A: We are happy to provide our customers with estimates on all electrical work that can be properly and fairly estimated. Any new construction or remodeling projects along with projects that require new circuitry or the relocation of electrical items can be estimated. We can not provide estimates for electrical work that requires troubleshooting to determine what the problem is in order to give the estimate for the repairs. In electrical system maintenance or electrical work many times when expelling labor to troubleshoot the problem the actual fix is minor and is repaired during the troubleshooting. The cost of the repair is in troubleshooting the problem.
Example: Customer calls and wants an estimate to repair a fluorescent light fixture in the kitchen ceiling that is not working. We will gladly give this customer an estimate to replace the fixture with a new fixture however we can not give him an estimate to repair this fixture without troubleshooting. The reason being is that there are many things that could be wrong with the kitchen fluorescent light fixture. The fixture could simple have bad lamps, it could have bad ballast, it could have faulty lamp holders, the switch that controls the fixture could be bad, there might be a bad electrical connection in the J box at the fixture, there may be a bad electrical connection in a hidden J box in the attic, there could be a cut wire, the kitchen fixture could be controlled from 3-way switches that have either gone bad or have faulty wiring, the problems are endless. The electrical repairs might take 15 minutes and require no materials or the electrical repairs might take three hours and require vast materials. It is obvious that a fair estimate can not be given unless troubleshooting is involved. What some companies will do is quote what is called “flat rate pricing” for this repair. Please beware, the customer almost never comes out ahead when dealing with companies that charge “flat rate pricing”. The benefit of the “flat rate pricing” is the customer knows exactly what it is going to cost to make the repair. The downfall is the cost is almost always more than what needs to be charged to make the repairs. Think about it for a minute, the flat rate pricing contractor must cover himself for worse case scenarios. The contractor that operates in this way determines pricing by the law of averages on the very high side to protect himself. We do not feel comfortable charging someone $250.00 for a repair that could have been done for $150.00. Problems that require troubleshooting can not be fairly estimated and nine times out of ten the customer is better off having a qualified contractor complete the work on a time and materials basis. We complete troubleshooting repairs on a time and materials basis and are happy to provide you with our labor rates for these type of repairs.
A: First off we invoice for a one time Service Call Fee on every job. We then impose a one hour minimum labor charge for every call to the job site. After the first one hour on the original call to the job site we invoice in ¼ hr. increments. These quarter hour increments are invoiced in our favor on one side of the start or stop time only, not both.
Example: On our original call out travel time is not charged and your billable labor does not start until the electrician actually arrives on your job site. Say the electrician arrives on your job site at 11:55 a.m. and departs at 2:00 p.m. This calculate out to 2 ¼ hrs. of billable labor even though the electrician was only on your job site for 2 hrs and 5 minutes. You are charged for 2 ¼ hrs because we bill to the closet quarter hour in our favor therefore his 11:55 a.m. start time is backed up to 11:45 a.m. We only favor ourselves at one end of the start or stop time not both. In other words in the above example had the electrician stopped at 2:05 p.m. you still would have incurred only 2 ¼ hours of billable labor not 2 ½ hrs.
A: The answer to this question is both yes and no depending on the circumstances. If your call can be completed in one trip we do not charge travel time. Our time does not start until the electrician actually arrives on your job site and stops when he departs your job site for the initial call. You are billed in quarter hour increments in the service provider’s favor. However if we have to make a return trip to your job site to complete your electrical work through no fault of ours then you are charged the travel time for the electrician to return to your job site. Travel time is only charged one way. The only time this does not hold true is if you are doing a large project that requires many days and trips to complete the electrical work. If an electrician is specifically assigned to this type job and the electrician only works on your job from the time he departs our location till the time he returns to our location then you are charged with for an 8 hour day.
