How to smash it:
A sample electrical estimate

14 September 2020

However much you love the hands-on, boots-on graft of being an electrician, paperwork’s an inevitable part of the job. Busy sparkies write electrical estimates and quotes week in, week out. But how do you know you’re nailing it? What’s the best way to price up electrical work? And when it comes down to it, what should an electrical estimate include?

We know you’re up against it, so we’ve put together a knockout electrical estimate template you can use again and again. It’s got bells, it’s got whistles and most importantly, it’s got all the great stuff you need to win electrical work. Let’s take a look…

Grab a great electrical estimate template – and win more jobs

Let’s face it, you didn’t become a sparky because you love writing estimates and quotes. It eats up time, it’s a faff and it takes you away from the work you enjoy. But there’s good news – we’re here to help you stop sweating it and start knocking out work-wining estimates and quotes. And all you need to do is follow our smart, straightforward sample electrical estimate…

Paperwork isn’t the boss of you. So why is it making you work the weekend? Click To Tweet

What should an electrical estimate look like?

A handful of essential ingredients make up a great electrician’s estimate – or quote, for that matter. None of them are rocket science, but bring them together and you’ve got a clear, confident piece of paperwork that shows customers what a pro you are. And once you’ve got it right, you can use your knockout estimate as a time-saving template, again and again.

Sound good? Keep reading for quick tips on getting your electrical estimate template just right…

1. Electrical estimate or quote?

Let’s start at the top of our sample electrical estimate, with a little thing that makes a whopping great difference: The title. Quote or estimate? 

They might seem like the same thing, but they’re actually worlds apart – and getting them mixed up could leave you in a lot of hot water. So be super clear on the difference, and make sure your customers are too.

An electrician’s estimate is a rough idea of the price of a job. It’s a ballpark figure you might be asked for up front, before you’ve done a site visit or dug into the details. It’s not legally binding and it could go up or down once you know more about the work.

On the other hand, an electrician’s quote is an exact price for a job – it can’t be changed once it’s been accepted, unless the scope of the job changes too. Don’t be tempted to send a quote till you’ve seen the job in person – it’s a contract between you and the customer and can be used as legal evidence if you run into problems.

2. Give your electrical estimate a reference number

Reference numbers are another quick way to up your game – which is why we’ve used them on our electrician estimate example. Adding one whenever you write an estimate or quote makes it easier to organise your paperwork, talk to customers about prices – and find job details further down the line. They’re also a quick, simple way to look more professional.

✏️ Pro tip:
YourTradebase estimate templates automatically add reference numbers for you.

3. Date your electrical estimates – and protect your profits

Dating estimates and quotes is really important, and not just for tracking down paperwork. Customers don’t always make decisions about electrical estimates quickly, and the last thing you want is to be held to a price you gave months ago – especially if material or labour costs change. 

It’s a good idea to have a detailed set of terms and conditions, explaining how long your quotes and estimates are valid for. Go for a month, three months, or whatever you’re comfortable with – it’s entirely up to you, as long as you’re clear. You can include your Ts & Cs with your electrical estimates and quotes, or refer people to your website to read them in full.

✏️ Pro tip:
Don’t get stuck with out-of-date quotes – be clear how long your prices are valid for.

4. Add a pro logo – every electrician’s estimate deserves one

Your logo’s not just there to make your van look pretty. Stick it at the top of every electrical quote or estimate and show potential customers you’re a professional. Presenting yourself as an organised, credible electrician business will give customers a reason to choose you over the competition.

We know uploading your logo every time you write an estimate can be a pain, and if you’re not an IT bod, the results can be… well, less than perfect. Which is why we’ve made it really easy in YourTradebase. There’s a handy walk-through to help you upload it the first time and, once you’re done, we’ll save it in your electrical estimate template, so you can use it anytime you like.

✏️ Pro tip:
Save your logo in YourTradebase and it’ll be ready to use, every time you estimate.

5. Provide clear contact details, each time you price up

Ok, so your customer’s asked you to price up an electrical job, but don’t assume they’ve kept your details safe. Whenever you write an estimate or quote include your full contact details, just like we’ve done on our sample electrical estimate. That way it’s really easy for people to get hold of you – and tell you you’ve got the job! 

If you’ve got a website (and it’s always good to have one) include a link so people can find out more about why you’re a great choice for their project. And don’t skip that full postal address either – including it reassures people you’re a legitimate, professional business.

Tell people your…

But here’s the thing. Don’t waste time typing in all those details every time – use or create an electrical estimate template (it’s easy in YourTradebase) and have your details ready for next time. It’ll save you a tedious job and shave a couple of minutes off every estimate too.

