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Essential Estimating Tips

Dec. 18, 2023
From the EC&M e-books library: How to ensure your next estimate is as accurate and successful as possible

With rising material costs, labor shortages, and increasing inflation, accurate estimating is crucial for any project. By making sure that an estimate is as accurate as possible, contractors can maximize their profits and ensure that a job is completed within budget and in a timely manner. Because of this, estimating has continually been a popular topic for EC&M readers. The articles presented in this e-book are filled with tips and tricks on how to estimate as accurately as possible. To kick things off, page 3 begins with “Eight Timeless Estimating Principles" by Subject Matter Expert and EC&M Contributor Don Kiper. As Kiper puts it, "The estimating process — like other industry processes — has improved over the years through better communications, computers, and software. But computers and software will not make you an estimator any more than owning a hammer and a saw will make you a carpenter." That's why, despite available technology, it's important to brush up on the “timeless" estimating principles in order to utilize technology effectively when creating an estimate.

The next two articles in this e-book, “Identifying Estimator Errors" on page 6 and “The Danger of Making Assumptions When Estimating" on page 9 cover some common errors to avoid when estimating. Like Kiper says, “The very nature of the estimating process is fertile ground for making mistakes." No estimator is perfect, but limiting those mistakes and ensuring the estimate is as accurate as possible is the key to success. The advice in these articles is crucial to be aware of in order to avoid costly mistakes.

Following those articles, “Understanding Labor Hours and Labor Costs" by Don Kiper on page 12 and “How to Reduce Lost Labor Hours on Electrical Construction Projects" by Tim Kridel on page 16 focus on labor hours and how those costs can impact a project. Ensuring that you have the necessary labor required and that labor hours are not being wasted is essential for a project's profitability.

Finally, to close out this e-book, Don Kiper discusses one of the most important aspects of estimating in “Getting the Bid Out on Time" on page 21. Accuracy is important to estimating, but so is submitting the bid in a timely manner. This compilation of articles is a must-read for any estimator or contractor looking to maximize their next estimate.

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