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3 Costly Problems For Electrical Estimates

Adequate electrical estimating software can increase collaboration and save valuable time.

Adequate electrical estimating software can increase collaboration and save valuable time.

When it comes to electrical estimating, you need to have confidence in your electrical estimates; confidence that they are accurate and best represent you and your business. But which problems can you face with electrical estimates?

Electrical takeoffs and estimates for construction projects can be incredibly time-consuming and tedious, to do right. The ever-changing economic landscape is an additional challenge for electrical contractors to navigate, from material shortages to price rises. Having accurate estimates has never been so important, protecting you from under or over bidding, or even losing out on a project entirely, putting your profit at risk.

When you’re spending hours, or even days, to ensure the accuracy of your electrical cost estimates, it’s worth looking at how you could work more effectively, quickly and accurately. Given the volume of work you’re expected to produce, every bit of time you can save is important and could mean the difference between a project win or loss.

After Reading This Article, You Will Know…

  • Why an inefficient collaboration among electrical estimators can lead to time delays and confusion due to multiple, non-concurrent versions of estimates.
  • Why an outdated or unreliable pricing information can impact profit margin or even risk jobs.
  • Why the lack of synchronisation between the electrical takeoff and estimate processes can result in time-consuming and costly reworks and verifications.

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

1. Inefficient Collaboration Between Electrical Estimators

It’s common to have multiple estimators working together to produce a single electrical estimate. However, while in theory this should help to get the job done better and faster, it can also lead to more problems than solutions. 

Depending on the construction cost estimating software you’re using, you may be spending too much time trying to actively contribute to an estimate alongside others, with the potential for your work to clash. This is especially true if you aren’t able to work on a single shared version of an estimate at the same time.

When you’re unable to collaborate effectively, you:

  • You have to wait for someone else to complete their 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 a team of 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

Do any of these sound familiar? Inefficient collaboration can make producing an estimate hard work. Instead, by using one platform where estimators can work in a single, shared file, collaboration becomes more effective and efficient.

A key feature to look out for in construction takeoff software is where it offers cloud-hosting or multi-user and multi-branch support, with multiple people able to work simultaneously on the same estimate or project, without fear of their work colliding. You’ll gain seamless collaboration between departments, both simultaneously and without restrictions

Check out this ebook to discover
8 top tips for successful estimating and takeoff.

2. Unreliable Pricing Information in Your Electrical Estimates

To complete your electrical bids quickly and accurately, having access to up-to-date pricing data is crucial. Once this is in place, your estimators will then be able to promptly price material costs, rentals, equipment, salaries and more. Getting pricing information right the first time is critical, influencing everything from sourcing and margins to your ability to plan the entire project.

If you’re an estimator and don’t have confidence in your 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 further down the line, should you discover that items were out of date

If you’re unsure whether your pricing is reliable, there can be a tendency to slightly ‘pad’ your figures to be on the safe side – running the risk of losing the job, should the client decide to go with a cheaper option. On the flip side, if your pricing is outdated and too low, you could end up having to absorb costs that were priced incorrectly, with a hit to your own profits as a result.

However, this can all be avoided! By using M&E cost estimating and pricing software that support streaming updates, you can reduce this huge source of uncertainty and stress. Fully integrated pricing technology, like LUCKINS, gives you up-to-date product and pricing information from your favourite suppliers, meaning you can feel confident in your accurate estimates and electrical take-offs.

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

3. Lack of Synchronisation Between Electrical Takeoff and Estimate

It’s worth remembering that the estimate itself is just one part of a three-step process: the take-off, the estimate and the proposal. This whole process can be incredibly time-consuming, especially if you’re still doing quantity takeoffs manually or your takeoff and estimates aren’t synchronised:

  • 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, requiring additional time to verify how the estimate was built

When there’s a lack of synchronisation, you can spend hours checking and double-checking your work – hours that ultimately translate to wasted money. Instead, seamless and streamlined integration between construction takeoff software and electrical estimating software can give you peace of mind, knowing that your estimate is always up-to-date and leaving you free to focus on other priorities.

To eliminate errors in your final electrical estimates and win more bids, a key feature you should look for is a live link between takeoff and estimating programs, meaning you’re able to view updates in real-time and verify the results immediately.

Conclusion –  How To Streamline Your Electrical Estimates 

Do any of these three problems sound familiar? If so, you could be wasting serious time and money. In an industry where margins can be thin and where the tiniest oversight can culminate in significant losses, it's paramount to harness the right tools and strategies.

The inefficiencies of collaboration, outdated pricing information, and the chasm between electrical takeoffs and estimates not only dent profitability but also impede scalability. However, there's a silver lining. With the digital transformation paving the way for innovative and market-dedicated solutions, there's a growing suite of tools, like cloud-hosted construction software and integrated pricing technology, designed specifically to address these challenges.

To learn more about how electrical bid managers and estimators like yourself are utilising digital technology for successful MEP estimating and takeoff, download our e-book.