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Old 06-13-2020, 01:12 AM   #1
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Default Over worked under paid.

Hello everyone
I am working on the side trying to make money with the little skills I have but I don't want to beat myself by under bidding my jobs. My question is ; where can I find a book or online file with pay rates for the jobs I do? From residential to small commercial pay.
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Old 06-13-2020, 01:24 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Winthrope View Post
Hello everyone

I am working on the side trying to make money with the little skills I have but I don't want to beat myself by under bidding my jobs. My question is ; where can I find a book or online file with pay rates for the jobs I do? From residential to small commercial pay.
It's called hard knocks. The problem is there's many authors so a cliff note book is impossible.

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Old 06-13-2020, 07:57 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Winthrope View Post
Hello everyone
I am working on the side trying to make money with the little skills I have but I don't want to beat myself by under bidding my jobs. My question is ; where can I find a book or online file with pay rates for the jobs I do? From residential to small commercial pay.
Win,
Just a few things come to mind.
I don't want to condone people doing side jobs without proper license, insurance, and workman's comp.
With that said,
You cannot present yourself as a bottom feeder and make the money your time is worth.
Start out by providing super premium service. This will set you apart for the people thinking they are running a business working for 2x their wage rate.
It's much better to invest your time and resources in jobs that will net you 2k per day rather than $200 per day.
Understand that your ego might think you are making money by bringing in $80 per hour but, the only thing you are doing is robbing yourself of your time.
Understand that not everyone is your customer, there are people out there that have a great need for quality of life electrical repairs and cannot afford to have that work done. I'll give you permission to do these at little or no cost, just don't get hustled, and don't do many of them.
Your customer is the one that invites you into their home or business and only wants you to be in and out as fast as possible and when you leave, make 100% sure you leave no sins of a disruption.
That is the word of mouth customer you want. They will pay a premium for your services.
Do not be the bottom feeder that takes anything and then fumbles around when collection time comes. Understand that it is very respectful to have the customer understand exactly what you are doing and what the expected compensation will be. That is what being a professional is about.
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Old 06-13-2020, 09:00 AM   #4
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You aren't licensed, bonded, or insured. You can't pull permits.

If you need extra money, get a second job. You could be Home Depot's weekend shift electrical expert.

Or tough it out like some of the rest of us did by going on a budget and saving money/not spending any way we could while we were going through our apprenticeship.
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Old 06-13-2020, 09:21 AM   #5
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To me insurance is the deal breaker for side jobbing, even if you're willing to risk getting sued, it's not fair to your customers.



For side work, I'd look for part time work as needed doing maintenance type work, you might be surprised how much this is worth to a lot of businesses.
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Old 06-13-2020, 09:55 AM   #6
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To me insurance is the deal breaker for side jobbing, even if you're willing to risk getting sued, it's not fair to your customers.



For side work, I'd look for part time work as needed doing maintenance type work, you might be surprised how much this is worth to a lot of businesses.
I’m not sure what you pay for liability insurance but I’m at $500 a year. Shouldn’t be a deal breaker.

A basic contractor’s cost calculator still applies to a side jobber. Many costs are the same whether you’re full time or part time - insurance, business licensing, tools, etc. It costs a part timer more to be in business than a full timer.

A part timer needs to look at it as a business right from the beginning. It isn’t just extra beer money. I think the OP is trying to learn things right from the beginning.

I still go back to what I learned a long time ago. I might do my job estimate and multiply it by 2 1/2. I thought it was just me but other guys here do the same thing. When you consider cost of doing business, profit, billable hours and non-billable hours, that number starts to make sense.
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Old 06-13-2020, 10:03 AM   #7
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A sideworker has zero overhead. He uses his same truck that he already has, same tools, no license or insurance fees, no extra accounting, nothing. The only overhead is fuel to drive to the job, which is no different than paying for fuel to commute to a full time job for someone else.

Cash is taken in and kept, all of it. No overhead and no taxes.

So yes, a sideworker can work for much less and still make good money. But why not work for the same as a legit contractor and make lots more money?

@Winthrope you didn't tell us where you are so the amount will vary. But you should not be charging less than $100/hr. And you should be giving a price for the job upfront, not billing hourly.
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Old 06-13-2020, 10:11 AM   #8
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No no I don't mean insurance is the main expense that needs to factor into his estimating. I meant if he doesn't have insurance, he should not even be contracting, no matter how small scale, and should find another way to supplement his income.



