How to Estimate Electrical Construction Projects

How to Estimate Electrical Construction Projects

The electrical estimating process begins with knowing your business and worth. Consider what your strength, size, and experience are and discuss costs with an accountant or another specialist. It is essential that you know all costs including direct and indirect expenses before you offer a bid. The electrical estimating process can be unforgiving due to the high costs of conduits, wiring, and sub-assemblies. When estimating costs, time is usually limited and accuracy is essential. Juggling labor rates and materials, especially when working on multiple bids can lead to errors and miscalculations. You don’t want this to result in offering too low of a bid and end up risking a profit. The first step in avoiding lost profit begins with accurately calculating your true electrical labor costs.

There are two ways to determine labor rate per man-hour:

— Shop average labor rate- This can be determined by dividing the total field labor costs for the past 12 months by the total number of field man-hours for the past 12 months.

— Job average labor rate- This can be determined by calculating the number of persons on the job and their average rate. (Note: This requires you to know the difficulty of the job, the skill of your job crew, and their wage)


To help make the estimating process a little less daunting, there are courses and software applications than can help. These various courses and software applications help electrical contractors estimate profitable projects quickly and efficiently so that they choose projects that are worth their while.


What are the benefits of enrolling in an electrical estimating course?

Whether your work is high-voltage, cable, and wiring, lighting, or systems work, electrical estimating courses teach various skills that contractors must know in order to accurately estimate profitable projects.


Some of these skills include:

— Learning how to describe the different parts of an estimate

— Learning how labor units can be used to competitively bid projects

— Learning the difference between a competitive bid and a simply low bid

— Learning commons mistakes when estimating electrical construction projects and how to avoid them


What are the benefits of implementing an electrical estimating application?

It streamlines the process of recording and calculating costs, saving time and money.


Useful features of software applications include:

— Allows contractors to generate estimates and invoices for all types of work

— Electronically generates estimates faster than slow paper-based estimating

— Lets you integrate files

— Offers “What If” planning capabilities to see impacts of potential changes in items and prices on total costs

— Allows for easy bid customization

— Covers all ranges of electrical contracting activities

— Different software specializes in estimating for small, medium, and large projects, as well as commercial, industrial, and residential

— Analyzes weather and job site conditions to calculate labor requirements

These features help electrical contractors to make the most accurate bid with the most ease. Software applications help handle the difficult calculations so that contractors don’t have to, saving time and money.

Although electrical estimations may seem intimidating, relying on useful tools such as educational courses and software applications not only make the process easier but make it more accurate as well!



NECA – Electrical Estimating

NECA – Wiring, Lighting and Estimating



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