How much for a new 240v outlet? (800??)

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by PM5K, May 19, 2011.

  1. PM5K

    PM5K New Member

    Messages:
    154
    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    Got a quote of 800 to install a new 240v outlet for a water heater.

    I'd read around and was expecting something in the 200-300 dollar range more or less. This guy hasn't seen the home or asked a single question so he's probably one of those guys that puts in crazy high bids because he doesn't want the work, but if you'll pay his price he'll go out and do it.

    Assuming the panel has space and the service can handle it. The home is about 750 square feet, the panel is on the front right side and the outlet needs to be in the rear right side. The home is 25x30. The water heater says it needs 10 gauge wiring on a 30 amp circuit. The crawl space underneath is high enough to get under and crawl around pretty easily.

    Any thoughts in general on how much something like this should cost?
  2. nukeman

    nukeman Nuclear Engineer

    Messages:
    711
    Location:
    VA
    It is hard to say, but I doubt you would get it done for $200.

    If you were to do yourself:

    -100' of 10-2 wire ~$120 retail around here (50' might work depending on the run)
    - staples
    - basic tools
    - 30A breaker
    - might need junction box and flex conduit (depending on what inspector wants to see)
    - permit probably needs to be pulled
    - sales tax
    - etc.

    Although an electrician can buy this stuff cheaper than you can, the reality is that these materials probably add up to more than you think. You also have to figure that he might have to spend a couple hours crawling around and some spots might be tough to access. It also depends if he has a clear shot from the panel to the crawl space (unfinished area). If the panel area is finished, it will take more time (and $$$) as he has to fish the wire through the wall.

    You have to figure that it might cost $200-$300 to do yourself between the materials, tools, and permit. Then you have to consider the labor and travel time (trip charge) (the contractor has a lot of overhead between insurance, salaries, tools, training, etc.).

    Your best bet is to contact a few other guys and pick one that is somewhere in the middle.
  3. PM5K

    PM5K New Member

    Messages:
    154
    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    Sounds like you're saying he's not as far off as I thought. 50 should definitely work, it's 30 across so that leaves ten on each end for wiring in the panel, and at the outlet. Work wise, seriously it couldn't be any easier as far as obstructions, etc.
  4. SacCity

    SacCity In the Trades

    Messages:
    189
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    To be honest, the contractor needs to make a living wage. I've got my HVAC guy on speed dial, I get a discount because I throw him a fair amount of work.
    As such, I deal is that I pay him $50 per hour no questions asked. He does not have to waist time doing estimates or wondering if he's got the job. If he shows up he works... Done deal.

    So perhaps that may be a option, look show up work if he needs materials you'll play fetch, but have the basics on site...
    I've done so much of this work for myself I find it hard to see whats needed
    Michael
  5. PM5K

    PM5K New Member

    Messages:
    154
    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    50 an hour would be perfect. There's no way it's more than two, three hours work.
  6. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,248
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    Good luck with that. Prices can vary somewhat greatly from one part of the country to the next.
    Around here real electricians and plumbers who are looking for work get 3 times that.
  7. nukeman

    nukeman Nuclear Engineer

    Messages:
    711
    Location:
    VA
    As I mentioned, you just have to get a couple quotes. That is the only way to know what the going rate for the job is in your area. Labor rates vary with location. In most cases, I could see a sparky charging somewhere in the $100/hr range, but could be much higher or lower depending on the area.

    Then you have the permit. In my area, the cost of the permit is based on a % of the total cost of the job. In other areas, I've seen a flat rate. For instance, some places may want say $100 or $200 for an electrical permit whether is is adding a single outlet or something large like a service upgrade or whole-house rewire.

    It may seem like a quick/easy job (and it could be), but there could be things that we can't see that makes the job more difficult. Also, most guys don't have the extra time to be driving around to give free estimates (especially on these smaller jobs). About the best they can do is give a rough cost over the phone. Most times, the free estimates are just a waste of time and gas as people tend to shop aound until they can find the cheapest guy to do it.

    You might be best off seeing if you can have it done for time & materials instead of a fixed price. This way, they don't have to pad the fixed price in case other challenges pop up. The disadvantage is you won't know the total cost until they are done, but they can probably give you a ballpark estimate based on the amount of time they think it will take.

    If things still are too expensive, you could grab a roll of 10-2, staple it yourself, and leave plenty of excess on each end and let the sparky make the final connections. Probably won't save you much, but might help a little.
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,689
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    I would not even put the key in the ignition of my truck for $50.00 per hour. But he is probably a "flat rate" electrician, and like "flat rate plumbers", his price anticipates the worst job. If it is even badder than that he loses money, but he is banking on it being much simpler so he makes a good profit.
  9. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,216
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Kill two birds with one stone

    Kill two birds with one stone.

    Call the Inspector and get his bid, let him do it.

    Or DIY...

    Have a Great, Last day of the World, Will miss you all.


    DonL


    P.S. Party Hardy
    Last edited: May 20, 2011
  10. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    I guess you don't read the foreclosure notices that fill your newspaper.

    Contractors here dont even have their trucks anymore, and would be happy to start their family van with the tools in it for 15 bucks an hour.

    Or trade for food. I can buy a new empty house for less than the cost of materials.

    Local builders 'spec' house - 1.6 million asking in 08..... today, $398,000 - owner financed. Less than materials, likely.

    Lowes has some good advice in electrical and plumbing- they are FORCED retiree's from the trades.
  11. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,689
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; Call the Inspector and get his bid, let him do it.

    Do you have inspectors who ALSO do installations? Sounds like a conflict of interest unless there are other inspectors to check his work. I guess not. I HAVE my own truck, with tools in it, in fact I traded in my old one for it last month, and I will NOT start it for $50, so I guess $15 is also out of the question.
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