McCormick Systems' annual user's conference generally informs attendees of its basic software package's "extras." As with Microsoft's Word, it's estimated most users only take advantage of 10 to 20 percent of the program's capabilities.
Because everything’s connected—somewhere: Do you know what integrated systems are and how to estimate them? They’re not really that different from standard low-voltage systems, but they require more attention to the drawing details and specifications.
What you don’t know can hurt your company: Knowing your company’s complete scope of work is critical to successfully estimating a project; simply studying the electrical design and reading the electrical specification is not good enough.
How to review your bid, part 3: Note to estimators: I write this article assuming you have finished and reviewed your takeoff (see part 1, October 2006), and ran and reviewed all of your extensions (see part 2, November 2006); if you haven’t, you will need to accelerate the following to Warp 10.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Estimating can get boring. Count, count, count—highlight all the little symbols, color all the lines red, enter the counts into the computer. Clicking the days away, one job at a time. It is nobody’s fault—any job can become tedious.
In this highly competitive industry, you need to bid more work than you are capable of doing. Most of this work comes with unforgiving deadlines and requires many hours of estimating. Hours you don’t have. Estimators you don’t have.
In my December column, I recommended you review last year’s estimating strategy. By examining what worked and the reasons for losses, you understand how to be more successful next year. Well, guess what? It is next year and the estimating clock started ticking two weeks ago.