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

Articles by Stephen Carr

September 2015
They’re here. The mavens of technology have arrived to tell us that, once again, we must move on to the next great thing. According to them, web-based software is the path to the future. The “cloud” is where we now must compute, write, schedule, calculate and present.
August 2015
Spreadsheet software is made for crunching numbers, but database programs are made for crunching data, and they do it better. Consider the following reasons why a database is a good platform for electrical estimating systems.
July 2015
I was recently following a forum discussion about issues related to using spreadsheet software for estimating. It turned into a spreadsheet–versus–database argument and got a little heated. The truth is both systems have a place in your estimating toolbox.
June 2015
Determining how much of the National Electrical Code (NEC) estimators should know depends on several factors, including how much they initially knew when they became estimators, the type of work they are bidding, who they are working for, the completeness of the bid documents, and their goals as estimators.
 A little history
May 2015
Whether they know it or not, most estimators are in the marketing business. Every time they speak to someone, they influence that person’s feelings about them and the company they work for. If estimators are rude to vendors, they may not get the best pricing. If they snap at a general contractor, they may not get the contract. READ MORE
April 2015
Before I get started, I want to let you know that the following is based on my experience with three software packages. While the basic concepts are the same for most software in this category, the specifics of how they work may be different.
March 2015
As estimators, we are sometimes called on to create and maintain schedules. Many of us actually hold the position of estimator/project manager, so we are wholly responsible for scheduling our own projects.
February 2015
While preparing estimates, the methods and rules that estimators follow depend on several factors, including training, experience, the type of project and company culture. In some instances, estimating practices may not mesh well with project management requirements. One of the most common discussions I have had with project managers is in regard to the level of detail in an estimate.
January 2015
I have been fortunate during my career to hold the positions of estimator and project manager, both separately and at the same time. This experience has given me perspective from both sides. Unfortunately, things were not always as harmonious as they should have been. As an estimator, I had to deal with project managers. As a project manager, I had to deal with estimators. READ MORE