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Did my electrician screw me?
Posted by: Stavs
Date: April 17, 2006 04:10PM
Here's the story. I needed to have some electrical work done on my home. I had 100 amp service which I needed to upgrade to 200amp. I have a customer of mine who is an electrician. I figured I would throw him some business and have him do the work. References checked (like he'd give me bad ones anyway) and we settled on a price. He was to install the 200 amp service and panel, install an auto flood in front of the garage, hook up two flooda over the deck and do the accompanying wiring for the switch on the inside. 2 weeks ago or so he came on a Sunday and did the 200 amp service. The panel is in and everything is good. He had all the lighting fixtures with him (which he left) and we said we'd do the rest in a week. A week later he said he would be out the following Monday. He didnt show, and I have been trying to get in touch with him for a week, but he hasnt answered any of my calls. I have tried calling every day, but I just get voicemail. We agreed on a 50% deposit, then 25% after the service was installed with the final 25% being paid when the job was done. What do you guys think? It will probably cost me that last 25% (or a bit more) to have someone finish the work...I have all the fixtures here that he left. Should I find someone else, or hold out in hopes that he had a major emergency that kept him from calling me back. I like to have faith in people, but I'm getting a bit concerned.

Thanks,

Stavs
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Re: Did my electrician screw me?
Posted by: Gutenberg
Date: April 17, 2006 04:21PM
Lots of things can happen. He might be working on a big job at the moment, or he might be ill. Keep trying. My experience with changing electricians in the middle of a job is that the next guy comes in, pronounces the work done so far inadequate and starts over again. It's a territorial thing.
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Re: Did my electrician screw me?
Posted by: Stavs
Date: April 17, 2006 04:23PM
He could surely return a phone call. He had no problem getting to the bank to cash my check. I dont care if he puts me as a low priority, I just need communication. Being busy on a large job is no reason to not call back a customer. If I ran my business that way I'd be out of business pretty quick.

Stavs
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Re: Did my electrician screw me?
Posted by: iaJim
Date: April 17, 2006 04:24PM
I'd have to think that there was another way of contacting him. How does he contact you when he is your customer? Can you go to his place of business? Does he have a storefront?

You can't possibly come out better by having someone else finish the job. He's your best hope. Good luck.
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Re: Did my electrician screw me?
Posted by: Gutenberg
Date: April 17, 2006 04:24PM
Contractors are different animals, Stavs, and independent contractors are entirely different. Maybe they return the call or maybe they go out for a beer. It's one of the reasons that there are so many contractors living hand to mouth.

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Re: Did my electrician screw me?
Posted by: Stavs
Date: April 17, 2006 04:27PM
Its just a bit frustrating. Unfrotunately I only have his cell number as the way to contact him. Most contractors these days seem to only operate with a cell.

Stavs
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Re: Did my electrician screw me?
Posted by: MacArtist
Date: April 17, 2006 04:42PM
Squeeky wheel gets the grease, Stavs.

If the guy is busy, he is juggling several jobs at one time. He may or may not be the greatest at prioritizing.

Get him to give you an estimate of time of completion and try your best to get him to stick to it. If he still blows you off, call and remind him until he is sick of hearing from you and hopefully then he will finish what he committed to.

In the perfect world, everything would work out fine. It is possible that you may end up losing him as a customer over this project.



I sit on a man’s back, choking him and making
him carry me, and yet assure myself and others
that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his
lot by all possible means — except by getting off
his back. - Leo Tolstoy, novelist and Philosopher
(1828-1910)

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Re: Did my electrician screw me?
Posted by: $tevie
Date: April 17, 2006 05:08PM
Unfortunately this is a classic problem with contractors. He probably got a chance to do a quick, high-paying job and figured to get it out of the way and return to your job before it became an issue. Either he has an exaggerated idea of how long you wouldn't mind waiting, or the side job is taking longer than he thought it would. God forbid these guys would call and explain what's going on, but so many of them don't.

I think Gutenberg is right about changing electricians. There is a real good chance the new one is going to tell you that everything done so far is wrong and he needs to start from scratch.
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Re: Did my electrician screw me?
Posted by: modelamac
Date: April 17, 2006 05:11PM
Sorry to say so, but he fits the bill of a typical electrician. In my experience, they seem to be the worst of the tradesmen at finishing a rehab/remodeling type job.

I think they more often than not end up accepting more work than they can handle based on required/requested completion dates, and those that have no fixed/predetermined finish date get pushed off, without getting the customer's okay.

They must be able to get away with it. My customers tell me similar stories about several different companies in this area.



Ed (modelamac)

I think I will just put an OUT OF ORDER
sticker on my head and call it a day.
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Re: Did my electrician screw me?
Posted by: Mike Johnson
Date: April 17, 2006 05:26PM
No. It's pretty much par for the course. The only way an independent electrician can make a living is by juggling several jobs at once when business is good, and prioritizing. You're not high priority.

