Kevin Buckalew, founder and CEO of Electric Ease, shares stories from the field, where he served as an electrician and business owner for over a decade
For some tasks, using a pen and paper still makes sense: jotting down notes, making a quick list, or brainstorming new ideas.
But when it comes to completing electrical estimates, using pen and paper can slow you down in more ways than one.
First, estimating with pen and paper (or even using Excel) takes time. It’s slower than estimating with software and eats up valuable effort you could put toward other projects and work. The right software lets you create and deliver electrical estimates in minutes vs. hours. The sooner you can create an accurate estimate, the sooner you can move on to your next project.
When you estimate with pen and paper, the result is – let’s face it – most likely an educated guess:
- Start by counting devices and electricians
- Track down accurate pricing from your supplier(s)
- Assess how much material you’ll need
- Predict how many hours the project will take
Sometimes this approach gets you close to the right number. But it can also introduce human error and rework into the process. Just one wrong figure can cost you money before the project even begins.
Here are four big ways that electrical estimating software can help you stand out – and put hours back into your week.
1. Use Proven Benchmarks for Accuracy
Creating an electrical estimate using software gives you a competitive edge – especially when the software includes built-in benchmarks. Instead of guessing how long it will take to complete the job – or how much supplies will cost – you can use verified information to make precise calculations.
For example, Electric Ease integrates labor units from verified industry sources, indicating the number of hours it should take the average electrician to complete different tasks – from installing a specific type of conduit to pulling a certain amount of 12 AWG wire. We can also import prices from suppliers so you have quick access to material costs.
With all this data built into the software, your estimates are based on facts and up-to-the-minute pricing – not guesses.
2. Prevent Overbuying and Underbuying
When you’re ready to move forward, you can pull a specific list of materials from the bid. It tells you exactly how many screws, boxes, feet of conduit, cable reels, etc. you need to prevent overbuying (or underbuying).
You won’t have to worry about storing extra material or revisiting the supply house to buy more or return extra (and pay hefty restocking fees). This feature alone pays for your software investment (not to mention the other savings it offers).
3. Be Transparent About Pricing
When one of your customers – whether it’s a general contractor or a homeowner – asks you where you came up with your numbers, you can tell them the truth: you use a software that integrates up-to-date, tried-and-true labor units that reflect how long a project should take from start to finish and how much material will be needed.
Being able to confidently explain where this information comes from sounds much more professional (and trustworthy) than admitting you sat down with pen and paper to sketch it together. Your customers can rest easy knowing that your estimation process is built on accuracy and transparency.
4. Boost Teamwork and Efficiency
Lastly, estimating software lets you collaborate with your team in new ways. You can work with project managers, other estimators in your office, or whoever else needs to offer input to streamline the process.
Once the project is awarded, your project managers and accounting team can create purchase orders and schedule resources based on the estimate – without having to send files back and forth or refer to printed plans.
Want to learn more about Electric Ease? Check out our free, no-pressure self-paced demo today! It will only take a few minutes – and we’ll show you how Electric Ease can help you get more estimates done in much less time.