A: The Service Charge is the cost for our skilled Service Electrician to show up on your job site in a fully stocked, tooled service van ready to complete your electrical work. The service van is a small electrical hardware store on wheels and has several thousand dollars worth of inventory and tools stocked daily in order to complete your electrical work without making costly return trips for parts or materials. The service call takes into the consideration the cost that are involved to get the Service Electrician to your residence to do the work. Our labor rate is the cost charged for the electricians labor to actually perform the electrical work. The service call accounts for the electricians travel time to and from the job site which at times in our area during certain times of the year can be extreme. The service call takes into account the inventory cost to keep the service van fully stocked with materials and tools. The service call takes into account fuel charges, the vehicles wear and tear, insurance, administrative charges and other overhead expenses not related to the actual electricians labor. Without our Service Call charge we would have to charge a higher hourly labor rate and we would have to charge for travel time. Our service calls vary based on your location via zip codes.
A: The answer to this often asked question is both yes and no. The service electricians work day starts 7:30 a.m. and ends at 4:00 p.m. If you desire our first call in the a.m. we will arrive at around 8:00 a.m. depending on your location. This is the only guaranteed time that we can promise during the day. Other than the first a.m. call we schedule our other calls for a.m. or p.m. but not specific times. The reason for this is that other then the first a.m. call you are at the mercy of the customer in front of you. Unlike other trades you never know in electrical work what you are getting into or exactly how long each job is going to take. Jobs that require troubleshooting may take 15 minutes to troubleshoot, isolate and repair the problem or they may take three or four hours. We try to make sure that we get to every call that we have scheduled during the day. We know there is nothing worse then having to wait for a tradesman to show up at your residence especially if you have taken the day off at work, for this reason we try and stay in contact with our customers throughout the day advising them of our schedule. Unfortunately with electrical work we run into difficult problems and unknowns that at times play havoc with our schedule. Unfortunately with electrical work we can’t leave an existing customer in jeopardy to make another scheduled call. With electrical work you have to complete the job that you are on and make it safe before you can go on to the next customer. Sometimes this means having to reschedule customers for the next day. It is very unfortunate and we do everything in our power to avoid it but much to our disliking it does happen.
A: At Gulf Coast Electric we are committed to the use of the highest quality products available. We measure our success by one standard, Total Customer Satisfaction. We warrant all materials and labor furnished to be free from defects due to defective material or workmanship for the period of one year from the date of the invoice. Should any defects develop during the warranty period due to improper or defective materials or workmanship the items or item shall be made good by Gulf Coast Electric at no expense to the owner. Along with the invoice for each job that we perform comes our Total Satisfaction Guarantee which details our warranty. Some electrical materials are very susceptible to lighting and surges and therefore these items are excluded from our warranty. Electronic items such as ballasts, dimmers, transformers, photo cells, motion detectors, contactors, speed controls, surge suppressions, GFI receptacles, GFI and Arc Fault breakers, all contain sensitive electronics. These items are excluded from our warranty. When one of these items fails within our warranty period we will try and have it replaced by the manufacturer however labor charges will be billed. We also do not warrant any type of lamps, incandescent lamps, fluorescent lamps, and high intensity discharge lamps are excluded under our warranty. Other than the excluded items all other materials and labor are warranted with total customer satisfaction for the period of one year. If our Service Electricians make a mistake or something stops working due to product malfunction or improper installation we will make it right immediately at absolutely no cost to the owner. In the unlikely event our Service electrician has an accident and damages the customer’s property the damage will be repairs at no coat to the customer.
A: Gulf Coast Electric is currently licensed by our President, Jeff R. Linn. Mr. Linn holds a State of Florida Certified Electrical Contractors License. This is the highest ranking license in the state and allows the firm to do any type of electrical work through the entire State of Florida. Don Joiner who is the Vice President of the company also holds a Master Electricians License which is in retirement. Dave Hawkins who is the Service Manager also holds a Journeyman’s Electrical License. The municipalities that the company operates in mostly Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties requires that the owner of the company be licensed. The actual electricians working on the jobs work under Mr. Linn’s license. Our local municipalities do not require the electricians to hold competency license. THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT FACTOR and makes it critical when selecting a reputable electrical contractor. The contractor is responsible for assuring the electricians working on your job are competent. This is a big responsibility for the license holder and Gulf Coast Electric as a whole, as these employees are working under his license. Therefore it is important the homeowner makes sure they are dealing with a reputable electrical contracting company which has been in business and has a proven track record of having competent, knowledgeable, trustworthy electricians.
