The lost art of estimating

In today’s computer age we have become custom to just pushing buttons and living with the results.
The art of actually entering our knowledge along with the computer generated results has long been forgotten. Shorter bid dates, having to produce more estimates than ever before, are some of the issues we face each day. Detailed electrical estimating seems to be a lost art. Creating accurate detailed electrical estimates is one of the most important skills you can learn.

You will fail or succeed based on your ability to estimate!

Electrical estimating is one of the key factors in whether you make money or not. If you do not get your estimate right, you can literally end up out of pocket. Not only is it the foundation of the electrical project it is how you will track the progress of the job. If there is a large overrun then it can affect your reputation and ability to stay in business. Estimating electrical projects improves with experience. We are always tweaking our estimations and looking for a better and easier way, The more estimates you do the more you can see patterns and become comfortable with your estimate and estimating skills. It maybe mastering electrical software, reviewing past electrical projects, learning from an On-Line School of Electrical Estimating such as the Best Bid School For Electrical Estimating, or setting under a master estimator. People say time is the best teacher but in electrical estimating time to learn may put you right out of business. Experience and knowledge are the best teachers and the quicker you master these the better your chances of staying in business are.

Time is not on your side.


People no longer take the time to look at other trades to discover potential conflicts with their scope of work that may increase installation time.  I remember the time when we actually went through a set of drawings just as if we were installing it. The job was installed in our minds way before we entered it on paper. We took into consideration ceiling heights and types, looked at overlays of other trades to know where we could install our raceways, what type of lifts were needed, special equipment or tools etc.  It was common to look at sections of a project that would be harder than normal, wall types, how long would we work with a mason etc. Estimators would consider the job duration for crew size and overtime needed.
Needless to say these days are over. Hurry up is the word of the day.

Don’t get confused by fancy phrases.

Over the years I have read many books and articles on electrical estimating, Top down estimating, bottom up estimating, accumulative sq. root database estimating, three point estimating, etc. let me save you time. All this is garbage!  Estimating electrical projects by the Sq. foot or unit pricing, etc. is nothing more than spinning the wheel. You would be better off to go to a casino and put your money on black.
There is only one way to estimate and stay in business. Electrical estimation is as simple as determining all the material it will take to install the project and how long it takes to install this material. There isn’t a magic pill or simple way to get it right. No other way will work, no other way will grow your business, no other way will constantly put money in your pocket!
The art of estimating electrical projects today consist of knowledge and estimating software that you can count on to produce the results that you agree with.  Having the right electrical estimating software allows you to feel confident in your estimates and track the progress of the job.

There is help

Using software like Best Bid Hybrid Pro helps resolve these issues. Best Bid speeds up the estimating time leaving you time to enter your own thoughts and feelings into the electrical estimate. Nothing replaces knowledge. The beauty of the Best Bid products is that you can customize the results. Best Bid comes with amazing defaults but every time you push the buttons the results can be yours. Our electrical estimating software is extremely flexible letting you manage the estimate which is very important.

 Nothing replaces knowledge


Best Bid also offers an On Line School for Electrical Estimating to help you if you are moving from the field to the office and need some solid general estimating experience. We teach estimating from A to Z. Many electrical contractors just starting out have no idea of what Man Hours actually are and how they are used.

Select the right electrical project

After you are confident about your estimates then picking your projects and spending more time on each estimate is better than the shotgun approach of bidding every job that comes out. More is often not the answer or always better. Knowing the projects and the contractors that you work for helps you choose jobs that are best for your company.
Some call this bidding in the niche. Find the type of project that your electrical company is best suited for and spend time building relationships with contractors that bid this type of work.

Electrical material prices

Another major issue we face today is pricing material; Prices of electrical material are changing weekly. Electrical prices increasing faster than you can enter them into your software. Having a pricing service has become invaluable.  Best Bid works with two services to help relieve this stress,

Real time Pricing

Both services will provide you with up to date pricing along with online catalogs etc.

Netpricer or NetPak “ElectricSmarts’ NetPak
A powerhouse of e-tools and content. One-click distributor pricing right into your estimating software.

Real Time Pricing
At Real Time Pricing we do one thing, provide you with Real Time Pricing.

You can have the best estimate but if your prices are off your estimate is flawed.

We are here to help.

If you need help with estimating electrical project Best Bid Electrical Estimating Software can help.—800-941-7028