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

October 2017
Nobody’s perfect, and I’m no exception. My first job in the electrical construction industry was driving a truck for a wholesale house. Within the first month, I didn’t secure my load well enough and lost a 10-foot stick of strut though the side of my stake bed truck. The customer did not want the strut after it was wrapped around the truck’s axle, so I learned to secure my load better.
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September 2017
One of the recurring themes of my writing has been the continuing decline in the quality of electrical bid documents. Let’s put it this way: the bidding documents, plans and specifications have become a black hole, sucking up estimating hours like never before. Before I get into specifics, let me clarify that I am referring to plans released for bidding on both private and public projects.
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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

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