Electrical Estimating



1112 Oakridge Dr.
#104, CMB 276
Fort Collins, CO 80525

970 231–5423
Toll Free:
866 767–3619




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Estimating Course Options

JDE & Associates was started with the purpose of helping contractors succeed, for the past sixteen years, we continue helping contractors become more profitable, while reducing the chaos that is a byproduct of our industry. A great deal of this chaos is due to clients calls for immediate help or repairs to their electrical systems, this is outstanding reactive work, we get paid for it – and contractors should be paid well.

While we are proud of our group and on–site classes, both are great opportunities to expand your estimating knowledge. In our home study classes, we are able to start where you’re at, strengthening and expanding your effectiveness as an estimator. Speed as an estimator is important; speed without accuracy can be devastating. Our method of instruction help make many of the more popular computer estimating systems work better, when you understand why your computer estimating system is doing what it is doing, your results are often better. While we push a consistent estimating method, we will also show tips and techniques that often help our success, we would like for these same tips and techniques to help you.

As contractors we create a good deal of our problems by not completing our most important tasks first, regardless of which class of ours you enroll in, we work with our students to show an easy method to help reduce the amount of chaos that we have created for ourselves. For our estimators, field supervisors and project managers this makes their lives more efficient and less stressful. Along with getting more done in less time, this has the tenancy to increase morale, profits while reducing stress for everyone. We started JDE & Associates over thirteen years ago with our first class, Fundamental Estimating; we have always believed in computer estimating systems however dealing with electrical contractors we could see where the systems were not being used properly. Estimating software is an important tool for most electrical contractors, without these systems the time it takes to complete an electrical estimate manually is time prohibitive. Estimating software is a time saving tool that we feel almost all electrical contractors need, that need is strengthen if contractors know how to structure their bids. This is where JDE & Associates shines, we teach the why of electrical estimating. We have held numerous training sessions to teach electrical estimating software to find out that many contractors do not understand how to structure an estimate. It is also common for many contractors to have difficulties calculating labor burden and overhead costs. The majority of estimating software systems has a line item for a contractor to insert their labor burden and overhead for various classifications. We try to show contractors how to determine what their true labor burden and overhead percentages are and how to be competitive with them. This class is set up to fill in these gaps to teach how to structure an electrical estimate. Templates are provided to help determine labor burden and overhead percentages. We are not accountants and do encourage contractors to have our method checked by your accountants to make sure that your labor burden percentage are correct based on how your accountant calculates these percentages.

While our Group Estimating Webinar Format is intended more for experienced estimators that are looking for a tune – up, our Home Study Classes are geared more towards an experienced estimator that wants more individual attention than a group class can provide. The Home Study Class is also excellent for new estimator, we provide one on one attention that help these new estimators understand how to complete a electrical estimate accurately, quickly, while increasing profits.

We have added two new Home Study options for our Fundamental Estimating Classes. Our original home study course is the most inclusive of the three and has proven beneficial for experienced estimators, as well as new estimators just learning the basics to this crucial portion of contracting. Based on multiple requests for shorter classes, which just cover a segment of what is required of estimators, we have added two new versions of this class.

Our first new class is a six week course on basic takeoff procedures, Takeoff Essentials.

Estimating Essentials is a short six week course on how to takeoff a commercial electrical project. We supply tools to help in the form of a Tally counter, scaled tape measure, ruler, and a CD with Microsoft 2003/2010, Excel and Word files that we use in our daily estimating activities. Homework will be assigned every week to be turned in five days later so that we can review and correct items that we feel could increase your knowledge, as well as your success. Your class materials will include the following items,

Estimating text

Full sized electrical drawings (which are not bad) and architectural, structural, mechanical drawings that are horrible (we want to show you how to approach this common problem).

Tools including a scaled tape measure, a tally counter, a 12” ruler (a most important item), and a set of highlighters.

A CD with Microsoft 2003/2010 Excel and Word with templates that help us in the takeoff process. We include the following files, Bid Log, Pay Matrix, Pre-bid Evaluation, Takeoff Sheets (you will need to print some of these for class), RFI Template, Scope letter Template.

This class's tuition is $1,510.00.

Contractors outside of the United States contact us for rates.

Please contact us for available class times before registering, to avoid delays starting your class.

Register today Estimating Essentials Home Study Course.

Our second new class is for experienced estimators that do not want a full blown estimating class.

