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How to bid an electrical job

how to bid an electrical job

I ntelliBid Feature Descriptions

120,000 electrical, data cabling and low voltage materials database with more than 80,000 prebuilt assemblies

IntelliBid includes a database of over 120,000 electrical, data cabling and low voltage material items with more than 80,000 prebuilt assemblies that include over 500,000 assembly options to choose from. The database can be modified or customized by the user to increase the number of items and assemblies or add materials specific to their industry. The database in IntelliBid has been developed over the years by former electrical contractors and estimators who know what it takes to get the job done right the first time. The ConEst database comes ready to use right out of the box!

Online Material Pricing through NetPricer® Service

With an online connection from IntelliBid to NetPricer® Service, you are provided instant, up-to-date material prices for accurate and aggressive bidding – your prices from your account at your supply house!

Epic®, Tra-Ser® and Expert Estimator® Link

This link allows the estimator to connect to the pricing service to either view or import items directly into the IntelliBid database and/or a special job file.

11 Material Columns for Price Service and Supply House Pricing Updates

The database of materials in each level of IntelliBid can be updated by Trade Service Tra-Ser or Epic pricing services. You can also create custom pricing for your local supply houses. Store and display pricing for 10 supply houses by setting up your vendor discounts for a material database that reflects your true material costs. The 11th column represents Trade3C pricing. You can also import your favorite supply house pricing right into IntelliBid. Have your supply house provide you with your price list. IntelliBid will absorb the information and generate a custom supply house price list ready to use.

Modify Database and Assemblies with Cut, Copy and Paste

With IntelliBid you can add items to the material and assembly databases with Cut, Copy and Paste. Point and click your way to a custom database built to your specific needs.

Onscreen Reference Numbers

The IntelliBid database includes over 100,000 electrical, data cabling and low voltage material items that can be identified by user-defined stock number, UPC code number, catalog number or item number.

Database Items Search Functions

Use the IntelliBid Explorer or Find function to search for materials in Item Maintenance and Item Library Maintenance.

Open Database Connectivity (ODBC)

Open Database Connectivity in IntelliBid provides a uniform access method which allows the user to integrate their program database with other ODBC compliant programs such as Microsoft Project, Excel, Access, Word, etc. ODBC allows these other programs to use the data in IntelliBid.

Journal Message Center

Use IntelliBid's Journal Message Center to email and record Bid Proposals, Submittals, Change Order Proposals, RFIs, RFQs, Trans-mittals and phone memos, including inbound emails for complete communication tracking.

Custom exports to major accounting software packages

IntelliBid is delivered with several custom export files for major accounting packages. For a list of accouting software that IntelliBid exports to, vist our Industry Links page and refer to the category for Account Software.

Access Bar Lets You Moves Quickly between Program Functions

The Access Bar in IntelliBid lets you move quickly and effortlessly through the estimating process. Point and click between screens to create or modify your estimate. The fewer mouse clicks you need to make, the faster you’ll get that bid out the door.

Instant Takeoff with Untitled Job

Begin takeoff instantly as soon as the program starts. No need to create a job just to get prices on a couple of items. Decide later if you want to keep the information or not.

Easy Item Search in Takeoff

Search the IntelliBid database by item description, manufacturer catalog number or IntelliBid's item number. Use the same dynamic search function to locate items that are already in your takeoff or to search for comments added into the estimate.

Assemblies with Installation Degrees of Difficulty on Individual Items

Set up your assemblies with distinct labor factors on each item. IntelliBid will automatically correct your labor units to address the requirements of each installation.

Take off Items and Assemblies with Material,Labor and Quantity Adjustment Controls

When taking off multiple installations, simply set the Quantity Control setting in IntelliBid to the installation count. The Takeoff and assembly item quantities will be adjusted automatically. Not all installations of like material should carry the same labor unit. Variables such as height, building construction, access and working conditions warrant adjustments to the standard labor unit. The estimator can easily factor the labor unit for these varying conditions by using the Labor Adjustment Controls in IntelliBid.

Automatic Labor Factoring

The Automatic Labor Factoring feature automatically combines all installation variables affecting labor such as building elevation, mounting height, parallel conduit runs, wires in a raceway, etc. to determine the final labor factor for each item. This feature brings a higher level of accuracy and consistency to all your estimates!

