Just over one year ago I opened a one man shop. Recently I have had customers request me to "finish" work THEY have started, commonly in their basement- they try to do most of the work or request to, to save money. I am concerned about the matter of homeowner doing the work -me having to inspect everything, then me being responsible in the end for the final connections. Pulling a permit for these people also poses problems. Any advice? Is this a common EC service call? Being new at this even pushes me harder to want to set rules for company now-and be firm, however doing this with customers is sometimes difficult. I really would like to hear some of your experience out there and what types of consequences I am in for if I don't say no to these jobs when I need to. Thanks for any suggestions.
I often get the same type request. I price the job just the same(or more) as if we did everything, then I can afford to check out all their work. If the work is sloppy, I will refuse to touch it unless we completely rewire it.
I once had a customer try to save money, by saying he would drill all the holes for our wires(3000 sq ft). I told him I'd take off $50. We drilled the holes.
[This message has been edited by Electric Eagle (edited 05-19-2003).]
Gabriel: I don't know all the rules in Iowa, but I can tell you about NJ IF an EC "takes over" an install that was started by another (homeowner or contractor), a "Change of Contractor" permit must be filed. This EC assumes ALL responsibility (LIABILITY) for the work, as itemized on the Permit Tech Card. I personally (with my EC hat on) do not get involved with this type of work. With my AHJ hat on, I know the guys that "assume" the work go thru it all, and are paid accordingly. Most of it is basements, or attic finishes, and it usually is "done". The people usually get "caught" when they put the property on the market, as they either have an "open" permit (if they took one), or the person checking for the Continued Certificate of Occupancy (CCO) notices. The cardinal rule "watch your back" and CYA. John
Speaking from the 'other side'... as a homeowner (with 1967-8 aluminum wiring, I might add), I would expect this response:
"I'll give you a bid but since the work will be either warranteed by me/my company and we'll be liable for any safety issues, the bid will likely include costs for re-doing all that you've done so far plus the costs of finishing."
I know this is not what your potential customer expects but why is it that I (who purportedly fell off the turnip truck just last night and lives in one of the most remote and weird places in the country) can understand this concept of costs, safety and accountability but those who ask for these outlandish things cannot?
RUN AWAY....I have two horror stories...My former employer offered to do a rough in and let the customer complete his own finish....Three 4 hr trips later...customers broke, Still isnt ready, we do the rest Pro -Bono......Second one...Joe is wiring his apartment building himself, hes a self made man ya know, he knows everything......Joe runs into the city electrical inspector....Joe calls me to take a look...13 code violations was all....That was what I could see.I was to busy to get there the next day so my competitor took the job...when he charged him 1700.00 Joe stopped payment on the check.....So Now joe has his inspection...feels like he got ripped off and he is going to rip off Carl,Carl calls city inspector,city inspector cancels permit,Joe needs the whole job redone, joe calls me, I refer him back to Carl...Who I know will make all his money for his trouble back on the finish.....
Re: Permits#25820 05/24/0309:58 AM05/24/0309:58 AM
The AHJ require permits for work above a given amount of work. Mostly this is a dollar cost of o job. Most places also require that new construction be permitted. This is used to notify the AHJ and zoning boards of what is being built in there areas. Also the tax man uses this information for assessing property tax. When inspections are required the permit is the adminstrative method used to notify AHJs to look at the work for code compliance. Usually only a licensed master/contractor can obtain or "pull" the permit. Electrical,plumbing,HVAC, and general permits are common types of permits. In most places a home owner can pull his own permit for the work he does in the house in which he lives. Some places haave restrictions on this. Other places have no permits or inspectors at all. The permit system allows the AHJ to see that new places are inspected and meet the current codes. This system has a lot of differences depending on the local ordinances and/or state laws. When ever you move to a new area to do work, you should always find out about the rules in that location. While many systems are simular, the differences can be very costly to find out about after you did a job in an unacceptable way there.