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I am a small Electrical Contractor in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with a crew of four including myself. For bigger jobs I invite fellow ECs or sub-contract out.
95% of my work is residential and commercial electrical renovation and troubleshooting. I drive on average 40 minutes one way to a work site and 40 minutes back. And an average job takes about three hours to complete.
I always charge a $160 service call fee, which includes first hour or less of work. $160 is a minimum amount. And I charge $32.50 every half an hour or fraction thereof after the first hour for labor. Plus I charge double for materials and inspection. (I have increased my rates as of May 2011. Why? See comments)
In downtown Toronto I charge even more. Because driving around, looking for a parking spot and then running back and forth with toolboxes, wires, ladders, etc. is hard, stressful and wasteful.
And I never go for free estimates if the expected price of the job is below $2000. And I think it is fair not to waste time on small job estimates. Especially taking into account that some customers invite more than five Electrical Contractors, or electricians who are not ECs and even handymen to quote. Together those estimators waste 10 - 20 hrs giving quotes for a $400 job. And sometimes you can do ten estimates, spend two whole days and get no jobs. Hourly rate is a life saver for small jobs or when the exact scope of the work is not known. So I offer customers my hourly rate for short jobs and never go for free estimates.
I decided to ask other Electrical Contractors doing residential renovation electrical work and troubleshooting in Toronto & the GTA what their hourly rate is.
Let us discuss fair rates for both the Electrical Contractors and fair prices to our customers.
Do you think $160 first hour fee is too low, right, or too high?
Do you think my $65 hourly rate is about right?
Do you do free estimates?
Do you spend or waste too much time on free estimates?
What is your service call fee and your hourly rate?
Can you compete against handymen doing illegal electrical work? And what should be done about that?
We all know that big EC firms charge their commercial and industrial customers from $60/hr to $100/hr. Why so many of us, residential Electrical Contractors charge so much less?
I know some small ECs charge their customers from $25/hr to $35/hr. I think it's a shame and discreditation of our occupation! Do you agree?
When I began working for myself, I also charged $30/hr. When in few days there was too much work, I raised the rates to $35/hr. It did not help. And in a week I charged $40/hr, then $45, then $50/hr. Then I started to charge a services call fee.
Amazingly, no matter what the rates were, most callers eventually became my customers! It is the case up to this day!
Wouldn't it be worthwhile for all Electrical Contractors in Toronto to charge fair rates close to the average rates in the electrical industry? Would you like to charge fair rates yourself? Would you like to discuss it here?
Below is some data posted on average wages, rates, salaries, etc.
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What should be the average pay for an Electrical Contractor or electrician?
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What is the right Electrical Contractor's or Electrician's hourly rate in Toronto, Ontario or in other provinces in Canada?
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Stats on average wages & Hourly Rates in Canada for an Electrician
Keep in mind - the following are electricians' wages or rates that an Electrical Contractor pays to his electricians/employees. Obviously, ECs charge their customers much more than the rates below.
According to The Electrical Contractors Association of Ontario http://www.ecao.org/Faq.asp?categoryId=8#49 a unionized first year apprentice electrician wage package in Ontario (effective May 1, 2008-April 30, 2009) ranges from $19.70 to $24.81 per hour depending on the local union jurisdiction.
A unionized journeyman electrician wage package in Ontario (effective May 1, 2008-April 30, 2009) ranges from $49.93 to $51.89 per hour depending on the local union jurisdiction. Last Updated: 1-12-2009
According to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada electricians working on the federal government construction contract must be paid a regular hourly wage rate no less than $35.19 as of August 15, 2011 (an increase of almost $5/hr over the last five years)
Check out Median Hourly Rate by Years Experience for Electrician Journeyman in Canada and Median Hourly Rate by City for Electrician Journeyman in Canada. As per this National Data, Electrician Journeyman Total Pay is up to $91,000 a year! as of Nov 10 2012 (which is slightly down from $95,478 a year earlier)
Where the "Total Pay" combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare)
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