Does this seem expensive? San Francisco house-call

9 Replies

Hello everyone,

I received an invoice from a general contractor here in San Francisco, California for $267.25. It is broken down to $135 for "Service Call" with a $50 discount applied, and $202.25 for "Electrical" with the description "Troubleshoot and identify electrical issue(s). Replace 3 breakers in main panel," with a $20.25 discount applied. I paid ~$16 for the circuit breakers at a local hardware store once the issue was diagnosed. The whole process took maybe ~30mins once the electrician was on site.

For some added context, I have worked the contractor and his team over the past four years. They remodeled a bathroom and installed recessed lighting in my kitchen, and I was satisfied with the work. I was hoping to utilize his services moving forward as I will be renting out the condo, and have him be my "go-to" while I live out of state for a year. I do trust him and his integrity.

I'd expressed to him that I was interested in using his company for service-calls while I'm renting the condo from out of state. I was (maybe not so) secretly using this opportunity to evaluate his ability to respond quickly and send someone over for an issue. He, the contractor, worked quickly, lining up an electrician within 24 hours. However, when the electrician got here, he spoke little English which complicated the troubleshooting process. I had to suggest cranking all the appliances to full blast, after which he was able to see the light flickering I'd been experiencing and diagnose the issue.

My questions for the BP community:

1) Does this sound low, normal or high in cost? I know San Francisco is a very HCOL area, but these prices were a bit of a shock to me.

2) Since I have a good working relationship with this gentleman, do you think it would it be a good plan to make him my "go-to" in the future when I am renting the unit?

3) Do any of you know good "go-to" contractors in the SF, CA area whom you might recommend for service calls of this type moving forward when things go wrong for my renter?

Thank you all for your time.

Jon

That doesn't sound that bad.  The GC has to mark up the invoice he got from the electrician. I'm sure it was somewhere in the range of $75-100 mark-up.  It's the price you pay for only having to make one call for everything that may need done.  More discounts would of probably been given if you use him on a regular basis, not just a couple times like you stated.

@Gary Siver :

That's a good point regarding only making one call, I suppose things would have been less expensive calling an electrician directly. Thank you for your response.

What sounds expensive to me is using a GC for house calls! Jk

I don’t know. If you trust him and he got it done... and like you said the whole thing was done through a GC. I guess it depends how often you have issues and what not.

What did the GC say when you talked to him about them taking care of things when your out of state? Possibly he is testing you too!

Originally posted by @Patrick Squires :

What sounds expensive to me is using a GC for house calls! Jk

I don’t know. If you trust him and he got it done... and like you said the whole thing was done through a GC. I guess it depends how often you have issues and what not.

What did the GC say when you talked to him about them taking care of things when your out of state? Possibly he is testing you too!

This is actually a great point, and has made me reconsider my knee-jerk reaction to the sky-high price. I didn't consider all the value I was potentially getting, and what that may be worth to me. Thanks for your response.

That is cheap. For god's sake.

@Jonathan Kretschmer It is not the time on site that matters on service calls. All my service calls on my trade guys are $40-50/hr with 4 hr minimum. This GC is too cheap, he will not be in business for long. Look at what he did:
Took your call
Spend couple hours to call their go to persons or leave a message, since you’re not a trade guy, he has to be a mind reader to know what you want
Take time to communicate to them what you need
Contact his trade person the day before he goes to you
Checks his trade person what you need and makes sure he will do it right and you will be satisfied
Writes up and invoice
Sends the invoice to you
Receives your check
Issues a check to his trades person
Pays his taxes.
To me that’s at least $800. Sometimes material costs are negligible, but knowledge is important, took them months or years to obtain it, if you know how to do it or what’s wrong, you wouldn’t be calling anyone else. I mean, would you be ok if your boss undertimes you on your paycheck for 1 hr a day when he wants you to pick up a fresh coffee before you clock in and give it to him at 9am?

Thanks for your feedback, Manolo. It was not my intention to suggest that contractors should not be paid justly for their time. I was simply looking for some perspecitve from people who have more experience. Your breakdown of time spent was helpful. Also, for what it is worth, this GC has been in business for many years in this community.

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