Electrical Estimating Software for Small Contractors
What is Electrical Estimating Software
Electrical Estimating Software can come in various forms. Some Electrical Estimating Software can be downloaded directly to your personal computer, while others are cloud-based options. Cloud-based software is found on the internet and does not require any physical download. Each option has pros and cons, but we will not discuss the pros and cons in this article.
Typical Troubles Small Contractors Run Into
As a small Electrical Contractor, you probably wear many hats for your company. You help with Project Management, Billing, Crew Hiring, Accounting, and more. Having this many responsibilities can leave you pressed for time on any given day. If you are learning electrical practices, grasping many concepts can seem daunting. You have to obtain accurate material pricing and labor hours per product on the blueprints.
Double-checking, even triple-checking, your work as you progress can eat up many hours throughout the day. It is imperative while estimating electrical blueprints that you are as efficient and accurate as possible. Increasing accuracy and efficiency has led you to consider using Electrical Estimating Software to ease your burden and increase effectiveness.
What Electrical Estimating Softwares Can Do
Electrical Estimating Software can assist contractors in various ways depending on their needs. Some Electrical Contractors are interested in On-Screen Take-Offs, others are interested in pricing and laboring assistance, and some are looking for help with extensions and totals.
On-Screen Take-Offs are when contractors upload their blueprints to the dedicated software program to count and measure the materials needed. Learning this aspect of Electrical Estimating Software takes time, as many estimators still prefer to complete their material take-offs by hand. However, suppose a person dedicates the time to learn this skill. In that case, on-screen take-offs can eventually save them time as the material is then automatically populated into their estimate as they measure.
Now, it is time to add the materials to the electrical estimating software. Most electrical estimating software companies don't provide free material pricing in their basic plans. Some electrical estimating software, like Red Rhino, provides free generic pricing for some materials and then partners with other companies to provide you with accurate pricing at an additional cost. Electrical estimating software provides you with a structure to help you quickly locate and add your quotes to the software.
After entering in materials, the electrical estimating software will provide you with the labor hours required to install that material. The National Electrician Code determines most labor hours; however, it is essential to check with the software provider to confirm where they established their labor hours. Electrical estimating software can't predict the difficulty of the application/installation, so the estimator must use their experience to adjust the labor hours to reflect the actual job conditions.
A surprising hurdle many contractors run into is extending and totaling the material cost and labor hour values. Extending and totaling are automatically completed by the software. A computer will always be more accurate with its extensions and totals, no matter how meticulous an individual is. See the example below:
Benefits and Why Small Contractors Should Use It
The job of an electrical contractor is to make money. The best ways to make money are to save time and increase accuracy. Electrical Estimating Software becomes worth the investment when you save time and make more minor mistakes. For example, say it takes you an average of 10 hours to estimate each job, and for each job you bid, you find yourself making 2-3 extending errors. If you were using an Electrical Estimating Software, the same job would only take 6 hours, and you make 0 mathematical errors because the computer automatically computes for you. If you value your time at $40 an hour, the software saves you $160 per bid and $300 for extending errors.
Reducing errors and saving time will help keep your company competitive while receiving more accurate bid pricing. Keeping a standardized bid format will help your company appear more professional and will lead to growth in relationships among customers. Electrical estimating software isn't for everyone, but learning a new skill could help make your company more money and save you time.