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Low Bid Syndrome – why cheap usually can’t also be good in construction

February 24th, 2011 No comments

This came to me in part of an email from a contractors blog I read.  It is a re-post of someone else’s comments, I did not write it.  That said, I could not agree more!

Low bid Syndrome – why cheap usually can’t also be good in construction

  • There have been countless news stories by leading national and local news magazines about unscrupulous contractors that disappear with homeowner deposits, operate without a license or never complete the work.
  • Some contractors will simply throw out a low bid as a negotiating strategy. Contractors with integrity give their best price the first time and include specific details of all materials to be used in the proposed project.
  • Every contractor is in business to make money. If you receive a bid that is 15% or more below another bid – it simply isn’t the same job. It can’t be because there isn’t that much profit margin in a project. The contractor either isn’t using the same materials or will cut corners on installation in order to make a profit. There are many places to cut corners of which the unsuspecting homeowner/client is unaware.
  • As noted in the quote from the Wall Street Journal, it is easy to be fooled by the low quote and a “nice person”. If a bid seems to be too good to be true, it is. Call at least 5 references and ask about the total job cost at completion versus the proposal pricing.  Did it go like it should?  Did they get what they paid for?
  • Many times, the low bidder isn’t licensed to perform the work proposed. An unlicensed contractor either does not have the experience or competency to secure a contractor’s license or has cut a corner to save money by avoiding the cost associated with being licensed, bonded and insured.
  • Unfortunately for homeowners, if they hire someone who is not licensed, they have no recourse through the ROC complaint process or the Residential Contractors’ Recovery Fund.

If you are seriously considering hiring any contractor with a very low bid ask all the important questions and get the answers in writing to every question before you sign any paperwork. You will be glad you did.

Artisan Electric launches MonticelloElectric.Com

December 14th, 2010 No comments

2010 has been a banner year for us marked by some signification changes in how we do business and interact with our clients.  Despite the soft economy and all the doom and gloom coming out of Washington we have had a considerable amount of growth this year.

Looking forward into 2011 we are pleased to roll out the next phase of our targeted web development plan – MonticelloElectric.Com. This web site will be a mini version of our standard site with a focus on the unique skills we can bring to the Monticello market.

electrician_lafayette_monticello

Here are just a few of the things we can do for our Monticello Clients:

  • Historic re-wires
  • Service upgrades
  • Boat Dock electrical systems
  • Boat lift motor service
  • Pump motor service
  • Home theater and audio distribution
  • Computer networks
  • TV Cable / HD antenna systems
  • Deck and Landscape lighting
  • Custom kitchen and bathroom projects
  • Those “unique” and “difficult” projects
  • Commercial business service and fit-outs

Artisan Electric – “doing the right things, the right way, period”

What Is Your Commercial Lighting Telling Your Clients?

December 1st, 2010 No comments

Days are short right now, it’s dark A LOT.  Its dark during the morning commute to work, and for most people dark on their way home.  Combine that with the crazy number of commercial business spaces that are closed up and sitting empty these days and you have a golden opportunity to make your place of business really stand out.

 

So what does your current lighting say about your business?  Does it say “take a look at us, we are in it to win it”?  or are you projecting another image, one that makes people ask “is that place even still open”?

So here are a few points to consider:

  1. Signage – do you have lighted signs that are clearly visible at night and working properly.  Nothing says “we don’t care” quicker then a place of business that does not keep their own company singe in good repair (or working at all)
  2. Parking lot lights – do you have pole mounted parking lot lights that are sufficient and functional?  Do they flicker or come off and on at random intervals?  Maybe they hum really bad…
  3. Building Lights – does your building or space have wall pack lighting, soffit lighting, or specialty feature lighting – is it working?  Are there lamps out all over the place and a general state of disrepair, or are things squared away?
  4. Lighting Controls – how do your lights come on?  Is the photo eye or automated controller working correctly and set to the correct time?  The seasonal time on / time off settings change by as much as 4 hours over the course of the year.
  5. Store front lights – do you have adequate store front lighting that is showing off the features of your building as well as your products and / or services.  The need(s) and type(s) of store front lighting can be a petty wide range, you don’t light an industrial building the same way as an art gallery – but in either case you are sending a message.  What does your message say?
  6. Display Window Lighting – this is typically that first impression you give at night… even more important if you have a destination business that is open late or located in an areas with high visibility and high foot traffic.  Are you making your potential clients take a glance or a long hard look?
  7. Safety – are you providing adequate lighting for your clients and staff to safely get to and from your place of business on those dark winter days?  This can tell your team a lot about how you are dong business.  Are  you telling them you “really care” or “good luck in the dark”?
  8. Fun and Unique – what does your lighting tell people.  Are you in a type of business that fun, unique, and interesting lighting might make a significant impact on your image and the overall “feeling”?   Do you need to project an industrial or “squared away” no frills image – is that what you are getting from your lightning plan?

empty sign faceSigns and lighting say a lot about you and your business.  If your not happy about that image let us help!

