Electrical Estimating Cost (How Can You be More Competitive and Win More Jobs?) Part 2

Estimating Electrical Cost (How Can You be More Competitive and Win More Jobs?)

Part 2 we cover more electrical estimating tips.


Remember when on a job walk take lots of pictures.

When you get back to your office print the pictures, store them in a file folder and refer to them when you start doing material take-off.

A picture tells a thousand words!


What should you take pictures of?

Take pictures of all switchgear and panel name – plates. That way you will have exact information to purchase circuit breakers or stand-off hardware for circuit breakers.


OK maybe this sounds obvious or dumb but I will throw it in any way!

When you take pictures of panel nameplates, check the picture to make sure it came out clearly and legible. If you get back to your office and find out the pictures you took of panel name-plates are fuzzy you will kick yourself!

Of course SAFETY FIRST, but if you can do it in a safe manner, open up panels and switch gear and take lots of pictures. This can give you a huge advantage!


What are you looking for when taking pictures inside of panels and switch gear?

  1. Look for blank spaces of circuit breaker space. You must have enough circuit space for new circuit breakers. If there is not enough circuit breaker space for new circuits you have to add electrical panels.

  2. Look for circuit breakers that do not have wires terminated to them, which means, you can either use the circuit breakers or remove them and install new ones in their place.

  3. Take notice if there is circuit breaker hardware installed in the switchgear for future circuit breakers. It is important to know if there are existing circuit breaker hardware kits installed in panels or not, it can be very expensive to buy. In the case of estimating electrical projects you would get circuit Also, it will likely require a power shut-down to install the stand-off hardware. Since shut-downs are often required to be done after hours, you get into paying over-time to have the standoff hardware installed. I cannot stress this enough! It can be super expensive if you miss the required stand-off hardware!

  4. Look for spare empty conduits running out of the top or bottom of the panels. When you find empty conduits, find out where they go and determine if you can use them on the project. If so, using existing conduits, especially feeder conduits, can save you a huge amount of time and money. Knowing that can make your bid more competitive than those who do not know there are spare empty conduits. Knowing this can give you a real edge! Take pictures of circuit breakers so you can tell if they have wires terminated to them. If not you will know there is circuit breaker space available for future circuit breakers.

When I do a job walk I take pictures of panel left side, panel right side, top and bottom. (Plus panel name plates)Then I have all the details needed to estimate accurately what is in existing panels.

 To be continued………..      

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