Q: Does an electrician or a tradesman, or handyman need to be licensed to do electrical repair work in my home or condominium?
A: The answer is absolutely yes. Make sure you protect your home and family by only hiring a licensed contractor. Do not allow yourself to be come a victim from someone proclaiming to be able to do these type of repairs that does not have a Florida State Registered or State Certified Contractors License or is working for someone who does. It is important to understand and beware that an Occupational License, (Handyman License) is not a license to do electrical, plumbing or HVAC work. An Occupational License is not a regulatory license or Certificate of Competency. Every year we see homeowners, property managers, and realtors that are fooled by this and suffer severe consequences. Local County and City Occupational License are merely certificates of taxes paid for the privilege of engaging or managing of business or profession. Anyone doing any type of electrical work on your property must be licensed by the State of Florida. The installation of low voltage landscape lighting, ceiling fans, changing out of light fixtures, replacement of switches and receptacles, installation of dimmers CAN NOT BE DONE WITH A HANDYMAN OCCUPATIONAL LICENSE. Per State of Florida statue these repairs must be done by a State of Florida Licensed Electrical Contractor. There is no gray area. As a homeowner you have absolutely no protection in the event something is done wrong or you have a fire or someone gets injured. In fact the State views this as the homeowner being at fault as you the homeowner hired an unlicensed contractor. Your insurance company will not pay for damages nor will your unlicensed contractors insurance (if they have any) pay for damages. If you as the homeowner hire an unlicensed contractor, the Department of Regulation has the authority to impose civil penalties for aiding and assisting unlicensed activity. Be cautious, there is no such thing as a legal jack of all trades. Protect your home and family by only letting qualified license and insured contractors work on your property.
A: The answer to this question is it all depends on exactly what the type of electrical work is being done. Normally service and repair type work does not require an electrical permit. However if new circuitry is being installed which originates at an electrical panel then an electrical permit is normally required. Any time you have a building with an addition or renovation work going on which requires a building permit, normally the electrical work that accompanies that work will require an electrical permit. In event you have a problem with your electrical service which requires the power company to disconnect the power to your residence in order to get it hooked back up will require a qualified licensed electrician to inspect, repair and purchase an electrical permit in order for power to be restored.
A: The answer is absolutely. Gulf Coast Electric operates twenty four hours a day 365 days a year. Whenever you call our company staff you will be greeted by a live person not an answering machine. When you call our company after hours, on weekends or on holidays a professional call taker will answer your questions and have a qualified service electrician normally within five to fifteen minutes call you back. This qualified electrician will make arrangements to tend to your electrical emergency immediately. We are one of the few firms in the surrounding area that offers true 24 hour Emergency Electrical Service that you can depend on.
A: You may have received a Notice to Owner from our firm or from another subcontracting firm if you are having work done on your residence. Prior to filing a Lien if a Lienor does not have direct contact with the owner they must serve the owner with a Notice to Owner. The Notice to Owner must state the owners name and address and a description of the real property and the nature of services or materials being furnish. The Notice to Owner must be served before commencing, or within 45 days of commencing, to furnish the services or materials or in any event before the owner’s final payment to the general contractor. A lien can not be enforced unless the lienor has served the Notice to Owner. What the Notice of Owner does is advises you the homeowner that we are providing materials and labor for improvements on your property. Notice to Owner’s are normally served to owners when there is a general contractor involved and the subcontractor is working directly for the general contractor. Most homeowners are not familiar with the lien law and do not understand that according to Florida law, those who work on your property or provide materials and are not paid in full, have a right to enforce their claim for payment against your property. This claim is known as a Construction Lien. If your contractor fails to pay subcontractors or suppliers they may look to your property for payment even if you have paid your contractor in full. The only way that we as subcontractors can protect ourselves per Florida law is by providing you with Notice to Owner. It is your responsibility to see to it that if a general contractor is involved that he pays all of the subcontractors because even though you may have paid him in full if he does not pay the subcontractors they can look back to you the homeowner for payment. This can be a devastating situation for homeowners. Before doing any new construction, renovations or remodeling to your residence make sure you understand Florida’s Construction Lien Law.
