Use This Free Electrical Bid Template to Grow Your Bottom Line
We’ve put together a downloadable electrical bid template, which you can get below as a free download.
An expertly designed template can be a great start for electrical service businesses looking to improve their bidding process, giving techs a blueprint that helps ensure they gather all of the data they need while they’re in the field to generate a bid for each job — whether it’s a minor home repair, or a substantial construction project.
But an electrical bid proposal template is also just that — a start. While the consistency of design and organization that our template provides can give techs a definite leg up, a template alone is never going to address the more stubborn process-related challenges involved in bidding.
Some of the most common problem areas include:
Organization: Keeping track of and following up on unsold bids. Sharing bids between field techs, office staff, and customers. Scheduling, dispatching, and invoicing for bids that get accepted.
Miscalculation: Manually calculating bid totals which leaves room for costly errors and incorrect estimates.
Timing: Lag time from creating bids that leads to lost jobs and revenue.
To solve these and other business challenges, many electrical service contractors are turning to electrical software like ServiceTitan to optimize their bidding process.
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In this article, we’ll provide a detailed explanation of why and how. Specifically, we’ll cover:
How to download and use our electrical contractor proposal template
Remaining electrical bidding process challenges
How our software solves these challenges while connecting bidding to the rest of your business
How to Download and Use Our Electrical Bid Template
Our electrical bid template consists of 3 pages:
Electrical Bidding Proposal: A customer facing proposal with Good Better Best options to deliver to prospects.
Billing/Payment Information: A sheet to collect all necessary billing and payment information from your customers.
Electrical Job Costing: A sheet to list pricing and costs of material and labor.
To use our bid template, save our free download to your computer.
Then open the blank template and customize it with your company name, logo, contact information, address, and phone number. Save this file to your computer as your personalized electrical bid template.
When you need to prepare a new bid, open the file, rename it, and save it as a new bid. Enter the client’s information, along with line items of the electrical services you will provide with each of the Good Better Best options.
Then you can enter and collect billing information from the customer on page 2:
Page 3 can be leveraged internally by your field and office staff as a price list to reference while creating the proposal. You can list the costs for labor, materials, and other miscellaneous costs associated with the job.
It’s broken down by sell price, job actual, and final profitability for each option:
When you’ve added in all the information, save the file and attach it to an email or print it for delivery to your customer. Later you can use it to fill out work orders, invoices, and other paperwork associated with the job.
But as we mentioned above, using this template won’t solve many of the process-related challenges that come with electrical bidding.
Next, we’ll look at these challenges and the ways in which we’ve designed ServiceTitan to solve them.
The Challenges of the Traditional Electrical Bidding Process
As helpful as bid templates can be, without the addition of electrical bidding software, they’re still going to require a fair amount of manual input from the techs who are using them out in the field, as well as from the office employees who are tasked with organizing them.
In short, they don’t ultimately change the basics of the traditional bidding process, leaving plenty of opportunities for things to go wrong — a dynamic that tends to become more pronounced as a small business grows.
Before we turn to our discussion of how a top-notch field service management platform like ServiceTitan can help electricians optimize their bidding process, let’s take a quick look at some of the most common problem areas.
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We’ve found that they often fall into three basic categories:
No matter how experienced an electrical contractor’s team is, trying to handle all of the organizational elements that go into bidding manually is often a recipe for trouble.
This should come as no surprise. Just think of all of the elements electrical contractors have to keep track of:
Today’s estimates, repairs, and installations
Unsold bids from yesterday, the day before — and two weeks back
Parts on backorder
An ever-growing list of follow-up calls to make
To name just a few.
There’s also the fact that on many — or even most — calls, field service techs need to get into walls and ceilings in order to conduct the sort of assessments of equipment and hardware that will allow them to deliver precise estimates.
Invariably, techs are juggling multiple customers, making it easy for them to confuse key details about a job. Other times, it’s simply a matter of certain specifics getting garbled in miscommunication during a phone call with the office.
Cell phone cameras have sometimes made life easier for technicians, allowing them to document job sites visually during calls. But keeping those photos straight is another matter altogether. When a tech is going to five or more more calls each day, cell phone images from multiple properties become very easy to mix up.
As a result, techs sometimes find themselves without an accurate record of one or more home visits, leaving their company with no definite information about whether quoted pricing was accurate, what costs were included, or what exactly the customer wanted in the first place.
Errors — and gaps in information — that arise from disorganization, can lead to serious miscalculations when techs and managers go to create a bid.
And miscalculations, of course, can have dire consequences:
Time, parts, and equipment that go unaccounted for in a bid almost always end up costing a business owner money. Contractors who regularly find themselves in this situation, misunderstanding the scope of work, often wind up in the unfortunate scenario we mentioned earlier — growing less successful even as they do more business.
Overestimating — exceeding a homeowner’s budget, or causing a contractor to look greedy or dishonest — can sideline a bid, too. Either way, revenue gets lost.
A chaotic bidding process can also make an electrical contractor appear sloppy. The negative word-of-mouth that results can reduce their referral business — and their bottom line.
