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Prices per cable pull or per location?

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April 9, 2009 6:23:03 PM

Hello,

I'm looking for some input here. I was tasked w\ looking into something we were invoiced and stumbed upon another invoice where we were billed around $14,000 for cable / phone drops. They billed a flat rate of around $115 per drop and they priced it out on a per cable basis.

Looking at the bill it looks like a huge ripoff considering that all of the drop locations have at least 2 cables there, so it's not as if they dropped at 100+ different locations.

Can anybody tell me if this is normal pricing for this sort of thing?
April 10, 2009 1:01:29 AM

itadakimasu said:
Hello,

I'm looking for some input here. I was tasked w\ looking into something we were invoiced and stumbed upon another invoice where we were billed around $14,000 for cable / phone drops. They billed a flat rate of around $115 per drop and they priced it out on a per cable basis.

Looking at the bill it looks like a huge ripoff considering that all of the drop locations have at least 2 cables there, so it's not as if they dropped at 100+ different locations.

Can anybody tell me if this is normal pricing for this sort of thing?


It's pretty normal, depending on your building(s), and geographical location, of course. I wouldn't sweat it much.
April 17, 2009 6:36:20 PM

I'm still considering it a ripoff because the people who did it for us got the job w\out it being bid out because they'd worked with us before and had some favor w\ the owner.

especially w\ my office which shares a wall w\ the server room where the cables all terminate... i have 3 jacks, so they billed $345 for dropping 3 ethernet cables down the wall of the server room !

I could have done the job myself... that would have afforded me 3-4 months off ^^
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April 23, 2009 6:11:48 PM

~$100 per drop is the normal rate, you don't have to deal with wiring in the patch closet or the mess and sweat of getting that stuff through walls (it's a real pain sometimes)
September 24, 2009 4:57:39 PM

itadakimasu said:
I'm still considering it a ripoff because the people who did it for us got the job w\out it being bid out because they'd worked with us before and had some favor w\ the owner.

especially w\ my office which shares a wall w\ the server room where the cables all terminate... i have 3 jacks, so they billed $345 for dropping 3 ethernet cables down the wall of the server room !

I could have done the job myself... that would have afforded me 3-4 months off ^^



Unfortunately most people are very eager to shun someones work and point out they can do it better or for less. This is possibly true if you are doing it as a one time job for 3 cables, but it seems like the company came in to do more then just 3 cables.

In that case, if you have ever done cabling yourself for larger jobs, you would understand that the companies that come in are task with not only cabling, but also keeping up to code and regulations the drops that they do. Items such as making sure the correct distance from items (lighting or motors) that cause RF (radio frequency) or other interference factors. They also have to be up to par on regulations of building code on how they put items through places such as firewalls. That is just two of many items that a company must be sure about when they take up a cabling job.

These companies are usually certified and the same with the people who do the cabling for the company are also certified. (meaning they took classes or training to verify the cable drops integrity).

Face it.. anyone can drop a cable of CAT5e or CAT6 in a building from one location to another (assuming you have the correct tools). But if the person does not follow protocol and regulation you could have in worse case OSHA or Fire Marshal on the door step for not cabling correctly. In not so worse case you could have network issues due to RF which is like fixing a ghost in the machine issue and can be very time consuming to fix.

Usually drops, depending on your geographic location can run from $100 - $125. I have seen some outfits charge even as much as $200 per drop (I think this is bit much, but it's not my company).

Good companies do a walk through to verify cabling and verify the difficulties of the drops they will encounter (this could also add to the price depending on the difficulty of the drop and if anything extra is need to make the drop work or be accomplished).

You have to remember that you are not only paying for the cable (Plenum & Non-Plenum), the jack, the plate, the backplate, but also the cable pullers time to get your task completed. Sometimes this will include other items such as patch panel, patch panel brackets, plate fillers, firewall putty, pull string, pvc piping, conduit, racks (open or closed, small or big), switches, routers and so on.

Sounds like the company who did the job charge around the correct price.
January 24, 2010 1:32:37 PM

itadakimasu said:
I'm still considering it a ripoff because the people who did it for us got the job w\out it being bid out because they'd worked with us before and had some favor w\ the owner.

especially w\ my office which shares a wall w\ the server room where the cables all terminate... i have 3 jacks, so they billed $345 for dropping 3 ethernet cables down the wall of the server room !

I could have done the job myself... that would have afforded me 3-4 months off ^^


itadakimasu - What do you do for a living? I bet I could find anyone to do what you do for half the price. Anyone could consider any price a ripoff. Come work with my for a week in the cabling business and I bet you will crawl back to your cube with a bottle of advil.
January 24, 2010 2:04:30 PM

That's funny...