A: Yes, we take Master card, Visa and Discover both credit and debit cards. Please be advised though we do charge a service fee for credit card charges over $500.00.
A: The simple answer is because that is what we are charged by the credit card companies. 95% of our payments are made to us via personal checks. Therefore we do very little business with the credit card companies in reference to credit card charges. The percentages that companies are charged by the credit card companies are based on the volume of charges that are made on a yearly basis. Because we do such a small amount of credit card charges, the fee imposed on us is large. Therefore on credit card charges over $500.00 we must pass this fee along to our customers. We certainly do not want to raise the cost of all of the work that we do to allow for the payment of credit card charges and this is basically what we would have to do. That would be unfair to the people that do not utilize credit cards for payment. We try to be as competitive as we possibly can and our labor rate and material markups do not allow for the credit card fee. Therefore if you wish to use a credit card on charges more than $500.00 the fee will apply at the present time our service fee is 4%.
A: Per the Florida Department of Revenue we are an electrical contractor who is defined as a contractor who performs lump sum, cost plus, fixed fee, guaranteed price, or time and materials Real Property contracts. Contractors who perform these type of contracts do not resell tangible personal property to the real property owner but use the property for real property improvements. Therefore we must pay sales tax to all of our supplies on all of our purchases for these type of contracts. Per Florida Department of Revenue we should not charge tax to our customers because we are not engaged in selling tangible personal property.
A: At Gulf Coast Electric we are committed to total customer satisfaction. If you have a complaint we want to know about it and we will do everything we can to make it right and get you satisfied. Complaints are handled by Vice President/Operations Manager, Don Joiner. If the problem or complaint can not be solved during the initial conversation with the Service Manager or the Operations Manager then a meeting is called by the President Jeff R. Linn. All parties who are involved sit down and discuss the nature of the complaint putting the company in the customer’s shoes. Normally complaints are easily solved so if you are not 100% satisfied please do not hesitate to let us know. We pride ourselves in our moral ethics and company integrity. It is our utmost desire to always be fair with our customers. In 2010 we were awarded the Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics by the Northwest Florida Better Business Bureau Foundation. This Marketplace Ethics Torch Award was created to recognize publicly business that insist on exceptionally high standards of ethics in dealing with customers, vendors and employees. We are very proud of this award and this award is evidence of our sincere desire for Total Customer satisfaction therefore any complaint will be given the utmost respect and urgency to get solved.
A: We seldom adjust our hourly labor rate and when we do we hopefully can utilize that same labor rate for two to four years. This at time becomes very difficult with changes in liability insurance premiums from year to year, workers compensation premiums from year to year and other overhead expenses. One of the items that has really gotten out of line in the last couple of years is fuel. When we take into effect our labor rate and service call charges fuel is a major consideration. We allow a buffer in our calculations but when fuel prices get as high as they are now it is necessary to add a slight fuel surcharge to some invoices. This amount is under $4.00 and is not applied to every invoice; it depends on the location of the call. Rather then break this item out separately on our invoices it is added in with the materials as a one time fuel surcharge.
