While some might say electrical bidding is a matter of luck, others would argue that there’s a fine art in how to bid electrical jobs. As in most things, the truth is likely somewhere in between. That being said, there are certain things you can do, to improve your odds, and in turn, win more jobs.
Electrical Contractor Bidding Overview
The first step in how to bid electrical jobs begins with understanding what bids actually are. In a nutshell, electrician bids are the price estimates you give customers for completing a particular job. They are the bread and butter of your job, as many customers will shop around and get at least another electrical bid proposal or two before choosing you.
The key to making electrical bid opportunities successful is to become an expert at estimations. If you bid too high, a customer may be scared off by price alone. Bid too low, and you could be selling yourself short, or worse, losing money on the job.
Finding the Right Electrical Bid Opportunities for You
Part of successful bidding includes defining which opportunities are right for you. Are you a company of one that focuses on small wiring jobs for private homes? Or are you a team of 10 doing complicated installations at complex sites? Basically, you need to choose the type of jobs that match your actual:
- Skill level
Tips for How to Bid Electrical Work, Successfully
In helping you create a bid (i.e. give a price estimate), you’ll need to be able to determine, fairly quickly how much a job will cost you. So for example you should be looking at:
- The type of work you'll be doing – The scope of the project, obviously, is one of the main factors in pricing. It’s a good idea to itemize each type of work you do for yourself, so you know offhand the starting point for the cost of each task.
- The size of the home/building you’ll be working on – Bigger isn’t necessarily harder, but you do need to take size into account when determining how to bid electrical jobs.
- The complexity of the project – A new home or an old building with shoddy electricity from the last century can make your job harder. Have a look at the current wiring and circuits to see where you stand.
- Materials you'll need, including quantities – Bigger, however, likely requires more materials, so you’ll need to make this calculation. Also take into account any special equipment needed, and consider items like paint and plastering if you include those in the job.
- Accessibility – Ease of access makes your job easier. If you have to park your truck in a high-traffic area, or work around a busy site, you may want to charge more.
- How long the job will actually take – Time is money. Whether you’re doing the job yourself, or paying a worker, you need to be making a certain amount of money per hour, to make your work worthwhile. Decide what that is, and make sure to take this base into account when making your quote.
- Required permits - You should definitely do your homework in terms of permits. Check with your local Building Standards Department to see if any permits are needed, so there are no surprises for you, or your client.
Other Selling Points When Making Your Bid
Once you’ve assessed the job, and what’s to be done, you’re ready to make your bid. Keep in mind, while many customers are attracted by price alone, for others, price is only one part of the equation. This means a number of things.
For starters, many customers will want to hear about your credentials
. You can share your experience on similar jobs, or even offer up references for those who want.
One thing you’ll also likely need to win jobs is insurance for electricians
. In fact, in many instances, you may be asked to show a certificate of insurance
, to prove that you have insurance.
Bidding Residential vs. Commercial Electrical Contracts
There is, of course, some difference between how to bid electrical commercial jobs and how to bid residential electrical work. One of the main differences is that in residential work, the homeowner is likely the sole decision-maker; that is, he or she alone decides whether or not to work with you. In commercial ventures, there’s usually more than one person involved in the decision process. For a big organization, especially a government body, you may even need to complete a full tender process
in order to advance.
And remember, even if a customer doesn’t take your bid today, they may well turn to you in the future. So try to position yourself as a professional, by showing yourself to be honest, reliable, and able to get the job done and the question of how to bid electrical jobs will soon be just a distant memory.