A bid log can be an electrical estimator’s best friend

In Electrical Contracting Articles, Electrical Estimating Articles, ramblings by David Parden

Before you put that project you just quoted in the file cabinet take a moment to create a bid log. You will be amazed how quickly it will become a powerful tool.  A bid log can contain a lot of different information but even a simple one can give the electrical estimator and owner a wealth of information.

 I use an Excel spread sheet to log my jobs. I keep track of the project name, the square footage of the project, my quoted price, and a brief description of the project. I also have the spread sheet calculate the square foot price.

 To keep track of the projects I actually land I simply bold the project and relevant information.

 With the above information I can easily keep track of my success rate. At the end of the year I have a summary of how many projects I actually bid, the total dollar amount of all projects bid, my success rate for the year, the average projects bid per month, and the average dollar value of the projects I bid.

 On bid day it is really comforting to be able to compare the quote you are getting ready to send out to a similar project you have already bid.

How many times have you been asked to pull a file on a project you bid, god only knows how long ago? With a bid log instead of having to rummage through boxes of files out in the warehouse you can instantly find the year you bid the job and there is a good chance you will have the information the owner needs without pulling the file. At the very least you will know what year to look for the file.

Another great thing about having a good bid log is when the general contractor calls you for a budget on the fly. You may not have exactly what he is looking for but you can take a average cost per square foot of several similar projects adjust for inflation and within minutes on the same phone call the general contractor has a rough budget to negotiate with a potential customer and you look like a hero!

Having a bid log will help you personally when it is time to negotiate a pay raise with your employer or when you are trying to establish your worthiness to a potential new employer.