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#25435 - 05/08/03 03:51 PM Estimating  
txsparky  Offline
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 552
Magnolia,.Texas U.S.A.
Guys, I need your help ! Having been injured on the job a couple of years ago, I'm trying to get back into the workforce. I have always worked as a Foreman or Superintendant for the last 20 or so years. Now the boss wants me to start estimating also. One of my fears is that I am too detail oriented and will overprice everything I look at or get bogged down in details.
I feel that is a great opportunity and neccessary step towards running my own business in the future (as I am also a Master Electrician)
What are some of the trials and tribulations that you all have had to face while learning to estimate and still get enough jobs to keep food on the table ?
How many of you use estimating software and does it win you bids or headaches?
My boss is from the old school and still does his estimating the ole pencil and paper way. Not the most efficient way of estimating the larger projects.


Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades

#25436 - 05/08/03 08:22 PM Re: Estimating  
Bjarney  Offline
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 2,527
West-Southern Inner-Northeast ...
First got an XT clone and Lotus 123 in 1987, and they became indispensable. In the mid-seventies, I would have probably thought Excel was from Mars.

It is trivial to modify and improve your earlier spreadsheets. Spreadsheet macros are the most common form of “programming language.” Never forget that you can potentially make wholesale mistakes with any software package.

The next step is something like Access, and is more complex—but more appropriate—when you have to communicate numeric/list-based information to others. [I don’t have any allegiance to Microsoft, but they make reasonably decent software. Flames to] One major telecomm operation will only accept vendor/contractor proposals/quotes in PowerPoint format(!)

#25437 - 05/13/03 10:05 PM Re: Estimating  
The Watt Doctor  Offline
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 435
Mont Belvieu, TX
Dude, go for it. I would read Ed Tyler's book, "Estimating Electrical Construction" if I was you. That book helped me more than anything.
One of my fears is that I am too detail oriented and will overprice everything I look at or get bogged down in details.

You will learn to get past all the details. Believe me, I'm like you, I see all the details, and worry about them too. You will learn what to look at, and when to look at it.

The Watt Doctor
Altura Cogen
Channelview, TX

#25438 - 05/15/03 07:08 AM Re: Estimating  
tsolanto  Offline
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 131
Long Island NY
Try Electrical Bid Manager from Vision Infosoft. I use it and have really good success with it. It takes a bit to get used to but once you do you will be bidding faster and more accurate than with paper and pen. They offer a trial version.

#25439 - 05/21/03 02:39 PM Re: Estimating  
Philip White  Offline
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 12
trenton, tennessee, usa
the more detailed you are, the better.
when i first started estimating, i was way off base. looking at what my boss did and doing time studies to see exactly how long it took to do specific jobs allowed me to get better +/- 5%.

i have moved on to bigger & better things and still do estinating. create a worksheet with common practice items, then assign the associated costs and labors for that item. next create wiring lengths and costs.

compare that to jobs already done. find out where you missed is and why. then fine tune it and compare to other jobs. after several trys you will get pretty close. repeat the process for all the jobs and see hoe it turns out.

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