Material deliver fee. At times an electrician may be on a job site and need a particular item that is not a normal stock item on his service van. We have a Warehouse Manager who supplies field support to our service electricians. If the Warehouse Manager has to make a trip to a supply house located in another city in order to get a specific material for the service electrician in order to complete the job on the same day thereby eliminating a return trip we will at times add a delivery fee to the invoice. This delivery fee is added in with the materials charges on the invoice. Other than these two items there are never any hidden fees on our invoices. Our invoices are very transparent and reflect materials, labor, Service Call fee, these charges are all broken out into individual line items. Our invoices also show the electricians time on the job so the customer knows exactly what times they are being charged for.
A: The answer is normally no. We have been in business over three decades so we know how to properly price jobs and we know what the electrical work should cost in order to make a fair profit. We are a legitimate company that supports our community. We have extremely well qualified personnel, provide them with an excellent benefit package, operate out of a 3,000 square foot office building we are licensed insured and bonded and have substantial overhead costs that it takes to run a profitable business. We are not a one man operation. Our quotes are normally very competitive with like contractors. We therefore are not interested in matching price or being the low contractor on an electrical project where three or four electrical contractors have bid. Low ball contractors do not stay in business long, normally do not do quality work and it is not our desire to match their price. The customer should take note to the old saying “you get what you pay for”, it is critical in electrical work. We will however be more than happy to negotiate almost any type of electrical work on a time and materials basis with a not to exceed price. This is a very appealing way for the homeowner to contract work. This works out well in many instances where labor man hours can be questionable. Obviously in a bid situation where the labor is questionable we must protect ourselves. Therefore in many instances it is in the homeowner’s best interest to negotiate with us and we will provide a ceiling price and agree to do the job on a time and material basis not to exceed that ceiling. We invoice this job for exactly what the material and labor costs are and many times it can be considerably less then the not to exceed price. In the event you received a quotation from our firm and it is higher then you expected or higher than another contractor’s price ask about negotiating the job on a time and material basis utilizing the quoted price as a not to exceed.
A: Our electrical work is due upon receipt of the invoice. We normally do not take any type of payment plans. However, we do understand that customers can have financial hardships and that electrical work is sometime something that a customer can not do without. In some instances we will work with customers and allow a payment plan however the customer must be in dire need and prove hardship.
A: Our normal Service call is the price that we charge to show up to the job during the week Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The service call is explained above in item #4. Service Call charge is based on your location per zip codes. The Same Day Service rates for customers that have emergencies and are requesting electrical work the same day that they call. If we can work you in our schedule many times we do not charge the Same Day Service rate as it is at a premium. However if we have to rearrange our scheduling and pull electricians from one job to another in order to tend to your emergency the same day that it comes in then we charge a premium which is called a Same Day Service Rate. The labor is at the same normal labor charge unless the call runs into overtime. Emergency Call out rate is the charge for Emergency Service Calls after hours. If our electricians have already arrived at their place of residence and they are called from home on an emergency after hours which is after 4:00 p.m. during the week or weekend calls or holiday calls then the Emergency Call Out Rate applies. Overtime labor rate is charged for any electrical work after the hours of 4:00 p.m. and for weekend and holiday work.
A: We are a full service electrical contracting firms that specialize in residential electrical and commercial service work. We do all types of electrical work from changing lamps in an elderly person’s residence to troubleshooting the most sophisticated technical electrical problems. We provide electrical inspections for both home and commercial properties, we furnish and install surge protection equipment, we do new construction in both residential and commercial, renovations, we do tenant finish work in commercial projects, we are a Kohler Generator dealer, therefore we furnish and install generators, we work for property managers, and property management companies in both commercial and residential properties providing all types of electrical service work, we have a bucket truck and service along with installation of parking lot lighting, we have sophisticated fault finding equipment which allows us to efficiently locate underground wiring problems, there is not much in the way of electrical work that we do not do.
A: We mainly service the counties of Okaloosa, Walton, and Santa Rosa Counties in Florida. Our office is located in Destin, Florida and we service in about a 60 mile radius.
