Contractor Talk - Professional Construction and Remodeling Forum banner
1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Service & Repairs
Joined
·
4,001 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I just got back from meeting with a potential GC who had contacted me through my listing at Bid Clerk. First off, he was 10 minutes late to our 9AM meeting at his office. He had called to get a bid on a single-family conversion to a 2-family home and need a price for the electrical. I ask about the previous electrician he used and he hands me their business card.

"Strange that the electrician didn't list his license number on his card. By law in NJ it has to be on any piece of advertisement or associated business papers," I tell him.

I looked at the plans, asked specific questions, so on and so forth. He tells me the floors are finished and next up he needs to get the electrical done. Huh?

We are talking a house built approx 80 years ago and as most of you know that means plaster and lathe and generally a whole lot of mess. It makes zero sense to finish the floors before the plumber, painter, and electricians have done what they need to do. Do you agree?

Next, he tells me about a project he has going on in a town near by that he needs an electrician to give him a price. Ok. We drive there and I follow him in my van. When we get there, there is some framing done but the foundation hasn't been poured yet. Ok.

I look at the prints and get a general idea of what's happening here. Basically the plans call to knock down a garage space and expand the kitchen space. There aren't too many details as far as appliances go and already the homeowner is quick to make changes here and there to the lighting and receptacles. Then I have a look at the main panel and it is buried behind a boiler with practically no room to ever work inside the panel if need be. Then the HO "tells me" that he wants a 50 amp sub panel installed and to use this old 220 line to do it. This frustrates me because A) this my license on the line, and B) 50 amps is probably not enough for the kitchen he is proposing.

Then I offer to install a 20 circuit sub panel, 60 amp OCPD, and he tells me, "why so big? Why not a 6 or 8 circuit panel?" :rolleyes:

I tell him about planning for the future and that I am the EC on this job and that I will not be cutting any corners based on price or any other circumstance to jeopardize my electrical license.

I said it as nicely as I could but it was not something he seemed to like very much.

I ask about the new garage that was built and who did the electrical. EMS he tells me, the same guys from before without the license number. It definitely showed that whoever wired the garage didn't know what the heck they were doing. You can just flat out tell just by looking. At least I can anyway.

Then, before I leave, I tell this GC to make sure he installs a UFER connection to the rebar because the inspectors going to want to see that for the electrical inspection.

He says, "what is a UFER and how do go about installing it?"

I look at him and tell him you've got to be kidding me. You are a general contractor and you do not know about building an addition and installing a UFER?

I tell him nice to meet you and that I'll back to you with prices on both jobs later next week.

My gut feeling is that this GC is not a good match for my new business based on the few things we spoke about this morning.

What do you think? Is my guy right? It's telling me to run, run, run away.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
178 Posts
I look at him and tell him you've got to be kidding me. You are a general contractor and you do not know about building an addition and installing a UFER?

I tell him nice to meet you and that I'll back to you with prices on both jobs later next week.

My gut feeling is that this GC is not a good match for my new business based on the few things we spoke about this morning.

What do you think? Is my guy right? It's telling me to run, run, run away.
How many red flags does it take for you to get the message from your gut to your brain? :blink:
 

·
KemoSabe
Joined
·
14,233 Posts
Tough call there. He may have gained a great deal of respect for you and your knowledge. Bid the job to do it correctly and see what happens. It may be a problem if your name gets associated with the work that is already done though.
Might be a go with your gut scenario.:thumbsup:
 
  • Like
Reactions: Wolfgang

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,431 Posts
Bid it for waht needs to be done up to code, profit etc... let hime worry whether or not he knows waht he is doing. BTW too many red flags for me to not get the triple price.
 

·
Fisherman
Joined
·
71 Posts
I think one of the hardest things I had to learn was when to walk away from a potential job, this has all of the signs.
 

·
Project Manager
Joined
·
2,642 Posts
Mag -

Though I do agree about red flags and gut instinct, what do you have to lose with giving this guy a bid? Like others said, don't invest a whole lot of time in it, hell, even bid high.

He may respect your professionalism and knowledge enough to hire you.

If not, at least you had some practice bidding! :laughing:
 

·
Capra Aegagrus
Remodeler
Joined
·
25,222 Posts
My gut feeling is that this GC is not a good match for my new business based on the few things we spoke about this morning.
How busy are you? I will almost never walk away without quoting some sort of a price. The higher the PITA expectancy, the higher the price.

The couple of times I've declined to do that, it was because I barely resisted punching the guy in the face during the initial contact. :no:
 

·
Service & Repairs
Joined
·
4,001 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
My gut is telling me to walk away. However, first I'd like to give the electrical inspector a call to hopefully get the low down on exactly what has taken place thus far. This way at least he knows a professional has taken over and assumed the responsibility, or is at the very least considering taking over. This job has all the signs of change orders and disputes for getting paid later on. I'm in no position financially to get burned, but then again who ever is?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
538 Posts
like some said, theres no harm in giving him a bid. he seems to respect your opinion, that could work very much in your favor. especially if he's willing to pay your price.
 

·
Service & Repairs
Joined
·
4,001 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The UFER is the #4 copper wire attached to the rebar inside the footing. It is used and required as a grounding electrode for an electrical system.

Ufer is the gentlemen's name who came up with the concept. It is sometimes referred to as a concrete-encased electrode.

It must always be left long enough to reach the main disconnect (no sub panels), of the electrical system.


picture-concrete_encased_electrode
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,462 Posts
My gut is telling me to walk away. However, first I'd like to give the electrical inspector a call to hopefully get the low down on exactly what has taken place thus far. This way at least he knows a professional has taken over and assumed the responsibility, or is at the very least considering taking over. This job has all the signs of change orders and disputes for getting paid later on. I'm in no position financially to get burned, but then again who ever is?

I would have to say go with your gut. Way too many red flags:thumbdown:thumbdown
 

·
Service & Repairs
Joined
·
4,001 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Too many red flags... I agree.

Done deal, I prefer working directly for HO's anyway. Getting paid after a day or two of work at someone's home is really the best option.

Thanks for all the input and advice. :thumbsup:
 

·
Service & Repairs
Joined
·
4,001 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
How busy are you? I will almost never walk away without quoting some sort of a price. The higher the PITA expectancy, the higher the price.

The couple of times I've declined to do that, it was because I barely resisted punching the guy in the face during the initial contact. :no:
Not very busy at all, but I'm learning that that changes in a heartbeat in this business. I'm declining to work for this guy so as to not associate my name with his. I've worked very hard to get to where I am at now and I don't want to ruin my name because I'm a little slow at the moment. Maybe in a year or two after I'm more established I'll be able to take your advice and shoot a high number and deal with it, but nows not the time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
416 Posts
The UFER is the #4 copper wire attached to the rebar inside the footing. It is used and required as a grounding electrode for an electrical system.

Ufer is the gentlemen's name who came up with the concept. It is sometimes referred to as a concrete-encased electrode.

It must always be left long enough to reach the main disconnect (no sub panels), of the electrical system.


picture-concrete_encased_electrode
Even though we do this on every job I would have said "WTF is UFER?" I had no idea that was the name for it. You learn something new everyday.
 

·
Service & Repairs
Joined
·
4,001 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Even though we do this on every job I would have said "WTF is UFER?" I had no idea that was the name for it. You learn something new everyday.
So you agree then that a licensed contractor should know that one has to be made up for an addition/ concrete foundation pour. Right?

This guy had no idea what I was talking about.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
212 Posts
It is hard to walk away from work when things are slow. But if you are going to be wasting valuable time dealing with a pita, your time would be better spend finding a better customer.

Move on.

Mark
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top