You are on page 1of 3

AboutUs

MarketResearch

Newsletters

Codes&Standards

Safety

Subscription

EnterSearch...

Lighting

Residential

Systems

GreenBuilding

YourBusiness

Products

ECmagLIVE

Current Issues

Past Issues

Getting It Just Right: FineTuning Estimates


Published:October2016
ByStephenCarr

ClickToViewFullSize

oujustspentalotoftimetakingoffasetof
drawingsandmoretimeenteringthetakeoff
intoyourestimatingsystem.Nowyoucan
relax,waitforthequotestocomein,sendyourfinal
pricetothegeneralcontractorsandwinthejob.
Right?Idontthinkso.Biddingismorecompetitive
nowthanithaseverbeeninmycareer.Itsthetime

October 2016: Emerging


Markets

October 2016: Focus on


the Residential Market

tofinetuneyourestimates.

The old days

ECMag Live

WhenIwasajuniorestimator,thecompanyIworkedatwasstillestimatingbyhand.Afterthecountswere
finished,Ihadtomanuallyexplodethemintotheircomponentparts,listthemonapricingsheet,addprices
andlabor,anddoallofthemathrequiredtocomeupwithmaterialdollarandlaborhourtotals.Then,those
totalshadtobetransferredtoarecapitulationsheetwherethelaborhourswereconvertedtodollars,and
quotes,rentals,subcontractorsanddirectjobexpenseswereadded.Finally,markupsformiscellaneous
materials,salestax,overheadandprofitwereadded.
Whatarush!Therewereusuallyfourpeopleintheofficeonbidday,pricinglabor,extendinganddouble
checkingeachothersmath,whichusuallyhadtobedonemorethanonce,asnewpricing,quotesandthe
bosschangescamein.Wealwaysfinishedjustintimetogetourproposalsout,leavingverylittletimeto
reallystudytheestimate.Wesometimesendeduperasingallthewaythroughthepaperbecauseofthemany
changesmadetotheestimate.ThereweretimesIthoughtaboutbuyingstockinPaperMate,which
manufacturesPinkPearlerasers.

The new days


Alloftheelectricalestimatingsystemsavailabletodayhavefeaturesanestimatorcanusetofinetunean
estimate.Alotoftimeissavedafterthetakeoffiscompleted,becausetheestimatingsystemdoesallofthe
partslisting,pricing,laboringandextensions.Somesystemsperformthesefunctionsinstantly,whileothers
takeafewmomentstogenerateareport.Ifestimatorsdonotsquanderthistimesavingsbyprocrastinating,
theyshouldhaveplentyoftimetoreallystudyandfinetunetheirestimate.SinceIammostfamiliarwith
ConEstIntelliBid,Iuseitscapabilitiesintheexamplesbelow.

Analyze this
Thebestplacetodomuchofthefinetuningisinasummaryreport,wherethetakeoffisdistilleddowntoone
lineitemforeachtypeandsizeofmaterial.IntelliBidsonscreensummaryreportisinteractive,allowing
changestobemadetotheestimatewhilethereportisdisplayed.Thefirsttaskistostudythelineitemsin
thereport,lookingfortakeoffanddataentrymistakes.
Heresanexampleofanincorrectitem:Ifthespecificationsrequiredsteel,compression,insulatedthroatEMT
fittings,whydidIfindsomediecastfittingsinthereport?Thereporttellsmewheretheseitemsareinthe
estimate,soIcanfixthemquickly.
Anotherthingtolookforismissingitems.Saythereportcontainsfusibledisconnectsbutnofuses.Itstimeto
gobackintothetakeoffandaddthefuses.
ThenextthingIlookforisitemswithnopricing.IntelliBidcancreateaseparate,zeropricereport,butIlike
usingthesummaryreport.Inthesummaryreport,Icanclickonanycolumnheadertosortbythatcolumn.
Thefirstclickresultsinanascendingsort,whileasecondclickgetsyouadescendingsort.Theascendingsort
iswhereIlookformaterialwithnopricing.
Next,Iwilldoadescendingsortonthematerialtotalcolumn,whereIlookforlargedollaramounts.Often,the
materialassociatedwithlargedollaramountscanbesentoutforbetterquotes.Thisisalsoanotherwayto
lookfordataentryerrors.Forexample,whydoIhave$50,000of500MCMTHHNinthereportwhenIdidnt

Featured Sponsors

VideoLibrary

takeoffany?Onceagain,thesystemguidesyoubacktowherethetakeoffwasmade,sotheerrorcanbe
corrected.
Next,analyzethelaborinasimilarway.First,sortthelaborcolumntolookforzeros,andthensortthelabor
totalcolumntolookforbignumbers.Analyzethelargelabornumbersforopportunitiestoreducelaborhours.
Forinstance,maybeIforgottofactorsomeconduitlaborforparallelruns.Again,theprogramwillguideme
backtoatakeoffthatneedsadjustment.
Thesearejustafewexamplesofhowyoucanfinetuneyourestimates.Takesomeofthetimeyour
estimatingsystemsavedyoutocarefullystudyyourestimate.Itstimewellspent.
Estimating, Takeoff, Bidding

Related Articles

Getting It Just Right:


Free Estimating
Fine-Tuning Estimates Webinar: Technology
Empowered Estimating
Youjustspentalotoftime
takingoffasetofdrawings
andmoretimeentering
the...
READMORE

Informationtechnologyand
automationhaveconverted
constructionproject
estimatingfromanarcane
andsometimesmysterious
arttoan...

Decisions, Decisions:
Cognitive Bias in
Individuals, Groups and
Organizations
Variousinternetsources
claimthatadultsmakean
averageof35,000decisions
eachday.Whilethattotal
may...

Game Theory and the


Construction Bidding
Process
Contractorsaregamblers
bynature.Theyrisktheir
livelihoodonamultitudeof
factors,manyofthem
uncontrollable,...
READMORE

READMORE

READMORE

Comments
0Comments
Recommend

ElectricalContractor

Share

Login

SortbyBest

Startthediscussion

Bethefirsttocomment.

Subscribe d AddDisqustoyoursiteAddDisqusAdd

Electrical Contractor

Archives

Privacy

Social

Service

DigitalEdition

2016

2015

Facebook

SiteHelp

AboutUs

2014

2013

Twitter

SiteFeedback

Contact

2012

2011

YouTube

Subscription

Join Our e-Newsletter Mailing List


Pleaseenteryourinformationbelowtosubscribeto
ELECTRICALCONTRACTOR'smonthlyenewsletter.
FirstName

LastName

MediaKit

2010

2009

LinkedIn

PrivacyPolicy

Contributors

2008

2007

GooglePlus

TermsofService

2006

2005

RSS

EMail

ViewSamples
Leavethisfieldblank

Conventions&Shows

NECAMEI

NECANEIS

ELECTRIInternational

NECAConnection

20032016.AllRightsReserved.
ElectricalContractor:3BethesdaMetroCenter,Suite1100,Bethesda,MD.208145372|Phone:301.657.3110|Fax:301.215.4501
MOBILEVERSION

Submit