What should the customer know about your pricing (e.g., discounts, fees)?
This is a great field to present to potential clients. So many post a job that contains next to no detail that we are forced to develop a somewhat complex pricing scheme. At the same time, most people would never expect their employer to ask them to come and work for free, but there is often an expectation a service person will come out for free to look at a small job.
If a job is large, or is right next door, looking at it at no cost to the potential client may be feasible. Otherwise, it is necessary for us to recover the costs associated with getting up, starting vehicles, driving, reviewing and helping to define needs, and then giving an estimated cost to perform the work. Given this typical venue, we charge for initial site visits a flat rate of $250 for a maximum 1.5 hours on site.
The result of the visit will minimally provide you with a complete written scope of work that you may use to solicit other bids, if you feel the need.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I am a certified Washington State electrical administrator as well as a California licensed electrical contractor. As an administrator I am required to take continuing education classes to maintain certification. The state of California only mandates classes for certified electricians, so an electrical contractor does NOT have to take classes and you will find that most do not.
I take classes to keep up with the latest electrical code changes and safety issues, as well as classes to keep up with controls and integration protocols, and though I already have a college degree I take general classes at a local community college,
What types of customers have you worked with?
Complete CAD drawings, full load calculations, design and installation from simple to complex. Following up with any maintenance or repair needs, if they arise.
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
I designed and installed a landscape lighting control scheme using Savant Systems, spanning three properties in Atherton. I built three custom enclosures for remote modules and allowed for control over the internet via an IPAD/IPOD application. The clients are very happy and the controls work GREAT!! Yes, we also incorporated hardwired controls in the event of the internet access being down.
The Savant System lighting control may easily be incorporated into a whole-home control because Savant Systems can interface with Audio/video/HVAC/security and pretty much anything you would like to control via a singular user interface.
If you have a need, a desire, or just want to learn more about it, give me a call or shoot me an email!
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
Ask your friends who they have used and REALLY liked. Do not take client contacts from those you are requesting work of, they will only provide you with names of clients whose jobs happened to work out well. OR, get a list of several of their clients and then blind contact a few. Also, look at how long they have been in business. After over 30 years, I could never have raised a family if I was doing things wrong, nor would I be working for the clients I now work for.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
That I love what I do. If I cannot do it right, I would rather not do it. I have been called to many homes/businesses after someone else has done an installation or a repair only to find that not only was it a poor job, but that it also violated the NEC, making the installation unsafe for both the property and the users.