Is this reasonable?

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Mannyroad

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Hi,
I'm new on this forum, having only just discovered it and to be honest I've always been somewhat uneasy joining an electrical forum because though I consider myself to be a very competent DIY-er who has, with assistance from a friend who is IEE qualified, carried out electrical work on my home over the years, I've always thought my joining an electricians forum would be frowned upon. Anyway, I've finally done it, in part because I'm in need of unbiased help.

Being retired, I've decided to fit out my own 'man cave' in one of a farmer friend's outbuildings at the back of my house. As it required a new circuit from the distribution board in the outbuilding I engaged a local electrician to carry out the work. The work required the fitting of a new 32A mcb in the distribution board and the supply and install of two surface mounted switched, fused, spur outlets, supplied from the 32A breaker, in parallel obviously. The spur outlets are mounted right alongside the distribution board (short 300mm plastic conduit).
That's it, no more work required.

The electrician's father (retired electrician) came to spec the work, then his son came two weeks later to carry out the install. However, when he arrived he hadn't been told by his father it required two spur outlets, so had to go to his supplier (some 40mins away) to re-stock. He then returned and spent one hour installing.

I've just received his bill and it includes £125 (+VAT) labour, plus materials. I've queried the labour and been told that I have to pay for the time he spent on the day associated with my work. This doesn't seem right to me because surely his labour rates should include his overheads, which includes his costs going to his supplier from time to time to re-stock. I feel I should only be paying for his hour on site plus the 10 min journey each way from his home\workplace. My question is: is my assessment fair?

Unfortunately I failed to get a price up front, so I guess he can charge what he chooses, but I just wondered what a fair labour rate for a self-employed electrician is these days.

I'm not trying to do down electricians or looking to get work on the cheap, just want to be sure the price is reasonable. Your thoughts would be appreciated.
 
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I think you have answered your own question - you failed to get a price before starting

has said spark provided any certificates?
 

Mannyroad

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No certificates. The spurs were to connect two pre-wired infrared heating panels that I was fitting and connecting into the spur outlets. Once done, one heater didn't work. Tested for a supply at the heater - no supply. Checked the fuse - fuse ok. Tested for supply at spur's switched terminals - no supply. Deduced a faulty spur outlet. Electrician came back, tested it and concurred. Swapped it out and all is now well. Thought he might have checked his equipment wasn't faulty.
 

Fleeting

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If you are in England or Wales then that work requires notification under Part P of the Building Regulations and you should have been provided with an Electrical Installation Certificate. Shame you didn't hit on here first to obtain some info before going ahead.
 

Mannyroad

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Yeah, I appreciate that it's part P work, though it's my farmer friend's premises so it's really his problem. I'm just the one picking up the tab as it's for my benefit. Just a bit miffed I've been charged so much for what was at best an hours work for an electrician.
 

Sharpend

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Yeah, I appreciate that it's part P work, though it's my farmer friend's premises so it's really his problem. I'm just the one picking up the tab as it's for my benefit. Just a bit miffed I've been charged so much for what was at best an hours work for an electrician.
More importantly I’d like to know what you think you should have been charged? You clearly have a figure in mind?
 

Fleeting

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What was the total amount and how many hours were they here and there.
 

Lightningmcqueen

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I understand where you’re coming from, van should really be stocked with essentials, but surely you must expect to pay for time on site, travelling (or part of it), trip to wholesalers. Hourly rate wouldn’t include overheads like going to wholesalers, you’d expect to pay his time on site, travel at least one way, and picking up gear (even if it is annoying) If you’d have got an estimate, he would have had to allow for all this in it.
 

Mannyroad

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Frankly, I would expect to pay for his travel time, time on site and materials. He lives local, 10 mins from the job, he was an hour on site fitting the mcb and two surface mounted spurs (I'm sure most of you guys know this barely constitutes an hours work in practice). His old man had been to look at the work previously (normally part of the overhead inclusion) and so the electrician should've had the two spur boxes with him when he came. That's not an unreasonable assumption. Therefore an hour and a half (to include his travel time) at his charge out rate (which includes his overheads) plus his materials is a fair and reasonable assumption. I don't know what the average self-employed charge out rate is, but assume it's around £30-40 per hour, so I wouldn't have expected labour on this small amount of work to have passed £80.
Please remember, I asked for an honest opinion from you guys, I certainly am not criticizing your trade.
 
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Yeah, I appreciate that it's part P work, though it's my farmer friend's premises so it's really his problem. I'm just the one picking up the tab as it's for my benefit. Just a bit miffed I've been charged so much for what was at best an hours work for an electrician.

What makes you think its an hours work?
 

Mannyroad

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Easy, because I'm a very competent handyman and could easily have installed the equipment myself in that time, but wouldn't because its regulated work. I was present while he did it and he certainly wasn't doing the work speedily. So an hour is realistic.
 
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Easy, because I'm a very competent handyman and could easily have installed the equipment myself in that time, but wouldn't because its regulated work. I was present while he did it and he certainly wasn't doing the work speedily. So an hour is realistic.
Well that is where you are wrong... You turn up, have to make sure the existing installation is suitable, install your new bit, then do the testing [no, not making sure it works] and then do the paper work. You will not do that in an hour...

Then you have to provide all your equipment, a van, insurances, scheme membership etc etc,

I think what you were charged was cheap...

Go knock a hole in a pipe and call a plumber and see what bill you get, and after all, cut the pipe and solder in a fitting. Hmmm. 5 minutes?? should only charge £2.50 Go try it..

Out of interest, what do YOU do, and what do YOU charge..

john..
 

Mike.J

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An hour may be realistic at the work site, but is it realistic if you take into account getting tools out of the van transporting them to the work area and packing away everything as well? Oh and one would hope at least one cup of tea. 🤣
 

Fleeting

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Everything is easy in hindsight but you should have asked for an exact quote then there is no argument but you definitely should have some Certification.
 

Mannyroad

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Guys, he took one hour from turning up to leaving. That included ALL his work. Period. So £125 labour doesn't seem cheap really.
A joiner is a trades person too, and they will turn up, van, tools and all and fit a door for £45, which they base on an hour's time. I have a plumber friend who will do a domestic gas inspection for £80, all in, based on an your's time, certificates.
Anyway, I've asked my question and you've all kindly taken the time to respond. Thank you. Enjoy your weekends.
 
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