Tips to Controlling Costs in Electrical Contracting Projects

May 29, 2023

Regardless of a capital project's size or scope, the ultimate goals of an electrical contractor or user is two things - finish the job on schedule and on budget. We all know time is money, so key to accomplishing both goals is keeping costs under control. How do we do that, especially in this economy? In this article, we're going to discuss 7 tips to keep in mind for your next project that will help you control company costs.

1. Get a Defined Estimate, and Stick to the Plan.

You should be able to work for an electrical contractor who also strives to understand the full scope and overall objectives for the project. Your pre-construction process is the best time to prevent surprises before they happen. If you are a contractor or owner, preventing surprises reduces additional risks. At Charter Estimating, we deliver hyper-detailed estimates down to the final screw using highly-sophisticated software that many electrical contracting firms fail to utilize. This software allows us to promptly generate accurate quotes...surprise-free!

2. Go With Contractors that Care About Details.

While it's true that construction techniques from project to project both vary and have similarities, the contractor you choose should be fully engaged in the details. They should be able to provide detailed timelines and plans for the scope of the job. Your initial discussion with them should prompt them to mentally assemble a game plan for your project. Contractors that show signs of being dismissive, hurried, or just generally disengaged should be a red flag.

3. Beware of Suspiciously Low Estimates.

Any bid delivered by a contractor should be both honest and a competitive price. It's all to common for contractors to low-ball bids, only with the intention of making up the difference with change orders. Price hikes from change orders are bad enough, not to mention the valuable time that's eaten up. They also eat into your profit margin. Ultimately, the "you get what you pay for" maxim often applies with very low estimates. When contractors don't charge fair and honest price, can you really guarantee the installation will be performed to industry standards...or even completed at all?

4. Consider Prefabrication as an Option.

While not appropriate in every setting, many clients request that materials be assembled at an offsite location prior to beginning the project. This is process is also referred to as prefabrication. It keeps labor costs as bay and opens the door for better quality control of materials and assembly. A work area created and designated for prefabrication allows electrical material assembly to take place at a fraction of the cost when compared with on-site assembly. On-site construction footprint is minimal since there is less assembly room required, which reduces risk of injury and accidents.

5. Stay on Schedule by Communicating Regularly.

When contractors don't stay on schedule, it causes delays all down the road. To prevent this, the communication game between you and your contractor must be strong to help you stay on schedule and budget. In the even that your electrical contractor starts to lag behind or another trade begins to hold things up, it's critical to keep written documentation of everything.

6. Hire a Skilled Workforce.

High worker turnover causes many problem. Take the time to make sure you've hired an electrical contractor who employs experienced professionals. Hiring workers with years of experience sends a message to you that you have a contractor who is committed to completing the project on time and on budget.

7. Be Safe.

Aside from the obvious benefit, which is keeping everyone on site safe, on-site safety pays off in a number of ways. One benefit is that practicing safe work habits prevents costs and maintains the profitability margin of the project. How so? In addition to the personal toll that results from an injury, work-related injuries lead to workers' compensation (WC) and potentially lawsuits, legal fees, higher insurance premiums, and delay penalties. All of these costs can add up quickly.

Another benefit of safe work practices is preventing time delays. Any injury turns the job site into an accident site. This means the area usually must be cordoned off and undergo investigations by OSHA and other authorities. That work spot is, in effect, rendered inaccessible to workers, which creates delays. Delays incur more costs. Make sure your contractors have maintained a comprehensive and established safety program that is responsible for properly training all of their workers in safety work practices. All of these things will mitigate accidents on the job and maintain project schedule and budget.

Charter Estimating is a professional electrical estimating company that offers long term and short-term electrical estimating solutions for electrical contractors around the nation. Whether you are looking for part-time, full-time, or more than one electrical estimator, we are always here to help you further your company’s goals. Get in touch with us today!

Woman filling out the online contact form to contact Charter Estimating

Contact Us

Schedule a Consultation

(*) - Required field

Our Partners

Trimble Logo Conest Software Systems Logo Vision InfoSoft Logo Excel