Commercial Electrical Bid Template: Streamline Your Bid Process and Grow Your Revenue with Our Free PDF Download
In this post, we’ll take a deep dive into the subject of commercial electrical bidding, highlighting some of the common challenges contractors face in this area of their business, and the ways that the most successful companies in the industry overcome them.
For companies looking to standardize and modernize their bidding process, a good first step can often be a commercial electrical bid template. A well-designed proposal template can help service techs and managers stay organized and keep formatting standard. It’s also a useful tool when it comes to creating professional-looking bids to present to customers.
To make things simpler, we’ve created a customizable commercial bid template that you can use with your own company. In the next section of this post, we’ll walk you through how to download the PDF and use it for free.
But as we noted above, a PDF bid template — even a very good one — is really just a first step in optimizing a commercial electrical bidding process. Unfortunately, it’s not going to be able to address some of the more vexing issues that tend to arise in bidding on commercial electrical jobs.
For example, a bid template can’t do much to solve problems like:
Inefficient office practices resulting from managing bids with traditional methods like pen-and-paper, Excel spreadsheets, or Microsoft Word documents.
Lost and illegible documents that slow down operations and cause contractors to lose out on bids.
Neglected or nonexistent follow-up processes for unsold bids that lead customers to choose competitors for high-dollar amount jobs.
Extended lag time between bid acceptance and payment.
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Below, we’ll expand on these challenges, and explain the ways in which adopting a top-notch commercial electrical software like ServiceTitan can help solve them.
ServiceTitan’s commercial electrical software helps improve efficiency and increase your profits by improving bid processes and information sharing across your business. Want to see how you can use it for your business? Schedule a call for a free product tour.
How to Download and Use Our Commercial Electrical Bid Proposal Template
First, let’s do a short walk-through on our commercial electrical bidding template.
The template has 3 basic sections:
Electrical Bidding Proposal: A proposal that identifies one or two optimal options for a particular customer’s needs — sleek, professional, and ready to be presented to discerning clients.
Billing/Payment: Contractors can use this page to fill in all of the customer billing information they’ll need to get paid.
Job Costing: Line items like equipment prices and labor costs get written here.
To get started, download the free template here, and then save a copy to your computer.
Next, you can customize the template with the name of your company, your logo, phone number, office address, and email address.
Since it’s this customized version that you’ll be using, you will want to save it as a new file. That way, you can use the branded file to create new business proposals whenever you want, simply inputting the pertinent customer information and contact information for every new job.
The billing and payment information section is straightforward:
Whether it results in underbidding or overbidding, job cost miscalculations can end up costing contractors significantly. The job-costing section of our template helps avoid such mistakes, breaking down jobs into sell price, job actual, and final profitability:
After you’ve entered all of your job information outlining the scope of work, you’ll want to check it over at least once more before saving the template as a new file and attaching it in an email to your commercial client.
If you or the customer prefer, you can print it out for delivery by hand or mail. Whatever the case, save a copy of the completed bid for yourself so that you can reference it when you’re creating work orders, invoices, and any other paperwork you might need.
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The Challenges of Commercial Electrical Bidding Before Electrical Software
We often speak to commercial electrical contractors that have plenty of great clients. They work for general contractors and construction companies, as well as for business owners, property managers, and government organizations. Many do ground-up construction projects and remodels, too.
But despite having sterling reputations and reliable service, their businesses struggle to grow their revenue and increase market share.
The problems these contractors face usually stem from one core issue:
They’re still using relatively old-fashioned means of organizing their business; a combination of handwritten notes, paper invoices, work orders, and estimates, and a whole lot of Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.
This arrangement is especially problematic when it comes to landing lucrative jobs that require bids to win, such as electrical system replacements and electrical installations.
Companies in this situation are often forced to rely on electrical service and maintenance work for 90 to 95 percent of their revenue. They don’t have an efficient way to build and deliver bids, so they’re rarely able to bid on jobs at all.
The Typical Electrical Estimating Process Based on Stories from Our Customers
We’ve heard stories from many of our customers about the inefficiencies in their bidding process before they used ServiceTitan. The typical estimating process would go something like this:
When a call would come in for a larger job — like outfitting a parking lot with new LED pole lights, for example, or installing a commercial-grade generator — an account manager would enter all of the information they could into an Excel spreadsheet or Google Doc on their computer. Then, they’d either print it out and walk the spreadsheet over to the other side of the office or use email to share it with the company’s master electrician.
The next morning, they might stop by the master electrician’s desk to make sure they’d received the delivery. Usually, the master electrician would say something like, “Yup, I’m gonna get to it when I can.” But there was no way for the account manager — or anyone else at the company — to keep a very good track of what, exactly, had or hadn’t been done with respect to any given job.
Assuming everything went fairly smoothly, the master electrician would eventually add some additional info to the spreadsheet, print out a copy, and give it to one of the company’s dispatchers. The dispatcher would then copy all that information into their own master spreadsheet and print out two copies: one for the service technician to leave with the customer and another to bring back to the office after their site visit.
Usually, by this point, many hours had passed since the customer first called the company, as paperwork was copied and recopied, and passed from one employee to the next, often with delays between handoffs. The pace of information flow would be too slow to respond to commercial jobs that often require urgent electrical work.