We will spend four weeks, two on refreshing the fundamentals of estimating and two weeks covering items that have added that little extra, often the difference between being successful and just being in the pact.

Do you need more information on this refresher for more advanced estimators, click on the following link regarding
our Estimating Classes look for the section on Advanced Estimating.

This class's tuition is $995.00.

Contractors outside of the United States contact us for rates.

Please contact us for available class times before registering, to avoid delays starting your class.

Register today Fundamental Estimating Course Home Study Class.

In our Estimating Fundamental Classes, we begin before an estimate is even needed. We begin with the need for a written business plan, both for the individual estimator and for the contractors themselves. This is an important tool for the estimator as it begins to develop that estimator to think more as a businessman, rather than as an employee. We want an estimating staff to be very powerful and creative, if your staff is thinking as an owner, the results are often more positive.

We always want to make sure that the projects we are extending our resources on to estimate make sense for your firm. We believe in completing a pre–bid evaluation for every job that we are considering spending our estimating resources.

The next item will be the cap sheet this is the place that is for most students the most exciting, the most fun. If the steps leading up to these cap sheets are not completed accurately, the time to cap the project could be a waste of time. We want to make sure that our contractors are not wasting time.

Next item on our agenda will always be the cap sheet this is the place that is for most students the most exciting, the most fun. If the steps leading up to these cap sheets are not completed accurately, the time to cap the project could be a waste of time. We want to make sure that our contractors are not wasting time. If the decision to bid a project is made by an estimator's supervisor, we will point out the possible discrepancies, but when told to bid it, we do our best to be as competitive as possible.

We continue by talking about your scope letter and the importance that an accurate scope letter has for your firm. Typically when assigning this assignment we ask our students to complete two scope letters, one in the style that their firm currently uses and one styled in a similar manner as to the one that is provided in our class material. The answer typically lies somewhere in the middle depending on a contractor’s needs.

Our class completes by discussing change order estimating methods, again our style while completing change orders uses the same methods to estimate change orders as a new projects estimate, and we include a few twists that have benefited many contractors.

We offer our fundamental estimating class for those contractors who estimate manually, as well as those that utilize electrical estimating software systems. In either case, contractors need to know how an electrical estimate is structured. Our method of electrical estimating has many checks, from start to finish helping to reduce mistakes and realize maximum profits. This reduction on estimating mistakes will build confidence, reduce stress and allow a contractor to know their estimated costs more accurately. We also supply our students with other Microsoft 2003–2010 templates for Word and Excel to assist them in both the class and their future daily electrical estimating tasks.

Typically you must be awarded a project before managing it becomes an issue. In order to be awarded a project solid estimating is vital. We teach estimating in the old school fashion, manually, for those few contractors that still estimate manually, a mistake in our opinion, this will be an enormous benefit to you. For the majority of contractors who utilize a computer estimating system, this class is critical to your success. Knowing how to use an estimating system is key to its success, knowing why a estimating systems acts the way it does and being able to set up that systems, is priceless. We believe our training compliments most of their training as we teach you how to structure an estimate, this structuring is critical to your estimating success. A huge topic in our estimating class is breakouts for bidding purposes, we see quite a few estimators that do not utilize these and wonder why. Breaking out your estimate into small sections can increase an estimator’s speed, will almost certainly increase their accuracy and for projects awarded, give your firm a jump start on managing projects efficiently. We look at breakouts as the gift that just keep giving, pay for it once on the initial estimate and take advantage of it in the final review (before the bid is released), then jump start your firms management of successful projects.

Working with contractors, both large and small that want to improve on their estimating techniques or who have issues with consistency in their estimating style. A standard question that we ask when consulting with a contractor is to see their last 5 or 6 estimates. Some show us and some do not, a surprising number of the contractors that do show them to us have no consistency between estimates. We feel this is a problem as the estimator themselves have difficulty remembering what they did for a particular job, after the fact. Many reviewers have difficulty reviewing estimates as the methods change from estimate to estimate. We believe that for many our class will increase accuracy, often increase competitiveness while reducing stress and uncertainty. Take a look at the estimating home page to get more details on our estimating training, our class is set up so that we can help you if you are just starting your estimating career or are an experienced estimator that just needs to brush up and perhaps learn a new technique or two.

