Estimating??

OK Sparky 93

Member
Location
Iridea14Strat
Occupation
Electrician
Good evening all! I am on a quest to broaden my horizons.
Can anyone vouch for the estimating book?
If so, is the version with the DVD’s worth the $325 investment?
Will the version without do the job?

Thanks!
Mike
 

OK Sparky 93

Member
Location
Iridea14Strat
Occupation
Electrician
Am I not asking right?
Let me try another approach!
I have been in the field since 1993. I am at a point in my 53 years of life that I want to venture out on my own.
I would like to make the best of everything.
My current employer has never, even after bringing it up, let me in on his secrets of estimating and bidding.

I don’t expect to go full blown tomorrow or immediately after acquiring my contractors license, however as I said I want to have the best chance at success.

Would I benefit more from purchasing Mikes
Electrical estimating deluxe version, ( or just the book), or estimating software (like turbo bid), or both.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated

Mike G
 

oldsparky52

Senior Member
I learned to estimate using T&M calculations. It was pump and tank work so I had to figure the size of the hole for the tanks, the number of loads to be hauled out, the backfill required, ditches, piping, conduit, x-proof fittings, wire, etc etc etc. Then how long it will take to do each task. Every job was a little different layout and there were no package estimating programs for this.

Then I went out on my own and stayed with this kind of work, so I just kept doing it in the spreadsheet I had set up.

It seems to me that if you are doing bigger jobs, then those estimating packages are probably worth it. If you have never used one there will be time invested in learning it.

So my question to you is, what kind of work are you going to do? Does it lend itself to these estimating packages? Mine didn't.

If you are just trying to stay busy working for yourself, I'd start off building your own spreadsheet. If you don't understand how to recover overhead and what the true cost of being in business is then you should definitely read books. Others that have better experiences should chime in.
 

OK Sparky 93

Member
Location
Iridea14Strat
Occupation
Electrician
I concur with this caveat. put it in a spreadsheet. If you don't know how to use a spreadsheet, I highly recommend a short class on how to use one. It makes the math easy and accurate.
if we are talking like Microsoft excel, I have a little experience with it. Does any have a screenshot of what a spreadsheet layout may look like?


For those that wire homes:

the one thing that my boss did mention many years ago that his boss told him was figuring something like 20’ of wire per outlet.
If this holds true, would one think that this would cover the home run for said circuit?
 

oldsparky52

Senior Member
I just slapped this together. You can add in labor on each line also. I think you get the drift, you just want to take a pen and paper method and put in in a spreadsheet. Add lines for overhead, % profit, etc. Save it as a template and start fresh every job.

1617633135468.png
 

OK Sparky 93

Member
Location
Iridea14Strat
Occupation
Electrician
When you write up an estimate/bid what does the customer see? Do they see the bid price only, do the see the estimate with room by room breakdown?
Surely they are not seeing what your overhead is and the potential profit that you want.
How would that look?

I appreciate each everyone of you guys for any and all info so far and any that may come!
 

James L

Senior Member
Location
Kansas Cty, Mo, USA
Occupation
Electrician
I hardly ever show how much is materials and how much is labor. I give item pricing. But then, almost all my work is subcontracted.

Most remodeling contractors here want an opening price, and that's gotta be an average. You win on most items, lose on a few. It usually takes "extra extra" circumstances to get more than one opening of money for an opening.

And my opening price has continually adjusted for material cost, my labor rate, profit, and even a "mismanagement" fee because most contractors don't know how to manage a job schedule, and can run roughshod over yours.
 

brantmacga

Señor Member
Location
Georgia
Occupation
Electrical Monke
On commercial bids, unless they specifically ask to see a phase breakdown, it’s just a lump sum price. Sometimes the customer may ask you breakout fixture costs or specific subcontractor trades like fire alarm, intrusion, data, etc.

On residential bids I give a room-by-room cost breakout; i do my take-off’s this way, so it’s not hard to do. It’s not that anyone asks me to do that, it’s just that I’m really high on residential and I like the customer to see exactly where that money goes.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Little Bill

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Tennessee NEC:2017
Occupation
Electrician
I have MH estimating course, including the DVDs. I don't have a software program. What I found is it is geared more for larger contractors doing mostly commercial/industrial work. There are many things that apply to residential as well, such as "make sure you pay yourself". Not to dismiss the program, but if you (OP) are just gearing towards residential work, you might be better off talking to other contractors about how they bid new construction. If you have wired houses, you should have some idea of how much wire, how long it takes to run it, etc. and apply that to the size of the house. The price would depend on what your overhead requires along with salary and profit needed. There is no book or program that will take the place of experience!
 

brantmacga

Señor Member
Location
Georgia
Occupation
Electrical Monke
I have MH estimating course, including the DVDs. I don't have a software program. What I found is it is geared more for larger contractors doing mostly commercial/industrial work.
I would think there are valuable lessons there than can be applied to residential though?

I treat residential estimating no differently than my commercial work.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Coppersmith

Senior Member
Location
Tampa, FL, USA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
I have never read Mike's estimating books or software.

I have some programming skill so I created a simple estimating system for myself. It's nothing special, it just automates what you would do manually. It does speed up estimating quite a bit.

I created a database of material using Microsoft Access. I use my receipts or online lookups for the data source. I do most of my shopping at Home Depot so the data is publicly available. Each entry has: description of item, price of item, date I last checked the price, and the unit it's measured in (each, per foot, etc.). I also created a form that allows me to pick items from the database by typing a few letters and then copies that item to a list of items I've selected. It automatically multiplies the retail price by the material markup and the quantity I enter. It then totals the whole list.

To estimate a job, I either do a take-off from a print, or just run through the job in my head. For each item, I select it and give the quantity. It literally takes 2-3 seconds per item to create the material list. Once I'm done I have the total material charge and a bill of materials I can print out to shop with.
 
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