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What Makes A Quality Estimating Department?

Estimating labor is one of the largest overhead expenses in electrical contracting. Finding a competent warehouse supervisor is much easier than finding and keeping a highly skilled, seasoned electrical estimator. When you find a quality employee, your company should have a structure that will provide your estimator with an ideal working environment.

Most of us see our family doctor for an annual checkup. Why not give your estimating department a checkup? Take a few moments one morning before your busy day begins and examine how well they are doing.

How many of the following describe your organization and procedures?

  1. Are estimates complete at least one day in advance?
  2. Do you analyze your estimates and your bid results?
  3. Do provide growth opportunities for your estimators?
  4. Do your track the production and success rate of your department and each estimator?
  5. When things go wrong, do you provide solutions and leadership or just try to lay blame at the feet of others?
  6. Do you allow adequate time for an estimate to be properly done?
  7. Do you use checklists for the estimate and the bid summary?
  8. Do you have an estimating sequence that your estimators follow?
  9. Do you have an estimating drive on your server with an organized file structure?
  10. Do you have weekly estimators’ meeting?
  11. Do you have a detailed procedure for handing off a project to your project manager and foreman or do you just dump it in their laps?
  12. Do you have email policies?
  13. Do you provide structure for employees without micromanaging?
  14. Do you have a written departmental procedural manual?
  15. Do you have project estimate binders with organizational tabs?
  16. Do your estimators enter their take-off directly into the estimating program without using take-off sheets?
  17. Are your estimators using the estimating program’s maximum potential?
  18. Are you running the latest version of your estimating program?
  19. Do you have a database manager for your estimating program?
  20. Do you have a protocol for estimators to provide input to improve your estimating program database?

If you answered no to any of these questions, maybe it is time to reorganize your department. It is a proven fact that good employees leave for reasons other than financial compensation. Many times, it is because the contractor has failed to provide an atmosphere where a quality skilled estimator can make a company profitable.

How healthy is your estimating department? Have you become your own worst enemy!