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 2006
How to review: part 2 My previous article discussed how you should review your takeoff. Now I am going to discuss how to review the byproduct of your takeoff: extensions. No speed-reading allowed And no interruptions! Reviewing your extensions requires calm, steady, uninterrupted focus. READ MORE
October 2006
How to review during the takeoff I SOMETIMES GET AHEAD OF MYSELF when I write these articles. In my April article, I discussed what you should do when you find one of your mistakes. But I never told you how to avoid making mistakes. Nobody can. Even when you apply the best estimating practices, mistakes still happen. But I can offer some advice on how you can prevent making some mistakes. READ MORE
September 2006
New labor-saving products are out there In just a few short weeks, the NECA Show, hosted by the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), will be underway in Boston. Are you attending? Will your estimators be attending? Do you have a plan for how to make the most of your time walking the isles? Are there any products or specific manufacturers you want to learn more about?   READ MORE
August 2006
Electrical estimating is a tough, involved subject to teach and a very hard subject to learn. This is not a class they teach in high school or in most colleges, if any. Heck, I don’t recall the word “estimating” ever being said at career day. Teaching someone how to estimate is time-consuming, expensive and a major investment into your company’s future. READ MORE
July 2006
Estimators come in all shapes and sizes. Most I have met are not very athletic, except for a few golf games between bids. I’m sure there are many who are very athletic, but let’s face it—on any given day, our most strenuous moment is lifting a 40-pound set of drawings onto our workstation. I’m certainly not the great athlete I used to be. READ MORE
June 2006
As the economy stands on firmer ground, privately funded buildings are coming back to life, bringing a surge of design-build projects with it. This is very good news for estimators, because more buildings mean more work to bid on and win for the company. The bad news is design-build projects typically aren’t complete designs. In fact, most have no design at all. READ MORE
May 2006
It is already the month of May—I know, I can’t believe it either—and the feeling of spring is in the air. Spring typically means warmer weather, longer days to get the estimates done and, of course, your annual tech support fees are due. On the average, these fees run about $1,500, but vary depending on what software you have. For some, this amount is based on each user license you own. READ MORE
May 2006
The upgrades are coming! The upgrades are coming! Yes, it is time for your favorite estimating software company to release its thoroughly beta-tested new features and much anticipated repairs of any bugs and glitches. READ MORE
April 2006
We all make mistakes. After all, we are human, aren’t we? Flesh and blood, instinct and intellect—we can’t be just computer chips and software, calculators and ScaleMasters. Yes, estimators are only human, and we make mistakes. But don’t tell your boss; that is, unless you actually make a mistake. Some mistakes are big; most of them small. READ MORE