Recently, I was sent to do an estimate in the Philadelphia area out of curiosity of what it entailed. I am a network cabling installer with Bridge Global Services (dba BridgeCable.com), and with support from our sales staff, I was given enough information to confidently execute the task at hand.
I now have a new found respect for the men and women who are sent out on, a regular basis, to do the estimates for us. They have a vision and enough foresight for how to best accommodate the client. Although they are not running wire, or getting their hands dirty, they are an important part in assuring the final product comes together. Carrying around a clipboard was a bit different when you’re more used to peeking around in ceilings with a headlamp and crazy fluorescent poles to fish your wires. I was sent out with everything I needed including a laser and wheel for correct measurements. You can find them at an affordable price on Amazon.com. The links below to these products will easily get the job done:
Now that you have the proper tools, you’re ready to go on your first estimate. Don’t be nervous, you’ll be fine. What’s the worst that can possibly happen? That’s what training is all about.
So, when doing an estimate, you want to make a good first impression, but if you have to wear shorts because it’s 108 degrees, than do what you got to do. But, you did not hear that from me. The first order of business is establishing good rapport with your client. Make sure you know who your point of contact is, of course. You will want to understand what your client’s options are, how flexible they are in achieving what they want, and what purpose they have in mind for the job your technicians will be performing.
You will meet all different types of people, so it’s important to work with them. Some will want to be heavily involved in how the details of project are executed, and this will require more patience. Others will gladly accept the estimate and allow the installers to get down to business with little to no involvement. So, keep this in mind, and realize (as with anything else) we all have our own unique personalities. But this is not a personality contest. It’s business. We won’t always like everyone we meet, and they won’t necessarily like us, but play nice.
Sidenote: Remote IT staff might prefer a Site Survey with a video as well. This is a completed job site, below, and helped the remote staff “eyeball” the finished site.
Although the estimator is normally not a “regular” technician (although some started out in the field), their knowledge of problems techs may run into is crucial to the overall performance of the finished product. For example, there are a number of problems a tech might run into that the estimator can foresee including the distance of the run, and construction of the walls, which may require drilling. A single run cannot be longer than 328 feet, is what the experts tell us. The reason for this is that CAT6, being a low voltage wire, will not be capable of handling a distance any longer than that without running the risk of potential problems. This particular run was right around 328 feet, so it will require some improvising. A number of other potential issues may arise such as needing to install special molding when you’re backed up against a concrete wall, and you can’t call your mommy to help you this time. These are the types of things you may or may not discover on the estimate. But ask as many questions you can think. Remember the old adage: “There are no stupid questions except the ones that are not asked.” It may have been Albert Einstein who said it, but Google cannot confirm this.
Anyway, I want to thank Bridge Cable for giving me the opportunity to meet with a potential client, and perform this estimate. It was a great learning experience, and this network cabling company really invests in their staff, and is willing to take risks. The main take away I got from this experience was to appreciate others on my team, and always keep in mind that it takes each part of an organization to run a successful operation. There is no such thing as being insignificant, so take pride in what you do. With that being said, next time you see the janitor thank him or her for cleaning up after you.
To see more of what network cable installation services we provided check here – http://www.bridgecable.com/network-cable-installation.htm
Further help, just call us! 877-832-1206. We serve the entire Philadelphia metro, covering Allentown and Pottstown as well. The entire state of New Jersey and sections of New York city.