Estimating and Bidding Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make: Part 1

January 9, 2018 Don Kiper

 

Don Kiper is the owner of Estimating 101, a company that offers training solutions for Electrical Estimators and contractors. With nearly 30 years of estimating experience, Don is a 1979 IBEW Apprenticeship Graduate, has 18 years of electrical field experience, and has estimated over $700 million in electrical projects over the course of his career. His mission is “to provide quality estimator training in technique and philosophy, enabling electrical estimators in accuracy and efficiency.”

Don started Estimating 101 in 2016, and provided training for 22 clients in the first 12 months of his business.

This is Part 1 of a two-part series on common estimating and bidding mistakes. In Part 1, Don Kiper takes us through estimating mistakes that you could be making.

Estimating mistakes are made during the takeoff process. Bidding mistakes are made in the summarization and submission of the bid.

In Part 1 of this two-part series, we address estimating mistakes that are made during the takeoff process.

An incomplete estimate and an incorrect estimate are not the same. An incomplete estimate has omissions. An incorrect estimate maybe complete, but it could be based on an incorrect labor column and incorrect labor mix.

The estimator should always strive to avoid large mistakes, but several small mistakes can have an impact on an estimate.

Estimating and bidding are two distinct functions of the estimator. When the estimator tries to do both functions at the same time, mistakes are inevitable. Estimating is quantifying and is handled during the takeoff process.

The wise estimator will complete all takeoffs and check them for mistakes. Once the estimator is confident the takeoff is complete and accurately priced and labored, then they can bid the project.

The following is a list of the most common estimating mistakes, originally from an article on my site, Electrical Estimating 101. How many of these sound familiar?

 

26 Most Common Estimating Mistakes

  1. Missed takeoffs on the drawings
  2. Failure to highlight items as they are taken off
  3. Missing documents
  4. Reduced drawings
  5. Duplication of items
  6. Failure to visit the site
  7. Failure to understand the buildings construction
  8. Failure to get your material counts early to suppliers.
  9. Using branch wiring averages
  10. Using square foot pricing
  11. Failure to set material and labor units the same – E, C, or M.
  12. Rushed takeoffs
  13. Delegating part of the estimate to another
  14. Assuming
  15. Disorganized
  16. Office and co-worker interruptions
  17. Incorrect material prices
  18. Failing to ask questions
  19. Scope of work omissions
  20. Measurement errors
  21. Incorrect scales used in takeoff
  22. Application of incorrect labor column
  23. Last minute changes
  24. Misunderstood project duration
  25. Padding too much for the “What If’s”
  26. Failure to use a checklist

 

Keep the most important things in mind, and you’ll avoid these mistakes.

For detailed information, training, and tips, please contact me.

Stay tuned for Part Two when Don will go over some of the most common bidding mistakes that you could be making.

 

 

About the Author

Don Kiper

Don Kiper is the owner of Estimating 101, a company that offers training solutions for Electrical Estimators and contractors. With nearly 30 years of estimating experience, Don is a 1979 IBEW Apprenticeship Graduate, has 18 years of electrical field experience, and has estimated over $700 million in electrical projects over the course of his career.

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