"Solving home & business problems properly"

FAQs — Frequently Asked Questions

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What are your most common types of jobs?

What advice do you have for potential clients looking to hire a provider like you?   go to top
Be clear about what you expect and what you're unsure of.  Be willing to brainstorm options with us (we always seek cost-effective solutions, weighing costs versus benefits with you).  Don't be afraid to ask questions at any time before, during, or after your project – miscommunication is usually the biggest problem in any endeavor.

What important information should buyers have before seeking you out?

What do you wish customers knew about you or your profession?   go to top
Building Codes are long and complex, but they are there for good reasons in every case.  We are glad to answer any specific questions about Electrical Code and many questions about other Building Codes.  We always do all our work following known “best practices” which, to us, includes “to Code” or better!

Do you have a complicated pricing system for your services?
Our standard pricing method is Time and Materials with guaranteed quality work and best effort to stay within or below a specific budget.  Hourly rates vary by skill level, while materials pricing is standard.  Fixed priced bids are available if requested, but a variable percentage, depending on the project, is automatically added beforehand to cover the lack of flexibility.  Many problems may not be known until after a job begins, but they can be dealt with fairly to both client and service provider so long as communications are always open and honest.  This issue is covered in our standard terms in a way which should please any client for its fairness and equitability.  The terms were from a book on creating contracts fair to all parties.

To avoid potential misunderstandings, all modifications after a Work Order is finalized require written Change Orders, agreed to, initialed, and dated by both parties.  We provide a short, simple Change Order form to all clients just to make things easy for everyone, and because we consider ourselves to be partners with our clients on their projects.

What do you try to make sure every client knows about your trade?   go to top

Any inside secrets to share?
It is always a good idea to consider potential future expansion in electrical systems before new work or upgrades begin.  For example, the extra initial cost of installing the next larger size of wire to a sub-panel is a very small fraction of the cost of doing a size/capacity upgrade at a later date.  This is a cost-effective solution for the future, since almost all of the extra cost is in materials.

What questions do customers most commonly ask you?   go to top
The most frequently asked question always begins with "Why ... ?".  We are always willing to give complete (or brief, if preferred) explanations about anything within our areas of expertise.  We believe knowledge improves communications and customer satisfaction.

Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?
  1. More value for the money: We provide COST-EFFECTIVE SOLUTIONS.
  2. All work is done "to Code" or better!
  3. Always done right -- no half-measures or sloppy work (and no "collateral damage" by careless workers)

What do you like most about your job?   go to top
Sense of accomplishment, meeting new people, making new friends

Do you do any sort of continuing education to stay up on the latest developments in your field?
Industry knowledge and practices are constantly evolving, so we make every effort to educate ourselves by reading trade magazines and browsing the Internet.  An absolute requirement is regularly keeping up with the latest Code changes (the National Electrical Code, or NEC, changes every 3 years, for example).  Green energy is a currently expanding field in which we are particularly interested and in which we already have considerable expertise.  The owner's philosophy is "he who is not busy learning is busy dying."

How did you decide to get into this line of work?   go to top
In late 2001, changes in the economy made the owner's previously very successful career (IBM mainframe MVS-z/OS operating system consultant for over 20 years) no longer viable, so he looked for something more recession-proof that he also enjoyed and for which he already had some skills.  It was then just a matter of updating his knowledge with technical manuals and advice from experienced friends already working full-time in construction trades.  His best friend is a General Contractor in the East Bay.

If you were advising someone who wanted to become an electrician, what would you suggest?
  1. Study, study, study, then get some practical, real-life experience applying what you have learned about the NEC (National Electrical Code) and other Building Codes.
  2. Work as a helper to an experienced, ethical, knowledgeable electrician before going out on your own.  Be honest with him about your goals because, if you are honest (and are competent), he will pass on work to you in the future when he's too busy and will expect you to reciprocate as your business grows.  You will also be able to work together on large future projects that require multiple electricians.
NOTE:  You won't do yourself any favors by working for someone who isn't into doing quality work because you won't be learning the RIGHT way to do things.  It is amazing to us the number of Code violations we've found in work done by Licensed Electrical Contractors who were lazy, unethical, incompetent, or careless!  Intelligent and honorable people don't do that kind of thing.  Unfortunately, even though many of us do things the right way, there is a lot of incompetence and laziness in the building trades.  At Cost-Effective Solutions, we differentiate ourselves by being one of the positive exceptions; you should be one, too.

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Cost-Effective Solutions
"Solving home & business problems properly since 2002"


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