Areas Served: Solano County & Bay Area including, Benicia CA, Vallejo, Vacaville, Fairfield CA, Cordelia, Suisun City, Martinez, Concord, Walnut Creek, Alamo, Brentwood, Port Chicago, Antioch, Pittsburg, Lafayette, Danville, Pleasant Hill, Crockett, Rodeo, Hercules, Richmond, Pinole, El Sobrante, San Pablo, Napa Valley, and more.
Services: Electricians & Electrical Contractors in Solano and Contra Costa county for all electrical services large and small.
Key Brands: FMC Measurement Solutions, The Fite Corporation
You’ve got to hire an electrician. After confirming the basics regarding time in business, electrical contractor’s license and insurance, the next most important thing to ask is how their pricing works; Is it fixed fee pricing or instead, is it T&M (time & materials)?
As the President of Frontline Electrical Services in Solano County since its founding in 1992, and with over 38 years in the industry personally, Lee Sherwood’s confirmation of this is considered expert insider advice from a company that does electrical system installing and repairs, solar systems, and home automation systems.
Choose Hourly Rate. Avoid Fixed Fee Pricing
“The biggest challenge homeowners have is getting someone who’s going to treat them fairly on pricing. Rates based on time & materials is definitely the way to go, instead of a flat fee quote which only benefits the contractor," explains Lee.
A fixed price quote might sound good to some people, but it’s really a way for the contractor to get agreement on a certain dollar amount that may cover several hours. Then if he fixes the problem in only an hour, the difference all goes into his pocket, rather than the homeowner only paying for one hour’s labor plus the part. Also, the fixed-fee contractor’s incentive is to fix the problem as quickly as possible, even if it’s only a short-term solution rather than a permanent repair.
“That’s right," agrees Lee Sherwood. “That’s why at Frontline Electrical Services we do work on a strictly time & material basis so the pricing is always fair to the homeowner. We’ve been doing business that way for over 15 years and it’s why we get so much repeat business. We still have today some of our very first customers from 15 years ago because we keep delivering value for the money paid. As a result, we don’t make as much money as others who use fixed fee pricing but for us, it’s a matter of ethics."
And it’s important to note that Lee Sherwood and Frontline Electrical Services charge on a time & material basis all the way through. This is an important difference because other electricians might give a quote on the phone of an hourly rate, but that’s really only their “trip charge" to come visit you. Once that electrician arrives and diagnoses the problem, it switches to a fixed fee quote, again, always in the contractor’s favor, not the homeowner’s.
What About “Free Estimates"?
What about so-called free estimates? An electrician might tell you on the phone that he’ll come out and give a free estimate, but an estimate has nothing to do with diagnosing the specific problem, or only in a general way, such as “Yup, there’s a problem with the circuit and it will take 4-5 hours". But then when they actually go to work to find the specific problem, it takes them only a half hour or an hour and the homeowner is soaked for the difference.
Lee Sherwood says, “At Frontline Electrical, we charge for one hour to come out which includes doing real work to diagnose the specific problem. Lots of times, it turns out we can actually fix it in within that same hour and the homeowner doesn’t pay any more for that."
Local Company, National Level Expertise
Judging from the modest and fair rates at Frontline Electrical Services in Benicia CA, residential customers might be surprised that the electrical contracting service who came out and fixed their lights or installed their attic fan started as a highly qualified engineering firm and still maintains its own industrial control panel fabrication shop where one sees sophisticated equipment including variable speed motor drives, electrical meters, and sampling systems. Lee Sherwood, with his engineering education, is also the inventor of a technology used by the US Air Force at Travis AFB and which will soon be the standard for the entire armed services. It’s also used by some of the major oil companies and pipeline companies and a recent contract means it will soon be found at the SFO airport too.
Lee is a long-time Bay Area resident who’s enjoyed calling Fairfield CA his home for over 10 years. On the weekends he fills the role of rancher/farmer in the walnut grove on his property and friends and family are often invited over to come pick from the trees. Friends of Lee know him to be generous, and they also call him a man of integrity, honor, and loyalty.
Customers remark on his responsiveness and professionalism including those who received research phone calls such as Anne, who said, “He has astronomical customer service", and Doug who shared, “They did a great job and had extremely good customer service skills".
Choose electrical contractors like Lee Sherwood and Frontline Electrical Services who deliver real value for the fee charged by using fair pricing based on time & materials. It’s one sign of an honest electrician, something that previous customers of Frontline Electrical can, and did, attest to.
– Scott Rhodes, Managing Editor
The Prime Buyer’s Report