✏️ Pro tip:
Save your logo in YourTradebase and it’ll be ready to use, every time you estimate.

YourTradebase automatically adds your contact details to every new estimate.

6. Add a friendly intro and give your electrician’s estimate the edge

A few friendly words can make a lot of difference to the way a customer feels about your business, so take a minute to say hello and show your customer what it’s like to work with you. Be friendly, open and professional – invite questions, clarify whether it’s a quote or estimate, and tell people you’re looking forward to working with them.

Lost for words? We’ve got you. YourTradebase has a tonne of ready-written intros you can use in your electrical estimate template to make you look like the kind of friendly, reliable human your customers want to have around.

✏️ Pro tip:
Writing a short, friendly intro can give your electrical estimate the edge.

7. Break down your electrical quote and build up trust

Now we’re getting to the nuts and bolts of it. Laying out your prices clearly is really important – both for your customer and for you. They need to know what’s involved, what you’re proposing and what each element is going to cost. This helps them know what to expect and means they can compare your prices with other electricians’ estimates and quotes.

Remember, if you’re writing an electrical estimate, you’re giving your customer a ballpark figure, but it doesn’t hurt to be as detailed as you can, so you’re managing customers’ expectations. 

On the other hand, if you’re writing a quote, getting all the details down is essential. Give a clear description of each element of the work, as well as a costed breakdown of materials and labour, just like we’ve done on our sample electrical estimate. 

Your price should include (but not highlight) a percentage mark-up for materials and the labour of your team. It’s a really useful exercise to think through what it’s costing you to supply those things and what percentage you want to make for your time and efforts, on top of covering your costs.

Chances are, you do similar tasks pretty regularly – whether it’s fitting a new plug socket or rewiring a 60s semi, so keep a note of the prices you’re giving rather than starting from scratch on every estimate. It’ll save you time, and help you make enough money on the jobs you do week in, week out.

If you use YourTradebase, whenever you write a quote or estimate, we’ll automatically save each item you price up in a ready-to-go price list, so you can pick and choose from it when you’re writing the next one, and the next. It’s a handy way to price up electrical work faster, with the confidence that you’re being consistent.

✏️ Pro tip:
YourTradebase helps you build your own price list, so you can quote faster every time.

8. Show taxes clearly on every electrical estimate

Customers can easily confuse pre- and post-tax totals, so whatever you do, make your electrical estimates and quotes crystal clear. In the UK, if you’re a VAT-registered electrician, you need to show VAT on your estimates and quotes, so your customers can see what they’ll be paying. 

If you’re outside the UK, you might have to pay sales tax, so check where you stand and if it’s a cost you’ll be passing onto your customer, list it out clearly.

9. Check and double check your estimate total

When it comes down to it, every customer who opens an estimate or quote skips straight to one thing – the total. So, triple check you’ve got it right and display it really clearly. In YourTradebase, we automatically add up your electrical estimates and quotes to give you extra peace of mind.

✏️ Pro tip:
We’ll do the maths. YourTradebase tots up every estimate for you.

10. Flash trade credentials on your electrical estimates

Showing customers you know your stuff – and can be trusted with theirs – is a sure-fire way to get the edge on the competition. So, if you’ve worked hard to get accredited, nail that qualification or join that association, electrician estimates and quotes are the perfect place to shout about it.

If you’re a member, most trade associations will let you download their logo. But to make life easier, we’ve got a whole bunch of the biggest trade logos pre-loaded in YourTradebase and ready to use, including NICEIC, Napit and ECS. Just drop them in in a couple of clicks.

One quick, easy electrical estimate template

And that’s it. Ten smart, simple ingredients that add up to a great electrical estimate. Now you know what you need, don’t start from scratch every time. Create a template you’re happy with, drop in your business details and use it again and again.

Even better, make life a whole lot easier (and work a whole lot faster) with the made-for trades estimate templates in YourTradebase. They’re just the job for electricians, plumbers, painters, builders, gardeners, roofers, chippies and more. Here’s how they roll…

By Dean Taylor

Back in 2010, Dean's building business was growing. He was doing great work, making people happy and enjoying being his own boss – but he was worn out. Not by the graft, but by the piles of paperwork taking up every evening. So, he got together with his cousin Adam, a web developer, and came up with a simple way to solve the problem – and help a whole load of other tradespeople too. They called it YourTradebase. Try it for yourself with a free 14 day trial. No strings. No credit card needed.

Take our estimate templates for a spin with a free, no-strings 30-day trial.

No fuss. No strings. No credit card needed.

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