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Having provided training for more than 100 electrical estimators and project managers for 38 contractors in the last 30 months, I have heard more than once,

“I am Old School.”

According to Wiktionary the definition of “Old School” is as follows: characteristic of a style, outlook, or method employed in a former era, remembered either as inferior to the current style, or alternately, remembered nostalgically as superior or preferable to the new style, the older denoting something that would be considered out of date or out of fashion to some.

As the discussion evolves, the defense of the “Old School” position goes something like this:

  1. This is way we have always done it.
  2. I can estimate faster with pencil and paper.
  3. I can’t understand all the computer lingo.
  4. My gut tells me I am right.
  5. This is the way I was taught.
  6. I have been successful doing it this way.
  7. I am too old to change now.
  8. I ‘m not a computer geek and never will be.

Most all the time, these statements are made to defend an individual’s position to remain in their comfort zone.  However, electrical contractors must function for profitability, not comfort.

The following practices are detrimental to reducing overhead and being more profitable:

  1. Estimating with pencil and paper
  2. Manually updating prices in estimating software
  3. Estimating with spreadsheets
  4. Recapping the estimate in a spreadsheet instead of your software program
  5. Writing takeoff on takeoff sheets or drawings, then performing data entry in the estimating program.
  6. Out of date software
  7. Estimators sharing a single estimating license
  8. Not using the best estimating program suited for your company’s size and market

An estimating department should provide the best technological tools and methodology for estimating. Accuracy, speed and organization must be paramount when establishing company policies for estimators.

Being stuck in a past era of estimating practices reduces profit, produces less volume, and makes for longer work days.

Aren’t you glad that your dentist isn’t using tools and technology from the 70’s.

Remember, estimating is expensive, poor estimating is costly, but quality estimating is profitable.