Plumbers and Electricians

31 Aug

Years ago I had a college friend, John who went on to med school as a path to a career in medical research. His father had said at the time that John could do that because the father was an electrician and could afford to send him without student loans. His father was saddened, however, because John would never make as much to be able to do the same for his own son. At the time, we all laughed. Now I am reasonably sure that statement is true.

We have tried hard to get bids on the replacement of our plumbing and electrical systems. Both systems are a mixture of poorly done remodel and original from 1932 so the replacement is important. Of the 12 electricians I have called, we have talked to 6. For the other 5, I have left voicemail messages but have not received a call back after 2 calls. Of the 6, 3 were too busy to give me a bid. They may be available in 3 – 4 months but would not book work out that far. We have received one bid which is 2 X what the general estimate on site had been. That bid did not include the address, date and only a general description of the work to be done with a price. The price does not indicate if that includes any taxes. It would have fit on a business card which is what we received for bids on roof and foundation from most of the contractor’s we talked to last year.

After talking with the few, I have learned a great deal about business in Texas (at least for plumbers and electricians) as well as about the differences in post and beam and perimeter foundation besides the type of support involved. Post and beam is considered a wet, outside environment rather than an inside environment like a crawl space. The skirting around the base of the house is to reduce animal traffic and provide some wind protection. This is why all of the electrical work is run through the attic including outlets that are 15 inches from the floor. I have to rethink how we are going to proceed with our project and reconsider how many new outlets I actually need.

Ok I’ll say it – I now have a reason to miss the house in WA.

2 Responses to “Plumbers and Electricians”

  1. Nancy August 31, 2012 at 10:54 AM #

    Ha! At least you had twelve to call. Up here in the back woods, we have one. And they are an hour and a half away. The rough in–new construction–for the 26 x 36 garage/workshop including travel is $5600. No, no typo there. Only neuro surgeons make more than electricians. At least the plumber cut his bill from the estimate after he got to our place and remembered doing work on the cabin, and that he liked us–and we help him work.


    As my brother the doctor (medical) says, “Why did we go to college?”

    • compterteach August 31, 2012 at 12:44 PM #

      You win this round. We have found the electrician at the same estimate as yours. This one will use materials we already have if possible as well as having us go with them to make the material purchase – no mark up. Two men for $70/ hr! Most of the wiring must go through the attic area – the crawl space is considered outside and must have conduit and sealed junction boxes. At least we can work in stages and do the switch from old to new when we are ready. And we can help as much as possible to keep the estimate of 70 hours down. Lucked out.

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