example, say you quote the per opening of $120 for an outlet, then you find the home is a split level with a slab, then you go to the basement, and find they have closed walls and sheetrock finished ceiling, now for new work, if your working from a print, and have a detailed print, then you would have all the information to do a detailed estimate, and per opening would be a risky move, when you have all the information to do an accurate estimate.
If i have all the information, i have a better chance to make the job profitable,
over the years i noticed those that depended on per opening and sq ft. methods, had problems controling the job costs, and many times, they had losses on these jobs.

[This message has been edited by LK (edited 09-05-2005).]

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,323
Likes: 7
"Around here that would be a handyman price, or a price from a maintance electrician, doing non-permited moonlighting work."

LK forgot a few factors:
Probably no business insurance (liability, workers comp, etc).
Also, IF the handyman gets caught; the fine could be $2000 for no permit; plus possible legal charges from the Board of Examiners.

AS I said originally, pricing, no matter what method you use, is a "personal" thing, and everyone has their own methods.


Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 138
Thanks everyone for the input, I really appreciate it.

I forgot to add the home runs in there. my new total is $1960. thanks for reminding me.

[This message has been edited by Clydesdale (edited 09-05-2005).]

Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 33
Shockme77, do you have trouble getting that price per can, I usually do 70.00. CT guys if I am too low let me know. I don't want to be the lowball guy. With costs of business these days I would like to raise my rates on things such as this but I am not sure if the market will bear it. Any thoughts (especially from CT guys would be greatly appreciated). I know this is the $64,000 question but I had to ask.

Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,429
LK Offline
"I am not sure if the market will bear it."


The market is bearing it pretty well as builders are asking, and getting $350 for recess light as an extra.

Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 28
i think walking the job is necessary and whereever i can i do.
The way i do it is as simple for me on every job as long as I estimate the time needed right,which is on me when I walk the job
flatrate is a great system
and yes i agree again with LK for the posted work the price seems to be really low
In my opinion it is really time to update rates for electrical work to todays standards.same as every plumber did roofer carpenter etc etc.

Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 11
I hope some of you live near me the next time I need some work done.

Question:How many of you really know your true real break even number plus profit? What your price should reflect is the true cost of running your business.

We should all put as much effort into knowing how to successfully run a business as we do about how to do electrical work, the NEC and new products.

We are always so proud of our electrical knowledge and workmanship but then feel ashamed to ask for a top buck to do it. Why?

We cant run a top notch company, do top notch work, give top notch pay and benefits while charging low low prices.

This type of thinking has hurt our industry and our ability to recruiting the best teenagers from high school from wanting to become electricans. What kid wants to grow up, bust his butt and recieve 35k plus crappy benefits doing electrical work the rest of his life.

We should all want to live and pay ourself and our employees as well as those we serve?

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