Posted on 06/17/2020 at 01:00 PM by Kevin Buckalew
Understanding Electrical Estimating Software: What it is and What it Does
Electrical estimating software offerings vary tremendously when it comes to functionality, price, and usability. For some, this can make it confusing to determine what electrical estimating software even is. Ask three electricians, and you’ll likely get three different answers.
Here are a few definitions we’ve heard recently as people attempt to define electrical estimating software:
“Estimating software gives me book pricing for projects.”
Electrical estimating software should help you accurately price out a job, but each project within that software should provide pricing estimates based on each specific situation instead of giving you a flat fee to charge for specific tasks (installing a ceiling fan, for example). Software should also factor in other overall costs, such as materials and labor, so you don't have to.
“Electrical software helps me keep track of large projects.”
Yes, electrical estimating software should be able to track large projects; however, your software should be helpful and valuable for every project – whether it’s a $200 service call, a small business visit, or a multi-million-dollar healthcare building. It should be an adaptable project management tool.
“It’s software that helps me create accurate estimates I can use to create takeoffs.”
Yes, electrical estimating software should certainly do this! Remember, though, that estimating and takeoff are only small pieces of an electrical project.
When you find the right electrical estimating software, it's something that literally any electrical contractor—from master electricians to the newest members of your apprenticeship program—can use and benefit from right away. Your software needs to be designed exclusively to help electrical contractors bid, manage, maintain product for, and close out a project—all while tracking project by project profitability.
What it takes to do these things varies from contractor to contractor. That’s why we designed Electric Ease to cover every aspect of a project—and to do it well. It features several built-in functions that other software leaves out completely (or requires additional purchases for).
The right software can serve as a one-stop resource to help you throughout the project management process, including setting project plans, mapping out project goals, and managing project team members. Here are a few examples of what a comprehensive electrical estimating software can do for you:
Improve the speed and accuracy of your estimate via pre-loaded assemblies so you don’t have to create them from scratch every time you create a new estimate; for example, pre-loaded assemblies could be collections of specific parts and labor needed to install a branch circuit or an HVAC connection
Customize your estimates based on what the work involves: service, small projects, large projects, or change orders
Automatically build material lists for each job as it’s estimated
One-page job completion: everything—from entering job information and building a scope letter to estimating, scheduling, and job costing—should be able to be completed on a single page
Track project production, pace, and profit in real-time based on labor, overhead, and material costs
Create accurate, clean, and professional contracts and proposal letters customized for each job, from outlining which services will be provided to disclosing terms and conditions
Generate job description reports with detailed material lists built from your estimate to keep everyone—including customers—on the same page
Schedule your workforce and give them insight into where they’re working, the work they’ll be completing, and the materials they need to finish the job
Manage employee timecards, including approval and rejection
The best part: Once you have this kind of software in place, it shouldn’t be a burden or an expense to you (or hard to use). In fact, it should end up making you money by boosting efficiency, preventing over/underbuying, reducing supply-house runs, and more. Utilizing the right electrical estimating software means you can meet any project's requirements and ensure project success every time.
Ready to streamline your estimating process?
Schedule your demo today to start optimizing your estimating with Electric Ease!