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.
My final thoughts for 2005 are for all the owners, chief and senior estimators out there—the team leaders who bear the responsibility of determining which direction their estimating department will take their company.
Even with the best software, training and proficient users-a program is only as good as its parts database. A parts database must be accurately built and consistently managed. Just like your company trucks, it is an important tool.
A leading architecture/engineering member of the CSI revision team (who requested anonymity) described the genesis of the change to MasterFormat 2004 this way: “Division 16 was used to describe means and methods of lighting and distribution of power in buildings.
The destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina is unfathomable to me. To think about the reconstruction seems premature and pointless; a self-serving distraction to take my mind away from the tragedy. But as Americans, this is what we do, and I believe it is why this country succeeds.
When I was asked to write 1,200 words on how to train an estimator I thought, “This should be easy, I train estimators every day.” After a few hours of organizing my thoughts and writing my outline, I realized 1,200 words will barely scratch the surface.