Best Practices and Benefits of Estimating Techniques and Technology

In this presently challenging economy, two old adages in the electrical construction industry seem to ring as true as ever: the electrical construction industry is an incredibly competitive market to operate in, and the foundation of remaining successful within this competitive market place begins with accurate estimates. Estimating software producers have recognized this and have created take-off software that has been designed to address these challenges by providing a platform to perform faster and more accurate estimates. Based on a combination of extensive interviews with electrical contractors and the results of a national questionnaire, this report outlines the present day role of this software in the electrical construction industry and highlights some effective estimating strategies that electrical contractors have implemented both with and without this estimating software.

A thorough examination of the present state of electrical estimating has revealed that there is tremendous variability in the electrical estimating landscape. This is likely no surprise to estimators and executives alike within the industry, who know that it is part of their job to manage that variability and produce timely and accurate estimates. Among many factors that will be discussed in depth later in this report, this variability can include the type of the job to be estimated, the structure of one’s estimating department, the characteristics of the estimators within the estimating department, what time restrictions are on the estimate, the overall goals of the company, and certainly of the use, non-use, or partial use of estimating takeoff-software. It is because of this variability that there exists no one perfect estimating software solution that can be adopted by every electrical contractor across the country.

Instead this report outlines the benefits of the electrical estimating takeoff software, but also the obstacles to their implementation. In addition, this report includes many strategies that electrical contractors of varying characteristics have used to maintain the accuracy and timeliness of their estimates. Depending on the goals of the electrical contractor, some have decided that a completely manual estimating process is best for them, others have chosen to selectively use one or more estimating takeoff software, and last some have chosen to fully implement estimating takeoff software across their estimating department. Based on this collection of strategies and information, an electrical contractor can decide if there are new approaches that they can take within their estimating department that will benefit the company.



Cindy Menches
Stephen Kleps


Illinois Institute of Technology

Publication Date:

February 2013

Format & Size:

Soft Cover, viii and 75 pages

Index Number:


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