What is the best method for electrical estimating?

Electrical estimators must be highly skilled and accurate to perform their job effectively. An Electrical Estimating Services project’s progress is determined by the estimates you produce. Clients use your estimate to decide who gets the job or how much they can spend within their budget.

Despite that, it is not easy to produce an accurate estimate! A project estimate consists of many variables, and sometimes the estimating task itself is overwhelming. For your estimate to be accurate or easy to generate, you must use an accurate estimating methodology. The following are some methods commonly in use:

Estimation: What is it?

Electrical Estimating Services helps construction companies predict the total cost of projects. Estimating the costs of the building, overhead, and another project and business costs is an important part of the process. It is common for subcontractors to submit estimates before breaking ground for specific jobs on a site since estimating is such an important part of the bidding process. The risk of contractors losing money on a project is high when their estimates are inaccurate, which motivates them to ensure accuracy. Additionally, it is difficult for a trade contractor and a subcontractor to provide accurate bids on a project without an estimated price. As part of your estimate, you ought to include your estimated cost of the project plus overhead and an estimate of the total cost of any change orders you might receive.

Estimating is important for electrical contractors.

Any company or industry cannot avoid estimating as it is an essential part of the construction process. Without an estimate, project owners are unsure how much a project will cost. Electrical contractors need to estimate since they must order and install many parts. Likewise, the cost of electricity and other office-related items can also fluctuate over the year. Electrical contractors must estimate their costs to cover them and make a profit on every job.

Methods of electrical estimating

Electrical estimators typically use the following methods when estimating. They each have their advantages and disadvantages.

Automating the takeoff process with software is possible with any of these methods. With it, you can count takeoffs more quickly and accurately, collaborate, and edit easily. Using takeoff software can save you a great deal of time:

The per-point method

The per-point method counts each fixture as one “point” and assigns its value as a common dollar amount. You would quote £100,000 for the project if 1000 points were worth £100 each.

Despite its pros, this method of estimating is prone to be inaccurate. On the downside, it’s quick and easy. Take labor, for instance. Depending on the job, it varies greatly. Using the same points for every fixture can lead to huge discrepancies.

Consider a project with fewer power points or one with single sockets and some with doubles, or a project with more cables to run. Furthermore, drilling into concrete would automatically increase labor requirements. With the per-point method, labor costs are the most common pitfall since they can quickly outpace your budget. Electrical companies may experience a negative impact on their profitability as a result of this.

As an averaging method, this method disregards highs and lows. Due to the “one size fits all” approach, it’s common to see discrepancies in the final estimate. You may find this method useful if your project has few differences from previous projects.

Method of labor units

This method assigns a value (in units) to every hardware item based on how much labor it takes to install. According to the OECD, labor units are a unit of measurement of labor costs per unit of output. There is a ratio between the total cost of labor and the company’s actual output.

For example, the cost of each labor unit might be £75 per unit. For example, installing a single socket might take one labor unit, installing a sensor might require three labor units, and so on. To get a quote, multiply the labor unit value by the number of labor units.

Labor units are usually calculated by dividing the “shop average labor rate” by the total field labor rate of the last 12 months; or by dividing the number of hours worked by the total field labor rate based on the complexity and type of the job. 

A labor unit method is more accurate than per-point methods since it can calculate labor conditions more reasonably. While there are a few common pitfalls, there are still a few to avoid. It is important to consider all your employees’ non-direct costs, such as “labor burden.” These include salaries, sick leave, and insurance.

To avoid inaccurate estimates, you should also differentiate between different working conditions when using the labor unit method. You wouldn’t want to shortchange your company by underestimating labor costs based on “easy” or “difficult” conditions, for example.

The pre-build process

Pre-builds are also called “assembly estimation methods.” They can be useful for counting takeoffs because they package your elements and create a unit cost.

Electrical construction involves many parts with multiple components. It includes everything from the PowerPoint to the mounting bracket to the cable. One unit cost can be bundled together for this.

It is possible to include materials and labor in a quote for pre-builds and assemblies or separate bills for materials and labor. Among the types of contracts are schedules of rates and unit price contracts. You will probably have to include your unit rates for prebuilds or assemblies in your schedule if you’re quoting for one of these.

There are inaccuracies with both the pre-build and the point-by-point methods (they are more complex versions of each other). A common mistake is not accounting for travel costs when calculating labor costs.

Construct and design

The electrical contractor participates in the design and implementation of the project in the design and construction method. Electrical contractors will usually develop a more detailed design after the customer provides a design brief that details their project parameters.

A complex estimating method such as this is used. Detailed forecasting must be provided from the start of the design to the end of construction based on the client’s budget. A design bid differs from the sort of project for which you bid on a price.

An electrical estimator must possess extensive knowledge of design methodologies, construction methods, labor, materials, and equipment to utilise the design and construction method. Since this method is complex, errors can occur at any stage.


Although guesstimating is still a popular estimating method, it is the most error-prone – that’s why experts left it to the end. It’s a good example of guesstimating when a contractor gives you a quote by eyeballing a project.

It is often less a matter of reviewing the job thoroughly than relying on gut instinct. This can result in extremely inaccurate estimates that underestimate the complexity of a job or, conversely, underestimate it.

Someone with a lot of experience may be able to estimate with some accuracy, especially if the job has been done for many years. It’s not a good technique for anyone who’s not an expert. However – it’s too prone to error for those who aren’t experts.

You can build an estimate using the work you’ve already done in other estimates using electrical estimating software. You can automatically price much of your estimate as soon as you import your takeoff quantities (in one click!) Using previous projects as a guide will quickly give you a much more accurate estimate.

Final thoughts

Here I have explained Electrical Estimating Services methods for construction. An estimator’s methodology (or company’s choice) depends on their skill and preference. Speed, accuracy, and experience also heavily influence the choice.

The most important thing is to use a good data-driven method. When developing labor estimates, gather as much information as possible about previous similar jobs, how the working conditions impact the labor force, etc.