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I’m not sure what you pay for liability insurance but I’m at $500 a year. Shouldn’t be a deal breaker.

A basic contractor’s cost calculator still applies to a side jobber. Many costs are the same whether you’re full time or part time - insurance, business licensing, tools, etc. It costs a part timer more to be in business than a full timer.

A part timer needs to look at it as a business right from the beginning. It isn’t just extra beer money. I think the OP is trying to learn things right from the beginning.

I still go back to what I learned a long time ago. I might do my job estimate and multiply it by 2 1/2. I thought it was just me but other guys here do the same thing. When you consider cost of doing business, profit, billable hours and non-billable hours, that number starts to make sense.
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Old 06-13-2020, 10:45 AM   #9
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A sideworker has zero overhead. He uses his same truck that he already has, same tools, no license or insurance fees, no extra accounting, nothing. The only overhead is fuel to drive to the job, which is no different than paying for fuel to commute to a full time job for someone else.

Cash is taken in and kept, all of it. No overhead and no taxes.

So yes, a sideworker can work for much less and still make good money. But why not work for the same as a legit contractor and make lots more money?

@Winthrope you didn't tell us where you are so the amount will vary. But you should not be charging less than $100/hr. And you should be giving a price for the job upfront, not billing hourly.
I’m pretty sure you learned much about the business side of things as a part timer. I get what you’re saying but a side jobber still needs ladders, benders and a lot of things an employee doesn’t have. He still needs insurance, business license, etc., at least to be legit. If he’s just changing out fixtures and smoke detectors, who cares, just do it.
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Old 06-13-2020, 10:57 AM   #10
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I’m pretty sure you learned much about the business side of things as a part timer. I get what you’re saying but a side jobber still needs ladders, benders and a lot of things an employee doesn’t have.
Most employees/homeowners have ladders, including an extension ladder. It depends what type of work you are doing, benders are not always necessary, and even if needed can be purchased for pennies on Craigslist. I just looked it up for S&G's, $85 for all of these, I bet you can get him down to $50:

Over worked under paid.-screen-shot-2020-06-13-10.52.14-am.png

Most working electrician collect basic tools like this. Cordless drill and impact, sawzall. I see these tools in stock broker's houses, so an electrician should have them.

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He still needs insurance, business license, etc., at least to be legit.
To be legit, yes. But many people are fine not being legit.

I guess my point is just that sideworkers can in fact make money by charge low since they have zero overhead, but why should they? Charge more.
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Old 06-13-2020, 09:23 PM   #11
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Just a thought to keep in mind . If you get caught without a license or if you screw something up you might never work or get a license in the future . Its not worth the risk .

Example be this . One of our 2nd year guys who was a sharp kid hung a fan on a bakelite box . 2 months later it fell down on a kid who was sleeping . Daddy was an attorney . Dude got sued and we fired him . Last time I saw him he was working at a carwash . That was 4 or 5 years ago and he is still paying for the pain and suffering he caused . Daddy tried to sue us too and we spent tons of money keeping that pitbull of a lawyer off our a$$ and we sued him for the getting us into this mess .

We have tens of millions in insurance if it goes south you don't . Just think about what you do before you do it or you may never do again .
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Old 06-14-2020, 12:37 PM   #12
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To me insurance is the deal breaker for side jobbing, even if you're willing to risk getting sued, it's not fair to your customers.



For side work, I'd look for part time work as needed doing maintenance type work, you might be surprised how much this is worth to a lot of businesses.
Can you be more specific for "Maintenance type work" you are referring to?
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Old 06-14-2020, 12:47 PM   #13
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Just a thought to keep in mind . If you get caught without a license or if you screw something up you might never work or get a license in the future . Its not worth the risk .

Example be this . One of our 2nd year guys who was a sharp kid hung a fan on a bakelite box . 2 months later it fell down on a kid who was sleeping . Daddy was an attorney . Dude got sued and we fired him . Last time I saw him he was working at a carwash . That was 4 or 5 years ago and he is still paying for the pain and suffering he caused . Daddy tried to sue us too and we spent tons of money keeping that pitbull of a lawyer off our a$$ and we sued him for the getting us into this mess .