If you want him to hurry up and finish your job, let him know you're waiting but don't get on his back. It's human nature to avoid conflicts, and if he thinks you're going to give him a hard time when he comes to your house, he'll put it off. My advice would be to call him and leave a message saying, "Hi, it's Stavs. Look, I was all upset when I didn't hear back from you, but I asked around and everybody told me that it's how contract work gets done. I'm cool with that. I'm sure you've got lots of jobs keeping you busy, and I appreciate you took me on in the first place, and I look forward to getting my work done and paying you wahat we agreed on."

See, two things will motivate him to do the work: "I wish this guy would get off my back already!" and "I like this guy and want to make him happy." The second way actually works better than the first.
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Re: Did my electrician screw me?
Posted by: $tevie
Date: April 17, 2006 05:27PM
As for your subject heading, it reminded me of an electrician I knew who had a woman offer to pay him with sex instead of money. So for a minute there I thought perhaps this was going to be an X-rated topic. grinning smiley



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/17/2006 05:28PM by $tevie.
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Re: Did my electrician screw me?
Posted by: Jack D.
Date: April 17, 2006 06:07PM
I would guess that he has gone to the same place as the sock that never came out of the dryer but you know went in. I once had a plumber that promised to fix my heat but left me with no gas heat for several days AND over Thanksgiving and then threatened me for calling him at TG dinner!!





- Jack D.




New tasteless sig coming soon!
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Re: Did my electrician screw me?
Posted by: Plumbking
Date: April 17, 2006 06:31PM
You get what you pay for. Your electrician in not a professional. I like M J's advice. But consider this, changing the panel was the most important and hardest part. That is done and paid for with no problems. Lights can be done anytime. Just wait it out. When the lights eventually get done tell him to bill you and take just as long to settle up. Good Luck.
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Re: Did my electrician screw me?
Posted by: d0e
Date: April 17, 2006 07:00PM
leave a voice mail stating he can get this done asap, give you a call or refund the difference if not you will see him in small claims court. this should be good enough for a returned phone call at the least
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Re: Did my electrician screw me?
Posted by: wurm
Date: April 17, 2006 07:35PM
$tevie Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> As for your subject heading, it reminded me of an
> electrician I knew who had a woman offer to pay
> him with sex instead of money. So for a minute
> there I thought perhaps this was going to be an
> X-rated topic.
>

I'd be willing to bet that electrician showed up on a regular basis to finish the job...or to keep it going.
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Re: Did my electrician screw me?
Posted by: davester
Date: April 17, 2006 07:42PM
Delaying a job is excusable. Not calling back or letting you know the schedule change is not. I'd move on if I were you. I've had the same experience with contractors before and have found it utterly impossible to work with contractors who don't communicate. There are enough electricians out there who will communicate that it is not worth dealing with the others. Give him notice that you will fire him if he doesn't get back to you, then do it is my advice.



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: Did my electrician screw me?
Posted by: Stavs
Date: April 17, 2006 08:12PM
I've been very courteous and polite with him. When I call I dont yell or show any signs of being upset whatsoever. Typical message is "Hey Scott, its stavs. Just wanted to see when we could get this work buttoned up. The deck guy installed the new door, so I was hoping we could get the interior work done while the wall is open. Give me a call when you get a chance." There is no anger in my voice whatsoever. I just want a call back to know whats going on...I dont want/need all the work to be done right away, but its easier on everyone if he were to come reconnect the electricity where the door was installed and installed the exterior light switch while the wall was wide open. I can understand bigger jobs coming and me not being a priority...just a phone call is all I need to keep me at bay, instead of leaving me thinking he ran off with my money.

Stavs
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Re: Did my electrician screw me?
Posted by: Carthaigh
Date: April 17, 2006 08:56PM
You definitely got screwed. You will never see him again. Lesson learned.



This message has been brought to you by the Threadkiller™
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Re: Did my electrician screw me?
Posted by: h'
Date: April 17, 2006 09:41PM
d0e Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> leave a voice mail stating he can get this done
> asap, give you a call or refund the difference if
> not you will see him in small claims court. this
> should be good enough for a returned phone call at
> the least


Yes, this is exactly the approach he should take with his CUSTOMER.



I suffer from the same sensitivity that you do. A few nuggets of wisdom were shared with me and I'm "trying" to incorporate them into my life. First, remember that nobody can hurt your feelings unless you let them. You can always reject what is being forced on you emotionally.
Second, nothing changes unless you change it. If you don't want the behavior to be repeated then you need to take action. Otherwise the kid has learned that his behavior is the way to get things done, because everyone lets him get away with it.
In the meantime I sympathize because I've been there.
-beerman
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Re: Did my electrician screw me?
Posted by: Racer X
Date: April 18, 2006 01:51AM
Gutenberg Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Lots of things can happen. He might be working on
> a big job at the moment, or he might be ill. Keep
> trying. My experience with changing electricians
> in the middle of a job is that the next guy comes
> in, pronounces the work done so far inadequate and
> starts over again. It's a territorial thing.


Actually, it is a legal thing. The last guy to touch it becomes legally liable if there is a problem.
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Re: Did my electrician screw me?
Posted by: SteveJobs
Date: April 18, 2006 06:58AM
Call his referrals and tell them about this and ask if they know how to get in touch with him. (Since they are apparantly his FAMILY)



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