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

May 2008
As part of calculating your final sell price, you need to determine how many electricians it will take to build the job. The answer could determine whether you need to factor in additional labor costs, such as overtime labor, supervision costs and more labor hours. READ MORE
April 2008
It's 6 pm as two estimators walk into a bar. They sit down, order a beer and start comparing takeoff techniques. The old estimator, who has been estimating more than 30 years, says, “I put all my counts on paper spreadsheets, then I enter them into the computer later. READ MORE
March 2008
During the past 10+ years, I’ve worked with contractors of all different shapes and sizes. With many of them—regardless of shape or size—I have witnessed a common, dangerously fatal reaction to the “we-got-work-now” situation. The reaction is, “We got a lot of work booked (or we just landed a big job), so we don’t need to estimate any jobs for a while.” READ MORE
February 2008
Estimating renovation projects is different from estimating a brand new, built-from-the-ground-up project. Renovations involve existing buildings. Existing buildings, well … they exist. They already have walls, concrete slabs, flooring, ceilings, a roof, doors, windows and, more importantly, existing electrical installations. READ MORE
January 2008
Regardless of size and type, disconnect switches are typically shown as the same, nondescript symbol. If you don’t find out and know everything you can about the disconnect switches you are estimating, you could be losing your company thousands of dollars and even a bid here and there. Start with the basics READ MORE
December 2007
It's December already, which means this year’s estimating saga is basically over. Not to worry, 2008 should be just as exciting and fun, loaded with all sorts of new changes. READ MORE
November 2007
If your schedule is anything like mine, you have tons of time to surf the Web and research all the new technology and features offered by the many different estimating software companies. You click their links, read what their users say, watch their videos, talk with their sales reps and get live demos from their techs. READ MORE
November 2007
Well, it's that time of year again, where I bring the big estimating software dogies home for a checkup, to see what changes they have made while roaming wild out on the range. I have only three pages and four major systems to talk about. So let’s get this roundup started. Yee haw! Accubid Pro: Version 8 READ MORE
October 2007
I have been told there is a coming storm in the electrical construction industry of which the impact will be felt far into the future. It’s the loss of our trained labor force. Many workers soon will be retiring—I’ve heard more than 40 percent—and apparently there will not be enough younger-generation electricians to replace them. READ MORE