We have tens of millions in insurance if it goes south you don't . Just think about what you do before you do it or you may never do again .
"Its not worth the risk."

That's subjective. I did sidework for over 15 years, the amount of money that I made is immeasurable.

Your story shows an instance that is not only avoidable (don't hang fans from bakelite boxes alone, don't do sidework for lawyers, deny doing the work), but also very unlikely. Out of the tens of millions of instances of unlicensed electrical work being performed, a dozen or so are caught and have more than a slap on the wrist. You can look on Craigslist right now to find handymen ads that have been there for years that say they do electrical and plumbing work, no one does anything about it.

I remember before this forum was here, back on EKR the user Celtic said that doing sidework wasn't worth it because if we got caught in NJ there would be a $2,500 fine. The prior 2 weeks alone I did 2 services changes that would pay for that fine and still have a healthy profit leftover.

Am I telling people to go out and do sidework? Absolutely not. To run a sidework-level legitimate business costs around $1,000-1,500/year for licensing, insurance, accounting, etc. So that is the better options if available. But if you are going to do sidework, make it worth while and charge large.
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Old 06-14-2020, 03:10 PM   #14
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Being in NJ and having a license, but not in Buisiness, meaning no Buisiness permit or insurance, is when you get screwed. Now they have something they can take away, and or fine you. You are actually better off not having a license if you’re not going to get the permit and insurance. I’m not sure what they can do to you without a license.

That kids biggest mistake was doing work for a lawyer. I’m surprised the lawyer even paid him after the job was done. All the lawyer needed to do was ask for a receipt for the work. “No receipt, well then I’ll pay you what I fell like”. “I don’t care what our verbal agreement was”. I learned that lesson long ago. Don’t do work for lawyers. Their whole life revolves around putting the screws to people.

On another note, I got a bunch of work I’m doing for my divorce lawyer. I am going to work off some of the money I owe him. Maybe after that I’ll drop my Buisiness permit and insurance. It’s the first time I used it in two years.
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Old 06-14-2020, 03:21 PM   #15
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Maybe after that I’ll drop my Buisiness permit and insurance. It’s the first time I used it in two years.
The business permit and license fees are $75/year.
General Liability is $600.
If you are an LLC, then the tax return should not cost much extra if you do your own bookkeeping, which I assume you would do if you don't do much business. I pay my accountant $100 (or maybe $150) extra for the LLC.
$50 for the LLC's annual report.
The CEU's vary, but that cost gets split into 3 years.

That's all you need and it's under $1,000. You can make almost double that by doing 1 service upgrade a year. Keep it bro!

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Old 06-14-2020, 05:03 PM   #16
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Old 06-14-2020, 08:10 PM   #17
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FFS , why doesn't anyone call me when these threads pop up?

And is the search button broken again? Someone might want to let the moderators and admin that never visit know.
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Old 06-14-2020, 08:16 PM   #18
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FFS , why doesn't anyone call me when these threads pop up?

And is the search button broken again? Someone might want to let the moderators and admin that never visit know.
I think I reported it.
But, it's not too late for hotdog recipes.
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Old 06-15-2020, 06:27 AM   #19
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Can you be more specific for "Maintenance type work" you are referring to?
I'll give you an example, one of my customers is a real estate company, they own a number of multi-tenant buildings. They have maintenance staff that handle the routine maintenance like replacing light bulbs, (ok LAMPS lamps) as well as shoveling snow, mowing the grass, painting, changing locksets, etc.

But over time the general mechanical aptitude and ability of their crew, well, let's just say it's not what it used to be, as people have retired. They could use someone to repair / replace switches, receptacles, ballasts, etc. (Of course someone that can do small plumbing repairs and HVAC maintenance would be even better.)

He could charge a wage that's a lot lower than contractor rates but a lot higher than he's making at work and it would be beneficial for all parties. This would in my opinion be a better option than uninsured side work.
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Old 06-15-2020, 06:29 AM   #20
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"Its not worth the risk."

That's subjective. I did sidework for over 15 years, the amount of money that I made is immeasurable.

Your story shows an instance that is not only avoidable (don't hang fans from bakelite boxes alone, don't do sidework for lawyers, deny doing the work), but also very unlikely.
This is like saying car insurance is for suckers, lots of people drive uninsured (drunk even) and never have an accident. No harm, no foul, right?
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