Estimating can sometimes be as much art as science, but there are certain areas where you can go right off the rails. Here are the top five follies in estimating for network / electrical
jobs or projects:
- Assume you're looking at copies of blueprints that are identical to the originals. There's no reason for them to shrink them in order to reproduce them, right? Don't forget to use that standard scale that you believe exists, as well. They should cancel each other out.
- Make sure to specify products that are available only intermittently. After all, if that firm that supplies those specialty boxes can only actually produce six per year, and you need thirty, they should be able to gear up just for this project, right?
- Don't build in wiggle room; use best-case scenarios for everything. If you're edging up close to a quantity break for a wire that no one in town carries, make sure to bring your estimate under the break, rather than bumping the order up. This will give those electricians time to sit on their hands while they're waiting for the wire.
- Write down all your measurements and symbols on sticky notes and stick them on your copy of the plan. Because, after all, no sticky note has ever fallen off, and no one's ever lost one, right?
- Skip the advanced technology and do your takeoff counts on your fingers. Well, you can get a little help from your daughter's "Hello Kitty" calculator that she left in your truck last week.
There are lots of ways to make "estimation" bear a distinct resemblance to "guessing." Or you can try Esticom estimating software for 30 days for free
. With fast and easy on-screen takeoff, build-planning and markups, automatic path calculation, and built-in templates, it's going to make you look a lot more professional than that Hello Kitty calculator.