Day 1 of the Electrical Estimating Apprenticeship program was yesterday. We started with the basics. Like anything, a good foundation lays the groundwork for the future.
What is the electrical estimator’s role?
An estimator needs to understand their role in the estimating process. It seems intuitive, but is it? The estimator’s role is to determine the true cost of the project, plain and simple. You are probably thinking that if you covered “all the costs,” you would never be awarded a project. However, once the true costs are determined, cuts can be made based on known factors. We’ll leave that discussion for another time.
Aptitude and attitude are ideal traits of a potential electrical estimator apprentice!
One observation I made yesterday is the diversity of our new students! You don’t need to be an electrician to be an estimator. All you need is aptitude and attitude. Aptitude means that one has some sort of experience that in some way relates to the estimating process. A good attitude goes a long way for most things in life!
One of our students is a retired police officer! How does that relate? I look at him as someone who has good quantitative reasoning skills, is used to regiment, and understands the systematic approach of the estimating process. Another student is a recent college graduate with a degree in construction management. While she doesn’t have any electrical experience, her education will undoubtedly help in developing her estimating skills. A few of the students are inside office electrical contractor personnel who have familiarity with some of the estimating processes, making them ideal candidates to develop estimating skills.
Getting to know you.
One of our students questioned whether it is worth the effort to bid on a project that has several general contractors bidding (and therefore even more electrical contractors). There is not a clear cut answer. If you have a relationship with a majority of the GC’s, go ahead and spend the time. If they don’t know you, you are like a “no name generic.” Marc gave an excellent example of laundry detergent. Everyone knows Tide. Even if that “no name” detergent is purported to be as good as Tide and it’s less expensive, you still might not be inclined to use it. The same goes in the construction industry. Make the effort to get to know your clients!
More later as we continue on in the apprenticeship.