If you are an electrical contractor, then you must be aware of the hassle of estimating the costs. Since providing the owner a bid information beforehand is almost necessary, these following steps should help you determine the final cost of your project:
Having as much information as possible regarding a job is a good way to start. Whereas small projects may need direct consultation with the owner on your part, larger tasks normally have descriptive blueprints and drawings. If blueprints are given, you must obtain copies of changes and addenda, manual of specifications, extensive drawing sets etc. While setting your price, it is also helpful to have architectural and mechanical drawings along with electrical drawings.
Take a walk
Walk around the place to see if regions that may involve access difficulty are there, requiring equipment or wiring. Whether the ceilings are made of plaster and whether elevators are usable are good questions too. Closely consider parking, storage, staging and unloading areas as well.
Determine the scope
Consult your owner to get a grasp of the extent of work, and ask if computer systems, electrical wirings, security wirings etc. should be included in your price too.
Picture the job
Determining the equipments to use, and subcontractors needed is helpful. Getting a feel of the building layout, reviewing equipment and wiring schedules etc. are important by examining the drawings provided. Consider electrical room distance from major equipments and the impact of mechanical systems too.
Send price requests
Request price quotes from subcontractors as well as vendors. Fire alarm agencies, telecommunications firms, building technicians etc. are common types of subcontractors. Companies that supply material to you are vendors, for example, light fixture vendors, and transformer vendors. Send requests early since this process takes time.
Be sure to perform material takeoffs, including receptacles, junction boxes, switch plates, wires etc. Count the unit numbers needed, and multiply it by cost per unit.
Add labor costs
Determining the hours required for installation of equipments and running wires, and then multiplying the result by average hourly rate of the employees is a good practice.
A large number of equipments such as cranes, lifts and specialty tools will come into play during the job. So make sure to include rental costs of these things. Since delays are common during projects, adding a tiny contingency considering you may need to use the tools longer will do the trick.
Account permit costs
Based on your state and size of the task, permits may cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. In order to calculate the electrical permit cost for your job, go ahead and consult the state permitting agency. You may also try to make the owner responsible for permit costs by discussing the matter with the owner.
Determine miscellaneous expenses
Estimate costs of sales tax, labor burden, insurance, vehicle costs etc. Hidden costs, such as extra materials, overtime wages etc. are to be considered too.
Set a profit percentage
After calculating the final cost, add a certain percentage to that cost when quoting the price. Depending on the size of the job, and your previous experiences, the percentage may vary anywhere from 1 to 100 percent.