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Thread: Residential Estimating

  1. #1
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    Residential Estimating

    I'm new to the business side of electrical work. Is there a easy, fast way to estimate T & M on small jobs or residential jobs. The current job i'm estimating is a older home made of brick and plaster walls. it has a small basement. 1 st floor is around 600' with 6 rooms. 2 nd floor is around 800' with 7 rooms and the 3 floor is 25x25 attic could possibly be a bedroom. The meter is already in place it's a 400amp meter base with a 200 amp breaker. Almost all of the work will have to be wiremold because of the solid walls. Any help i will greatly appreciate. Thanks Phillip.

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    What's your experience?

    Phillip, make sure of your skill set with regards to the job at hand. Are you going to have the necessary tools ? If not are you adding some amount to each estimate or potential job so that you can aquire those tools.
    I'm also curious what you'll need an estimate for if you're going to be doing this job on T&M basis?

    That said, fast and easy aren't words what I would use to describe doing any estimate, especially one that it would seem you intent to make a living at. One truism to keep in mind for estimating is: "the bigest mistake gets the job".

    Know what your costs are for both labor, overhead (profit) and materials are, extend those by the varied jobs you'll be doing to arrive at a cost. IE install wireway from panel to the bathroom; materials cost = $100, labor 10 hours @ XX, add in overhead + 10% total = Cost

    Good luck.
    Dan Magyar,
    Magyar Electric, Inc.
    Rocklin, Ca.

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    Around here on remodel work I ask what their brother-in-law/ cousin has said it will cost and double it.(At least that's who and by how much I've been losing jobs for)

    All kidding aside you need to sit down and figure up a price per assembly I.E. 10' of wire, 1 box, 1 device and plate + time to install. Put all of these on a sheet then work out from there starting with home runs (including attic time and wall fishes to the panel etc. Then the breaker. Then loop back and add incidentals. can you rough the job all at once or does the owner want it in stages etc.

    What I am saying is basically build the job backwards the first time and then start fresh and do it the other way. That should give you a pretty good number after adding P+O.
    Do not get discouraged if you don't get every job because like the man that taught me estimating said he didn't care if i went weeks without landing a project, but he would get worried if I started landing a project a week.
    Some people are like slinkies. They serve absolutely no useful purpose. But still put a smile on your face when pushed down a flight of stairs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dmagyar View Post
    I'm also curious what you'll need an estimate for if you're going to be doing this job on T&M basis?



    Know what your costs are for both labor, overhead (profit) and materials are, extend those by the varied jobs you'll be doing to arrive at a cost. IE install wireway from panel to the bathroom; materials cost = $100, labor 10 hours @ XX, add in overhead + 10% total = Cost

    Good luck.
    I agree with Dan why are you needing to estimate the cost of a T&M job. From experience you can get close to labor hours at what ever you need to charge per hr. as far as material cost there again from experience you can get close. But giving a ballpark price up front will come back to haunt you. You have no way of knowing what you may run into. If you give a estimated price that is the only price they will remember.
    Organized people are people that are just too lazy to look for their stuff

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    I wish I had done it from the beginning, but now I track costs on all my jobs, helps me with future bids.

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    Quote Originally Posted by readydave8 View Post
    I wish I had done it from the beginning, but now I track costs on all my jobs, helps me with future bids.
    I do that and have found that even though I hate flat rate pricing, with the numbers stuck in my head, I find myself throwing numbers at smaller jobs without writing down the first thing.
    Some people are like slinkies. They serve absolutely no useful purpose. But still put a smile on your face when pushed down a flight of stairs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by readydave8 View Post
    I wish I had done it from the beginning, but now I track costs on all my jobs, helps me with future bids.
    I track costs on previous jobs too but I also try to track time for similar jobs. No jobs always the same but it's good to reference.
    I can't think with all these sirens!

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    I would recommend taking a look at mike holts electrical estimating program. I'm using it now to learn to estimate.

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    Smile win some loose some

    Guestimate and use assemblies. I try to couch my agreements with cautious language like "no painting or drywall repair", or "not more than" .

    You will know exactly how bad the estimate was after the first day. Keep track of what went right or wrong and make changes on the next one. You are in this for the long haul. One bad estimate isn't the end, just a long line of record keeping and corrections.

    Try to figure the job in a couple of different ways. Ask yourself is this a good price when you are finished with the estimate. Figure on how you're going to take positive points and present them for the sale. Don't rush the estimate out the door, review it after letting it rest like they taught you in English comp class.
    I worked for a guy that forgot to put on the 50kva generator, and DIDN'T get the job. Its the lowest and BEST estimate. Sell it that way.

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    Thanks

    Ive had my own side business for almost 2 years now. I'm slowly creeping into doing it full time. Ive built up 3 good property management clients and 1 industrial plant client. Sorry for the T & M Statement that was false, i was looking for a flat rate cost or spread sheet for say rec or lights. Like on the job site i'm seeing the organgization is a key thing again. I have little records of my past estimates to go off of. Most of my work experience is in commercial buildings, Starting out in residential is not my cup of tea.

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