How to estimate the costs of electrical construction

Electrical contractors may need to include a range of items in their construction offerings, as well as lighting and power to provide homes or commercial buildings. They may also include fire alarms, as well as more sophisticated items such as telecommunications or audio systems. Electrical contractors must be fully familiar with each site to ensure they understand all the required elements.


  1. Study the drawings that customers send you to familiarize yourself with the site. Ask questions at this early stage to save wastes of time and effort later.
  2. Revise the specifications sent by the customer. This will tell you what kind of cabling and accessories you need to buy and install. It could have a big impact on your price. You may also need to include additional items such as alarm systems.
  3. Request subcontractor prices for work that will be done by specialists, such as the intercom installation. Send these requests as soon as possible to give you time to review the price and meet the client’s deadline.
  4. Talk to your suppliers and get quotes from them for wiring and fittings. This will give you valuable data needed to calculate your price.
  5. Prepare a schedule of materials needed to complete the work by measuring the length of the wiring, as well as the number of each type of fixture, fixture, and other electrical work required. Calculate the total cost of materials using the rates provided in Step 4.
  6. Calculate labor costs by carefully estimating the amount of time it will take to complete the project. Multiply this figure by the hourly wage you pay for your electricians.
  7. Add in your tender the cost of any equipment rental you need to reach high areas. Include in your offer the cost of all the permits you need to get – this information is available from your state licensing agency. Permits can cost thousands of dollars.
  8. Add a percentage to your total amount of insurance, overhead and additional expenses, such as car payments from the company. In the future, you may be required to perform maintenance or repairs, so make a provision for this service in your total bid.
  9. Work on your total offer and add a percentage for profits. This figure can vary widely because it depends on the total supply and size of the site.

Tips and Warnings

  • Be fair when adding your profit; if your margin is greedy, the customer can lower your bid.