Feedback Requested On A Price Quote I Am Going To Give A Customer

Would you give the same time/dollar estimate? A potential customer asked me to price out to swap his analog cameras for IP. Their currently is Cat5 wiring, however it is terminated on a 110 block. There are about 28 cameras.

I'm leaning towards an estimate of 1 hour per cameras. Which includes put a clip on the camera side and installing the camera, and putting in a patch panel and terminating it. So I would quote out $100 in labor per camera.

They also have some cameras that are coming down from a 20 foot ceiling using 8 feet of conduit. They would want me to move some of those. I am estimating another 30 min/ $50 for that.

Would you charge more or less then that?


Remove existing, terminate Cat5e, install new camera and land cabling into patch panel I would say that 1 hour each is a accurate number. The 1/2 hour for the cameras that are 20' up I think would be low, it takes time to get a lift on site and setup and going. For myself I wouldn't go less than 1 hour to move each camera.

Thank you, the second part was where I was second guessing myself more


For me doing work with our lift always seems to be a wild card and always ends up taking longer than I expect. Some techs aren't comfortable 20' up on a wiggly platform so it takes longer, also doing drop down cameras may require a second hand so now your time is increased as well.

Are you programming or otherwise setting up the cameras, or just terminating and mounting them?

How about the NVR/NAS/VMS? Does this price include setting that up?

The only progamming will be on the NVR side and that would be about 5 hour estimate

Are you just asking about the camera swap labor, because there is nothing in your post about NVR setup, config, adjusting settings of new cameras and so forth.

It's hard to say if your estimate is accurate without knowing how close all the cameras are to each other. You could easily have 10 minutes of just moving/setting the ladder (or lift), in between each camera. Or, if they're all close and you have a motorized lift your camera to camera "travel time" could be 45 seconds or less.

It's really hard to say, and I don't do a lot of install quoting, but the prices seem low to me. Partly because of the high odds (IMO) that you wind up encountering issues with the existing cabling somewhere along the way and then end up having to deal with that on the fly.

If you think at least 12 of the camera moves are going to be quick and easy, then you're probably OK, the extra time you pick up on those would buffer any unforeseen setbacks on some of the more difficult ones.

No camera is more then 15 feet farther then the next closest one. I am putting in the quote that if there is an issue with the wire, then that is extra
I guess it depends on where you are located? However, I think you are underestimating time. Here In the Bay Area labor needs to be at least $175 an hour per tech. (Cost of living here!!!). Good luck. Remember, if you do good work, don't under estimate it.

too many variables to be accurate, but you need to account for a certain amount of fluff in there if thats not your wire to start with. make sure to include programming, setup, remote connection and training time, and that wire drop is going to take you longer than half an hour... my techs would probably spend half an hour each just getting to it and looking at it to devise a plan. dont forget the time to reaim and focus when the client says... can we move this view a tinge to the right?


Are you planning to use a network cable tester to verify the cable before you do any other work?

IPVM provides a cable testing guide.

Maybe you have already accounted for the cable testing time, or specified a per-hour rate for that.

The reason I ask is that I have been called in to troubleshoot projects where CAT5e cable was used with video baluns for analog cameras, and the cable was reused when IP cameras were installed (and encoders put in place for some of the newer analog cameras).

The problem was that some of the cameras were not getting all of their video through.

The Technical Details

The trouble turned out to be that some of the CAT5e cable runs were poorly installed and could not support more than 10 Mbps. On a 1 gigabit network, the network connection was automatically being negotiated down to 100 Mbps or even 10 Mbps.

About a year ago I came across this chart:

10 mbps = 1.25 megabytes per second
100 mbps = 12.5 megabytes per second
1000 mbps (1 Gbps) = 125 megabytes per second

With IP cameras you will be sending more (or maybe very much more) video data across the cables, depending upon how many megapixels the camera image is. Although I have seen installations where some of the cable runs would only support 100 Mbps connections, since CAT5e cable is designed for 1 Gbps, doing that means you are re-using a cable that has been incorrectly installed, and could further deteriorate over time.

The Customer

It can be important to explain to the customer why existing cable may not be up to snuff. They don't know about any of the networking details, or that megapixel cameras mean a lot more video data. Otherwise they can find it suspicious that cable which was working for the cameras they have now, won't necessarily work for the new cameras.

In the interest of time (and money), 110 blocks are Cat 5 rated- use a C4 to RJ 45 adapter and let'er rip.

UD3MFG, in our troubleshooting projects we often found that the punchdown block terminations of the CAT5e cables were poorly done (the pairs were completely untwisted once out of the jacket) and didn't test out to 1 Gbps. Here is a video that shows how to preserve the twists right up to the block. I have seen 110 to RJ45 patch cables in place, which look like they would eliminate some of the punch-down work, but I haven't done that kind of installation work myself.

I have seen really nicely done cable installations that on inspection looked just perfect, and did work, and which the integrator never tested with any tester device. Since we don't get called in to troubleshoot those, we don't see them much! On the other hand, it is not uncommon for IT departments to require cable certification by a company who specializes in that. Smaller companies who don't have internal IT departments often don't assert any cable certification requirements.

The strong trend is for certification for enterprise caliber projects, due to IT involvement. For smaller businesses, the customers just rely on the integrator to "do the right thing".