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

February 2009
I’m continually asked what I think estimators should be paid. It’s a complicated question. I think contractors should invest a lot of money on their estimating. However, as the owner of an outsource estimating firm, I may be a bit biased. READ MORE
January 2009
One of my junior estimators asked, “What is a clock outlet?” So I wrote her back a simple answer. Yeah right. Me? A simple answer? Ha! READ MORE
December 2008
When trying to determine where they might lose labor on a project, why would an electrical estimator focus on the switchgear and electrical rooms? Can there really be much to worry about? These rooms pale in comparison to the rest of the project, right? READ MORE
November 2008
My team members and I recently estimated the most intensive lighting design we have ever seen: a major high-rise hotel in Las Vegas. Until you start one of these projects, you have no idea what intense lighting design entails. READ MORE
October 2008
F1, A, B, D3, W, EX, Y AND Z; MA1, MA2, #3 and, oh, let's see; how about “not designated?” Do these look familiar? We see hundreds of them every day, in every design, on every job. They are lighting fixture identification tags, sometimes called designations, types or markers. I once worked on a project where the engineer called them “Fixture Symbol Coordination Indicators.” READ MORE
September 2008
Estimating got you down? Giving you the blues? Trust me, I know how you feel. But don’t get too depressed. There’s a cure just up ahead at the crossroads. Perhaps you can make a deal with someone who is waiting there. Though I don’t recommend selling your soul for estimating. I did, and all I got were more deadlines. READ MORE
August 2008
I touched on the design/build work two years ago. I reviewed what I wrote, so I wouldn’t repeat myself (my editors hate that). What I said two years ago is relevant to what I’m about to discuss now. So after reading this column, read my June 2006 column, “Estimating Blind.” In the beginning … READ MORE
July 2008
I don't mean to be a fearmonger, but there’s a lot of talk about a manpower shortage in our industry. This is a big problem. Let’s be optimistic: From big problems come big solutions. READ MORE
June 2008
You probably wouldn't believe me if I told you feeders are one of the easier systems to estimate. I don’t blame you. Staring at a single-line riser diagram can be daunting. But estimating feeders is simply a matter of determining the distance between two points. The difficult part is they are hardly ever a simple, straight line. READ MORE