And these back office delays were often only the beginning. Lost or illegible paperwork from technicians would also cause further delays in creating and delivering accurate bids.
Eventually, these challenges became too painful, and these companies sought out a solution.
In the next section, we’ll discuss how our software helped revolutionize their electrical businesses.
How Commercial Electrical Businesses Use ServiceTitan to Streamline Their Bidding Process and Grow Revenue
The bidding process issues described above were preventing these electrical businesses from reaching their full potential, and they weren’t going to be solved with a simple bid form. After all, even an expertly crafted estimate template is essentially an old-fashioned tool — part of the same kind of disorganized pen-and-paper model.
After adopting ServiceTitan, our customers are often amazed by how much — and how quickly — things improved.
With ServiceTitan, bidding is seamlessly integrated with all of the core functions of an electrical service business. The benefits of our estimating software, which companies have credited for increasing their revenue by 40 percent in some cases, are especially pronounced in three basic areas:
1. Routing and Job Assignment
Because commercial electrical work is often urgent, in order to be successful, it’s essential for contractors to make sure that for each and every job, their dispatchers send a tech who’s well-qualified for the work at hand.
The alternative — re-scheduled appointments, delays, and frustrated customers — is a surefire recipe for losing out on big-ticket jobs.
Similarly, dispatchers need to assign jobs with geography in mind, so that techs don’t end up spending more of their days crisscrossing the map in their trucks than they do working.
But in a busy commercial electrical shop, it’s unreasonable to assume that customer service reps and dispatchers will memorize the expertise and blind spots of every tech at the company. Nor can they be expected to be intimately familiar with the geography of all of their employer’s service areas.
Yet without good field service management software to rely on, this is precisely what CSRs and dispatchers must try to do.
Once companies adopt ServiceTitan, they get access to a host of features that address all of these issues and more.
Our dispatching features give contractors the ability to delegate and track proposals based on the location of a job and the skill set of available techs, making it impossible for technicians without the right expertise to be assigned to a job. They also guarantee that techs take the most efficient routes to jobs.
A color-coded tagging system, pictured in the screenshot above, allows ServiceTitan subscribers to easily categorize future work, including site visits for bids, according to the substance of the work: time, materials, difficulty, customer characteristics, and more.
In addition, dispatchers using ServiceTitan get a real-time view of each and every tech’s progress in the job cycle. As jobs take more or less time than originally allotted — as they invariably do sometimes — this functionality allows techs to be re-assigned with the click of a button to address the changing needs of both their employer and their customers.
2. Documentation and Bid Creation
More so than dispatching or assigning jobs, it’s often the process of creating bids that most prevents companies from growing their bottom line.
But with ServiceTitan, businesses can radically streamline their bidding process, eliminating hard-to-track paperwork, time-consuming travel between the office and job sites, and inefficient back-and-forths between dispatchers, account managers, and field service technicians.
Using a tablet, iPhone, Android, or other iOS device, commercial electrical techs can enter all of their notes and photos — often 20 to 180 of them per site — directly into ServiceTitan, where they’re near-instantaneously available to all of the other members of their team. Before a tech has even left the job site, their manager can begin putting together a sleek, professional-looking estimate back at the office.
In some cases — generally for smaller jobs, or jobs for customers with which they have a steady ongoing relationship — ServiceTitan users can bid a job, get approval, and complete and invoice for the work all in the space of a day, using our software to create bids, work orders, and invoices, and communicate with customers via automated emails.
ServiceTitan’s fully customizable bid templates, which can be set up for easy use for common job types, come in especially handy for this kind of quick-turnaround work.
3. Billing and Payment
Electrical companies often don’t get paid for a job because somewhere along the line, the documentation that a given customer required got lost or forgotten. With ServiceTitan, this is a near-impossibility. Rather than strewn across various files, notebooks, and — in the case of photos — cell phone cameras, all the notes and photos associated with their jobs are now stored and organized in ServiceTitan, where they can’t go missing.
When it comes time to invoice for a job, sales managers can attach all of the photos and supporting documentation they need with just a few clicks, so there’s little possibility the company won’t get paid for the work they’ve done. Contractors’ clients can also access any information they might wish to reference any time they want with our Customer Portal feature.
As a result, our users have reported that they don’t just make a lot more money — they get paid much faster. Often, before handling their billing and payment through ServiceTitan, companies said they had an expected accounts receivable window of 75 to 90 days. Many of our users cut that down to 40 — as low as possible, given that commercial customers don’t pay for at least 30 days.
A printable PDF bid template for commercial electrical contractor proposals is a great first step for businesses looking to improve their bid process. That’s why we designed our very own version and included it as a free download.
But as we’ve discussed, a template alone is no match for many of the issues that tend to make traditional electrical proposal processes inefficient and relatively unprofitable for the companies that use them.
To truly elevate the proposal process by seamlessly integrating bidding, dispatching, invoicing, and more, and achieve the kind of stunning results that many of our customers have, there’s little doubt that the best bet for most commercial electricians is to adopt a best-in-class electrical software platform like ServiceTitan.
Want to take the first step toward streamlining your bidding and invoicing process? Contact us to schedule a free ServiceTitan demo!