Video Testimonials – what our clients say about us!

October 4th, 2010 No comments

Artisan Electric is excited to announce the addition of VIDEO TESTIMONIALS to our main web site.  CLICK HERE to check out some real world comments from our clients (they make me blush).

WLFI ad-3

Special thanks out to all of those who continue to extend the hand of support and faith as we continue down the path to be the best company we can be.  We could not do this without you!

Best Regards,

-CV

What is this ELECTRICITY anyway?

September 15th, 2010 No comments

Electricity by nature is very hard to define.  In our day to day we often use the word “electricity” incorrectly to describe a lot of different conditions and states, all of which have specific definitions.  When you get down to it, it can all be rather confusing – even for those of us in the business.  Secondly – all of this electrical stuff is very closely related to (and effected by) the principals of magnetism and wave frequency.  There is a lot more to it then meets the eye, and general electrical theory is still an evolving filed of study.  Thankfully, I am but an electrician and can leave that heavy hitting to the the electrical engineers of the world.

Here is one basic electrical engineering text book definition we use to describe the electricity in motion we use as end line consumers:

Electric charge, also called “electricity,” is a fundamental component of everyday matter. Objects are made of molecules and atoms, atoms are made of protons, neutrons, and electrons, and the protons and electrons are made in part out of electric charge. Electric charge is substance-like. If you have a quantity of charge, you cannot destroy it, you can only move it from place to place. A flow of electric charge is called “electric current.”

So, stepping off from there… the practical electrician definition of electricity then becomes (more or less) “the flow of electrical current thru a conductor”.  Not so bad, is it now? So where am I going with all of this… good of you to ask.  One quick way to help determine if the electricians you are dealing with know their stuff is to ask them “what is electricity”.  More often then not I think you will be surprised by the answers you get.

A word on contractor insurance – ASK FOR IT!

August 19th, 2010 No comments

In my world we run into a lot of unscrupulousness competitors.  One simple way to weed out those that should from those that should not is by checking up on their insurance coverage. For contractors that are properly insured the common practice when asked is to provide a CERTIFICATE OF INSURANCE.  Simply put, it is a quick glance document made out to you by the insurance company.  It wound be sent direct form the agent supplying the coverage to dismiss any chance of document tampering, and typically it shows the clients name on it to prove that coverage is in place for that specific project.

Here is a current example of our certificate of insurance:

Certificate of insurance for blog

So the key things to look for on these is that both General Liability and Workman Compensation insurance is in place.  The minimum standard for General Liability is 1 million combined (you will see on our certificate we carry 2 million as required by some of our commercial clients) and the minimum standard for workman compensation is 300,000 (again we are required to carry 500,000 for some of our large scale projects).

Second – make sure that vehicular coverage is in place. In the case of many “trunk slammers” they may not have coverage at all (may just have their standard minimum coverage insurance).  Once you start using a vehicle for business and service work there are very different coverages required – and standard insurance will not protect the contractor or the client in the event of an accident on site.  In fact – many carriers will cancel a policy and deny any claim on a vehicle involved in an accident that was not properly insured for business use.  In our case we carry that insurance with State Farm and a have a separate certificate for that.  That tends to be the case for most contractors.  It is a similar document and will read the same way.

Finally, double check that dates on all the certificates are current – make sure the coverage is in force for the period of time that your specific project will be taking place in.

Kirby Risk Supply – great resouce based here in Lafayette, Indiana

July 30th, 2010 No comments

We buy A LOT of materials, and any many cases are at the mercy of our vendors for warranty and pro product solutions.  Kirby Risk Supply is our primary vendor and an industry leader in the electrical supply field.  What a lot of people don’t know is that they are a locally owned family  company based right here in Lafayette Indiana.  They have many divisions and cover a lot of ground from residential, to heavy industrial, as well as motors and full repair / rebuild services for electrical components. If you have never been to there web page and like tech stuff go check it out.

If you are a lighting and ceiling fan freak a trip by the local lighting showroom is a must – they have the kinds of things there you just can see at the big box home stores.

Enjoy!

