Quoting electrical work takes more than electrical knowledge. Not getting enough information or the correct information can end up leading to lost revenue for your project. Taking the extra time to build an informed quote will pay dividends down the road.
Survey the Site
When possible, visit the location where the work will take place. Take note of the current state of the electrical system and the physical characteristics of the site. Look specifically for features that may increase the amount of time or material needed to complete a project. Note the measurements of the space when possible. When calculating what materials are needed, good measurements are critical.
Know the Cost of Materials
The price of materials, especially copper wire, fluctuates over time and geographically. Using current, known pricing is critical to a good quote. Contact multiple suppliers in the area, as price can fluctuate between suppliers. Ask about volume discounts.
Be Aware of Local Building Codes
Building codes vary from city to city. Changes in code may require additional time and materials to complete a project. Ask the city building department for a current copy of its code or amendments. Find out if the project will require special permits and inquire about the costs.
Include Cost of Additional Tools
Some projects may require tools beyond what a contractor owns. Be sure to include the cost of the rental or purchase of the tool in a quote.
Include Cost of Sub-Contractors
Electrical projects may require the work of other skilled tradespeople. Walls built, plumbing and duct work relocated, and patching and painting are some common needs associated with an electrical project. The client should be advised of the need. It may be left to electrical contractor to collect quotes and hire the additional trades. His cost would then need to be included in a quote for the electrical work.
Calculate Demand on Existing System
If the quote is for work that modifies an existing electrical system, will the modification require an upgrade to the existing electrical service?
Know What Other Contractors Charge
Being aware of what the competition is charging is important when building a quote. Calling local contractors to inquire about their hourly rate, their “per opening” charge or their square-foot charge may be a good place to start.
Building the Quote
When preparing a physical quote to present to a client, it is important to detail what is included — the scope of work, how long it will take and what special items are included. Small projects may only require a small amount of time and materials, but a description of the work should still be included.