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#18706 - 12/13/02 10:58 AM Bidding my first commercial job...
Happi_Man Offline

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 213
Loc: Columbus, Ohio - USA
I'm thinking of putting in a bid on a new AutoZone (car parts store). It appears in teh specs like I am responsible for coordinating with the local utility company to have the transformer set and everything - does that sound right? Anyone have any clue of the costs associated with this?

Anyone have any suggestions in general as far as estimating and bidding a commercial job like this?


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#18707 - 12/13/02 02:28 PM Re: Bidding my first commercial job...
golf junkie Offline

Registered: 04/22/01
Posts: 511
Loc: York, NE
Sounds normal to me. I would call the utility company involved and ask a few questions. Locally it all depends on which company we are dealing with on who does what.

When concrete work is spec'd for x-former pads or housekeeping pads we simply take exception in the bid submittal that the concrete is not included.

Read the spec. to see what you are responsible for.

My current project is a nursing home. We ran the underground conduit for both the primary and secondary of the utility transformer. The PoCo provided the transformer, installed it on the pad, and provided the primary wire ....we provided/pulled the wire on the secondary. The utility did all the terminations at the transformer. We terminated the main switchgear.

There are many different ways that this can all come together. Study the bid drawings and spec book. All the info you need should be there.

Don't bid your first job too aggressively. It's OK if you don't win the bid. It's not OK to be way low and lose money on the project. After you do a few bids you will start to develope a feel for what it takes to win bids.

Good luck! and ask if you have any questions.


We do not pay any fees to the local PoCo for any of this work. We do pay a small fee for each service drop for temporary power.

#18708 - 12/13/02 03:10 PM Re: Bidding my first commercial job...
spyder Offline

Registered: 10/14/02
Posts: 211
Loc: Massachusetts
Where I am from, the power company requires a grant of easement for the transformer location. Depending on the project, they also asses fees if a line extension is required. They also can hit you up for money for what they call a one time tax. If the commercial property is going to be a high demand one, (use a lot of electricity), then a lot of times these fees are lower. They also may have requirements for a spare 4" conduit if it is going to be underground primary. There can be a lot of hidden fees, so it is definetly worth checking before you bid.

#18709 - 12/13/02 04:01 PM Re: Bidding my first commercial job...
Happi_Man Offline

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 213
Loc: Columbus, Ohio - USA
GJ - thanks for the input. I actually did contact the PoCo and talked to an engineer. He told me that they provide the x-form mount - we provide the trenching and the secondary. Pretty much what you told me.

Good point about not bidding too aggressively and such. I actually don't expect to win the job but was doing it just for that; the experience.

I really appreciate your input.

#18710 - 12/13/02 04:07 PM Re: Bidding my first commercial job...
GEC-1 Offline

Registered: 06/06/01
Posts: 32
Loc: Covington, Georgia USA
Just as Golf Junkie (hope that is spelled right), I installed a 600 amp service on a high school football stadium. The local utility company provided the transformer pad and transformer, all I did was provide the conduit from the pad to the service disconnects. The utility company even pulled the service to the disconnects for me. If I were you, I would first talk to the utility company and find out how willing they will be to work with you, and just how much they are willing to do. Good luck on the bid!

#18711 - 12/13/02 06:59 PM Re: Bidding my first commercial job...
Nick Offline

Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 603
Loc: Riverside, CA
Here in California all the utilities are pretty much the same. We install all the structures, (primary and secondary conduits, slab boxes, pull boxes pads grounding etc.) to there specs and design. The owner pays all utility company fees. Sometimes we coordinate with the utility, sometimes it’s up to the GC. All in how the specs are written.
BTW: One particular utility here requires that you be an “approved” contractor to tie into there existing structures. If you are not, you have to sub that portion of the work to someone who is. That will bump up your cost a little.
The whole thing is pretty ironic. My company isn’t “approved” and does not wish to be. At least one of the subs we hire that is is a pipeline contractor. So we watch laborers, who know nothing about electricity, work in live 12KV vaults doing electrical work because we are not allowed to. Does that make sense?

#18712 - 12/13/02 07:22 PM Re: Bidding my first commercial job...
Ron Offline

Registered: 03/13/02
Posts: 577
Loc: White Plains, NY
I would suggest to review the work distribution with the other trades. Very often the spec books will indicate work to be done, but does not nessasarily mean that you will perform it. The engineer just wants it completed and doesn't care whom actually does the work. For example, spec books very often have motor control centers specified in the Division 15 (Mechnical), but get rigged, installed and wired by the electrical. On the other hand, there are be wiring specifications in Division 16 (Electrical), but the HVAC control contractor might be installing his own control wiring, or you might be expected to do it.
Just Check it out.

#18713 - 12/13/02 09:17 PM Re: Bidding my first commercial job...
caselec Offline

Registered: 04/14/02
Posts: 557
Loc: San Jose, CA

I always exclude any utility work from my bid. Unless they have provided you with detailed plans of what needs to be done there is no way you can provide an accurate price. I'm also CA and have the pleasure of dealing with one of these large easy to work with utilities (I think Nick knows what I'm taking about). We often don't have any thing from the utility engineers until we are 80% complete with the project. Until we have this information we can't provide the cost. Even a single family dwelling with a 200 amp service will take 3-6 months for the utility to engineer the 3" conduit that needs to run from the new panel to the existing pull box at the curb.

Curt Swartz


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