My main point was that this guy and his company apparently were in the good graces of our owner from work they'd done for her in the past, and so she gave them the entire project of cabling our new office and transporting all of our servers to the new location.

Now, my opinion of them shifted well before I found the billing for this.

The guy shows up in his toyota min-van to move our servers... Really? If we'd known that, we'd have already started moving them ourselves.

Then... we get to the new office and there's nowhere to even put the servers, so we have all of our servers stacked on top of eachother in the server room. now, this was for 2-3 weeks because the server rack that they'd ordered was not there yet.

It took about 3 weeks for the server rack to get there... and another billing issue here. they billed us around $1150 for a 42u dell rack which, had I we not hired them, i'd have bought at that time directly from dell for around $800.


But, yeah... When you are gifted a contract... it's just in poor taste to milk it out like that for as much as you can.


Any way you look at it though, it's insane to charge 115 per drop when you have several that are basically 1 drop, and you just triple charge. Especially if you were lucky enough to be given a $15k-$20k contract w\out having anybody else bid on it.
Anonymous
November 29, 2010 9:56:12 AM

You are a narrow minded empty headed animal trough wiper.

You know nothing about business, you have a consumer mentality. These people have a right to charge what they do and make a living. Do you have any idea how expensive it is to run a business? Just look at the wiring costs and that just scratches the surface.

May 8, 2012 11:29:33 AM

That's actually on the cheap side if it was cat6. My company installs networks and we do cabling as well. The going rate for b2b for cat5 is around 200 a drop and cat6 is closer to 300.

A box of cat5 is 75-100 dollars depending on copper, it has gone up 50 percent over the past 4 years.

A box of cat6 is anywhere from 140-180.


Plenum is double the price.

Biscuit jacks are 5-8 dollars each

24 port patch panels are 75-90

Invoicing is usually net30 to 60 so you must front your employees 15-20 an hour for over a month sometimes 3-4 depending on clients.

General liability and workers comp is expensive I just paid close to 5k the other day and I have a much smaller policy then some of my work partners who own larger businesses.

This doesn't include cable certifiers, radars, and other tools. A good fluke certifier will cost 5k-8k new. A radar to check before core drilling 14k.

Plus that doesnt even touch fiber tools.

It doesn't include lost time because job sites drag out and are not ready...

It doesn't include training for employees or overtime.

It's a business and any business owner knows you need to pull in as close to 75 a man hour as possible to make a decent profit for the hundreds of hours spent billing, giving out free surveys, taxes, and all those after hour calls our clients expect we work.

I bet you think data cabling companies should live out of their car and eat fast food everyday... If that was the case good luck finding anyone that is good at installing something you rely on everyday to get your job done.
June 13, 2012 8:06:55 PM

Excellent points Phillyt. You mentioned invoicing at net30, a lot of companies such as ours have to buy materials on those same terms as well, which means we purchase through wholesalers that have already marked up cabling & equipment. For example, one of my customers specifies high-end cat6 Plenum cabling, and it costs us just over $400 per reel of 1000'.

itadakimasu, the argument that you could just "do it yourself" is more than ridiculous. Do you go to a restaurant, look at the menu, and then complain that you could just cook that $20 steak at home yourself for half the price? Nope, because you are paying for the convenience of the service, the fact that you don't have to do the dishes, and eat a steak that "should" be prepared by someone who has experience with what they are doing.

Same for cabling professionals. I'm not going to bore you with the 101 different scenarios that you might run into while pulling and installing data cables in an office or industrial environment, but those cabling companies aren't raking in the dough and laughing at you as they fall asleep in their down-feathered beds at night. Your man showed up in a Toyota van, not a Ford King Ranch.

You seem to be particularly upset that they charged you the same price for the cables installed right next to the server room as they did for the furthest pulls. It's an average. If you'd rather them bill you $50 for your next to the server room pulls and $450 for your 90m pulls, they could probably do that for you, but it all averages out.

And while I do agree that maybe a few other bids should have been received, if the owner had used this company before and was happy enough with them to bring them back, then what's the issue? Anyway, it seems like you're not satisfied with the answers you've gotten here, so I guess there's no educating the blind.
September 10, 2012 6:44:04 PM

You are being robbed. if no wire pull was involved just testing and terminating. You are saying 120 drops were installed ?

September 12, 2012 6:22:37 PM

itadakimasu said:
Hello,

I'm looking for some input here. I was tasked w\ looking into something we were invoiced and stumbed upon another invoice where we were billed around $14,000 for cable / phone drops. They billed a flat rate of around $115 per drop and they priced it out on a per cable basis.

