Become Amish and Set up an Estimating System
There are two important points in the title above.
Not to pick on the Amish but the Amish all do things the same way. They help each other build barns and they all use the same methods for building barns every time.
In your estimating you want to set up a system and have everyone do things the same way, like the Amish!
Systems Rule. Just look at McDonalds!
McDonalds may not serve the best burger but anywhere you go, they all taste the same. That’s because McDonalds has a defined system for how all their food is prepared.
That way any 16-year old pimply faced kid, or any other person for that matter, can step in and cook burgers and they all come out the same. Everyone does it the same way and they always deliver the same results.
Do the same thing with estimating. Set up a defined system for estimating so everyone does it the same. That way everyone is on the same page and does it the same way.
Also, if you hire an estimator, train them to do it your way.
Here are things to consider when setting up a system:
For take-off, use a tally counter to count light fixture, outlets, and other items.
Hold the tally counter in one hand and a highlighter in the other.
Highlight – click – highlight – click. Rinse and repeat.
This method of counting is fast and accurate.
If you are interrupted by a phone call or other distraction, simply pause momentarily and resume when ready.
Have a defined color code for material take-off. Obtain a set of highlighters with many different colors.
Highlight each conduit after you measure it, so you do not take off items twice.
Suggested color code for devices:
When you do a material take off, color each device as you count it with a highlighter.
Highlight each device as you count it so that you keep track of what has been counted and what has not.
Suggested Color code for device take-off:
- Green for duplex receptacles
- Blue for quads
- Orange for single pole switches
- Pink for 2 switches
- Red for 3 switches
- Purple for 3-way switches
Highlight each fixture as you count it, so that you keep track of what has been counted and what has not.
Suggested Color code for lighting fixtures:
• Green for 2 X 4
• Blue for 2 X 4 Emergency lights
• Orange for down lights
• Pink for downlight Emergency lights
• Red for outdoor lighting
• Purple for other lighting
• Use pre-populated forms for material take-off. Red Rhino Software has time saving take-off forms you can print out or use on your computer for panels and circuit breakers, transformers, direct job expense, feeder schedule, fire alarm and generators.
• Do material take-off in the same order every time. Start with materials that need to be quoted like lighting fixtures, panels, switch gear and circuit breakers or equipment like generators and transfer switches.
• Use a bid check-list that details each task who is to read plan specifications.
Red Rhino Electrical Estimating Software offers a 30-day free trial.
Just click the link below to sign up. You will immediately get access to our online software. Training videos will guide you step by step to learn how to navigate.