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Electrical Estimating 101

December 18, 2019

If you are looking at doing some electrical work in the near future, you need to understand how electrical projects are estimated. When you bid on a project as an electrical contractor, you need to know what goes into the estimate. If you want to know what to look for in an electrical bid, keep reading. We have lots of information for you on electrical estimating.

what is an estimate?

An estimate is used by contractors to give customers a dollar figure for the job they are going to do for them. Electrical contractors use estimates to figure out the materials they will need and the cost of labor. When you give an electrical estimate to a customer, there are several items on the estimate you need to be sure you price into your estimate.

Estimating Labor

In general, an electrical contractor will try and estimate the number of hours it will take to complete a task. These costs may include the cost to your business to work on your customized project. For example, if you need to visit the site multiple times to take measurements and get feedback, this will all be figured into the cost of labor. You should also notice the amount of money you need to charge by the hour for the labor cost. Electrical contractors base their hourly rates on the level of experience they have. The more experience you have, the more costly the labor will be. While it might make sense for you to estimate on the cheaper side for your labor, you never want to go cheap on electrical labor or materials, because of the impact it could have on your project and because you want to provide quality work.

Estimating materials

Estimating materials can be difficult for a contractor to do. You have to ask your client questions before you create an estimate for materials. Electrical estimating for materials depends on the nature of the project. For example, if you just went to look at a house that was built in 1924, you may be bidding on a rewire project for the entire kitchen. You will have to rewire the whole kitchen for upgraded appliances, which require more electrical load than was used in 1924. Be sure that you allow your cleint to see all of the options for electrical materials that will be used in the project. That way the client can choose the material, and the price, that works for their needs and their budget.

There are also specifications for rewiring jobs that your state will have. In general, you should be estimating for more material than you think you will need. Most contractors estimate for 10% over the amount of material they think is necessary to complete the project.

Other costs

Be sure that you are putting in some money within your estimate for your business overhead. This would include marketing and advertising, as well as other business expenses. Most electrical estimates include a percentage of their business' overhead. That way, you can make sure you are covering the overhead costs of your contracting business while you are on the job.