Tippecanoe County Wind Energy

June 30th, 2010 No comments

We are starting to get asked a lot of questions about the rules for residential wind energy usage and installation. Though we would start by getting them posted up here for discussion and review.

Here is a copy of the most recent amendment to the Tippecanoe County building code regarding wind power.  If you are thinking about wind gen for your residence or small business this would be a great resource to start with – it will help answer a lot of the start up questions.

Tippecanoe County Wind Energy – new amendments

Residential Wind Energy – Windiana 2010 wind energy confrence

June 28th, 2010 No comments

Like many people and business, we have wind energy and green power on the mind.  Artisan Electric is pleased to announce our companies next step into the wind energy market.  We will be attending the 2010 WINDIANA conference, an intensive 2 day expo covering a wide range of topics; from big wind systems, to residential and ag use, all the way down to the specifics of the emerging ordinances and the manufacturing process.

Here is a quick glance at this years agenda:  WIndiana_2010_Tentative_Agenda-4-21-2010

turbineWe are lucky to live in a state that has “good wind” and is emerging as the Midwest’s leader in wind tech.  Artisan Electric has already been involved with serveral small scale residential wind turbine installs – most recently a Windspire vertical axis system installed at a rural location here in Tippecanoe County.  We are very excited about the future of wind power, and becoming the areas leading expert on the electrical systems for residential wind applications.

Are you using “ELITE” contractors? Here is our A-TEAM

May 13th, 2010 No comments

In this day an age of low bids, trunk slammers, poor workmanship, and a general lack of professionalism in the trades finding the right folks to do work with can be a challenge.  It comes as no surprise that we get asked for contractor referrals all the time.  Naturally this leads to us keeping a list of referable, reliable, trustworthy companies that can deliver a quality product and keep to a time table.  Here is my “GO TO” list – the people that I  have come to trust, who consistently meet my expectations and take great care of our clients.  I will personally vouch for these companies – this is my A-TEAM when it comes to local small contractors.

The A – TEAM

 

BRENNECO Plumbing (765-448-6190) > Randy Lynch

MECKO’S Heating and Cooling (765-447-7555) > Dave Mecklenburg

ARNIE COOK Roofing – residential and commerical roofing / windows / siding (765-420-7663) > Arnie Cook

ARTISAN ELECTRIC (765-414-3913) > That’s me – Chris Voglund

HAGUE QUALITY WATER – water conditioning equipment sales and installation (765) 538-2549 > Steve Sidel

HENERY POOR LUMBER – building materials / custom wood / kitchen and bath supply (765) 474-1388 > Jay Andrew

KIRBY RISK SUPPLY – all things electrical / lights / fans (765) 448-4567

CARPENTER’S PAINTING – exterior paint and restoration (765) 430-5560 > Bryan Carpenter

R.DOUGLAS PAINTING – high end interior paint (765) 412-4621 > Gaius Douglas

ECODOMIA – steel frame homes / general contractor (765) 418-7117 > Chris Xioufarides

SIMON CONSTRUCTION – general contractor (765) 567-2764 > Sam Simon

WYATT COMMUNICATIONS – phone and com tech support and supply (765) 447-6545 > Bill Wyatt

TRI-TECH CONSTRUCTION – commercial buildings / cement work / crane service / overhead doors (765) 448-7994

KJG ARCHITECTURE – full service architects and engineers (765) 497-4598 > Kelly Good

K.L. SECURITY ENTERPRISES – fireproof data and document storage 1-866-867-0306 > Johnny Klemme

BECK’S AUTOMOTIVE SERVICE CENTER – all things car and truck (765) 447-9459 > Robert Hancock

MAXIMUMMEDIA – media / web / graphic design and consulting (765) 413-8923 > Noah Mattern

JP VIDEO PRODUCTIONS – all things video (765) 269 – 9692 Jay Patzschke

IS PHOTOGRAPHIC – all things photo (765) 420-9621 > Dave Mason

AUTO GLASS EXPRESS – all things auto glass (765) 446-7900 > Ron Whitaker

EDGE IT SOLUTIONS – all things IT (765) 807-6121 > Ryan Edgell

OUTDOOR ROOMSCAPES – all things outdoor kitchen (574) 965-2009 > Andy Schwindler

HAYS and SONS RESTORATION – emergency fire / water / flood /smoke / wind / tree / roof issues (765) 412-7048 > Greg Kreinbrook

If you have any questions about who to use for a project or how to find the right contractor for a job let me know – I am happy to help!   Also please feel free to check back in from time to time as we are always updating the list as a local resource.

Best Regards – Chris Voglund