In June 2003, Richard Manrod presented his paper, “The How, Why and Future of Estimating” to NECA's Academy of Electrical Contracting. Since things change so rapidly, we talked to Manrod to find out if some of his ideas have come true.
When computer-drawn Blueprints for electrical contractors And other tradesmen first appeared, few people really understood AutoCAD or how to use it. In today's fast-paced construction industry, if you are still unsure of what CAD can do, you may find yourself losing out on some valuable contracts.
“We wanted to streamline the number of programs and eliminate multiple entries into different programs. We wanted a product that everyone in the company could use, from management to accounting to the project managers and purchasing staff.
Consider experience, skills and personality Judging by some labor shortages, perhaps the drought of work is coming to an end. At the same time, contractors may be considering changes for the better in the estimating department.
Trade shows are a great place to learn The annual rites of summer’s last gasp: the Labor Day barbecue, returning the kids to school and preparing for the NECA convention. The annual show is good opportunity for estimators to see the industry’s new products.
Watching the market can be helpful One of the operations that is part of the estimating process is researching the most competitive material prices for a large variety of items. Some sources estimate that in excess of 100,000 individual listings would not be an unreasonable content.
Even behind-the-scenes employees can help the effort Many estimators think of marketing as something that is done by others in the company. However, electrical contracting is a changing industry, and these days estimators are part of the marketing team.
Hidden dangers lead to hidden costs Contractors don’t normally involve the estimating department in safety concerns except for those that affect the actual work of the estimator such as job site visits and the like.
Estimation, training and planning put you in the black What helps make your electrical contracting business profitable? Is it your estimating prowess? Is it your ability to buy your project equipment at the best price and sell it at a good profit? Is it your ability to find and keep good people?
Many overloaded contractors have uttered something along these lines at one point or another: “I wish I could find someone that’s as smart as I think I am to share some of the load.” But if that load is to support the estimating needs of the company, maybe what they are really looking for is someone