Are Your Electrical Estimates at Risk of These 3 Costly Problems?

July 29, 2020 Trimble Buildings

Takeoff and estimating for electrical projects can be time-consuming and tedious. You need to be confident in your bid’s accuracy for it to be competitive, but that can take time. Chances are you’re working countless hours every single day, leaving little to no time to analyze or improve estimates before submitting your proposals.

When you’re spending hours, or even days, to ensure the accuracy of your electrical cost estimates, it’s worth looking at ways that you can do your work more effectively. Given the volume of work you’re expected to produce—you may be producing as many as eight estimates to win a single job—every bit of time you can save is important and could mean the difference between a won and a lost project. 

Here are three ways your estimates might be taking more time and effort to produce than is necessary.

Inefficient Collaboration

It’s common to have multiple estimators working together on a single estimate. While it makes sense that this should help get the job done faster and better, it can sometimes introduce more problems than solutions. Depending on the estimating software you’re using, you may be spending too much time trying to effectively contribute to an estimate alongside others. This is especially true if you aren’t able to work in a single shared version of an estimate at the same time. 

When you’re not able to collaborate in a single estimate:

  • You have to wait for someone else to complete work so you can start yours.
  • You end up with multiple versions of an estimate in circulation, creating confusion about which version is the most current.
  • You may have different parts of an estimate being worked on by different estimators, leaving you with the tedious and error-prone job of consolidating all of the information into a final bid.
  • You may not have access to the projects being worked on in other offices.

Pro Tip: How to Improve Collaboration

Inefficient collaboration makes estimating more tedious and time-consuming than necessary. By using one platform where estimators can work in a single, shared file, collaboration becomes more effective and efficient. Seek out solutions that offer true multi-user and multi-branch support. You’ll gain seamless collaboration between departments both simultaneously and without restrictions. 

Check out the infographic to discover
6 cost estimating tips you need to know.

Unreliable Pricing Information

To complete your electrical bids in a timely fashion, access to accurate pricing data is crucial. When you know that your pricing is up-to-date, your estimators are able to quickly and efficiently price material costs, rentals, equipment, salaries, and more. Getting pricing information right the first time is critical because it influences everything from sourcing to margins to your ability to plan the entire project and workforce.

Without confidence that you’re accessing current material lists and pricing data:

  • You could waste hours tracking down updated pricing.
  • You spend too much time second-guessing your work.
  • You risk having to revise an estimate later if you discover that manufacturer items were out of date.

Pro Tip: How to Ensure Accurate Pricing

If you’re not sure your pricing is reliable, you may end up padding your figures to be on the safe side, causing you to lose the job when the client decides to go with a cheaper option. On the flip side, if the pricing you’re using is outdated and too low, you could end up having to eat costs that were priced incorrectly, taking a hit to your own profits. You can reduce this huge source of uncertainty and stress by using pricing software that supports streaming updates. Fully integrated pricing technology, like Trade Service, gives you up-to-date product and pricing information from your favorite suppliers, so you can feel confident in the accuracy of your estimates.

If contractors can get 10-20% better pricing
on commodity materials, they can decrease
their overall bid price by 1-3%.

Lack of Synchronization Between Takeoff and Estimate

Producing electrical estimates can be a time-consuming process when you consider everything involved in preparing a bid. The estimate itself is just one part of what is actually a three-step process: the takeoff, the estimate, and the proposal. The whole process can take a significant amount of time, especially if you’re still doing quantity takeoffs manually. By using graphical takeoff software, you can perform takeoff in a fraction of the time. But even then, if your takeoff and estimate aren’t synchronized, you’re still spending more time than you need to.

If your takeoff and estimating processes aren’t synchronized:

  • You run the risk of an estimate being out-of-date, so you spend extra time validating that it’s current.
  • You have to do significant rework to the estimate every time a change is made and may even need to redo the estimate completely.
  • You lack assurance that everyone is doing takeoff the same way, which requires additional time to verify how the estimate was built.

Pro Tip: How to Streamline Takeoff and Estimating

When there’s a lack of synchronization between your takeoff and estimating processes, you can spend hours checking and re-checking your work. These extra hours ultimately translate to wasted dollars. Seamless integration between takeoff and estimating software gives you the confidence that your estimate is always up-to-date, so you can focus on other priorities. To eliminate errors in your final estimates and win more bids, look for solutions that provide live bi-directional synchronization between takeoff and estimating programs. You’ll be able to view updates to takeoffs in real-time and verify results immediately. 

Don’t forget these 5 things to ensure your
bid is competitive. Read the article.

Produce Faster, More Accurate Electrical Estimates

If any of these problems sound familiar, your estimates are probably taking more time and effort than is necessary. And you may have more than just a productivity problem; you could be at greater risk of costly errors and omissions, too. 

To learn how electrical estimators like you are improving takeoff and estimating, get the eBook.

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