Electrical Estimating Strategies

Get your pre-game together

This post is for electrical estimators that may be just a little nervous when they start to price electrical work.

That can be a good thing, at least it means you care about the results and quality of your bid.
Ok you have electrical estimating software and you have on-screen takeoff software to fall back on but electrical cost estimation is a little more than just the electrical estimateElectrical bidding software with programs for pricing electrical work is a must but electrical cost estimation just starts with the electrical parts, pieces and labor to install them. Good electrical estimators pricing electrical work with the best electrical estimating software like the Best Bid Hybrid Pro still need to account for items that the electrical estimating software will not include until you tell it to. Residential Electrical Estimating, Commercial Electrical Estimating, Industrial Electrical Estimating , and even Low Voltage Electrical Estimators  sometimes includes thousands of dollars of direct cost to an electrical estimate.

It is just a good idea

In this post I want to share with you what I did when I first started estimating. It is what I called the Pre-Bid warm up. While I was not under pressure, and had some free time, I started thinking of things that I didn’t want to leave out of my electrical estimate. As I thought of these things I started writing them down. Eventually I have a pretty good list of item.

At the end of my electrical pricing I would read the list and make a physical check by each item showing that I had included these things in to the electrical estimation.

This provided me with a piece of mind that if I left something out of my electrical estimate at least it would not be much.

This list grew over time and I started including items from the electrical specifications.

This is a fantastic yet simple way from having to keep all of this information in your head on bid day. With prices coming in at the last minute and everyone is rushing to get or give a price things get hectic. Entering prices into your electrical estimating program at the last minute can be frantic.

Bid day can be hectic to say the least.

I suggest that you create your own check list especially when starting electrical estimating or providing electrical cost estimates for yourself or someone else.

When you start using  electrical estimating software like the Best Bid Hybrid Pro https://bestbidestimating.com you can pre-load  these items into a default electrical estimate to save time.

Not everything on the list will be used  every time you provide an electrical estimate but having the list puts you mind at ease.

This is an example of how your list could start:

General Information:

Name of Project
Pre-Bid date
Bid Date
Addendums #1–Date
Addendums #2–Date
Addendums #3—Date
Alt #1
Alt #2
Alt #3
Bid Bond Yes/No
Performance Bond yes/No
Liquidated damages Yes/No
Length of project
Is there a wage scale?
Rate of pay


Can MC Cable be used?
Can Aluminum Conductors be used?
Is Seismic Engineered calculations required?
Steel or Die Cast Fittings
Compression or Steel Fittings
Is concrete included in scope?
Temp power
Can you install under the slab?
Raceway type?
Are feeders GRS
How high is the building?
What are the wall types?
Fire caulk/Special sleeves
Will the job be in phases?
PVC Under Ground?
GRS 90’s ?
Warning tape or planks?
Special backfill or compaction?


Lighting and Controls                                 Low Vendor
Gear                                                              Low Vendor
Fire Alarm
HVAC  Low Voltage Wiring
Access Controls


Lighting Rough in
Lighting Trim
Power Branch
Motor Feeders-Home Runs etc
Control Wiring
Fire Alarm
Floor Boxes
Cord Reels
Floor Duct
Wall Duct
Warning Tape


Labor rate
Wasted Time
Multiple stories?
Drive time


Direct Cost:

Fuel to the project
Per Diem
Back Hoe
Bucket Truck



Selling price:

This is just an example of a Pre-Bid sheet that can keep your brain free and keep you from leaving something out. You can create your own list and update it every time something new comes up.
By checking off the list you will ensure you have not slipped anything major and can feel good about your estimate.

I also create an exclusion list and place it on my proposal. I have learned to create a pre -proposal template as well as a pre-bid template.
This will be your own list but you should create it while not under pressure.

I list things like:

Rock removal
Low Voltage wiring not listed
Systems not listed above

This is just an example and your list should include everything that you are not covering in your electrical scope of work.
Creating these list makes the worry of bid day not so stressful.  It is also a great reminder when you win the project things that you need to know need to know.

Create a bid Folder

You should always have a bid folder that included all of the information about the job such as :

All the drawings
Your Pre Bid Sheet
Any emails or phone calls about the project.

You will save yourself hours if you learn to keep this information stored in a safe place.

When creating your estimate using electrical estimating software like the Best Bid Hybrid Pro this also helps you not have to think of everything. If you just follow the control panel on Best Bid in order that will automatically give you most of the electrical estimate without thinking. The rule is as long as you have some information for everything it is better than leaving it out completely. Best Bid electrical estimating software helps you create the correct information just by entering quantities.
The Best Bid Electrical Estimating Software  also breaks down the electrical estimate in schedule of values so it is easy to track your progress when you win the job.

If you will do these simple steps it will help you estimate or estimate better.