How to Estimate Electrical Work Accurately in 7 Steps

by | May 15, 2023 | How-to's

Ah, the mystical art of pricing electrical jobs! It’s like cracking the Da Vinci Code, but with fewer monks and more volts. Don’t worry, my electrically-capable compadres, mastering this skill can rocket-launch your work, skyrocket your profits, and expand your business like a big ol’ balloon!

Now, hold onto your hard hats and let’s dive into the wonderful world of electrical work estimation!

1. Decipher the electrical job specifications

How to estimate electrical work accurately

Bid commercial or construction job proposals like Indiana Jones cracks ancient hieroglyphs, by carefully reviewing the Request For Proposal (RFP). Make sure your electrifying pricing matches those pesky specific requirements!

If your Spidey-sense tingles with confusion, ask questions before venturing onward into step two.

2. Channel your inner Sherlock Holmes: analyze those drawings!

How to estimate electrical work accurately

1. Peruse pictures, blueprints, and drawings provided like a hawk eying its prey, to fully grasp the project’s shockingly good electrical needs.

2. Be on the lookout for anything that could crank up the project’s difficulty or zap the materials or equipment you need.

3. Examine everything, from plumbing and HVAC to elevations. No stone left unturned!

If it’s a residential gig and blueprints feel like a wild goose chase, request a walk-through to get the full voltage of the project.

3. The magical material takeoff

How to estimate electrical work accurately

Take flight with your material takeoff list (forget Harry Potter’s broom, you’ve got blueprints)!

1. Carefully concoct a marvelous list of every material and quantity needed for your electrifying project. Your list may sparkle with items like light fixtures, conduit, electrical wiring, switches, and switchboards.

2. Once your list is as bright as the North Star, calculate the prices for all materials and let the total material costs dazzle you. Keep this magical parchment safe, for it shall bring great fortune in your estimate.

4. Crunchin’ the numbers, baby: Labor costs

How to estimate electrical work accurately

You’ve got the 411 on the job, and now it’s time to figure out how many electrician amigos you’ll need and how long it’ll take to zap through it!

Do the math for labor costs:

1. Hourly labor rate x number of labor hours. Whether you’re working on a humble abode or a swanky office, electricians charge by the hour.

2. If you’re tackling a fresh construction gig, you might opt for one big flat fee instead.

3. No matter how you roll the dice, add in a smidge of wiggle room in case things get a tad bit sparky on the job.

Cha-ching: Average hourly rate for an electrician

  • Nationwide, it averages out like this in the ole U.S. of A. But your pay rate and yearly dough depend on things like your location, experience, and what kind of electrician wizard you are.

For instance, journeyman electricians rake in about $58,180 annually, while master electricians boost that up to around $69,385 a year.

5. Don’t forget overhead costs, folks!

How to estimate electrical work accurately

Overhead costs are what you dish out to keep your biz humming, such as:

Gadgetry (think tablets, computers, cell phones)
Trusty travel transport, gas guzzlers, and tune-ups
Office rent to call home
A little self-promotion (advertising and marketing)
Uncle Sam’s cut (taxes)
Tools of the trade (voltage testers, wire snippers, and trusty screwdrivers)

To find your hourly overhead rate, use this nifty formula:

  • Total monthly overhead costs ÷ # of billable hours per month
    For example, if you’ve got $4,000 in overhead costs and clock in 500 billable hours each month, you’re looking at $8.00 per hour going towards overhead.

Now, to calculate the overhead costs for that electrical job:

  • Hourly overhead costs x # of hours to get the job done

6. Bring home the bacon: Profit margin and markup

How to estimate electrical work accurately

1. Your profit margin is the moola you pocket after covering job costs like materials and manpower.

2. Your markup is the green you bring home after taking care of business.

3. If you’re aiming for a 15% profit margin, use this formula to figure out your markup:
(Hourly rate + material cost + overhead costs) x 0.15 = your markup

4. Finally, add your markup to the cost estimate for the grand total of electrical work.

5. Or, you can give Bizvalet’s handy-dandy calculator a whirl to find the total cost for your electrical job.

7. Break out the mad scientist skills: It’s time for the Electrical Estimate!

How to estimate electrical work accurately

*Cue maniacal laughter in the distance*

Presto! Behold an electrifying example of an estimate to zap, I mean, send to your client:

What to include in this shockingly amazing electrical estimate? Here we go!

  • *Ta-da!* Your one and only magical logo and of course, your contact information

  • Your client’s name and contact info, so you know who to call on speed dial when the lights go out

  • An estimate number, because it takes TWO to tango at this electrical party

  • A riveting rundown of just what spark of genius you’ll provide for their electrical needs, such as teleportation devices, or perhaps just replacing an electrical panel. And don’t forget to provide the cost estimate to make it all happen!

  • Your electric grocery list, including items like wires or electrical panels, and the costs associated, because we’re not running a charity here, folks!

  • A ticking clock, or how long the estimate is valid for! Time is money, and electricity doesn’t grow on trees!

  • For the grand finale, the total cost of this electrical masterpiece coming together, including taxes.

You might be thinking, “But Robin, using quill and parchment or deciphering ancient scrolls like Google Sheets can be so time-consuming!” Fear not, my friends! With a handy-dandy estimate template, crafting an electrifying estimate will take mere minutes, ensuring your clients are stunned into submission with your professionalism and wowing them into awarding you more jobs.

Spark up success with stupendous electrical estimating software!

Charging up your skills in the fine arts of electrical job pricing and presenting jaw-dropping, phenomenal estimates will win you more work and elevate your business to electrifying heights!

How to estimate electrical work accurately

Once that estimate is sent out into the void, employ some electrifying quoting software (like the wondrous Bizvalet) to concoct and track quotes, schedule jobs, and POOF! Transform quotes into invoices like the stunning sorcerer you are.

How to estimate electrical work accurately