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Estimating

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  • #94785
    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Moderator
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    What does everyone use for estimating your work?

    Do you use :
    excel spreadsheets.
    Excel templates.
    yellow legal pads.
    proprietary estimating software.

    #94786
    Rob
    Pro
    Birmingham, Alabama

    I usually use a paper form on a system that I came up with.
    I bought and used a software system but my form was just as fast so later I went back to it.

    #94787
    svensshutters
    Pro
    Colorado Springs, CO

    I US excel to come up with the numbers. I the throw the numbers in to a form I made. It is kind of cumbersome, but it works well. Need to simplify some things, but haven’t had the time yet. There are many variables, in what I do it makes it hard.

    #94788
    Rob
    Pro
    Birmingham, Alabama

    Concerning estimates which I now call Pricing, since they are no longer estimations of what a job will cost but instead a price for the actual job.
    I heard a great speaker make an off hand comment during his lecture, that he is working to control costs on the jobsite (labor+ materials) and … in the office (administrative, insurance, utilities etc.). He budgeted a loss factor of 2% in both areas for a total loss (normal) of 4% . That made me re-examine where I could be losing money and helped us to get it under control.
    Sometimes the answer to the question is …asking the right question.

    #94789

    I made an excel spreadsheet with a separate pricing database file, this allows me to update material/labor pricing across any customer/potential customer spreadsheet by updating the pricing database. Then the estimating spreadsheet is laid out in unit pricing. For example a 12′ joist will include: (1) 12′ steel joist, (2) L70, and (20) screws, then it’ll have a labor cost associated with it in a separate column. What’s great about this system is that everything is priced individually, so if L70’s increase in cost all I need to do is update the database and it’ll update any spreadsheet. So if a potential customer I talked to 3 years ago calls me up and says “can you update your proposal? we’d like to move forward with the project.” All I do is open their spreadsheet and click update and 3 years of price increases instantly populate.

    Robert Shaw -Colorado Deck and Framing
    www.mysteeldeck.com

    #94790

    Concerning estimates which I now call Pricing, since they are no longer estimations of what a job will cost but instead a price for the actual job.<br>

    Kind of along those same lines, we don’t call it an estimate we call them proposals. Makes it sound much more professional and would allow us to charge for a proposal rather than just an estimate.

    Robert Shaw -Colorado Deck and Framing
    www.mysteeldeck.com

    #94808
    redwood
    Pro

    I also use a spreadsheet, but my database is in the sheet, so I have to update each separate job, if I come back to it.

    I like Rob’s better.

    Mark E.

    Pioneer, CA

    Working Pro 1972 - 2015
    Member since Jan 22, 2013
    www.creative-redwood-designs.com

    #94815
    ChadM
    Moderator
    Rogers, Ohio

    I also use a spreadsheet for my proposals. It could use some polishing but the system works well for me.

    Chad

    A Working Pro since 1993

    Member since 12/07/2013

    #94818

    I also use a spreadsheet, but my database is in the sheet, so I have to update each separate job, if I come back to it.

    I like Rob’s better.

    Mark,

    I learned the idea when I spent some time working as a superintendent for a custom home builder, he’d bought a franchise and part of their system was super accurate proposals based on super accurate pricing and unit based pricing. I learned a lot about how their system worked and I realized that I could re-create it in excel pretty easily.

    I used to do it pretty much the same way I’m sure most of you do it, I made a master pricing spreadsheet and then I would just input sq ft and qtys for pretty much everything individually and it was always a pain to keep the prices current and then it was a real pain if I had an old potential customer call and want an updated price. I never really had accurate pricing for fasteners, I’d just kind of wing it like “probably $100 worth of fasteners”. I feel this way is far more accurate (usually a little heavy on material cost estimate VS actual) and keeps me from losing money on material. Labor on the other hand…

    Robert Shaw -Colorado Deck and Framing
    www.mysteeldeck.com

    #95059
    svensshutters
    Pro
    Colorado Springs, CO

    I have one price for fasteners no matter what they are. I figured out what the average fasteners are on a job are so that no matter what the fastener is, they all have the same price. It works itself out well so far.

    #95130
    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Moderator
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    I have a spreadsheet that I enter about 30 specific pieces of date and it will calculate all of the lumber in a house, the foundation cost, concrete slabs, insulation , trim, drywall and most everything for a new home.

    All I have to enter is current material pricing and sub bids.

    i do have to make slight modifications for special features on projects but it will calculate 90% or more of a house on its own.

    #95218
    svensshutters
    Pro
    Colorado Springs, CO

    What about access, anyone ever made a program with that for estimating? I have been toying with the idea a lot lately, but just have not had the time to get back into it. There was a time when I took some classes and got pretty good at Microsoft Office products. Another thought I had was Quckbooks. I use it for my business but haven’t looked into the estimate feature of it.

    #95238
    Calidecks64
    Pro
    Anaheim Hills, Cali

    Man I always wanted to have set prices, but so many different variables that I’m figuring each job separate. Although my prices have a base amount.

    #95255
    Rob
    Pro
    Birmingham, Alabama

    I have used the ‘Home Tech ‘ estimating system and one of the founders of that program taught me that ” 85% of an estimate is Science, the other 15% is Art”
    that is so true.

    #95258
    ChadM
    Moderator
    Rogers, Ohio

    I have used the ‘Home Tech ‘ estimating system and one of the founders of that program taught me that ” 85% of an estimate is Science, the other 15% is Art”<br>
    that is so true.

    That is a great quote – very true. Art or maybe even magic on some estimates.

    Chad

    A Working Pro since 1993

    Member since 12/07/2013

    #95700

    Man I always wanted to have set prices, but so many different variables that I’m figuring each job separate. Although my prices have a base amount.

    You can have a line item percent “crappy access 5%” “deck over 10′ high 5%”, “pool protection $500”, etc. Trust me this is the best way to go with your pricing. You say there is so many variables but you need to simplify all the constants. All joists have 2 hangers right? All posts have top hardware and bottom hardware right? Just find all the constants and put together a spreadsheet for that. Then add in the variables.

    Robert Shaw -Colorado Deck and Framing
    www.mysteeldeck.com

    #95705
    Calidecks64
    Pro
    Anaheim Hills, Cali

    Man I always wanted to have set prices, but so many different variables that I’m figuring each job separate. Although my prices have a base amount.

    You can have a line item percent “crappy access 5%” “deck over 10′ high 5%”, “pool protection $500″, etc. Trust me this is the best way to go with your pricing. You say there is so many variables but you need to simplify all the constants. All joists have 2 hangers right? All posts have top hardware and bottom hardware right? Just find all the constants and put together a spreadsheet for that. Then add in the variables.

    That is a great point because there are some things every decks get no matter what.

    #95880
    theamcguy
    Pro
    Fayetteville, NC

    Price per hour * # of hours = Final price Materials +30%

    Automotive Pro
    Fayetteville, NC

    #95941
    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Moderator
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    Robert, it seems that if you figure all of the items like the crappy access and poor conditions you read to much into the job and some guy who is not smart enough to do that gets the job.

    #95945
    redwood
    Pro

    Robert, it seems that if you figure all of the items like the crappy access and poor conditions you read to much into the job and some guy who is not smart enough to do that gets the job.

    Better that then losing money. I try to figure those things in as well.

    There are always going to be guys that will do a job for cheaper, that doesn’t mean I’m going to match their pricing.

    I try to sell my company and if you want my company, you have to pay my companies prices.

    Mark E.

    Pioneer, CA

    Working Pro 1972 - 2015
    Member since Jan 22, 2013
    www.creative-redwood-designs.com

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