These following topics are covered in class;

  1. Business Plan – This tool is often overlooked and is vital in our opinion to know which direction your firms is headed it will provide the same information to colleagues that need to know the same information.
  2. Action plan (to do list) – This is such a simple item to use and yet so many contractors and their employees do not take the time to utilize it.  This one item should be sufficient to pay for the class.  It is only one of the items included in the class.  Give us thirty days and this plan can change your life.
  3. Bid log – this tool while simple is very effect to keep track of items relating to projects you look at, projects you bid, projects you are awarded and can help manage projects that you are awarded. The estimator generally sets this up but they are in no way the only ones to get help from this remarkably simple format.
  4. Pre–bid evaluation – again the estimator generally set this up to determine the chances of success when determining whether to bid a project or not.  You will complete estimates for projects that may not fit your criteria from time to time for political reasons, theses should be the exceptions not the norm.  Project management can make these evaluations really useful by updating them so that the estimators can evaluate other similar projects more accurately in the future.
  5. Take off sheets – we utilize these sheets for estimating projects, we have them for both manual and computerized estimating purposes.
  6. RFI – an item that can not only clarify issues for you during the estimate but protect your interest when the person that answered the RFI forgets how they directed you. It is smart to document your actions with written RFI’s.
  7. Manual takeoff (We utilize a very similar method for computer estimating) – This is the meat of the class it is the basis of estimating whether using a computer estimating system or estimating manually you must take off the drawing. An accurate takeoff is critical regardless of whether an estimating system or manual estimate is being completed. We will show you how to complete a takeoff accurately.
  8. Manual extension – based on our experience knowing what needs to be included in each assembly is a curial step for an estimator. Often we see estimators who do not even look at what is being included in their estimates from an estimating system, this is a mistake and we will help you avoid that mistake.
  9. Labor burden and overhead calculator – over the past decade we are always interested to see what contractors include for labor burden percentages and overhead. Labor burden is relatively easy to determine while overhead is significantly more difficult. Regardless you must have an understanding of how these two percentages apply to your projects. We have a Microsoft 2003–2010 Excel spreadsheet that has helped us determine these costs, we always have an accountant verify our results, we would suggest you do the same.
  10. Cap sheet (summary of bid)
  11. Proposals – this is one of the least understood tools in the industry, be clear as to what you are including and excluding in your proposal.
  12. Pre–proposal bid review
  13. Time sheets, (why they are important to you as an estimator)
  14. Change order estimating and proposals

These courses can be completed utilizing several formats,

* Classroom Estimating Classes in your area

* Home Study Fundamental Electrical Estimating Webinar – one–on–one individual training, geared to your knowledge level.

* Private In–House Electrical Estimating Classes

* Fundamental Estimating Group Webinar

Class Room Electrical Estimating Training in your backyard

Local training in various cities is an opportunity to exchange views with other estimators and to hear questions that they may have. These classes are a fine opportunities to gain a tremendous amount of information in a short time. This form of training is our most common electrical estimating course, it is thorough, convenient and quick. This training is typically paced as a four day class consisting of two, two day sessions, each class is four hour long (16 hours). Each session is separated by two weeks. The information in this course is detailed, yet basic and does involve homework between sessions. A minimum number of students are required to conduct this course.

Home Study Fundamental Electrical Estimating

Our home study course is an option which allows individuals to complete the Fundamental Estimating Class in an eight week schedule. Once a client has registered and paid their tuition, all material, textbooks, project drawings, specifications, tally counter, scaled tape measure and templates for Microsoft Word and Excel files (on disk) are mailed. Once the student has received this material and has had time to review it – approximately 1 week – we will discuss via phone or email when the class will start and what scheduled day we will have our class. Once we start our classes, we continue every week until we are complete, no starting and stopping amd we do not skip weeks. Our local course is generally set up as a two, two day sessions over a two week period when in a class room setting. This is a home study course is a method to spread a tremendous amount of information to be spread out over an eight weeks time frame. Allow between four to eight hours a week for this courses material as a home study course. The more time invested the better your results should be. As you can see this class allows a substantial increase in time over the local training. Motivation to complete this class is a key to this classes success as the class is self paced. We will e-mail students requesting homework once or twice during the course to help remind them that an assignment is due.

We make every effort to motivate our students enrolled in this class; however, it is intended for those people who are willing to commit three to four hours a week during the eight–week course for homework. The more time invested on this material the more information you will retain from this class.

