Stan Shook

Stan Shook was ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR's estimating columnist from 2005 to 2012. He works as an electrical estimator in California. Read his blog at or contact him directly

Articles by Stan Shook

November 2009
Are you still wondering if you should buy estimating software? I know this seems like a silly question, especially with it being 2009 and all, but I consistently hear about (and from) many electrical contractors who are still not using software. Fortunately for them, this month’s column provides a listing of the many systems available. READ MORE
October 2009
Building information modeling (BIM) is rapidly emerging as the standard coordination and design method of the future. It won’t be long before we look back and wonder how we survived without it. In the meantime, we need to figure out all that BIM is, how to use it and, perhaps most important, how much it costs. READ MORE
September 2009
An estimator recently asked how to tighten up his estimates without getting too far out of his comfort zone. His zone was 20-plus years experience and knowledge that told him exactly what jobs require; this was not helping him compete in our insanely aggressive and below-cost bidding environment. READ MORE
August 2009
Social networking (SN) has entered the daily lives of electrical estimators, bringing a new level of distraction to an already complicated workday. Electrical contractors (ECs) should be aware of what this brings to their business: interruptions, addictions, wasted time and potentially sensitive security issues. READ MORE
July 2009
I attended a lecture recently where the guest speaker gave a detailed overview on building Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) projects, and I learned a surprising thing: It’s not only about the green materials used for the construction, but also how things are built. READ MORE
June 2009
The competitive bid market always has been a brutal arena, even during the best of times. Winning a contract takes more than having a tight estimate or the best lighting fixture quote. Even having the lowest price won’t ensure you get listed by the general contractors. Too many times we hear a common sob story from electrical contractors: “I think my number got shopped.” READ MORE
May 2009
Two of my previous articles go well with this one. “Are Your Estimators Bored?” (March 2006) and “Never Stop Bidding Work” (March 2008). They both address this article’s topic: keeping estimators busy. So off you go to ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR’s archives at READ MORE
April 2009
Weather can play a major Role in how and when a project gets built. Estimators should seriously consider this when bidding. The weather on a job site during the course of the contract could seriously impact your material deliveries, labor efficiency, labor force (people get sick more frequently during the colder seasons), scheduling and even when or if your company gets paid. READ MORE
March 2009
My role as an estimator has changed dramatically over the past 10 years. Much of my time these days is spent estimating the estimates, trying to assess how long it will take my staff members to complete them. READ MORE