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#32987 01/10/04 12:40 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 156
kinetic Offline OP
Considering the "office" part of the job is not my strong suit.......Are there any suggestion as where to go to learn the in and outs of a proper paper trail? I have looked into SCORE and others but feel intimidated and would prefer to learn from other EC's.

Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,407
I must say that paperwork is not one of my great loves either, but it still has to be done.
With regards to a paper-trail, as long as you have a Job-sheet system where all jobs "booked in" are recorded and after the job is finished, all particulars are written down and filed, in order, you really cannot do much more.

Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,143
Check your local community college - many of them have "small busines management" classes or some such in the evenings.

Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 218
I tried to get SCORE for help but I have not gottten a reply(waiting for 8 months).

Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 2,721
Broom Pusher and
For Myself, had to learn a majority of these items on My own. Library once again
came to the rescue.
However, if you have any prototypical resources - like friends or family in any
type of small business, these may be of great help to demonstrate working

The GC we worked with helped on many occasions.

Get an idea of what your overall plan should be, then build from there.
Make your own templates in Word or Excel to keep your costs and learning
curves low. These options allow for templates which are designed specifically for
your needs.
If you do not have the time or abilities to compile such templates, purchase
some of the more basic ones. Use them for awhile, then consider making
custom stuff.

If you're knowledge base is fair in the usage of common business software
applications - such as Word, Excel, Act, etc... along with the machine its self,
will really benefit. And by fair, I mean "Above Basic".

Get to know your applications, review the typical construction documents of all
situations, then everything fits into place.

If planning to go into any type of CAD packages, wait until you are familiar with
the above listed stuff first, then when you have about 6 months of semi-free
time, take the step into CAD.

Good luck with everything!

Keep us informed of your outcome, and post any questions which may / will

You have taken the best first step by asking members here for suggestions -
and as normal, the other members replies are more accurate than mine! These
items I have included here will be in addition to the replies by others.

This is a good thread! it covers a minimally touched area of the trade where
many should have some insight to.

Even if a person is not planning to be involved in the Office - ever, just knowing the basic reasons for proper documentation, paperwork, and similar red-tape,
helps the complete job completion to go smoother.

Also explains that we Prog. Mgrs., EEs, Estimators, and Forepersons have more than just a simple Anal Retentive obsession for paperwork, but there actually is
a legitimate reason for this stuff!

Being in both positions; In-The-Field and In-The-Office, allows me to laugh here.
Just hope it does not offend anyone!


edited to fix some spelling blunderz [Linked Image]

[This message has been edited by Scott35 (edited 01-13-2004).]

Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 156
kinetic Offline OP
Thank you guys for the responses.

Trumpy - I recently started doing just that. I haven't really been filing much after the job has been paid but that is the next step. Nice to have the notes and particuliars for the future instead of relying on memory.

Scott35- I have been depending on other contractors more and more lately for advice.......particularly plumbers. They seem to have this all figured out. [Linked Image] Where exactly would I purchase basic templates? I would like to use them as more of a reference for the type of information I should be keeping.

Anyone take RS Means "type" data i.e. units price, labor hours, etc. and put them into an Excel spreadsheet for estimating. I have been working on one for resi and would like some suggestions as to the setup and making it more friendly.

Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 524
..I don't know about you but, reconciling my supply house invoices (the portion I sign and keep),with the monthly statement is a chore and a half...but ya gotta do it,..I trusted them in the beginning,but not any more..I once found a $3,000.00 discrepancy in the billing,...I had signed for a $3.00 item, along with a list of other stuff, and the "end of the month" statement came in,and some ninny typed in 3,000.00 instead of $ I check everything against the statements...Returns and credits as well!!!

.."if it ain't fixed,don't break a Licensed Electrician"
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 2,721
Broom Pusher and
Hello Kinetic! Glad my reply was helpful.

To address your reply properly, I'll "Quote" certain parts.



Scott35- I have been depending on other contractors more and more lately for advice.......particularly plumbers. They seem to have this all figured out.

Use their scenarios for "Real-World" modeling, and possibly to find more effective paperwork methods (filing, forms, etc.).



Where exactly would I purchase basic templates?

Check online sources, along with book stores for the Construction Industry.
Browse the resources available here at ECN (likely to find all you need), or do a "Google" search for "Construction Documents" or something similar.

Many Bookstores for Construction Industry related trades will have these items too. Check either online or in real time (walk in).



I would like to use them as more of a reference for the type of information I should be keeping.

More than this, use them for basic templates to build on - and as descriptions of how to insert automatic / template functions (if they have that level).

One very large consideration of any Company's quest for the best documentry methods, will have to be the complete Logistics of documents - Hard Copy and Soft Copy.

The entire scope of proper coordination is complex, but with good forethought and an effective plan, there will be very little error and loss once they get applied.

One needs to coordinate the "Hard-Copy" parts (what is on physical paper) with the "Soft-Copy" parts (what is on computers), and always follow up on each others' status.

Creation of an effective - yet error-free - Office enviroment for Documents, should be done ASAP and agreed upon by all involved.
You have taken the best first step possible! Asking for working examples for input is the best thing to do, so you can see how others do it - and base an example for yourself which should work well with others.

Very many things to describe here, so please ask away for further info.
If you prefer to contact me directly via E-mail, that's OK with me!

Good luck


Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 54
The best thing in my opinion you could ever do is start using accounting software. I use QuickBooks Pro and recommend it highly. It was a bit overwhelming at first so I had a guy help me set it up and I have gradually started using more of the features. I actually hired my mother to work for about 3-4 hours a week to enter every supply house bill, I mean every line of every bill. Then I go back and "tag" each item to the appropriate customer. I enter each employees time each day (takes about 5 min) and when I generate an invoice for a customer automatically all of the time and materials for that customer pops up on the screen. I wonder how the heck I ever ran a business without it!

Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 328
Look in the following thread for some Excel and other business/contracting document help: .

Also for anyone looking into estimating software, check out which uses RS Means databases for electrical and other trades. You'll be able to download the 'real' version but not be able to save the estimates. We're using this at work (a gov't facility) and it seems to be working well for us.

A good accounting software is a must along with a decent tax advisor and a boat-load of self-discipline to do the filing, prepare the neat & tidy job packages (estimate of materials and labor, scope of work narrative & drawings along with any permit-related, contract or approval info).

If you've not gotten any response back from SCORE, send an email to someone who appears to be either an electrically-minded person or several who appear to be higher-ups or major stakeholders in the organization and state that you've now waited 8 months for a response... (I would add that the value of their support for your launch appears to be dwindling but diplomacy might be better if you have any response from them eventually).

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