Alerts for Missing Prices and/or Labor on Items before Calculating the Bid Total

Have you ever missed entering a quote value in your estimating or Have you ever missed entering a quote value in your estimating or neglected to price or labor an item? IntelliBid notifies you of missing prices and/or labor on items and allows on-the-fly entries. Before you can recap a bid with your final price, IntelliBid stops the bidding process with alarms that display all items and/or quotes that are incomplete.

Job Spec

The new Job Spec feature lets the user preset assembly group options and job settings for faster takeoff!
  • Assembly Grouping Preselect assembly group options in Job Spec to save time from having to make your selections during takeoff For example, select an EMT fitting type. when taking off runs of EMT, IntelliBid will automatically take off the type of fitting that you preselected. You can also select these settings to apply to any new jobs that you create
  • Job Settings Preset job settings for size, labor, material and your scaler for the job by phase or all phases. You can also select these settings to apply to any new jobs you create
  • Takeoff Prompts Pre-answer item and installation questions for a faster and more efficient takeoff

6 Levels of Job Difficulty plus Unlimited Installation Degrees of Difficulty

Not all jobs are equal in difficulty. Installing the same material in a new or existing building carries different labor units. With IntelliBid, you can select from easy to very difficult labor levels.

Predefined Contractor Pricing

When linked with ConEst BidTrac, you can merge predefined pricing from IntelliBid into one standard template, eliminating the need to create separate proposals for each contractor or bid submittal.

Onscreen Editing of Takeoff

The takeoff Audit Trail cells in IntelliBid can be edited, and the information can be replaced for on-the-fly price, labor, or quantity total changes as you estimate. Cut, copy and paste items into the Takeoff Audit Trail.

Phase Import and Cut/Copy/Paste with Material, Labor and Quantity Adjustment Controls

Importing data and cut, copy and paste are standard functions of Windows applications. IntelliBid takes this technology one step further by allowing the user to control the quantities, labor units and material units during the paste operation. Old technology forces the user to manually modify lengths, counts, pricing and labor – IntelliBid does it all in one easy step.

Takeoff with 4 Levels of Phase Breakdown

Organize your takeoff into unlimited sheets. Break the estimate down by building, system, floor, area or installation and reference to drawings. This feature makes it easier for the estimator to find and access specific items and installations of Takeoff in addition to speeding the process of material procurement

and labor resource scheduling.

Unlimited Phase Breakdown

Make as many takeoff sheets as you need. Break the estimate down into unlimited phases to expedite purchasing, project management, labor scheduling, job costing and a schedule of value.

Pin-Down View Option

During the process of selecting item library catalogs, the user can ‘pin down’ a particular view. The program automatically returns to the same view when prompted, avoiding the task of having to make additional selections.

Modify Assemblies after Takeoff

Add or delete items, change quantities, labor units, and pricing of assembly items. Change the quantity of the assembly, and IntelliBid will recalculate all the component quantities and extend the quantities on-screen in real time.

Display Deleted Items

This feature lets you view and restore any items you deleted from your takeoff.

Work on More than One Job at the Same Time - Copy and Paste between Job Estimates

Multiple Document Interface allows the user to view multiple jobs onscreen at the same time providing easy comparison and analysis of existing bids. This feature also provides the ability for the estimator to cut, copy and paste items between jobs.

Calculator Functions

  • Labor Calculator The new Labor Calculator in IntelliBid helps you determine the amount of lost labor hours when working your crews overtime
  • Weather Calculator The new Weather Calculator determines productivity loss percentage based on the weather conditions at the time of the job including temperature and humidity
  • Overhead Calculator This calculator is used to determine the overhead as a margin percentage. It will also allow different percentages to be set up to automatically calculate the overhead for different areas of the bid as well as for different size jobs
  • Standard Calculator This calculator is used for any other situations to develop a value where you define the variables
  • Profit Calculator Profit can be more than a straight percentage of the job. It can automatically calculate the profit margins for different areas of the bid and for different size jobs.

Drawing Reference Numbers

Attach reference numbers to your drawings for each takeoff sheet in phase breakdown for systematic organization of your estimate.

Job Cost Codes

Set up user definable job cost codes to track costs in your accounting system. Filter, sort and generate reports to move estimated costs into project management and job costing systems.

Quotation Analysis with Recap Tabs

The Quotation Analysis, or ‘Best Buy’, feature in IntelliBid automatically scans each of your vendor quotes to select the best one to carry your in bid for aggressive pricing! With unit prices, you can also establish a best buy price for each item in the quote. View breakdowns by quotes, equipment and subcontractors.

