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The estimator must analyze his estimates by project types and know which system contains most of the work.  For example, if the labor to pull feeder wire is only 2% of the total labor hours, there is no need to consider adjustments.  But if the conduit work is 70% of the total labor hours, take a closer look, at the labor units and the total labor hours for conduit.

This will do two things, help you mitigate labor risk and help you to be as accurate as you can on most of the work.  Being 10% high on most of the work, could cause you not to win the project.

Here are a few examples:

  1. Commercial work – 60% – 80% Branch wiring
  2. Retail Space – 80% – 90% Branch Wiring
  3. Water Treatment –85% Site Power, Distribution, Feeders, Generation
  4. Gas & Oil – 50% – 60% – Cable Tray & Tray Cable

Remember, you must focus on what matters and what matters is the portion of the project that contains the largest percentage of the work.

Study and analyze your estimates to find the portion that needs the closest review. A good estimating software should allow you to study percentages on your extension screen. Check material categories to know which ones may pose the greatest risk.  For example, if copper wire is a large percentage of the total material cost, be sure to check pricing levels and the direction the market may be moving.

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