As a residential electrician it wasnt useful to me. Maybe as a guide but nothing more. Maybe I am thinking of the wrong product.....it came with a Craftsman book I purchase years ago. Pretty sure it was the National Electrical Estimator though.
have been using it for many years, with great results, if you insert your actuals into the data, it is right on when pricing rsi, and small commercial work. Any of the software out there will not preform without accurate data, If you track your jobs and build an actuals base, you will have accurate bidding data.
"Actuals" are the records you've kept of your actual time and expenses for doing a job.
For example, the other day it took me six hours to install a switch and a ceiling fan in an occupied house. Having that figure - and other job details (like ease of access) will help my next estimate be more accurate.
I have the 1998 verson. I only use it as a guide for labor units. It is some what limited to the assemblies it has listed and it take more time to do each item then I feel is worth it. However I am using it right now. I am bidding a project that requires me to install cable try for data. I have not done but a few small peices of this. so I will be using some labor units from this book with my rates. I also must mention that it did come with a program but I found it was more work to use than it was worth.
Use your imagination and break a job down into it's smallest parts the first time. Once you've done the job, hyperaccurate task timekeeping will help you in the future. How long does it take to setup & cleanup, hang a fan, change an outlet, fish a wire? Once you have these "actual" tasks in your records you do estimates like an assembly...3 ceiling fans, 3 fish wires, 3 switches, 1 setup & cleanup. Keep your time estimates generous. It's better to make more profit than less.
Keep tracking your time & check your actual time against your estimated times. If it's taking longer to accomplish a task, you need to correct that task time, or you'll lose money every time you do that task. It's OK to lose money once, but it needs to be corrected quickly.
"Keep tracking your time & check your actual time against your estimated times. If it's taking longer to accomplish a task, you need to correct that task time, or you'll lose money every time you do that task. It's OK to lose money once, but it needs to be corrected quickly."
That is the secret to sucessful exstimating, over the years watching the pros, they don't use fancy or expensive software, they use their actuals sheets to get accurate estimates.