I too used to believe that. I did a detailed plan of the job and placed all the switches and receptacles on the plan so we could discuss any additional locations or changes. HO said they would look them over and call me to discuss the changes. Silly me, I left them there. I am sure the HO just handed my plans to the other EC.
I now only explain why I will not do what they HO wants if it is against code, or if I see a way to upsell one of their requests.
Sparky: That's a tough call, to provide info, or not. Over the years, I lost many jobs that were done with info I provided. Be it a 'spec', or a drawing, or a written estimate.
I feel it boils down to you (or me) making a judgement call as to how much of our info to provide to a client.
It's a tough call! Having previous dealings with a client would be one measure to use, but with resi HO's that we never dealt with....good luck.
BTW, before I put the EC key in the door, I spent probably 100+ hours working on a large comm job (TV studio expansion); gave the papers to the EC who took my equip & clients. He put 50+ hrs into it, & would up loosing it for $3k on 200k+ job, without even the courtesy of a phone call!
Flip a coin, make a decission & live with it, that's all I can say. Good Luck!
Tesla: You are correct, legal manuvers to CYA on DB is a necessity for the most part.
However, there were times that I jumped on the bandwagon thru the building/property owner to the tenant.
That said, the 'owner' was an established account, no ?? asked, this is what I want, send a bill kind of guy. Fortunatley, we had a stellar relationship; unfortunatley, he was not within the majority of people we all encounter on a regular basis.
Alas, I think that some of this is a natural part of doing business, the so-called 'businessmans' risk.'
I mean, you can't just have the customer write down a specific question, then give him a verbal price and nothing else. Indeed, you'll need / want to sell the guy on the merits of choosing you, rather than the other guy.
Now that some time has passed, I can almost speak calmly over such a 'lost job.' In retrospect, I never had a chance; the guy had no intention of having things 'done right,' he was intent on finessing the system. The only result of his conversations with me (and the other subs I brought in) was to teach him what lies to tell City Hall. What he 'built' was most certainly NOT what he discussed with us!
All you can do is to give it an honest shot ... and, if the CUSStomer turns out to be a scamp, count on fate to even things up later.
Every businessman has to use his sixth sense: many small businessmen expect to beat the system by cheating one way or another.
Indications that you've got a 'player' are going to be right before your eyes.
1st Is your prospect obviously a low ball operator in a 'price-taking' enterprise? ( That is, is he not in control of his pricing, his location and has shallow pockets?)
2nd Is your prospect from one of the ethnic sectors of our multi-cultural society famed for shunting all work to their relatives? ( You're not a bigot for understanding that it is impossible for some ethnics to NOT direct all business to the clan. In Japan this is codified into Keirestu. Toyota has a corporate clan; Nissan has a corporate clan -- and NO clan member from one sells/deals with the other/ clan enemy. Race has nothing to do with it: everyone is pure Japanese!)
3rd Does your prospect's place of business/ residence evidence plenty of DIY creativity? ( My sister bought a circa 1962 home whose previous owner was so creative that he killed its market value. No one wanted to deal with all of the hair-ball in-your-face wiring violations and cheesy 'upgrades.' )
I'm sure other 'tells' are in your own experience...
Whenever your spider sense is tingling stop wasting time with forlorn hope. Cut to the chase: if a plan exists in writing eyeball it and bid it with exclusions and inclusions. Add fat because of the bid risk.
Expect that most of your bids will bust out these days. You can't stop that. What you can do is stop working for negative earnings and increasing your risk exposure.
If the plan is 'Blue Sky' then I shift gears to 'consultancy.' As a consultant my rate is $$$ per hour and with your assistance this task should take half a day/ 8 hours spread over the next week....
As a consultant I'll put together a budget oriented scheme and let you and yours take it from there. I'll through in a bill of materials so that you will know what to buy for quick, easy results.
This project is so simple that it is realistic for you to get an owner's permit. I'm your consultant, only, and will not inspect/ correct or over-rule your efforts.
Payment is due when I hand over the plans -- no logo, plain paper....