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  1. #1

    Question Bidding Estimator Position. New to HVAC.

    Hello everyone, this is my first post on this forum and I had a few questions for the vets.

    I recently switched fields and I've landed a job as a bidding estimator/contractor for a local HVAC company. As I understand it, a bidding estimator would be the person that takes all the job info from the site survey and comes up with the cost to complete the job.

    Now, if this industry is one that has bids from multiple competitors and preparing the bid is my job then I may just be filling out all of the paperwork and compiling all the required documents to repond.

    I am brand new to this field, but have always had an interest in something HVAC related. I am excited to start this off on the right foot and know everything I possibly can before I start on 2/20.

    There is a 3 month training course on site, and at various locations around the area. I am focused and determined to do the best of my ability. I feel as though I am a fast learner and dedicated person. I recently got engaged, signed the dotted line on a townhome, and now this new job...it is very important for me to succeed here.

    My questions are pretty straightfoward, I just want to hear from you all that have experience in the bidding department and if you have any insight/advice for me before I get started.

    Thanks for taking the time to read my post and I hope to be able to contribute to this forum.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    7,326
    In general, an estimator is responsible for understanding the blueprints, being able to pick the needed items required from the blueprints, and formulate a materials list to price. He would then need to be able to attach labor hours to specific tasks, and procure equipment costs, in an effort to be able to come up with comprhensive cost to install a specific project.

    Since there is a training program, I assume this is a larger company with an estimating department. If so, you may be trained in how to use quickpen, or other estimating software, which makes life easier, but either way, you got a lot to learn.

    Your job will entail looking over a lot of different plans. It is a job that some guys love while others hate it. It really depends upon your makeup, if you like doing this detail oriented type stuff. One thing about it, estimators usually arent out on a cold roof in winter, or a hot one in summer. Another thing is the estimator is usually a brunt of wisecracks, as in "we lost money on this job, its the estimators fault". its kindof a thankless job, like most in this business, but it can pay the mortgage just fine.

  3. #3
    Thank you for that reply. I wasn't sure how active this forum was, and I appreciate the knowledge.

    There is an estimating department in the company. I believe I am one of five estimators.

    I am a quick learner and very dedicated to something when I put my mind to it. I do realize there is a lot to learn here, and I'm happy that they have a training program. I believe it lasts for 90 days or so. I am a very organized person so this seems like it will be a good fit for me. I'm anxious to start to say the least...this will be the most serious job I've had so it's important for me to do well.

    They have a good starting hourly rate (or at least I think it's fair) with 401k, health/dental, PTO @ 3.06 per pay period and vacation/sick days.

    I realize I'll be behind a desk for most of the day, and I'm ok with that as well.

    If anyone else has anything to add, I'm all ears. Thanks for the warm welcome...I hope to spend a lot of time here.

    Is there any reading material I should be looking at? Can you direct me to any informative links?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Helena, Montana
    Posts
    2,155
    If the opportunity to go out to a few jobsites and actually watch what is done ever presents itself, jump at it. Take a walk through your warehouse and see what's there.
    Don't worry zombies are looking for brains, you're safe...

  5. #5
    ^Great idea. I do like hands on training as well.

    I've been in the warehouse, seen all the piping/motors/pumps/ducting/etc...but I can/will spend more time in there to get a feel for the brands/products we offer to our customers.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    7,326
    blueprint reading will be a requirement. knowing the various little things will help you a lot. get ot know symbols and be able to navigate and understand blueprints. They will teach you, but if you were to go to a library and find a book on print reading, it will never hurt you. also, if you were to get a book like modern refrigeration or some hvac books and learn what things are, it might help. we use some funny terminology in this trade like most. getting to know it would help. close nipple, weld neck flange, triple duty valve, unistrut, drop in anchor, roust about coupling, huh? these are just a sampling of many, many items that may or may not make sense to you now. in time, they will and many, many, more. Its a good business, and can be fun, but takes lots of time to get good at it. dont be discouraged.

  7. #7
    ^Thank you for your insight. Looks like a have a good idea of what I'm getting myself into here.

    I'll report back in a few weeks. I start the job on 2/20 and i'm sure I'll have plenty of other questions. I wasn't even sure if I posted this in the right sub-forum or not...I'll try and navigate a bit so I know where to post my questions/topics.

    Thanks again.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    New Orleans
    Posts
    1,012
    Is this commercial or residential?

  9. #9
    commercial.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    New Orleans
    Posts
    1,012
    Yea i'm sure most resi comps don't have estimators unless their really huge. Have you had any experience in hvac? As long as their willing to train you sounds like a good gig for sure. Their will be an enormous amount of info to digest over the next few weeks. I would grab a book and head straight to the commercial hvac section and start exposing my brain. Stay away from theory that would probably just confuse you besides you are not designing you are just buying equipment that is on a list.

  11. #11
    ^I have zero experience in HVAC. This is brand new territory for me...(insert nervous smilie here)

    I've been in the swimming pool business for the past 3 years and it's time to move on. I am familar with pumps/motors/piping and the similar. But nothing HVAC related.

    If you have any links OR particular books I should pick up from the library, I'm all ears.

    Guys, feel free to email me at aawiseguy AT gmail DOT com

    Thanks!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    New Orleans
    Posts
    1,012
    they have a whole section at the library on hvac pick the book that you think would help the most like Air Conditioning Technology. That way you can start to formulate what task is ahead of you and you can share with us your understanding or lack their of.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    7,326
    blue print reading if you dont already know how is paramount.

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