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                                                          Trusting your Man-Hours

In estimating electrical projects, it is easier to know what material you will need vs how long it will take to install that material. With time or Man-Hours, there are many more variables to consider. Who is doing the installation can change the time that it takes dramatically. When I was 30, I could throw a bundle of conduit on each shoulder and run up 3 flights of stairs and not even be breathing hard. Moreover, if we needed to finish an area, we would work through break and get it done. The 50-year-old guys could not work as fast, but they had electrical knowledge that I didn’t.
If I try hard, I can remember way- back to when I first started doing electrical work. For the most part, we wired houses. In the early years you got paid for 8hr when you finished wiring a house. If you drug it out for two days, you still receive 8 hr. of pay. True, these were 1500 to 1700 sq. ft. homes, not the mega homes people build today and with the codes that we deal with today but, you had to run to make it happen. You learned to work.
On rare occasions, you would get a second person to help you. I noticed that even with a second person we didn’t get done in half the time. We were less tired, and we got finished faster but we never finished in ½ the time.
I learned from this that 2 people will not install twice as fast as 1 and, with 4 people, will not install twice as fast as two.
To sum it up, more men equals less production per man.
Here is another example of man- hour’s errors. My wife wanted me to install a window shade. I have already installed two of these blinds and the blinds were very easy to install. I kept putting this off because it was over one of my computer stations, and I would need a ladder. I kept telling her I would get it installed right after the game. It would only take a few minutes to install one blind, so there was no need to rush.


I went to get the ladder, and I remembered that the neighbor had borrowed it, so I drove over to his house to retrieve the ladder. Now I have my ladder and it only wasted a half an hour. Next I went to the shop and got my cordless drill and a bit that I needed to make the installation simple. I opened the blind and found the hangers, but there was a screw missing from the package. I went back to the shop to find a screw that would work and eventually, I had everything I needed to install the blind. I installed the two hangers and started to snap the blind in but something was off. I discovered that this window was 1” narrower than the windows on the front of the house, and this blind would not fit.
Now I am in real trouble because I have waited so long to do this installation that this style blind was no longer available in this color.
After much consideration, I took the blind back to my shop and carefully sawed off 1” with a band saw.
It actually worked. I took the blind back into the house and snapped it in the hangers, and in about 3-1/2 hours, the blind was installed.

The point of this story is: We always think everything is going to go perfectly. I can install this project in 4 weeks, then I have a man to quit and it takes 5 weeks.
Electrical estimating has to be a mix of thinking. If you think everything is going to go right you will bid too little. If you think everything will go wrong, you will never get a job.
Best Bid Electrical Estimating Software has the perfect mix of Man-Hours allotted to the material so you don’t have to do the hard thinking. We have done this for you. From NECA along with years of historical data, we have created a database of Man-Hours that flow smoothly taking into consideration a mix of young workers, older workers, apprentices, and journeymen so that every project has the correct labor.
We also can increase or decrease the Man-Hours for difficulty on each page of the estimate.
Getting your time correct is equally as important for your electrical estimates as getting your material correct.

Trusting pre-determined man-hours will get you much closer than guessing how long that job will take. Combine this with a little historical data and you will have a winning estimate.
What the takeaway from this blog is, that there can always be the unforeseen. A great Electrical Estimator Software can help overcome these obstacles. Estimating software for electrical projects is a must for any successful electrical contractor. Electrical estimating programs like the Best Bid Hybrid Pro have spent 30-plus years fine-tuning their labor units for electrical projects.
Learn to trust what the quoting software for your electrical projects produces for you. Feel free to modify your hours for difficulty but overall trusting your software will produce better results than you guessing.