Warning: The Following Image May Be Disturbing to Cheapskates

Merry Christmas? Bah Humbug!!

The quote from the electrician to bring a bucket truck and string the outside tree with lights binged in via email and I literally fell off my chair. When I saw the email, I guessed the amount before opening the PDF estimate.

Man alive, I was way off. Price quote was labor for two men for EIGHT hours, and then an additional line item for the one day rental of the bucket truck.

The owner of the electric company did tell me when he was here that their own bucket truck didn’t have a long enough arm and they’d have to ask a friend to use one. $600 worth of borrowing. Yikes.

I will tell you that last year I paid $765 for the truck and two men. It took him about 4 hours. NOT eight! The man who has done the work for the last few years owns his own truck and I’m sure part of what I pay him is to cover his insurance, which for a bucket truck, must be big. I didn’t mind that price but I did object to the quality of his work.

And herein lies the conundrum – do I suck up and call last year’s guy and tell him, please make it a lot prettier than you have before, or ask the electrician to revise his estimate???

Bottom line is that there’s no way I’m paying $2120. And that doesn’t include the $400 worth of lights due tomorrow from Home Depot. I would pay $1000 if done right but at some point, even I, who really wants this tree to be glorious, balks at price craziness.

Am I being a drama queen or reasonable to object?


27 thoughts on “Warning: The Following Image May Be Disturbing to Cheapskates

  1. That’s highway robbery. No way you should pay so much. I’d tell the electric company no and call the guy from last year.

    1. I’m with you Richard. What dismayed me is I use these electricians for other things – they are good. Been around a LONG time. Have an excellent reputation for being honest and fair. This quote threw me for a loop.

      1. Definitely worth asking if it’s some kind of joke or mistake. Might even new management.

        Regardless, that price is unfair and criminal.

        1. I emailed them back and told them that no way would it take eight hours and no way should I have to pay $600 for them to rent a truck. Let’s see if they respond. In the meantime, I left a voicemail to the guy I’ve used previously.

  2. lol. when the sparkies came around to look at the tree, did you mention you just paid a grand at audi service for front break pads and windshield wiper blades?

    1. But I didn’t pay Audi a thing my friend. Audi gave me an estimate that I laughed at. Wipers were free. So your theory is for the birds. But nice try.

  3. Perhaps a local arborist might have a bucket tall enough to hang the lights. My arborist (Shady Tree, Inc. in Greenwich) typically charges me about $1200 for a crew of three, a chipper, and a bucket for a full day’s work each fall. So, for an arborist to just show up with a bucket and one or two guys might be meaningfully less than you’ve been quoted.

    1. The guy who has done the job the past few years came to me from my landscaper who uses him for tree work. I don’t know that they guy who owns the truck is an arborist per se, but I know he does tree work regularly and moonlights this time of year stringing lights.

  4. Seems high to me. I’ve said it before, I’m sure, but I think people a) jack the price up to see if someone takes the bait, b) jack the price up because they don’t want to do the job, or c) never even bother to give you a quote.

    My landscaper piled loads of pine trimmings on our compost pile and it’s grown ungainly. Husband asked him about carting it off and he said at least $1000. Now, the pile is big, but it’s not that big. We could fill 10 trash bags and have the trash guy take it for no additional costs….but then, ticks, poison ivy, etc etc. so, there it sits….

    While I’m on the landscape subject….he planted 2 bloomerang lilacs (98% sure they are at deaths door), 2 butterfly bushes (looking good) and 10 New Guinea impatients (nothing but fodder for the deer, eaten as soon as they bloomed). That effort to add some color to our back yard was a miserable fail, very discouraging for my thumb!

    1. Normally I’d agree with you about the pricing and bait. Bit as I said in an earlier comment, this company is pretty regular. They aren’t the electricians to the Soros family or Martha Stewart. They cater to us regular folk. So I was stunned to see such a high number. I heard back and got them down to $1750 but she says they have fixed costs. I responded by asking how they determined the job would take 8 hours and asked if I would be charged 8 even if it only took 5. I suspect that’s what she meant about “fixed costs”.

