You won the project but that is just the start.
One of the most overlooked tasks in electrical contracting is Job Tracking. Smaller electrical contractors, just getting their electrical shop open, are overwhelmed with all the things that they have never had experienced being an electrician in the field.
The list can be sobering, to say the least. License, insurance, Taxes, Payroll, OSHA rules, Employee rights, purchasing tools, and trucks. We could list an entire page of items and not touch the surface.
Being confident with your estimates.
Being confident in estimating electrical projects is one thing but tracking the estimate after the bid is equally important.
Furthermore, new electrical contractors, without a lot of previous office experience often fall victim to making decisions that are not knowledge-based. Bidding electrical work by the sq. ft or unit pricing will close your business fast. Not understanding how to track your electrical projects will also eat your lunch.
Starting a new electrical contracting business
We understand what it is like to start a new electrical business from scratch. On top of learning many new tasks such as accounting software like QuickBooks can make you forget about the importance of electrical estimating and estimating software. Trying to scratch out your electrical bids in MS OFFICE will only get you so far. The issue with Excel spreadsheets is they will not provide you with accurate data to track your projects or manage your material.
Are you going to make it?
To grow your business or just to keep the doors open a lot of things must come together at once. Learning what taxes you must pay and learning how to perform your electrical estimations correctly are two that are extremely important. After you win an electrical project, you must be able to track the cost. Finding out after the project is over that you lost money is not an option.
To properly track your electrical estimates you must have the data to do so. The best and most accurate way to perform this task is with electrical estimating software. Moreover, Electrical bidding software can provide you with man-hours per task or phase of your project. Your breakout could look something like the following:
- Fixture installation first floor.—240 Man- Hours.
- Fixture installation second floor.—180 Man- Hours
- Lighting Rough-in first floor.—580- Man- Hours.
- Lighting Rough-in second floor.—470- Man- Hours.
- Device installation first floor.—100- Man- Hours.
- Device installation second floor.—65- Man- Hours.
- Power Branch first floor.—830- Man- Hours.
- Power Branch second floor.—670- Man- Hours.
- Motor Feeders first floor.—350- Man- Hours.
- Motor feeder second floor.—600- Man- Hours.
- Panel Feeders.—160- Man- Hours.
- Gear.—40- Man- Hours.
Winning at Electrical Estimating does not need to be a mystery.
Tracking your electrical estimates is not a mystery as long as you have the proper data.
Creating your electrical projects with the right electrical estimating software gives you all the information you need to track your jobs.
The following (3) companies are our personal choice.
- Accubid by Trimble Approx. $9,500.00 for (1) user.
- Intellibid Approx. $7,500.00 for (1) user.
- Best Bid Hybrid Pro Approx. $1,999.95 for Unlimited users.
Do you have the information you need to succeed?
When your estimates include the proper break out it becomes as simple as tracking your labor with cost codes. For example, if you have an estimated 240 Man-Hours to install all of your lights, as shown in the example above and you have 320 total fixtures, it becomes as easy as recording all of the time you spend installing fixtures to know where you stand.
If you have used 120 Man-Hours installing fixtures and you have installed more than 160 lights installed you are in good shape. If you have used 120 man-hours and you have installed less than ½ of your lights it is time to make a change. Knowing you are behind before it is too late to correct it is invaluable.
Are you and your electricians on the same team?
We speak to electrical contractors all the time and are amazed at how many of them keep job information a secret. They send their electricians to the job blind. If a professional baseball player wasn’t told that after (3) strikes and you are out he may elect to swing at every pitch. If your electricians don’t know what is expected of them they will often miss the mark. Most people don’t want to fail. They want to feel like they are doing a good job. It has been proven time and time again if your workers know what they are trying to achieve there is a better chance that they will. Sadly often the owners don’t know themselves.
One of the first tools that you need to master as a new electrical contractor is your electrical estimating software. Your estimating software is the most important tool that you own! Don’t let it set on the shelf, master it and let it provide you with more than a great estimate. Winning the job is where it starts but remember that is not where it ends. Learn to track your jobs.
The Best Bid Hybrid Pro is the best-valued software on the market. Not only is it the fastest but it comes with a built-in On-Screen Takeoff and provides you all the information you need after you win the bid.