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Step Two

5 Reasons Why Most Estimations are Completely Wrong and Only a Select Few Turn a Profit…

It’s been said before – ‘planning isn’t the main thing, it is everything.’

Nowhere have I found this to be truer than in the construction industry. You’ve seen the size and scope of the jobs you’ve worked on in the past. There are hundreds of workers, millions of dollars at stake. But, good estimators are hard to find…and this is one of the things making projects difficult and unprofitable.

“Estimators were the most commonly mentioned staff people struggled to appoint into positions in the last 12 months.”

2011 Salary Survey – Results
Building and Construction Industry Report Published by Master Builders Association


I’m sure the information above is not a surprise to you in any way. Estimating is one of those special ‘niche’ jobs they don’t really prepare you for in our education centres. This puts the industry, and I think, the economy as a whole, in a lot of pain. Thousands of tradies go without pay every year because the budget didn’t cover them by the end of the project. You may have been in this situation yourself.

Here are the 5 Reasons Why Most Estimations are Completely Wrong and Only a Select Few Turn a Profit:

Why Most Get It Wrong 1:

Most estimators lack a repeatable, time-efficient and step-by-step system for estimating.

The key to any complicated job is to break it down into its key components. This makes your task much easier on the human mind, and quicker overall. Many estimators just do all their take-offs, and then ‘wing it’ with the rest of the calculations. This always leads to more errors, takes more time, and creates more stress and worry, especially when the job starts.

Why Most Get It Wrong 2:

Lack of clear labour units, preventing you from calculating the true labour cost of your project.

Labour units are just the time component of each task in an installation. For example, screwing in a particular type of light bulb may take 30 seconds. Each and every little task must be accounted for; how long the task takes, and how many times this task is repeated throughout the project. This is where most projects come unstuck. If you’ve ever had to guess these installation times, then I’m sure you can see why your estimates have been off the mark in the past.

The good news is, reliable and pre-tested labour units are available in my ESTILEC Electrical Estimating System and Course. Even if you’re not a beginner…this portion alone is worth the price of the entire system!

Why Most Get It Wrong 3:

Incomplete training because there is no good training available in the industry

To be honest, this annoys me. For such an important role, you would think an industry as regulated as ours would have good training available. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of good trainers out there. They are just hard to find, and most estimators have to learn the hard, costly way… through trial and error. All other roles in the industry can be learned thoroughly, and are taught widely in trade schools and institutions.

As an estimator, you’re ‘behind the 8 ball’ from the very beginning… and it’s such a bad way to run a project. I’ve spent many, many years estimating, and have taken everything you need to know and put it in my ESTILEC Electrical Estimating System and Course.

Because the training modules are online, you can learn them at your own pace, in your home or office…without having to take time off work.

Why Most Get It Wrong 4:

No way to account for changes in installation conditions

It takes a lot of experience to master this aspect of estimating. Even if you quote the right price at the beginning, costs can change as the project progresses. This is because of the weather, delays in materials, overtime and penalty rates… injuries and sick days during the installation. There are many things which can change… and this must be factored into your estimate right at the start of the project.

Along with point 2, this is why many projects, and electrical businesses can fail. You absolutely must be prepared for change, because it can and will occur on the jobsite.

Why Most Get It Wrong 5:

Existing systems and software packages are difficult to use, and take a long time to get used to

Even when you are good enough at estimating to know your way around a project plan, you’re still limited by some very unwieldy, bulky tools. I have used almost all the software packages out there, and tried dozens of different systems… If you’re anything like me you’ve found they are hard to use, and slow you down.

You may have struggled to find a estimating system which is straight-forward and user-friendly. This makes estimating tougher than it needs to be. More errors and uncertainty are the only result from such inefficient tools and resources. You may have become fed up with trying to use the inadequate tools the industry provides you with… I know I have… and that’s why I created ESTILEC. It’s simple without being simplistic. Many estimators just like you are using this system to estimate on small thousand dollar jobs, all the way to big million dollar projects.

When estimators really know their stuff, they enjoy a great income and lifestyle, and every project runs a whole lot smoother!

Usually, when a project fails, it’s because of unexpected labour costs. Many contractors and businesses have gone belly-up in this industry because they didn’t really know how much to charge. They didn’t know how much to pay workers for each individual job in the project.

If these quantities are known right from the start, there are no expensive surprises later on…and no sleepless nights for the estimator who has to work it all out!

This problem is the heart of why estimations are usually wrong. This is why electrical businesses fail and projects often break the bank. The estimator simply does not know how much it costs for a contractor to install something. They have to guess. They have to assume. They have to pretend they have a crystal ball and a set of tarot cards and hope for the best!

It’s just a matter of knowing what you’re doing…


Of course, all successful people have systems for everything they do. Not only should you know what to do, and how to do it, you need a prepared system when doing it. This is to save time, making all your work much more efficient, repeatable, and consistent.

If you have a team of estimators and contractors, you may have wondered how much time is wasted in between tasks, taking phone calls, and the day to day ‘stuff’ that happens at work. You have probably realised it is a lot of time! It’s also very expensive…but imagine what it would be like if your estimating work was just 10% more efficient? What about 20%? Even if you are a sole trader, this adds up to thousands of dollars in wages over the course of a year.

To make your estimating work a breeze, freeing you from endless nights at your desk, and budget blow-outs on the job, get access to the ESTILEC Electrical Estimating System and Course now!

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