Monday, September 17, 2012

Electrician or Extortionist?

There are a couple of ugly light fixtures in my house that I want to replace.  For example, the gold UFO-like ceiling fan in the dining room:

There are a few other electrical tasks that need to be done.  For example, the hallway light switch is right next to the switch for the extremely loud jet engine whole-house fan in the attic. I only had to give myself one middle-of-the-night heart attack before I put on a cover to keep from accidentally hitting the fan switch again. :P I would prefer to not even have the switch.

Replacing light fixtures and switches is not hard. I've done it myself. But because I need an electrician for some of the tasks, I decided to get estimates on all the work.  I called in two companies for estimates. To protect the guilty, I've marked out the company names.
Company A
Company B
When I received the estimate from Company A, I was shocked (no pun intended). The prices are absurd. It's not an estimate, it's an extortion notice. :P

For example, replacing the ceiling fan -- $373.54 (about €284). Three hundred seventy-three dollars! :o To replace a ceiling fan! A ceiling fan that I will provide!

In contrast, Company B's price is reasonable -- $145.

How about replacing the vanity fixture in the bathroom? Company A -- $201.29.
Company B -- a very fair $55.

And the hallway switches? Company A -- $152.79.  $152 for a task that would take maybe 15 minutes?!

Company B -- $25.

Best of all, the bathroom fan/light. Now, I realize that Company A's price includes the fan/light, but even a premium fan/light (like the ones I previously posted about) costs less than $150. So that's about $600 for installation. When the electrical and venting is already in place! Or for the bargain price of $657.80, I can get a fan (no light) that's a "little noisey." Seriously!?

Company B -- $45.

Company B will be getting my business. Their prices are very reasonable, and I was impressed with the professionalism of their electrician. He treated me like an intelligent life form, something that not all contractors do with women.  He was very respectful of my house; he even put protective booties over his shoes before he came in. (Unlike the guy from Company A, who used my bathroom!)

But in all fairness to Company A, let me just point out that one thing on their estimate is exactly right:


  1. Shows how important it is to shop around to make sure people aren't ripping you off! good job!

    1. Absolutely! I say always, always get at least two bids!

  2. That is a stark difference in price. Ouch!
    I wonder how they justify that...

    1. Indeed. I also wonder who in their right mind would pay those prices.

  3. Haha, I love the 'crazy' part at the end :P
    Company B sounds waaaay better

    1. It is too funny that they put "crazy" on their own estimate. :)