Electrical Estimators should not wait on someone else to write the scope letter

In Electrical Estimating Articles, ramblings by David Parden

Electrical Estimators should not rely on someone else to type their scope letters. Many of us think we do not have time to type out the scope letters because we’re so busy. There was a time when I was guilty of this way of thinking also until I worked for an electrical contractor who’s secretary didn’t have time either. After I got use to typing my own scope letter I would not have it any other way.

Everyone who works as an estimator knows how hectic the final hour before a substantial estimate goes out the door can be! You are fielding calls from suppliers and general contractors, evaluating supplier quotes, and you still have to meet with the owner to set the final sell price. Oh yeah, and then there is the secretary who has to put the final touches on your scope letter for your review. There is nothing worse than dealing with a secretary who does not share your sense of urgency.  For many of us the scope letter is the last piece of the puzzle for getting our quote out the door.

Your scope letter should be one of the first pieces of the puzzle you put together. From the moment you start your discovery process of the project you are bidding you should be editing your scope letter. It is much quicker to insert project specific info while you are reviewing the bid documents than writing it down on a piece of paper only to type it again at a later date.

Every estimator should have a template estimate on file that has every standardized inclusion / exclusion and the company’s term and conditions. A good scope letter should have five distinct areas of information. The first area should contain the project information such as the name of the project, the name of the architect, referenced drawings, and addendums. The second area should be the Inclusions area. The third area should be the Exclusions area. The fourth area should be the Terms and Conditions area, and finally the fifth section should contain your price.

Writing your own scope letter will help build your confidence in knowing the scope. Use it as a system of checks and balances. You will be better prepared to answer potential calls regarding your quote because the scope will be reinforced in your mind. Writing your own scope letter as you go will reduce the risk of missing an important piece of information that needs to be addressed.

 Make the time, you can do it!