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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This may be a big shot in the dark but do you think any companies would ever contract out some panel building to someone who would be building panels a home along with working his full time job. And if so would that person building the panels need any type of liscensing?
 

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If you can turn out a quality product using name brand material, I don't see why not. However, you will certainly need to check into liability issues. As for licensing, industrial control panels are outside the purview of any kind of licensing requirement.
 

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If you can turn out a quality product using name brand material, I don't see why not. However, you will certainly need to check into liability issues. As for licensing, industrial control panels are outside the purview of any kind of licensing requirement.
If the states that you want to do business in require NRTL listing of control panels, you will have a hard time finding business. It's not impossible, but your clientele will be limited to people who not only will be foregoing permits and inspections, but also trust you a lot or don't care.

That said, this is the way most panel shops get their start. The trick is, finding that customer base that will trust you first. Then when you pocket some coin, use one of your projects to attain NRTL labeling, ie UL 508A, so you can widen your customer base.
 

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Depends on what you're talking about. Simple things like motor starter cabinets might be reasonably safe, but if you're talking about machinery control, there's a ton of liability in control panel design. If something ever goes wrong, you'd be on he the hook for any equipment damage, product loss, or injuries.
 

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If the states that you want to do business in require NRTL listing of control panels, you will have a hard time finding business. It's not impossible, but your clientele will be limited to people who not only will be foregoing permits and inspections, but also trust you a lot or don't care.

That said, this is the way most panel shops get their start. The trick is, finding that customer base that will trust you first. Then when you pocket some coin, use one of your projects to attain NRTL labeling, ie UL 508A, so you can widen your customer base.
I work for a machine tool builder and it's very rare for the customer to require a listed control panel.
 

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Forty years ago my dad built panels in his home shop & had me building them at age 15. Point to point wiring, Panduit wire management (although it had no fancy name at that time), everything NEMA, etc.

I recently built the panel shown below. Point to point wiring, Panduct instead of Panduit, everything IEC. Smaller components, ferrules at each wire termination, not a great deal of difference.

After building a handful of panels this particular customer wanted me to add his company to my liability insurance as an "additional insured" - but he didn't want to pay the extra premium. We parted ways at that time but there were no hard feelings so he might be back. Watch out about the additional insured rider as than can expose you to huge risk & my agent is dead set against it.

You can make decent money doing this as long as you bid the job carefully.

 

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If I didn't add just about every major company to my additional insureds I would only be working service. It is just about standard in the industry.
You may want to look into an insurance guy that does a little more commercial.
 

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... You may want to look into an insurance guy that does a little more commercial.
It took two months of searching to find my current commercial agent. Seems like around here every agent with a business card thinks that he or she fits the definition - and may 5% really do. So far he's convinced underwriting to go along with every request I've made & some were a good stretch. The request for adding additional insureds have so far been awfully expensive & the customer will pay the cost in some form.

I'm currently doing power factor & harmonics testing for a mid sized company, either 240 or 480 on energized panels. One of their other contractors (not an electrician nor a qualified person as defined by 70E) managed to arc flash a 240v 600A fused disconnect - no PPE except voltage gloves. After that the company asked me to add them as an AI but the cost was prohibitive. They still have me testing, only because they can't find anyone else who'll add them as an AI.

That's been my experience each time. I don't want to assume any more risk than I already take.

If I didn't add just about every major company to my additional insureds I would only be working service.
It's interesting that a huge multi national company (Canadian National Rail Road, net income over $2 billion annally) wanted to be added as an AI (my net income slightly less than theirs). Same thing, cost prohibitive, still got the job. I'm sure it's different everywhere in the country.
 

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I work for a machine tool builder and it's very rare for the customer to require a listed control panel.
That's why I qualified it by saying "if the state you want to do business in requires...". The machine tools for which you build panels, if installed anywhere west of the Rockies where inspected by an AHJ on installation, would be red tagged. But that is not true of all states, and some industrial installations that have their own engineering staff and a qualified safety program are allowed to do work in-house without having to pull a permit and get inspected. But even among them, many industrial fire insurance policies require NRTL listing of equipment, although many people who have that requirement are unaware of it until the insurer denies a claim because of not having it.

Like I said it is not absolutely necessary and most panel builders start out that way, I did and I have a friend doing it right now here in California where they are very tough on UL listing of panels. I'm just saying that eventually it can become a hindrance to growth of your business. My buddy is a one man shop and at age 52, is trying to transition his business away from electrical contracting and into panel building full time. He has had a nice stable business of building panels for a few people who dont need or care about NRTL listing, but not having it is preventing him from growing that business to where he can stop pulling wire and bending conduit to maintain his income.
 

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I had my panel shop in my basement, and that did not mater to my customers. I did the whole job design, build, program, install and startup.
My customers were very large companies and were self insured so they did not care about liability issues’. Just had to have my 2 mil general policy, but that was 15 years ago. I went back to maintenance because of having to work alone in the basement, it's not as great as it sounds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I was actually thinking of actual panel shops that were to busy and could sub contract out some work and send the prints and all of the parts to me, and I would assemble in the evenings and on weekends when I didn't have to work at my day job. does that sound feasible or is it just a dream
 

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I was actually thinking of actual panel shops that were to busy and could sub contract out some work and send the prints and all of the parts to me, and I would assemble in the evenings and on weekends when I didn't have to work at my day job. does that sound feasible or is it just a dream
I don't think our panel shops would entertain that kind of a plan, as it is a huge risk of their certification if it is built wrong and fails an inspection, or fails a field QA.. Just my thoughts...
 

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if you have the tools in the talent why not give it a try!
:thumbsup:
 

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generally most panels are built after engineers set specification for them
but this is for major control systems.
designing smaller control cabinets is fine but needs to meet the approval of the site engineer before it can be implemented.

a generic design for a control panel can easily be modified to specific tasks
actual layout of the panel tends to be Dependant on
environmental conditions, ease of access and location
factor in lighting, documentation, and certification of the design.
 

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I build them at home cause I'm too lazy to go to my own shop. :laughing:
 

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This may be a big shot in the dark but do you think any companies would ever contract out some panel building to someone who would be building panels a home along with working his full time job. And if so would that person building the panels need any type of liscensing?
You should always check what approvals or certifications that are required. However some people do assemble at home for larger operations that prefer to farm out the control units. Some controls units are shipped overseas and have no requirements to meet. Sometimes the certifications and approvals of the components suffice.
Low voltage and low amperage controls units may have other situations.
I bought a CD player from a major chain department store and there was no UL at all on the device, the cord or even the carton.

So if you find the right nitch and end user you may be fine.
If you would like more info, I could show you a few ideas.
Dave
 

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Important part of competing for panel wiring jobs is a cost of materials.
A big outfit gets their material at lot lower price. They also use cheap labor.
I used to work for a panel shop, and we were constantly held back by
backordered materials. To go into business, one needs a lots of basic material.
 

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Insurance

i know this is an old thread but my question is. Is anybody doing this that is reading this and if so who is your insurance company that is providing you with general liability asking for a friend
 

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i know this is an old thread but my question is. Is anybody doing this that is reading this and if so who is your insurance company that is providing you with general liability asking for a friend
Any insurance company will sell you a policy.
Some are just better at the fine print exclusions.


Insurance companies are like Las Vagas,
They weren’t built by paying out.
 
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