"I didn't have time" he said, to create out a "spec sheet" of needs, along with our hypothetical budget. This saves both parties time and money, and he cut a corner on this one. Rather than get in to a debate about pre-qualifying, I employed my fight avoidance policy and retreated to my corner rather than have a physical altercation in front of a witness. Rog summarized the visit by saying the guy was nice, he'd provide us a reasonable bit, and that he'd "handled it just fine."
Spec sheet items:
- Project timeframe (sometimes a job is less expensive if the contractor is already in the area)
- Project scope (if a room, have the dimensions etc)
- Project work already done (if you have done demo etc)
- Project materials (do you have extra sheetrock lying about that can be used)
- Project dependencies (wiring to be done first)
- Project bids (who many you are getting, from whom if they ask)
Electrician number two estimate: $800 plus tax.
2-the job itself was bid at @20 hours (both electricians provided this estimate)
If your place is a shack, you might get a fair bid across the board. If your place is decent, it's going to range. Fair to high, but no one is going to give you a break for being poor. If you live in a nice joint, your done-for. Only the most ethical of contractors is going to do you right and charge and honest wage. I'm not saying this because of bias. I'm saying it out of twenty years of experience. Trust me, I've lived in shacks, ok condos, a decent condo and a home that was a shack that has turned out to be pretty nice. In those two decades, the number of honest, moral contractors (and by this, I mean individuals working in the construction industry), can be counted on one hand.
2-create a spec sheet of what's required (review and approve this with spouse/partner) so every potential service provider is given the same information
3-get an approximate cost over the phone
4-understand the business model (in other words, who is doing the actual work, the owner or a sub-contractor)
5-don't take it personally when the contractor shows up and suddenly adds a lot of other expenses.