      Now, as for your green thumb, or lack thereof, I can commiserate. The only plants that do well are my really old ones, hearty and impervious to anything i don’t do properly. Bummer that the new hydrangeas didn’t fare well. Give them another year or two.

      As for the pine trimmings, it’s too bad towns stopped allowing burn permits. That’s how most people got rid of leaves and pine trimmings. $1000 seems very high to haul them off.

      1. I know, burning would be the best. We have, briefly, discussed getting a bonfire pit to do just that. But, a) I don’t know if that’s allowed in Greenwich and b) having three males with pyromaniac tendencies in the family, it doesn’t seem prudent 😀.

        The upside, thanks to one of your previous posts, is my boys are having “life skills class” in window washing right now! Windex, microfiber on scrubbing bar with squeegee and linen towel. We shall see if results improve, they have been fairly poor in the past. *hopeful*

        1. I’ll pay your boys to come here!!!

          We have an old metal trash can that we burn things in from time to time. Not often enough to bring attention to it.

        2. Well, the results were mixed. Better than usual, but not ready for prime time. They washed the tops of about 20 windows and doors, so about 125 small panes in 30 minutes. Big boy washed, little one sherpa’d the step ladder. About 50% of the windows are acceptable (*cough cough* martha *cough cough*) so, they accepted 50% pay. If the job can be done in 15 minutes, results may be better😀

      1. Love that. Thanks.

        One of my best friends growing up had two German Shepherds. Such big beautiful smart loyal dogs. The family lived out in Kennett Square with tons of acreage for the dogs to enjoy and they sure were good guard dogs. You didn’t want to mess with either of them.

      2. Boy I enjoyed this. Same colorings as my 12 year old German Shepherd that was put down almost a year ago today. I was just looking at his pictures earlier. EOS, when you are ready you might look into a rescue GSD. They are great companions. But gosh do they shed, so you have to be prepared for that.

        1. Oh my, you put down your dog right before you moved to Florida???? That has to be a double edge sword – probably a good thing in one way that you let go before the move so he wouldn’t die on the road or die confused in his new home. They are beautiful dogs. I’ve given a four-paw salute to a few retired military german shepherds and met one that was a dead body sniffer after a disaster.

          We’re not ready for another dog and likely won’t be until we leave Bedford.

  5. Are you even sure they want the job? That’s a heck of a price, the kind that wants a customer to go away. Of course, that won’t solve the problem of how to have a splendid looking tree ready for Christmas. I’m not convinced you need electricians to do the job if the wiring is in place and all that’s needed is to string the lights and plug them in. I’d probably give last year’s guys another crack.

    1. That’s a really good question. Unless I’m really dense, I would swear after the almost hour long conversation I had with the guy who came last week really, he wanted the job. And today, in an email, they’ve come down to $1750 but have not answered me if 8 hours is a minimum they want to bill for to make this job worth their while. I suspect they don’t want to bother if it only takes them 4 hours and they don’t make the cash they think they will. I’m sure they see this job as gravy.

      Do I need an electrician? No. But the reason I called him in the first place was because the old guy didn’t have much going for him other than he owned the truck. I think there is a electrical component to wiring this tree. That said, I left a message with the last year’s guy. He as not called me back.

    1. Your opinion is shared by most everyone else here. Tomorrow might bring an answer to my question if they will only come if they can bill out 8 hours.

      Not return call from last years guy. Plus the voicemail was his wife name, so I wonder if he’s still in business. Lots to ponder.

    1. We talked at great length last night about trying to tackle this ourselves. There’s no doubt we could, with the help of the kids, but with so much on our plate, it’s unlikely we’ll tackle it. The links are excellent and we thought of similar ways but the real reason someone needs to be up in the bucket is the strands need to be tied to the limbs. Not all along the strand but in key places. The wind whips through the tall tree and the strands take a lot of abuse.

      It’ll be paying someone or not doing it at all.

  6. What about the firefighter sons extended ladder on the firetruck, that would do the job! Fundraising donation to them?

    1. Thought about that but it starts a dangerous precedent the FD might not want to enter.
      I’m surprised I haven’t gotten a call back from last years guy. I wonder if he didn’t have enough work to sustain keeping the truck. It’s got to be expensive.

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