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Overcharged by Contractor?

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[OP]
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Nov 17, 2002
327 posts
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Victoria, BC

Overcharged by Contractor?

I hired a local company to put in a EV charger plug and was initially estimate between $400 to $700 dollars. The bill ends up being 850 of which four hours is labor. My issues were

1) I have camera footage of them only at my home for 3 hours.
2) One of them had to go shopping for any hour to get supplies - I had sent them pictures of what I was expecting but they didn't have the right supplies.

Just wanted your opinion on is this fair? When I emailed them back, they actually got offended and said that this is normal practice. The shopping for supplies fine, but they claim that getting stuff ready at the office and driving there is part of the hours. Haopy to pay but just didn't want to get screwed.
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Feb 11, 2018
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Look at it another way; 2 guys for 3 hours is equivalent to 1 guy for 6 hours. $850/6 = $141/hour. That's kind of cheap to get an electrician.
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Oct 15, 2007
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hiredmuscle wrote: I hired a local company to put in a EV charger plug and was initially estimate between $400 to $700 dollars. The bill ends up being 850 of which four hours is labor. My issues were

1) I have camera footage of them only at my home for 3 hours.
2) One of them had to go shopping for any hour to get supplies - I had sent them pictures of what I was expecting but they didn't have the right supplies.

Just wanted your opinion on is this fair? When I emailed them back, they actually got offended and said that this is normal practice. The shopping for supplies fine, but they claim that getting stuff ready at the office and driving there is part of the hours. Haopy to pay but just didn't want to get screwed.
They’re probably charging 1 hour travel time, which is more than reasonable
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TomLafinsky wrote: Look at it another way; 2 guys for 3 hours is equivalent to 1 guy for 6 hours. $850/6 = $141/hour. That's kind of cheap to get an electrician.
It would be a waste if both were licensed electricians. Ideally the electrician should have a cheap helper working with them. I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case.
The real question is why didn't the OP get a firm quote for the work.
OP should ask him to justify why it's $150 more than quoted.
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Feb 11, 2018
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engineered wrote: It would be a waste if both were licensed electricians. Ideally the electrician should have a cheap helper working with them. I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case.
The real question is why didn't the OP get a firm quote for the work.
OP should ask him to justify why it's $150 more than quoted.
I know there was only one real, licensed electrician. Nevertheless that was two warm bodies.
Mistakes are learning opportunities. Not the expression of failure.
[OP]
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Nov 17, 2002
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Victoria, BC
Every company I had asked said their number was an estimate. Lesson learned, I will just agree to a firm quote for future jobs to avoid this kinda of stress.
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May 1, 2012
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lol 4 hours of labour to install an EV charger by 2 electricians? Was this job like drilling through some hardcore concrete and the installation spot was like the other side of the house from the breaker?

I installed my own and I am not an electrician. It took me maybe 2 hours and my EV charger is approximately 22 feet away from the breaker.
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Jan 25, 2007
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hiredmuscle wrote: Every company I had asked said their number was an estimate. Lesson learned, I will just agree to a firm quote for future jobs to avoid this kinda of stress.
The choice is that you pay an hour for them to come and quote out the job to an exact number or you go with an estimate and hope it’s close.

Certainly within the realm of reasonable. Though I do feel that some companies do this stuff all the time. My roofer... did this to me, my parents and my cousin. My cousin was the third one and he told him forget it, get the job done at the quoted price. For my Dad it was that the vents were more than he quoted, for me it was he didn’t have enough underlay. Don’t remember what it was for my cousin. Each was a $150 squeeze on a 5k bill.
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Anikiri wrote: lol 4 hours of labour to install an EV charger by 2 electricians? Was this job like drilling through some hardcore concrete and the installation spot was like the other side of the house from the breaker?

I installed my own and I am not an electrician. It took me maybe 2 hours and my EV charger is approximately 22 feet away from the breaker.
I have often wondered about this stuff before too BUT you had a chance to examine it, go shopping for supplies and start with the exact right stuff and knowledge of what you needed. If you added up all your time I doubt it was just 2 hours.
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Feb 25, 2004
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He doesn't seem really good at giving estimates (or doesn't want to...). Between $400 and $700... he already had a lot of room! It ended at $850, more than twice the lower estimate. Unless an unexpected issue was discovered while working (I assume there was no surprise?), I don't really see how he could be so far off from $400, not even within his range of $400-700 for such a small and simple job. Was he a complete n00b? First time he ever installed an EV charger?

The time to travel is irrelevant, he knew he had to travel when he gave you the estimate, it already included that cost.
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[OP]
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Thanks for the comments. I really hate how opaque hourly billing can be. Other than not paying, what can I really do?
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hiredmuscle wrote: I hired a local company to put in a EV charger plug and was initially estimate between $400 to $700 dollars. The bill ends up being 850 of which four hours is labor. My issues were

1) I have camera footage of them only at my home for 3 hours.
2) One of them had to go shopping for any hour to get supplies - I had sent them pictures of what I was expecting but they didn't have the right supplies.

