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
Construction software has changed the way many contractors do their jobs. But the choices can be daunting and confusing to the first-time buyer, most of whom start out looking at estimating software. Some couple with digitizers (see sidebar), others are AutoCAD-based and one uses scanned drawings.
As was pointed out in last month’s column, when an electrical contractor expands to a new area of work such as school construction, a new set of parameters enters the estimating picture. Perusal of the specifications becomes a lesson in caution.
June in Southern California means that the weather is usually cloudy most mornings; residents have come to call the period “June gloom.” This summer’s industry publications brought a different kind of gloom to estimators, no matter what the geography.
One factor in learning a new occupation or system is mastering the language being used, or at least the basic meanings of words. Word confusion affects every industry. Take the computer instruction to hit any key.