Licensed House & Condo Electricians

Minor Home Wiring and Repairs

Commercial Building Wiring

Office Troubleshooting

(647) 932 5666

Free estimates. Is a free estimate really free?

Most callers ask, "Could you come and give us a free estimate?"

It's like asking, "Do you work for free?"

NO, I do not work for free.

kitchen electrician in Vaughan
And yes, absolutely. I would come and give a free quote. But only if it is a $3000 or bigger job.

95% percent of experienced electricians are able to give a precise quote for the bare frame wiring or new construction rough-in.

It is a completely different story when drywall is hung. In most cases giving an estimate on work in a finished room, house or building is either impossible or extremely risky. Here is why.

There are thousands of hidden beneath the plaster obstacles, defects, lousy workmanship, shoddy, or dangerous alterations from before that could turn any simple job into a nightmare.

Nothing is free in this world and you know that. There is no such thing as a free lunch, but there is always free cheese in a mousetrap. So please use basic logic and common sense to answer your own question.

I work all over the GTA. An average on-site small job estimate takes from 20 to 60 minutes. But with driving there and back the total time would be around three hours. Even if I needed only 20 minutes inside, it would take me about 2 1/2 hours altogether. And what if I got stuck in a traffic jam for an hour or longer?

Making free estimates for small jobs just does not make any sense!

Some customers get estimates from four or more electricians for a $500 job. Together those electricians waste 8 to 15 hours (with driving there and back) or $500 to $1000 on giving estimates for a $500 job!

An electrician who makes two or three estimates in one day earns nothing and spends $20 or more on gasoline.

Guess what? Eventually you will be paying for all the "free" estimates this way or another. Because no one works for free.

Moreover, a seemingly identical job in one house, condo, warehouse or building could take much more or less time than in another. That is why uncertainty and the worst case scenario are always priced in every estimate.

No electrician wants to work hard for free neither in Toronto, nor in Etobicoke, nor in Mississauga. And if your particular project was an easy one, you would overpay twice, for all the "free" estimates and for the unspoken worst-case scenario cushion or markup. And only if your particular job turned out to be the most challenging and nightmarish one, it would really fit its price tag and be worth your money. Welcome to your free cheese!

And be especially careful with those enthusiastic tradesmen and contractors willing to give a free estimate for a $300 to $2900 job. The only reason so many of them desire to come right away is to produce a quote high enough to compensate for both the worst-case scenario and all the time wasted on estimates.

Choosing the lowest from the three, five or seven hugely overpriced bids is exactly the opposite to what you were trying to achieve in the first place!


I could come for a free quote if it was a $3000 or bigger job. Otherwise I charge a $160 or higher fee to provide an estimate. If customer accepted my bid, $160 or more is deducted from the cost of project.


To save my time and your money I would just come, do the job and charge by the hour. If you gave me beforehand an exact list, detailed description of what needs to be done, and pictures, I would come prepared with all materials and save you even more money. I would also give a min/max price range based on my hourly rate and materials over the phone.

So, from my point of view, it is a fair deal when a customer pays by the hour exactly as much as the job is worth and a licensed, fast and highly experienced PRO earns as much as it takes him to do the job.

This option is the fairest to both sides. It is the most flexible one at the same time, allowing any changes and adjustments as we go!

Hourly rate approach allows me to talk you through each stage, explain and discuss available choices, pros, cons and costs.

Electrician Toronto is a fast and efficient expert, customer is a decision-maker and budget-holder.

You won’t be in the dark as to what and why the electrician is doing and there won’t be any unpleasant surprises. You’ll finish up with a job well done as per your preferences.

On top of that I will inspect wiring and devices I am working on and explain, in plain language, how to be safe in the properly functioning home and avoid problems in the future. It will not cost you a dime unless you ask us to inspect the entire electrical system of the house. In this case you will save around $200 dollars.

Hire an educated and knowledgeable licensed electrician in Oakville, Oshawa, or Newmarket. Get best possible workmanship and speed. All work will be done perfectly the first time - to your complete satisfaction. I work fast, bring all materials with me and can literally do the work with my eyes closed.

