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#206143 05/29/12 03:21 PM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 1
New Member
Does anyone know of a good web link for "standard" electrical unit prices? I need to get an RS Means book but wanted some quick information on an estimate I am working on today. Thanks/Phil

Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,273
That data base is so valuable it's SOLD not gifted.

BTW, RS Means must use the top 100 contractors for their data -- 'cause their numbers are pretty high -- by my standards.


If you not bidding big city work...

Buy a second-hand, years-old RS Means trade back estimated costs book.

The only thing between then and now is the prices.


Start with a take-off of materials:

Light fixtures come first... They're your number one product: light.

Next, work up their switching...

And their EM circuits/ fixtures...

In the typical bid, lighting is HUGE.


Next, work up a receptacle count -- starting with the Strange types.

You want to pick them up before your estimating print is clogged with colored take-off ticks. Typically, these will need dedicated home runs, too.

Next, work up dedicated motor loads. There should be but a few.

These oddities need to be addressed before the print is fouled with colored tick-offs.

Control circuits -- like photo cells need to be picked up next.

Finally, you can tick off receptacles -- starting with the oddest ones first: high receptacles for TVs, etc.

I use a different color for routine, run-of-the-wall receptacles.

Smaller jobs will have only a limited number of daughter panels, if any. These will be in the same e-room, usually. I break the e-room out for a separate bid count -- blowing it up for easier work.

The meter moves fast when you're running feeders, setting panels and transformers.

As for labor: Work up a running scheme. Is it to be a pure MC job? Just how high do you have to work? Do you have to fight other trades? Do you have to follow critical path sequencing? Is materials storage and staging tough? Can you park close by? Are you on ground floor? Do you have to rent a scissor lift? What is the quality of the prints? How experienced is the GC? Have you done this type of work before?


In today's market, most bids are on the floor -- and the customer is king.

Which means that no newbie should get his hopes up that any job will NOT be bid into the ground.


What published labor content/ hours required I've seen published looks to me to be from another planet.

Be advised that the publishers get their raw data from the big boys -- who are not above spoofing their lessers.

Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,335
Welcome aboard!

I use RS Means and modify it accordingly. the end number seems to comeout alright for me. The trick to any estimating program is accurate data. Garbage in, garbage out.

The line item costs seemed high to me too at first. I attended an RS Means class years ago and they explained their methodology and it makes since.

Its not a perfect system however, if you understand the methodology, its easy to adjust to it to fit your needs. I use a spreadsheet that I can minupulate a gillzion different ways to suit my needs

Last edited by sparkyinak; 05/29/12 05:56 PM.

"Live Awesome!" - Kevin Carosa

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