Stephen Carr

Estimating Columnist

Stephen Carr has been in the electrical construction business since 1971. He started Carr Consulting Services—which provides electrical estimating and educational services—in 1994. Contact him at 805.523.1575 or steve@electrical-estimating.com.

Articles by Stephen Carr

August 2017
Once again, I was inspired to write after reading a post in a LinkedIn construction group. The article, “If I Own a Drill, Does That Make Me a Dentist?” laments the belief that simply buying a tool makes one a skilled craftsperson. READ MORE
July 2017
Many estimators start out as electricians, and a significant portion of those are most experienced in residential work. The purpose of this article is to help move these estimators along the path to commercial and industrial electrical estimating. The work is more complex, requiring an estimating method to match. READ MORE
June 2017
I scheduled the whole day to finish the restaurant takeoff. I even came in a bit early. Of course, just as I start counting, the phone rings. It’s my foreman on the strip mall project. The utility company has not shown up to turn on the power. I jump on the phone to track down the company. Half an hour later, I get the correct phone number. READ MORE
May 2017
I recently read an article regarding excellence versus perfection. It hit the nail square on the head regarding my estimating philosophy, which I developed mostly because of the stark contrast between my first two estimating jobs.
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April 2017
Last month, we discussed the direct costs associated with a change order: labor, material, equipment and other miscellaneous costs directly related to the change order. Now, it’s time to look at your indirect costs, starting with overhead.
 Overhead
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March 2017
Last month, I wrote about basic considerations for processing change orders. Now, it’s time to dig into the details. Let’s start from the beginning.
 The contract
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February 2017
Change orders—we love them, and we hate them. Preparing a change order used to be enjoyable. The drawings were clear, the changes were clouded and we were allowed to make a profit. All we submitted was a lump-sum proposal, which was rarely questioned and never outright rejected. Unfortunately, the good times did not last long. READ MORE
January 2017
I perform many takeoffs for industrial projects. One of the significant differences between commercial and industrial work is the feeders, which can account for more than 80 percent of the time needed to complete the takeoff. In particular, water and wastewater projects can have exceedingly complex feeder layouts. READ MORE
December 2016
I was recently reminded how important it is to be creative in today’s competitive bidding climate. One of my longtime clients called to let me know that the high-voltage switchgear at One Exchange Place in Jersey City, N.J., had finally been powered up. The road to this accomplishment had been long, with several detours.
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