The Case for Electrical Estimating Software and Conclusion
Today many successful electrical contractors leverage electrical estimating software to systematize the estimating process. By building on a framework that has already been proven successful, they are able to reduce the time it takes to build and streamline their internal estimating process. Estimating software helps increase estimating speed and productivity by removing manual and error prone activities like printing paper plans, manual data entry, and calculations. Imagine uploading your plans and performing an onscreen takeoff with pre-built assemblies that include all the appropriate fittings and components and that calculates the labor and material pricing as you perform the takeoff.
Once the takeoff is complete, you can then adjust quantities, material cost, labor units, difficulty factor, and add profit margin. This can then be used to automatically create a bill of material for quoting out the material required on the project and creating a customer facing quote.
In addition, once the project is awarded, the electrical contractor’s project manager and field team have everything needed to build a work break-down structure. This will include labor and material budgets, order material, and schedule resources. The estimate can then be used as a guideline to keep the project running on schedule and under budget.
Lastly, with advances in cloud-based technology, takeoff software and estimating programs are now available for both small and large contractors because they do not require significant IT resources that traditional on-premise estimating software required. This makes it more feasible for small, medium and large electrical contractors to set up and deploy without a large investment in capital and resources for setting up.
In Conclusion, There Are No Shortcuts
There’s an old saying, “you can’t make good profit out of a bad estimate.” This means that in order to be a successful electrical estimator and help your firm flourish, you must start with a good estimate that covers all the job-related costs including overhead and with enough profit built in to make it worth the risk of taking on the work. There are few cases where a contractor can turn around a poorly estimated project that has significant errors and omissions and make it a successful project.
In today’s competitive market there just isn’t enough profit available to take on the risk of a project without first truly understanding your costs and risk for taking the project. At best, if you do miss, you might break even and then you just wasted months of time and resources. Not to mention, you never know how much money you’re losing or leaving on the table. If you estimate projects the correct way as outlined in this guide, you know the risk involved in taking on the work, and this helps you make better decisions, such as decreasing or increasing your sale price or deciding when you should walk away from a project. You need this information to build a profitable company and there’s only one way to get there—roll up your sleeves and figure out all the costs and risk required to do the work.