You cut my wasted time. I work less and you pay me less! You save money! Does all this makes sense? Of course it does!

Moreover, pay per hour method practically eliminates the possibility of disagreement, dispute or conflict. And the customer could make as many changes and additions as he/she wishes.

The fixed amount pricing makes such amendments problematic. They usually require extensive negotiations, they could cause delays, disagreements and are often very unpleasant to both parties.


If you think your electrical repair or wiring project would take less than thirty hours then call me but don't ask for a free estimate. Instead be ready to email pictures and give information. If you provided me with the detailed scope of work, I will give a ballpark amount or a best/worst scenario price range based on my hourly rate and materials over the phone.

This approach, if you hired me, would cut my total time down by 5% to 25%. In return I will deliver great workmanship and you will pay me less money. It's a simple and logical win - win arrangement!

(647) 932 5666
please call from 7 am to 7 pm
Weekdays, weekends & evenings

NO calls after 7 pm please
Comments and questions

Back to top.

Free estimates for short repairs do not make sense. And giving estimates for small jobs in finished properties is an extremely risky proposition.

Just two examples:

We gave an estimate to add four receptacles on the second floor of the 40+ year old finished house. 20 minutes into the job, we discovered that outer insulation, the sheath had been partially chewed off from existing Romex type wire. We pointed it out to the homeowner. He said it was not his problem, nor his fault and that we must finish the job no matter what. We explained that it obviously was not our fault either because his mice chewed through the insulation of his wires in his walls long before our arrival and we should not be held accountable for that. The homeowner insisted. We refused to leave the dangerous condition inside the walls and disconnected the circuits from power for free. We said no to rewiring a big part or the whole house for $700 and left. It was not the end. The customer took us to a small claims court and lost. Yet, we have wasted about 25 hours of our time!

Another simple but weird example. I came to replace a wall outlet that stopped working. Expected time for the job was 15 minutes maximum. But I could not pull the outlet from the box. The code requires 4" to 7" of slack wire available inside the device box. There was none in this one. Some smart ass had first attached the wires to the receptacle and then pulled all the slack out from the back side of the box. After that he hung drywall. Absolutely crazy and unbelievable thing. Yet it happened. Two hours of hard labor was needed to cut drywall, move the box, make the wire longer, and finally replace the plug itself.


Please keep in mind that fishing a wire behind one layer of drywall takes up to 20 fold more time than running the same wire on an open frame. Therefore adding a regular wall outlet three meters to the left would take approximately 1 to 3 hours on the finished wall and 15 minutes or so if there was no drywall. Wood paneling, plywood, lath and plaster, steel mesh or thermal insulation behind the drywall would make the same task even more time consuming - up to 60 fold longer. Only exposed and visible wiring is possible on the solid concrete ceiling or brick wall.

Even more effort is required to install a three foot short jumper between two floors. In the old finished house it could take 3 hours and just 15 minutes if there was no drywall. (Unless you allow me to cut out a 2' by 2' patches in your wall and ceiling.)

Our electricians know from experience that 90% of 30+ year old finished houses and buildings have multiple hidden problems behind the plaster.

To avoid working for free and paying with their time for fixing faults created by others, most electricians give 50% to 200% higher estimates. And hourly rate basis becomes a GOD sent alternative for customers who do not have too much extra cash in their pockets.

Back to top.

NOTE: Wiring in finished homes is impossible without making cuts and holes. Be ready for making arrangements to patch them after we are done.

groony said...

The job was to replace all our plugs and switches to new decorator style ones.

They did not come for a free estimate. And gave us an affordable hourly rate and an aproximate reasonable estimate instead.

Our house is over 50 years old with a few odd things happening from time to time.

Two electricians worked hard for about 6 hours. They installed new plugs, switches and fixed all the issues.

They also installed 6 pot lights.

Guys worked smoothly, came prepared, did not waste time on shopping for materials and addressed all questions.

We ended up paying about $90 less comparing to two estimates we got from other electricians.

We recommended them to friends for other wiring jobs.

Thank you.

NO anonymous questions or comments please. Use

Comment as:   >   Name/URL   >   and enter any name WITHOUT URL

Comments with outgoing links will NOT be published!