Writing a good proposal and estimate for an electrical services bid is critical to the success of your business. There are many factors that go into the proposal process, such as the size of the building, the type of work to be done, the accessibility you have, and how many materials you will need.
To present your prospect with the best proposal possible, you need to give them more than a reasonable estimate.
This article will help you improve your electrical proposal drafting skills. We will go over ways to introduce your company, things to include in your proposal package, and tips to make you and your company stand out as the top choice in electrical installation.
Electrical Service Proposals: Figuring The Estimate
Before we jump straight into contract writing, let’s talk about the electrical service estimate. This is the most important part of your bid; coming up with an accurate estimate is crucial to the success of your business.
What all goes into finding a price for electrical services?
The first step in coming up with your estimate is to do a thorough walkthrough. There are more detailed articles on this site that explain the process of conducting a walkthrough, but for the sake of this article, we are assuming you have already completed this part.
However, you will want to reference your walkthrough notes any markup sheets or blueprints you have. Start counting the number of outlets and light switches you marked in your notes.
This is where using a platform like Route’s Walkthrough Builder™ can be very helpful. You can pull up your walkthrough right from your phone and see pictures and videos you took and notes for areas of special concern.
After you’ve reviewed your notes in the Walkthrough Builder™, it’s time to research permits and fees.
Many jobs may require special work permits to do electrical installation and maintenance. The cost can vary greatly, so check with your local building standards department to determine what permits and fees you’ll have to pay. You will factor these costs into your final estimate.
Next assess your labor. Experienced electricians get paid anywhere from $50-$100 an hour, depending on the size of job and skill level needed, according to homeadvisor.com.
Based on your notes, determine how many workers you will need to complete the job.
Last, think about the kind of bidding software you want to use to help you calculate your estimate and draft your proposal. We’ve been using our own platform, Route, as the example. Using software will greatly streamline the process and provide you better, more consistent proposals with every use.
Creating A Proposal Package
When you’re ready to start writing, think about how you want to structure the proposal. Your proposal shouldn’t just be an estimate; it should be a package of useful information about your business and the project that helps the prospect make a decision.
Start by introducing yourself with a cover letter. This introduction to your electrical proposal is the first impression you get to make on your prospect. There are a lot of ways you can introduce yourself. This article is using a cover letter as the example, but we have used several examples of proposal introductions in our other articles for you to reference, too. Check out our articles on Strip and Wax Proposals and Window Washing Proposalsto see examples of mission statement-driven introductions.
One good way to start your cover letter is to thank the prospect for considering you, then move on to addressing the service needed.
This could look something like;
Thank you for considering Premier Electrical Services for your commercial and residential electrical installation needs.
Your newly constructed home needs a full electrical installation with outlets, light switches, and cable access points.”
Now you can move on to your credentials and expertise.
“At Premier Electrical Services, our team of fully licensed Class A Master Electricians have over 75 years of combined experience as commercial and residential electrical contractors. Our field of services includes electrical installation, upgrades, and maintenance.”
Quick tip: Spend as much time as you want on this section but remember not to let your cover letter go past one page in length. It is important you communicate your skills and knowledge effectively.
After this, there are several directions you can take the cover letter, and none of them are wrong. Read our article on Janitorial Proposals to see an example of breaking the cover letter into subheadings, like, “our philosophy” “our team” “our clients” and “our testimonials.” Here we will take a different approach to keep with the structure of what we started.
In this example, we are going to highlight our personal work ethic. Now that our prospect knows our qualifications, what else can we tell them about ourselves that’s important or that we are proud of?
“We also pride ourselves on our legendary punctuality - always 15 minutes early, company policy. Our customer service is what led us to have a large base of client referrals. Some of our testimonials are included on the next page.”
Then close by telling the prospect the estimate is attached at the end of the package, give them your contact info, and sign your name with your company logo.
“We hope you choose us for your electrical installation needs. Attached at the back of this packet is the estimate for electrical installation services and a service contract. Please find our contact information attached.
Thank you for your consideration.”
Please remember this is an outline example of a cover letter. Use it as a guide to draft your own unique communication.
After the cover letter, you may want to include a page of awesome reviews you’ve received from clients. There are many ways a client can leave you feedback in the age of technology. If you’re using Route, your clients can review you on the app and you can access them anytime.
Whenever someone leaves you great feedback anywhere, save it, and use it in your proposal package. Compile your best reviews on a page and include it after your cover letter.
The Estimate And Contract
When you are ready to start drafting the final estimation and service contract, think about how you want to present the necessary information. There are some great examples of electrical contracts online, but they can all come down to this; you need to clearly tell the prospect what you will be doing and what it will cost.
You can organize the information in a table or grid or just on a blank page. It is smart to have the service being provided on the left and the price on the right, with the total price at the bottom.
For example, you might start by doing a section for power systems, a section for low-voltage systems, and a section for high-voltage systems.
You can use any word processor you like, but if you’re using Route, the proposal generator tool can format your contract for you while you type. There are also several templates and customizable style options in the proposal generator which can lead to nice, finished look for your contract.
Pricing Your Electrical Services
Determining costs depends on how big the building is and what you are doing. The average cost of wiring a home is $10,400. Obviously this number will be much different for commercial spaces. Read their article to see the cost breakdown in detail.
Some notable numbers to remember are that it takes about one hour of labor for every 100 square feet of new wiring and the cost of materials is between $6-$8 a square foot.
The same source quotes that outlets cost anywhere from $100-$185 each, and each room needs 2-3 outlets.
Look online for resources on costs and pricing; the more research you do, the better off you will be. You can also use Route’s estimator tool to help you come up with a price.
Don’t forget to add in your overhead costs or additional costs you might accrue. Remember to get all the required permits in advance and bill them to your client later.
Break down each service by cost in your proposal and give the total price at the bottom.
Once you have done this for all the services and wiring you will be doing, import your company’s standard legal verbiage from the proposal generator, and in moments, you will have a full-service contract that is ready to be signed by your prospect. You can save the contract as a .pdf and send it to yourself, your team, or your prospect.
Electrical Service Proposals: Wrap Up
Electrical service proposals are your chance to stand out on paper. Use the proposal to make a good first impression on your prospect and to champion your workmanship.
Start your proposal process by reviewing your notes and blueprints from your walkthrough.
While you are assessing the scope of work, start to consider things like the number of workers you will need and what permits are required to do electrical work. To check on required permits, visit your local Building Standards Department.
Make notes about how many outlets you’ll need and what high-and-low voltage power systems will be installed.
When you’re ready to start writing, don’t jump straight into costs and service agreements. Start with an introductory statement, such as a cover letter.
There are many ways to write a cover letter. Reference the example we provided in this article for help on structuring your letter, or read any of our other proposal articles for different examples of the same thing. The important thing is that you effectively communicate why you are right for the job.
When writing the actual service contract, look up examples of other contracts and estimates online. Much like your cover letter, there are multiple routes you can take to give your prospect the necessary information, which in this case is the electrical service being performed and what it will cost.
Break down each service one by one and put the price to the side, then put the total price at the bottom of your estimate. This helps eliminate confusion for you and the prospect alike.
Finally, give your proposal a nice look by choosing the right software to draft your contract. Route's Proposal Generator that allows you to customize every detail of your electrical service proposal and save it as a .pdf. It’s one of many options available online for proposal writing.
Follow the tips in this guide and see how much improvement you can make on your electrical service proposals. With time and practice, you’ll be getting more prospects who know you by name and your bids will only get bigger and better.