Multiple Bids from One Takeoff

By selecting the phases you want in a bid, you can create as many bids as necessary in the same job. There's no need to create separate jobs and try to combine them later. For example, your bid includes a base bid and three alternates. If you create separate jobs you will get the bids, but what happens if you are told the customer has accepted the base bid and alternate 2. Now someone has to take hours to combine material and labor from the separate jobs. With IntelliBid this process will only take a few minutes.

Built-in Training Videos

Each level of IntelliBid comes with 24 built-in training videos. Using the screen cam controls that load with each video, the user can toggle between ConEst and the video for practice and easy learning. The videos are accessed through the program’s Help menu.

Free Online Training

Customers receive two online training sessions with their initial purchase of ConEst IntelliBid estimating software. Each session is 1:00 hour and :50 minutes of individual training with an instructor, and you can have as many employees as needed attend each session. Visit for more information about the training options offered through ConEst Software Systems.


The following features are included in IntelliBid Plus and Pro and are available as individual add-on modules for IntelliBid-Lite:

Smart Substitution with Built-In NEC Tables

When changing from EMT to MC cable or copper to aluminum conductors, IntelliBid automatically resizes the conduit and changes the quantities, counts and lengths and all components of the installation to make the substitution correctly and completely based on built-in NEC tables. Not just Find and Replace – with IntelliBid it’s Smart Substitution.

Advanced Breakout

Use Advanced Breakout when you need to know unit prices for one item or multiple items in your estimate. When you need to know the cost breakdown for a 200-amp feeder, simply highlight the feeder and IntelliBid will give you the per-foot cost instantly. Use Advanced Breakout to identify daily work tasks for project management and labor or material scheduling.

Takeoff Count Sheets

The Count Sheets feature in IntelliBid emulates familiar takeoff sheets. User definable columns on each Count Sheet help you organize your bid by setting up devices and fixtures by E-Drawing. Device and fire alarm symbols provide for easy, accurate counts with the click of your mouse, scaler or CAD system. The Count Sheets feature replaces the Fixture/Feeder Power Tools feature found in earlier versions of IntelliBid and ConEst2000. Counts Sheets are included in IntelliBid Plus, Pro and Design Build and available as an add-on feature for IntelliBid Lite.


Preview an assembly before takeoff. AssemblyVue lets you see a list of all the items, along with the multipliers and labor factors, many with bitmap images.


View all the details about an item onscreen before takeoff, many with bitmap images. This feature also makes it easier to edit items in the database.


View job conditions using the built-in JPG image viewer in IntelliBid to display images from your digital camera right on screen during takeoff. Having a picture of a job site available during takeoff helps the estimator determine the need for additional labor, material or change orders.

The following features are included in IntelliBid Pro and are available as individual add-on modules for IntelliBid Lite and IntelliBid Plus:

Temporary Assemblies

Some jobs require material assemblies that are specific to a particular installation type. With the Temporary Assembly feature in IntelliBid, the estimator can create an assembly specific to any individual installation right in takeoff. If desired, the user can then add the assembly to the permanent database for use with future bids. Quick, timesaving and efficient. Temporary Assemblies!

Change Orders

With the Change Order feature, you can create an estimate within the original estimate without having to open and track a separate job and without affecting the original bid. Link the estimate and change order to ConEst's project management software, JobTrac, to track your project and any changes to the original contract.

IntelliBid-DesignBuild includes all of the estimating features found in Lite, Plus and Pro. The ConEst Electrical Formulas program is bundled with IntelliBid, and along with a direct link to DraftLogic Electrical, IntelliBid-Design Build provides contractors with integrated design build capability.

Calculate series segment voltage drops, services and feeders, fault currents, load calculations, motor calculations, conduit, box and wireway fill and more! The program’s zonal cavity lighting feature combines the task of lighting design with the takeoff process. Calculate lighting requirements based on room dimensions and floor and ceiling colors.

DraftLogic Electrical lays out a complete electrical design, right down to branch wiring, from an architectural rendering. The material quantities gathered during the design process are sent directly to IntelliBid's Count Sheets feature where labor and material prices are then applied for a complete design build estimate. Complete a detailed material takeoff for a 45,000 sq ft facility in under 5 minutes with DraftLogic Electrical and IntelliBid-DesignBuild.

Category: Forex

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