Again we will not start and stop this class during the eight–week period. The reason for this is that the project we use for the class estimate is small and student's retention of the homework cannot stay fresh when our students start and stop working on the homework. No refunds are given for those students that do not complete the class.

Once the class schedule is determined between our instructor and student we generally start class within a week. We begin with the set up of an estimate and then start the process of taking off light fixtures and switchgear - our quotable items, the first homework assignment is given during our first class. Homework is then completed, scanned into a computer and emailed to JDE & Associates for review and comments within four days. Generally, papers are reviewed and emailed back within one day. This review does not issue a letter grade; instead we mark up areas where we think the estimate can be improved, we also mark up areas that are exceptional. The returned assignment will benefit our students from repeating mistakes that may have occurred in the previous assignment. This will continue for seven assignments and will be completed with a scope letter as one of those assignments.

During the course, many questions may arise that are not clear to the student. These are handled via emailed request for information questions; if a email answer doesn't work then a second email requesting a telephone calls are welcome. To save on telephone expenses for our students these calls will be scheduled by email and then we will place the call at an agreed time, in the continental United States.

An important technique in our estimating structure is breakouts for bidding and future project management purposes, we see quite a few estimators that do not utilize these and wonder why? Breaking out an estimate into small sections can increase an estimator’s speed, will almost certainly increase their accuracy and for projects awarded, these breakouts provide your firm a jump start on managing projects efficiently. We look at breakouts as the gift that just keeps giving, pay for it once on the initial estimate and take advantage of it during the estimating process into the final review (before the bid is released), and than jump start your firms project management on awarded projects.

This option is not for everyone, but it has many advantages, you do not need to pay for a private class, or wait for a scheduled course in your area. The best advantage is that the class will be geared to help each individual. If you are more advanced your training will allow for your previous knowledge. If you are just starting with a limited knowledge in our industry we will accommodate your knowledge level. We are ready to start within days of your decision to take the class.

This class's tuition is $2,260.00.

Contractors outside of the United States contact us for rates.

Please contact us for available class times before registering, to avoid delays starting your class.

Register today Fundamental Estimating Course Home Study Class.

For Contractors that would like to enroll in our Home Study Fundamental Estimating Class, however may be struggling with the cost of the class, we have started to take payments. We start with an initial payment of $1,164.00 which gets most of our class materials sent and the classes started. One month later a second payment of $582.00 will be due and a month after that the final payment of $582.00 is due. This allows contractors to take a class and begin to realize benefits for their firm, while paying for the class.

Should a payment not be made on time classes would stop until a reinstatement fee and the missed payment is paid.

Contact us for the details of this offer, the class could change the way you do business, in a positive manner.

Do you have goals for your family, your professional life, your business? Are your company’s sales and profits at levels you’re comfortable with or had you expected, perhaps wanted better results? Does your firm have sales goals for 2013 or did you just wait to see what came your way? Is your firm making those goals? Opportunities exist in today’s market, are they as good as previous years, probably not,

however they do still exist.

We can help regardless if you are an experienced professional or beginning your estimating or project management career. We provide training in estimating and project management techniques. Our classes focus on the basics; we do not utilize any estimating or project management software in our training. We know that if we return to these basics, teaching techniques that can be accomplished without the benefit of these software programs, that our training will increase the benefits for many of the commercially available software systems available.

Contractors need to be aggressive in the manner they market their prospects, aggressive in how they estimate projects and aggressive in the manner they manage those projects to assure profits. Was 2013 good for your firm, will you continue making the same mistakes in 2014? If you want to make a positive change in 2014, now is the time for those changes.

How are you looking for work in today’s economy? Contractors that market their services in the same manner they marketed those same services three or four years ago are generally not having great success. You do not need to wonder why your results are lagging, change how you are looking for and marketing new leads. Look outside of the box and find opportunities that do currently exist. Websites, newsletters and pin point marketing directed towards the clientele you want to attract.

Interested, but not sure if one of our classes is right for you or your firm? We offer one free one hour webinar per contractor to show what we have to offer, more importantly how we teach. This is not your normal sales call, this hour will be spent helping you with areas that are an issue for you and your firm. We sell classes, everyone knows, so instead of your typical sales presentation this time will be spent dealing with your issues or concerns. This offer is a one time offer per contractor. Use our Contact Us Page – just to the left or on the top of this web page, tell us what those concerns are, give us a few days and times when you can spare an hour. We will send you a confirmation on which day and time we can complete your webinar.