Just wanted your opinion on is this fair? When I emailed them back, they actually got offended and said that this is normal practice. The shopping for supplies fine, but they claim that getting stuff ready at the office and driving there is part of the hours. Haopy to pay but just didn't want to get screwed.
By a charger plug, I presume you mean a socket?

Does an Stove socket install cost around 400-700 too ?

BTW who cares if they got offended? I wouldnt.

They gave you an estimate for 400 to 700 . This is over by 150 . I would argue what justifies this?
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Jul 2, 2013
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Aurora
hiredmuscle wrote: I hired a local company to put in a EV charger plug and was initially estimate between $400 to $700 dollars. The bill ends up being 850 of which four hours is labor. My issues were

1) I have camera footage of them only at my home for 3 hours.
2) One of them had to go shopping for any hour to get supplies - I had sent them pictures of what I was expecting but they didn't have the right supplies.

Just wanted your opinion on is this fair? When I emailed them back, they actually got offended and said that this is normal practice. The shopping for supplies fine, but they claim that getting stuff ready at the office and driving there is part of the hours. Haopy to pay but just didn't want to get screwed.
Sounds really cheap if you ask me. Did they apply for the permit and get your inspection done? Please tell me they did not use a regular $5 stove plug from the home depot! That will end up melting down with such high currents for so many hours. It should be an industrial grade outlet designed for 100% continuous use and that is designed to be plugged in and unplugged frequently. And pray that they used copper wiring and not aluminum.
An estimate is an "estimate" so keep that in mind. Its just an estimate of cost. A "quote" is legally binding by law,a quote can only increase by 10% I believe. No contractor is going to give you a formal quote unless they are absolutely sure of the final costs.
The fact that they had to run out to get materials says something about their experience level.
[OP]
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Nov 17, 2002
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Yes there was a charge of 68 dollars for permits.
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I just talked to an electrician (neighbour on my street). He has a Nissan NV200. He told me he already has the basic (and not so basic) supplies in his truck. He doesn't keep in stock the charger itself because there are different models and customers can provide theirs but otherwise he always has everything he needs for a job in his truck. He has enough work (more than he can do) so he doesn't have time to waste by going back to buy supplies while on a job (he doesn't buy supplies for a single job anyway, he buys in bulk, he would be wasting profits otherwise).
Try not! Do or do not, there is no try...
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lehmanr wrote: Sounds really cheap if you ask me. Did they apply for the permit and get your inspection done? Please tell me they did not use a regular $5 stove plug from the home depot! That will end up melting down with such high currents for so many hours. It should be an industrial grade outlet designed for 100% continuous use and that is designed to be plugged in and unplugged frequently. And pray that they used copper wiring and not aluminum.
An estimate is an "estimate" so keep that in mind. Its just an estimate of cost. A "quote" is legally binding by law,a quote can only increase by 10% I believe. No contractor is going to give you a formal quote unless they are absolutely sure of the final costs.
The fact that they had to run out to get materials says something about their experience level.
Are you saying that stove outlets are not actually good for their rated specs? Sounds like a class action lawsuit.
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Jun 11, 2005
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hiredmuscle wrote: Thanks for the comments. I really hate how opaque hourly billing can be. Other than not paying, what can I really do?
Unfortunately nothing you really can do. At least you learned a cheap lesson.
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hiredmuscle wrote: Thanks for the comments. I really hate how opaque hourly billing can be. Other than not paying, what can I really do?
Not pay is your answer.

Just tell them straight out , you're not paying.

The fact that they gave you an estimate ( even tho it varied from 400-700) means that they should have an idea of what the job entails.
Yes an estimate is binding also , despite what other might think. even the $68 would have been figured into the original estimate of 400-700.
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lehmanr wrote: Sounds really cheap if you ask me. Did they apply for the permit and get your inspection done? Please tell me they did not use a regular $5 stove plug from the home depot! That will end up melting down with such high currents for so many hours. It should be an industrial grade outlet designed for 100% continuous use and that is designed to be plugged in and unplugged frequently. And pray that they used copper wiring and not aluminum.
An estimate is an "estimate" so keep that in mind. Its just an estimate of cost. A "quote" is legally binding by law,a quote can only increase by 10% I believe. No contractor is going to give you a formal quote unless they are absolutely sure of the final costs.
The fact that they had to run out to get materials says something about their experience level.
I'm sorry , I dont understand what you're talking about.
  • NEMA 14-50 is the socket used by Stoves and Car chargers. What other "Industrial grade" standard is used that can be used in its place? ( We used to have the NEMA 6-50 used in stoves, but that costs even less to install )
  • Aluminum wires haven't been used for decades.
  • What High currents? only currents within the specifications of the socket are used. infact the socket "50" part refers to the current. Most cars use about 30A of that.
  • It can be either 100% use or frequent plugging and unplugging. which one are you leaning towards? you cant have both since they are contradictory.
  • yes, an estimate is binding.
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So did the estimate include tax? I assume the final charge did.

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