In some instances, we’ve even seen mixed up bids cause contractors to install the wrong equipment on a job site — a major waste of labor, equipment costs, and a sure source of reputational damage.
And that’s to say nothing of the near-infinite chances for error to creep into the calculation side of the bidding process. Especially in a busy shop, where workers are handling numerous bids at once, simple math mistakes, botched data entry, and confused prices for parts, labor units, labor costs, and materials are all too common.
Using electrical software can help contractors streamline the bidding process to drastically reduce the number of man hours involved, creating flexibility for their techs to devote more of their time and energy to winning and performing jobs — and less of it to looking at Microsoft excel spreadsheets, Microsoft word documents, and filling out PDFs.
It’s also worth considering that electrical companies that have bidding processes that allow them to deliver clear, professional price quotes on-site — during initial home visits — are all but certain to improve their close rates.
Most homeowners like to arrange appointments with a few competing contractors on the same day, within a given time window. That way, they make the best use of the time they’ve taken off work, or of their Saturday afternoon. And they’re apt to quickly make a decision about who they’re going to hire.
Electrical contractors with less-than-efficient bidding processes therefore put themselves at a significant disadvantage. A manual process can often cause a lag time of a day or two between the time of a home visit and the delivery of a bid. And by then, in many cases, the contractor in question is already out of the running — even if they ultimately deliver the lower, fairer bid.
How Our Software Solves Bidding Process Challenges While Connecting Bidding to the Rest of Your Business
In our experience, the electrical contractors with the most effective bidding systems are those that follow a comprehensive, precisely defined project management process, in which bidding is just one (essential) element.
Running a service business with traditional, manual methods alone makes this very difficult to achieve. And we’ve found that the electrical contractors that have a reliable system that gives them an accurate view of the time, costs, and margins on every job — a system that ensures that their bids are on target — tend to use a comprehensive electrical software like ServiceTitan.
Contractors familiar with point solutions for electrical bids — software platforms that focus exclusively on bidding — will find that ServiceTitan features all of the same functionality that the best bidding softwares offer:
Catalogues of equipment, hardware, wiring devices, templates, assemblies, and electrical installations.
Services that are bespoke, a snap to customize, and user-friendly in order to facilitate seamless change orders.
Painless invoicing and work order generation powered by price lists that eliminate math errors from the bidding process.
Product descriptions outfitted with detailed illustrations that reduce mixups of materials and equipment.
Good, Better, Best presentation templates designed to wow customers and increase average ticket prices.
Editable, highly customizable, company-branded proposals, complete with personalized contact information, which techs can deliver during home visits via PDFs generated in real time. (Project proposals, estimate forms, and bids are also printable.)
The difference is that with point solutions, creating bids is the whole story. ServiceTitan, on the other hand, is designed to integrate bidding into the overall management of an electrical contractor’s business.
That way, the bids that contractors deliver to homeowners are simply the polished, customer-facing representation of well-oiled internal operations, which, with ServiceTitan’s help, guarantee jobs run smoothly from the bid to the finish.
Actually, make that from before the bid to the finish.
Before a tech even arrives at a customer’s home, many ServiceTitan subscribers like to use our customer experience feature, providing homeowners with a definitive window for their appointment.
Contractors find that with this approach, when their employee gets to the home, their customer is less apt to feel they’ve wasted time waiting around. A homeowner in a good mood, after all, is generally a homeowner who’s more interested in a sales pitch.
When techs do arrive, our software has already made an abundance of customer information available to them, allowing techs to educate themselves in detail about what to expect at each property.
ServiceTitan will even furnish audio from each customer’s call with the electrical company’s CSR, so that even if their notes are a little spotty, or contain a confusing typo or two, the tech can verify the details and make sure they have the specs right so they can conduct an inspection and generate a bid as quickly and accurately as possible.
As techs proceed at each home, electrical business owners can require them to use a series of automated digital checklists that guide them through a fully customizable set of steps. For example:
Performing inspections, including behind walls and in ceilings
Identifying and locating important structural features
Inquiring about customer wants and preferences
Bids that neglect to account for essential details like these tend to be filled with costly errors. ServiceTitan’s gated checklists ensure that our users avoid them altogether.
Our software can provide tremendous benefits to users after bids have been delivered, too, with features like alerts that let contractors know when it’s time to follow up on an outstanding bid, and functionality that allow fast and secure payment collection.
The free electrical bid form featured in this article is a solid first step for any electrical contracting business looking to standardize and codify their bids.
But for business owners who truly want to optimize their bidding system to improve efficiency and increase profitability, a bid template is merely the beginning. A template cannot meaningfully address process-related bidding issues like organization, miscalculations, and timing. Traditional bidding models that are dependent on manual input can easily get off track.
Electrical bids are most effective when they’re seamlessly integrated into a company’s overall business processes — and, most often, when they’re managed by a comprehensive, top-notch electrical software like ServiceTitan.
Want to see ServiceTitan in action? Schedule a call with us to learn more about how our software can help grow your business.