Class specifics,

Students must supply their own calculator (basic), writing pad, and ruler (standard 6 or 12" flat ruler), all other course materials are supplied, including;

  • Our text
  • Practice drawings
  • Specifications
  • Tally counter
  • Scaled tape measure (in lieu of a plan wheel)
  • 3 High liters
  • CD with Microsoft 2003 Word and Excel files (these will assist you in the class and can be used in your day to day estimating work)

We also encourage questions and attempt to help for up to three months after a class is completed. Use this service, it is included in the class and can result in you understanding the concepts that you need to know. We will not answer bid specific questions, relating to a bid that you are working on. Ask these questions in a generic fashion, as we would not have the bid documents to give you a proper answer, a specific question would require. Our intent is for each student to leave the class with the best instruction that we can provide, and a basic understanding of the fundamentals of estimating.

Webinar Group Fundamental Electrical Estimating Course

Webinar Group Fundamental Estimating Course is an option which allows individuals to complete a Fundamental Estimating Class as a tune up for experienced estimators on a six week schedule. These classes are posted on our calendar and are generally set up for the same day each week for a six week period. Once a client has registered and paid their tuition, all material, textbooks, project drawings, specifications, tally counter, scaled tape measure and templates for Microsoft Word and Excel files (on CD) are mailed. We close registration for these classes a week before the classes scheduled start, so we have time to mail class materials to each student. Our local course is set up as two, two day four hour sessions; the sessions are separated by two weeks. This webinar class is spread out over six weeks, with one class per week, we believe this to be better for most students. Questions during class are asked in writing using the webinar chat box, we will answer all questions during class, time permitting. After the class we will send all registered students all the questions with our answers within 24 hours. Allow between four to eight hours a week for this courses material between class time and homework. The more time invested the better your results should be. This class has a total of twelve hours of class time and homework will be due each week, two days before each successive class Motivation to complete this class is a key to this your success. We will e-mail students requesting homework once or twice during the course to help remind them that an assignment is due.

We make every effort to motivate our students enrolled however, it is intended for those people who are willing to commit three or more hours a week during the six-week course for homework. The more time invested on this material the more information you will retain. Hours are set for specific days and time frames, if a student misses a class, they can email the instructor for that week’s information but the class will proceed with or without them. We begin with the setup of an estimate and then start the process of taking off light fixtures and switchgear - our quotable items, the first homework assignment is given during our first class. Homework is then completed, scanned into a computer and emailed to JDE & Associates for review and comments within four days. Generally, papers are reviewed and emailed back within one day. This review does not issue a letter grade; instead we markup areas where we think the estimate can be improved, we also markup areas that are exceptional. The returned assignment benefits our students from repeating mistakes that may have occurred in the previous assignment. This will continue for five assignments and will be completed with a scope letter as the last assignments.

During the course, many questions may arise that are not clear to the student. These are handled via emailed request for information questions; if an email answer doesn't work then a second email requesting a telephone call are welcome. To save on telephone expenses for our students these calls will be scheduled by email and then we will place the call at an agreed time, in the continental United States.

This option is not for everyone, but it has many advantages, you do not need to pay for a private class, or wait for a scheduled course in your area. If you are a beginning estimator or someone who wants individual attention – this is not the class for you. It moves fast and those with limited experience will be left behind. However for those experienced estimators who just need a refresher with perhaps a new twist or two this class can add a spring to your step and make you a more confident estimator.

In-house Electrical Estimating Training at your office

Our in-house training is intended for contractors who want specialized estimating training for their firm’s staff, while not being in the same class as their competition. It can be tailored to meet your firm’s individual needs, it can be more elementary or more advanced electrical estimating techniques. Residential, commercial or industrials, which ever suits your companies needs.

All Fundamental Electrical Estimating class options include,

Once complete with this course our students will have been exposed to a method that can reduce stress, while increasing both accuracy and profits. Our method of electrical estimating allows the Project Manager of an awarded project to have a schedule of value well under way. Estimating in a manner that is broken down into various floors and tasks this allows for quick verification of the accuracy of an electrical estimate. We extend the option to continue to ask generic questions relating to this class for up to three months after the course is complete via e-mailed request for informations questions.

Some advice from us at JDE & Associates,
we are beginning to build videos to help our contractors achieve greater success.

Pre-bid Evaluator Example

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