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  • Up front fees

    I hired a electrical contractor to put a new main in my house and he wants half the money up front to pay for permits and supplies. He is licensed with our state but it made me nervous.

    Is it norm now days to ask for up front fee's?

    shup

  • #2
    Re: Up front fees

    Yes it is often asked for. You hold back the other fees until he's done. If there is doubt about the quality of the work, hold a portion of the final fees until his punch list is satisfied. When the punch list is done to your approval, then you pay the last of what's owed. If he is reputable, and I'm sure he is, ask him for a couple references before you pay him a cent. Call the people up and ask what he did for them and how was the service. Ask if they were required to pay fees up front. Call your BBB and ask if there is a file on the guy and what's in it. That's what they're there for. Ask your neighbors who they have hired in the past to do their sparky work. Find out if they were satisfied. Get a couple of estimates before you sign on the dotted line. There is more than one way to ensure you will get quality work done. Keep digging, and keep asking here. People will surely help and have more advice than what I just gave you. With a project this large, I'm not surprised to find somebody asking for dollars up front. You are probably looking at from $1,500 to $2,000 for your service upgrade if I'm reading you correctly. I just put in a lowly subpanel for a neighbor last week, and even with me supplying a used sub for free, four double pole breakers for free, some wire and some incidentals, he paid over $200 for wire and an air cond. disconnect, etc. etc. etc. out of pocket. No labor fees changed hands, but I'd put an easy price tag of about $600 for the work and parts if I'd a been in a charging mood since there was some time involved. Good luck with your project.
    Jim Don

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    • #3
      Re: Up front fees

      I second what JimDon just stated.
      In some states, contractors can only take a small percentage up front.
      I may stand corrected, but California only allows ten percent, with incremental payments as progress is made, most feel this is a bit much...more a pain to have to write ten checks than just pay larger fractions at a time.
      On many jobs, a 50% payment may not even cover the whole cost of stock, boilers are a good example.
      Just make sure you read the contract carefully, and that everything you're promised is in writing before you cut the check.

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      • #4
        Re: Up front fees

        Thanks for the replies guys.

        I to thought it was unusual for a one day job but not being in it for awhile thought that is how it is now. When I was doing remodeling and such I bid for labor only. Material would be on site or payed when it showed up. On the same as concrete when you had the home owner pay the truck when it showed up.

        Probably why I had to go back to work for someone.

        But after reading your replies I went to their site and it does say on estimates they require 50%. http://www.elkheightselectric.com/services

        The ruff was for around $900 plus permits, the final bid was for 1,035.77. I supplied the panel.

        I thought it would come in around $12-1300 is why I was surprised. I'm going to go with them but give them $500. to start and final when done. Hope I don't regret it because I really want to help this guy out.

        shup

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        • #5
          Re: Up front fees

          Shup,
          I read your most recent post and the prices. They really seem in line for what they're doing. I also read their "about us" on their website. While that alone can't be the only consideration, they reveal their names, their history, their abilities, where they're located, etc. etc. Fly-by-nights don't do that sort of thing. My overall impression is they are in it to be good service providers. The office manager seems to have a good handle on projects, plans and permitting. Like I said before, check with your BBB and see if there is any bad input on them, but I'd bet there isn't. They may be a little low right now because they want the business and will eat some labor costs to keep their people employed and happy -- which works in your favor. Business is extremely slow all over (here in Wisconsin, there isn't much, talk to many trades people regularly), and they probably want to keep their heads above water. Good Luck. let us know how it turns out.
          Jim Don

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          • #6
            Re: Up front fees

            Jim did very well posting. I'll just add that many contractors in my area want an "all materials" fee up front. That's so they are sure you're serious and also so they don't get their money tied up just in case you were to back down on a project. The important thing is to not pay the job in full until you're sure everything was done correctly. Then pay them and be both a happy and good customer. You might ask for local references and contact them. Normally customers have no reason not to tell you how their work turned out.

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            • #7
              Re: Up front fees

              The wife just left after bringing the invoice and so I got a chance to talk with her and told her about what contractors on the forum have said. I also told her I don't normally give half without a contract and she let me know that this would change in the future. She had never been confronted about it before but understood why I would want one.

              They will be here in the morning and she told me if I was uncomfortable about the final bill to wait until the inspector cleared it. I think their trying and just learning the ropes.

              Sounds like the old man used to do this on a hand shake over in Cle Elum Wa. which is a small area that I have done some work in and can tell you a hand shake means more to these people than paper. But now days you got to cover your a$$.

              Also learned he has cancer and is on chemo, tuff old bird.
              Will let you guys know how it goes.

              shup

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              • #8
                Re: Up front fees

                Hey Shup,
                How'd it go yesterday? Inquiring minds want to know. Hope it went swimmingly,
                Jim Don

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                • #9
                  Re: Up front fees

                  It went pretty smooth Jim. Waiting for inspection today. The kid needs some more time with his dad learning the ropes but all in all it was good. He was he$$ bent on speed and just kept spinning. His pa kept saying to slow down but you know kids. Then he took a 2 hour lunch but wasn't sure if his dad needed it or what . Didn't ask.

                  Turns out the dad and I knew some of the same people so it was kind of fun to bull sh$t with him and listen to some stories about some guys I know.

                  I would use them again.

                  shup

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