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We have been in business for a while but all residental. Obviously we are trying to get out and do more commercial. But We dont know how to bid commercial. Is is by the square foot or device and what is the going rate? We are in NC. I have sent a few bids to GC's but never get a call back. Please help.
 

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Righteously Indignant
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Unit pricing is a quick way to lose your shorts if you don't have a strong background in that area. i.e. -A receptacle in an industrial facility won't be the same as one in a hospital, or a retail facility.

If you're wanting to take the plunge into commercial work, it's time to train up; and pony up for an estimating system.

There's loads out there: AccuBid, EBM, Timberline, McCormick, etc. The function is essentially the same, even the databases are organized similarly.

This is a huge expense, but a necessary one.

For budget purposes, many will use an Excel spreadsheet, but to get an accurate takeoff, you'll need software. I don't recommend a spreadsheet for a novice.

(no offense to you old timers that used a NECA manual, pencil and paper, I've done just enough of that to know that, while it works, it stinks:whistling2: )

Another option for a small company, is to have an estimating service do the estimating for you, then you can solicit your own quotes, add in your overhead, profit and burden, and send it out.
 

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Righteously Indignant
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You two should look into an abacus! :thumbsup: :laughing:


Seriously though, the estimating software today has gotten very friendly to use. There are folks out there that have built assemblies for every possible scenario as a database add-on.
 

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if you are bidding sq' foot on resi are you nuts!!!! a sq' price should never be used this is an average that G.C. came up with you should be bidding per each device and home run

as for commercial the same is true

as for the software we use EBM I can usally crank out a 200,000 bid in just a few hours and the software has more then paid for it self you can check out a demo for free at visioninfosoft.com they have a classic version (cheap intro) a plus (medium) this is what we use and the pro (high)
 

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You must become an expert at SqFt pricing. (residential)

if you are bidding sq' foot on resi are you nuts!!!! a sq' price should never be used this is an average that G.C. came up with you should be bidding per each device and home run
Most of the plans I look at for new houses do not have an electrical plan. When the GC asks for a price, you can either give him a square foot price or tell him to get back to you when he has an electrical plan.

If you wire a lot of houses you will soon become very wise in the science of square foot pricing. I know exactly what my square foot costs are for materials and labor.

Now, having said that, when I quote a SqFt price, I qualify it by saving "typical, minimum code plus 10 cans, 4 phones" etc. When I draft the contract I specify exactly the scope of work. Obviously extras are going to cost more.

But these days, if you're gonna be in the house wiring business, you had better be able to cough up a square foot price when asked.
 

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I own stock in FotoMat!
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I have sent a few bids to GC's but never get a call back.
Don't feel bad about it. To some GCs, calling back isn't part of their job. Some GCs have absolutely no loyalty to their subs. If Electrician Joe wires a given project for $10,000, and Electrician Bob puts in a bid for $9,995, some GCs are more than happy to switch. Your bid may have been taken with the idea of looking for someone who will do the job for $9,990.

I don't care if the GC calls me back or not. I put a 30-day limit on my bids. If they call back and sign a contract, we're good. If they wait more than that, we're back to square one.

But, yes, I do wish they would call back, one way or the other. I don't care if it's something like, "Hey, sorry, but you came in a bit too high, so XYZ Electric is our choice.", or "Listen, you rip-off artist.... what kind of scam are you running here? Drop dead!" At least they could take 15 seconds out of their day to let me know.
Just one of my pet peeves. I'm done ranting now.
 
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