Looking at the bill it looks like a huge ripoff considering that all of the drop locations have at least 2 cables there, so it's not as if they dropped at 100+ different locations.

Can anybody tell me if this is normal pricing for this sort of thing?


Your saying that they ran 121 drops and because there are 2 wires per drop they were ripping the company off?

I charge $120 per drop, tested but not certified.
This is par for this area.

Just because they bidded out each drop at $115 doesnt mean that is what it cost them to run each one.
A 200 foot run cost more than a 20 foot run but in this line of work we charge by the drop as it is more cost effective.

Next time your company changes locations you need to tell your boss that you will do it for $60/drop and will have her company up and running within a couple days.

If you cant do that then you need to be quite and let those of us that do know cabling do the jobs.
September 15, 2012 3:08:49 PM

akboss said:
Your saying that they ran 121 drops and because there are 2 wires per drop they were ripping the company off?

I charge $120 per drop, tested but not certified.
This is par for this area.

...



@itadakimasu, you don't mention their warranty or certifying the drops.

Certifying drops and providing you with reports on each drop costs more than just testing drops for continuity. I doubt you have the equipment to certify. I'd suggest that a DIY job would encounter need for repairs for miswired or loose terminations, broken/stretched cable; not to mention problems arising in the future based on workmanship or (cheap) products installed...

Generally, certified drops add 50% to 75% to the cost per drop depending on the cable spec.

@akboss, what does your company charge to certify cable drops - for CAT5e/CAT6/CAT6A? How do you handle cable, equipment and services warranty?

Finally, there is a lot to be said for having a trusted contractor with a proven track record. That is far more valuable than the crap-shoot of selecting a cheaper contractor with no known performance standards.


One thought - If you had taken your concerns to the owner and offered your DIY services, would the owner accept your offer?
December 7, 2012 2:45:55 PM

Just a quick question regarding the pricing. How do contractors usually work out their prices(assuming there's an industry standard) when it comes to cable drops?

For example if say a contractor charges 120$/drop, does that include time or is it only a rate for that individual drop not including time?

Also say you were asked to quote on a job in an old building where you know the cabling could get complicated and where an estimate of the time is hard to make, would you :

a- Charge more per drop to make up for the time lost
b-Assuming you can sell that to your client, lower the price per drop and work by the hour
c- Any other option I may have omitted

The reason I am asking is because I've worked in network cabling as an employee for about 2 years so obviously I never had to bother with pricing.
I'm considering doing it for my personal business and so that's why I'm looking for helpful inputs.
January 2, 2013 11:15:25 PM

I have done this type of work for the past five years. I spent the past two days installing a wireless and wired system in a church covering two buildings 350 feet apart connected by a wireless bridge. I am making the invoice tonight and I know the customer will have a hard time understanding why it is so high. They were not there while every cable, cable end, and component was being installed, or while everything was configured to work together with access points and repeaters with private and guest networks, and testing to make sure everyone was still online. I will get paid well for the time spent on the job, but there is also time planning the job, ordering parts, or the time learning the profession that the customer does not see. I am tired tonight and feeling just a little underpaid when you consider it all. I also know I will probably need to discount the job some to keep the customer from thinking bad of me. My hat's off to all of you who do this type of work. I know how hard it can be.
May 7, 2013 6:16:04 PM

Dear ITADAKIMASU...I have read almost all the answers you were given and also realize this post is ancient. But non the less decided to give you some input anyways. For a reliable, experienced cabling contractor to do your job for that price you got a GREAT PRICE. I would be more worried that quality of the work was sub par or that they may have used PVC instead of plenum rated cable(PVC is 1/4 the price) which is required by code in most environments. But just so you know...the average price of a CAT6 drop is more like $170 per cable ($200 if there's less then 20 drops) unless the runs are all well under 150 ft average. What most people like yourself do not understand about the industry is that there are a lot of what we call Trunk Slammers out there that do not follow standards or codes and just sling the cable every which way they can.
To where as a reliable and quality contractor will ensure there are supports installed and also provide you with certified test results so you have proof they actually do work according to standards(A Fluke Tester cost $9,000 brand new). So there is a large overhead that quality contractors absorb and unfortunately there's always customers out there looking for the lowest price which does not include getting the best quality of work!
But as you said in one of your responses"you could do the work yourself for less"...but what that really says is you have NO RESPECT for someone elses trade and that my friend is a shame because I'd be willing to bet you couldn't pass half the testing to get certified...you just think cable guys are all the same!
!