Q: Recently I called and had what I thought was an electrical problem I was asked by your Call Taker to call the Local Utility Company first. How do I know if the electrical problem is one that should be addressed by an Electrical Contractor or the Local Utility Company?
A: If you have lights dimming or flickering or feel you are experiencing power surges, the first thing to do is to check with your neighbors and see if they are experiencing similar problems. If so that is a very good indication that the problem lies with the Local Utility Company. Next if the dimming lights and or surges appear to be affecting all circuitry in your residence therefore lights are dimming upstairs and downstairs, lights are dimming in the living room, kitchen, hallways, bathrooms, etc. this is also a good indication that the problems lies with the Local Utility Company. Sometimes it is always best to call the Utility Company first as there is no charge for their services to check the problem. When a customer calls and describes the problem to our Call Takers if we believe that it is a Utility Company problem we will instruct the caller to first call the Local Utility Company. Many times a customer will not take our advise and still request our services first. Unfortunately if we are called to the job site and it is a Utility Company problem we must still charge the customer. That is why on some instances we recommend calling the utility company first.
Q: Recently I phoned in a Service Order and stated that my garage receptacles were not working. The Call Taker asked me if I had checked to make sure that I did not have a tripped GFI. Could you explain this a little more clearer for me?
A: First it is important to understand what a GFI is. The actual terminology is GFCI and stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. For simplicity lets just call it a GFI. There are two types of GFIs, one is a GFI receptacle which is similar to a standard duplex receptacle however it provides GFCI protection. The other is a GFI circuit breaker. GFI devices both receptacles and breakers are designed to continuously monitored current flow. Whatever current flows into the GFI devices the same current flow must exit the GFI device. If there is any deferential between the inflow of current and the outflow that would indicate a leakage and a dangerous situation and the GFI would automatically trip. GFI devices are extremely sensitive and they are designed to trip if they recognize a deferential of 5/1000th of an amp and they will trip in a 40th of a second. Obviously this is a very sensitive electronic device. GFI’s ARE DESIGNED TO SAVE LIVES. The National Electrical Code states that receptacles in kitchens, bathrooms, wet bars, laundry rooms, garages and outdoor receptacles must be GFI protected. A GFI breaker protects all electrical devices attached to the circuit protected by the GFI breakers. A GFI receptacle will protect anything plugged into the GFI receptacle itself and if wired accordingly will provide protection to other standard duplex receptacles down stream wired from the load side of the actual GFI receptacle itself. Therefore depending upon how your house is wired it is not unusual to have a receptacle outside that is protected by a GFI receptacle located in your bathroom. In the event that the GFI receptacle trips in your bathroom it will also disconnect the power to the garage receptacle. Due to the sensitivity of these devices they are custom to nuisance tripping especially in periods of high humidity and during extremely wet periods. Therefore when a customer calls with a problem with an outside, bathroom, garage or kitchen receptacle we always asked them to make sure that do not have a tripped GFI. Once the GFI devices is located be it either a receptacle or a breaker a lot of times the GFI devices can be reset and proper power will be restored to the circuitry. We asked homeowners to check this item before we come so that they do not incur an unnecessary service call fee.
Q: I recently called and was having trouble with my washer not working. Your call taker told me to call an appliance person. How do I know when to call the appliance person versus calling an electrician?
A: We deal with the electrical wiring to appliances. We are able to check the voltage and the electrical connections at the appliances themselves, however if there is any problem with the actual appliance it would require the assistance of an Appliance Technician. Therefore in most circumstances if you appliances shows signs of power i.e. indicator lights come on, fan motors running in HVAC equipment but the equipment not cooling or heating, burners on the stove operating but the oven part of the stove not operating, microwave lights comes on makes noise as if microwave is running but items do not cook, all of these type of problems indicate that electrical power is present at the appliance or the piece of equipment itself therefore it would be in the customers best interest to first call an Appliance Repairman rather than an electrician. The percentages are greater that it is a problem with the appliance itself not the electrical wiring.