Electrical is a highly-specialized trade that homeowners call on often. If you’re an electrical pro, you’ve been trained in your work and understand the importance of doing the job right. Part of the work is providing customers with a great estimate that can help you win the job.
When customers are looking to hire an electrical pro, the estimate you provide can make a difference in winning the job or not. A well-written estimate can set you apart. If you’re wondering how you can improve, here are a few tips on what to include in your electrical estimate.
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Estimates Are Important
Whether you’re new to the business or have been working as a contractor for a long time, it’s likely you’ve heard of an estimate before. But don’t underestimate the value. An estimate can help you to better explain your services to the customer and what they can expect.
Providing an estimate over the phone might be helpful at the time, but you’ll really want to take a look at the project and prepare a written estimate for the customer. That way, they can review it and let you know if there are any questions. It’s a great way to have all the information they need in one place, differentiating you from the competition.
Evaluate The Job
Even if the customer can describe the work they need done over the phone, for electrical work, it’s always best to go assess the situation in person. Set up a time with the customer where you can come by and see the work that needs to be done. Since you’re the expert when it comes to local codes and regulations, you can tell them what the standard is for electrical work in their home, and how you’re the best fit to get the job done. Take a few notes, as you’ll need those for the next step.
Provide A Project Summary
Once you’ve evaluated the project, you can now sit down and begin your written estimate. The project summary is a great place to start. Here, you can detail the work that needs to be done, even if it’s a simple fix. This will help to ensure clear communication between you and the customer, so there’s no misunderstanding of what they’ll be paying for.
For bigger electrical projects, you may want to include a brief timeline here as well, allotting for extra time if needed.
Detail Project Costs
One of the largest parts of an estimate is actually outlining the costs of the project so the customer can budget appropriately. You’ll gain loyal customers by budgeting as accurately as possible, so this is a part of the estimate you should take very seriously! Here are some items you’ll want to account for:
Labor & Employees
It’s likely one of the highest costs in the estimate will be your labor or the work of your employees. Electrical pros are highly skilled and knowledgeable in their trade, so you must account for the work you do. Employees can be paid based on experience and may have certain regulations if they are in an electrical workers union. All these should be taken into account when determining your labor costs.
There are certain materials involved with electrical work that you’ll need to account for. Perhaps the customer purchased them, but many have not. The homeowner may have bought the light fixture they want installed, but if something needs to be brought up to code, those materials must be accounted for in your estimate.
Not all electrical projects need permits. But, upon evaluation, be upfront with the homeowner if they will need them and include the cost in your estimate.
Highlight Your Contact Information
The customer might be speaking with more than one electrician for their project so, you want to make sure your contact information is easily found when they want to give you a call. I’d suggest placing it in the header of each page and attaching a business card as well, so they can easily contact you.
Don’t forget to follow up with the customer after you’ve given them your estimate. Set a time when you can call them back to talk about any questions they may have. This will increase your chances of winning the job.
Differentiate Your Business
Throughout the estimate, you’ll want to be setting your business apart from the rest. One way to do that is including a section that involves any additional training, membership to trade organizations or insurance. Not only does this increase customer trust in your business, but it also shows that you’re willing to take the time to be the best in the business.
While you may carry your toolbox to each job site, an estimate is one of the best tools you have to win the job. By preparing a well-written estimate, you can set yourself apart from other pros and win the job.
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