Working on Price per Drop(s)

During the process of remodeling my home, and later the wiring of my mother-in-law’s home i decided I should turn this into a business i.e. Networking, Home theater, Security. So far I’ve gone to my SBA and DCRA (permits for Washington, DC) and I believe I have gotten all the information I need to be legal and compliant.
My issue is that I am trying to figure out pricing. I’ve figured out the time and cost of materials (pulled data from the past two remodeling projects). I understand that customer’s tastes and budget will vary especially in different locations around the city. I planned to focus on residential and small businesses. For example, in my basement, (not quite a man-cave) I installed these two wallplates

and was wondering how this pricing per drop would actually be priced out. I wired for redundancy and high use of wired components and less use of wifi.

:thinking: If a client asks for this, would I charge for 16 drops? or have some standard “home theater wiring package” and add in the extra drops at a reduced rate? or even have different packages in between. I also know that depending on the actual structure of the home/business it may be more difficult depending on the building materials. Before I start “canvasing” I want to have this pricing structure ready to go.

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I am not as clear on the costs around AV cabling but coming up with a per drop pricing may not be as simple in residential. Due to all the variables in houses you may have to do custom quotes on a case by case basis.

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Surprise Fireblocks, oh the joy!

Price per drop and then a multiplier for complexity. Add a constant just for you to carry your tools in from the truck. If you’ve done a few jobs, you have some kind of idea what the hardware is going to cost. On the labor, you may take a beating a time or two, but take your lumps and learn from it and you’ll do better the next time. When it’s just your labor you can afford to do that. Don’t hire anyone until you can bid jobs predicting the labor and then meeting your prediction. If you think a job will take 2 hours and you have to pay someone 8, it can cost you more than you charged for the job and that really hurts.

Also to look like a real pro, time or clock your screws. :slight_smile:


Keep track of your the time it takes to accomplish each task, this is known as standard data, it will be the base of your calculations. Next decide how much you want to pay yourself as if you were working for a company the second factor in your calculations then add a mark on. Don’t forget the cost of tools materials and transportation. Recommend getting a good cost accounting and industrial engineering text.

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You can always do estimates and not quotes. Then bill time and materials. I know electricians that work this way because they can give a client an estimate over the phone and not spend a ton of time driving around doing quotes.


I’m doing the estimate thing right now. It seems like I add an hour or two to what I think it’ll take, and it ends up taking an hour or two more that that. It’s the odd ball things that end up throwing you off.

The other metric that works for some is to take the cost of the materials and compare that to the labor of previous jobs. After you track a number of jobs, you’ll find what works for you.

I definitely have to factor those “problem children” in.

I am definitely going to be doing this solo, until the need arises for an assistant. I think I understand what you mean. This massive 4-gang port is set up in my home. I doubt many others would go to this extent, but there may be some in my area that would have the desire and $$ to do so.
So a multiplier would be something like "every additional run/drop on the same wall plate would increase its difficulty i.e. price. Trying to fit 3 HDMI ports on here was a huge pain, especially since the drywall here is shallow and it sits on a wall of concrete blocks…
The time I thought it would take was tripled, and I had to try 3 different types of connectors in that shallow wall space :triumph:

I think I have a decent idea about the time, based on the 2 homes completed. Also tools and materials I did keep track of on this last project. Possibly the first, if i do some digging. Transportation, I had not even begun to think about.

As far as cost accounting are you referring to software like quickbooks? or as I’ve learned about from Tom’s youtube videos, Invoice Ninja. I dint quite understand what you meant by "industrial engineering text, some software as well?

The nerd in me heard variables, and started thinking, I could make a equation for it, lol. Seriously speaking, yes I have to take into account the many difficulties there would be depending on the home’s skeleton. I am getting closer to where I think I want to be…and it looks more customized than simply one price per drop, and that also may be “fluid”.

@BSamuraiTech You’re not wrong that it’s a math problem. You have constants like the time it takes you to carry your tools in to the job. Then there are things in the middle like if you are putting in a patch panel, 1-24 drops is a fixed price until you go to 25-48, then it’s another. Then you have the price per drop where you can just multiple it out. You can multiply all of that by a complexity factor. Like if the building is concrete and you know you’re going to have to drill some holes to run your cable.

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