How to estimate electrical work – basic steps to do it right
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In the world of electrical contracting, you have to estimate and submit bids in order to win projects and stay in business. This means bidding low enough to win against many competing electrical contractors, while high enough to cover all the project costs like labor, material, equipment rentals, subcontractors, and indirect cost or otherwise known as overhead required to run your business. And don’t forget including enough profit for taking on the risk and of course growing the business. In the steps below, we’ve outlined a proven electrical estimating system to help you get started.
- Choose the Right Work to Bid
- Review the Specifications
- Review the Drawings
- Perform a Quantity Takeoff
- Request Supplier Quotes
- Create your Estimate
- Add Overhead and Profit
- Build your Proposal
- Double Check Takeoff Quantities & Estimate
- Submit Bid
- Review the Results
Preparing your material list
What material is required and how much is needed. Usually this is prepared by system: gear, lighting, power, site, branch, feeder, fire alarm, voice data, etc. Each area may be covered on multiple pages and not only will your list contain required material for each section, typically, you’ll compact the list into a grand total and send that in to the supply house. How long does this take you? How complete is the list? How detailed is it? Do you go to great lengths to prepare the list or is it something that you prepare in an abbreviated fashion? How many hours do you spend preparing this list?
Once you have the list prepared you send it to the supply house for pricing. What is their turnaround? Is it hours or several days? Waiting on this list to be returned to you can impact how you complete your estimate. Do you have ample time to incorporate these numbers into your bid, or are you rushed at the last minute to get these costs into you estimate, so you can finalize the bid?
How long do you spend on the estimate, determining the time to install and compete the project? Have you had experience with these types of projects? Does your team have experience on this job? How have you done with similar jobs in the past? Have you assessed correct hours on previous job? Do you need to adjust the time, up or down, to meet the requirements? Once the hours are determined, you need to extend the hours into the associated dollars for the job. How long does that take?
Material & Labor Take-Off
- We provide you with fixture and gear counts
- Next, labor hours for each item are calculated
- Material pricing on each item is finalized
- We provide a professional bid proposal with inclusions sheet (optional)
- Finally, you finish the bid and submit it to GC
Purpose of electrical estimation and costing
The purpose of estimation means why we will do estimation before executing the work, so guys below I will discuss some points related to the purpose of estimation. By reading those points you will get to know everything related to estimation.
- 1. To fix up the budget and complete details of the required materials for carrying out the complete work or project prior to execution. By fixing the budget we will come to know about how much money it will cost for work.
- 2. To exercise control over the quality of materials required depending upon the work to be executed.
- 3. To fix up the cost of various materials, tools, plants, equipment’s to carry out work including other costs like the cost of labor, supervision inspection, transportation stock incidental contingencies, etc.
- 4. To find the most economical procedure for the execution of work or project.
- 5. To keep the estimates in a systematic way for future reference. It will also help us in the future if we are doing any work again.
- 6. To work as a guide to the contractor as well as supervisory staff for quality execution work. It will also guide us while doing work.