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#201884 - 06/29/11 01:05 PM What estimating software do you recommend?
bigpapa Offline
Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 75
Loc: canada
I am looking to invest in an estimating package for my small company of less than 5 employees. Would think about $1000 - $1500 would fit the budget.

Looking for ways to automate as quotations take up a lot of time and we turn down a lot of opportunities because of this.

Any recommendations?

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Business, Office, Estimating, Legal:
#201900 - 06/30/11 12:15 PM Re: What estimating software do you recommend? [Re: bigpapa]
Tesla Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/04
Posts: 1280
Loc: Sacramento, CA
Computer aided estimating gets expensive very quickly.

It's more than the price of the software -- it's the time you must spend/ invest to get up to speed -- and the time you must expend to keep your cost experience up to date.

I'd recommend cruising through the previous postings here at the forum -- and other no cost electrician/contractor forums on the web.

Here and there, spread sheets have been posted.

Most of the value of computer aided estimating can be achieved using such simple templates.

They knock out most of the usual stuff -- the minor materials -- so that you can dial in on light fixtures, feeders, panels and such.

Your pricing MUST reflect your shop. At this time, many, many electrical contractors are going out of business. This is the backside of a super boom. It can't be stopped.

Be very wary of taking on new GC's -- at this time such players are VERY likely to be in trouble -- and are all too likely to be behind on payments to their prior electrician -- hence their interest in giving you the business.

The killer for commercial electricians is their dependence upon GC solvency. It's something they can't control. When the GC goes under -- without paying his bills, of course, the electrician is forced to wait upon a mechanics lien -- and court judgement.

The combination of lost business and timely payment can easily be too much.

Collecting on the lien may come too late.
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Tesla

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#201904 - 06/30/11 08:14 PM Re: What estimating software do you recommend? [Re: bigpapa]
Obsaleet Offline
Member

Registered: 04/05/03
Posts: 361
Loc: Pa
I was thinking of purchasing a program, but instead use QuickBooks estimating and then type them in word. Has been working just fine thus far. Can cut and past a lot of the terms and such. It does take some munipulation of QuickBooks items and the estimating templates.


Ob
_________________________
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#201909 - 07/01/11 04:29 AM Re: What estimating software do you recommend? [Re: bigpapa]
bigpapa Offline
Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 75
Loc: canada
I'm expecting to have to do a lot of configuring to any software to customize it to our needs. We have enjoyed a very busy building sector here for years and it is still chugging away for now. We are a small
shop and I prefer to be out on service calls instead of spending hours trying to put quotes together. My quotes are not as accurate as I would like and the bigger jobs take me days to quote. I often make simple
mistakes as well, often forget things, and do not have the ability to break out certain tasks for change orders etc.

Some kind of software that will allow me instant access to consistent costs for all the tasks and assemblies we normally use from a database that I can easily import updated material costs to would be ideal.

I am now turning work away because I can't afford the time required to bid, which is not good. If I can speed things up and improve accuracy
I will be able to easily double my sales making this our best year ever.

I wouldn't be surprised to see a slowdown in Q4 when a lot of US debt comes due for payment with money that isn't there. We will feel this in western canada probably in Q1 of 2012 so i want to grab the work when we can. Its not good to turn new business away but there is not enough time to bid when it takes as long as it takes me manually.

We are not seeing bankruptcies yet but expect a drop in consumer confidence after the US treasury cannot water the dollar down any further and interest rates become normal again. This should slow our housing boom somewhat. We will probably see some of the insolvencies you describe especially in the east and will need to be careful. I expect our ratio of bids quoted to bids won will increase creating even more of a need to get our bids out quickly and with a high degree of accuracy.

I will continue to search for a less than $2000 solution that will
save me time and appreciate everybodies input so far

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#201914 - 07/01/11 08:22 PM Re: What estimating software do you recommend? [Re: bigpapa]
Tesla Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/04
Posts: 1280
Loc: Sacramento, CA
Both Canada and Australia are at the peak of real estate super booms.

Prices in both markets are more extended than most of America.

They are linked to Red China's super-expansion. Some of that money overflows into Vancouver and Sydney.

This is compounded by the pervasive belief that hard mineral exports will ever boom.

Such export led economies are always fated to suffer shocking let-downs when their big customer goes into recession.

Be wary -- long sustained booms cause even pigs to fly. Who can say which GC is next to drop?
_________________________
Tesla

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#201916 - 07/01/11 11:42 PM Re: What estimating software do you recommend? [Re: bigpapa]
bigpapa Offline
Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 75
Loc: canada
I figure sometime in Q1 next year maybe the sh#^s gonna hit the fan in some areas here anyway.. For now we still have a few gov't infrastructure projects underway. After all that shakes out it could get tight. We need to be lean and efficient with lots of cash (or more appropriate equivalents) on hand and reduce the sloppy quotes which I can get away with now.


Anybody like Jaffe Power estimator? It's about $1000 US.

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#213449 - 05/04/14 04:37 PM Re: What estimating software do you recommend? [Re: bigpapa]
johnd23 Offline
New Member

Registered: 04/02/14
Posts: 1
Loc: New York
I use Street Invoice it works well for me. It's not too pricey and it's simple to use. I like it because I have 4 employees and it syncs with their devices. I use on my laptop but my employees use it on their mobile devices.

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#213824 - 08/01/14 12:19 PM Re: What estimating software do you recommend? [Re: bigpapa]
junben Offline
New Member

Registered: 07/31/14
Posts: 2
Loc: Ontario
Sage 50 Premium - Simply Accounting (or any of the other Sage 50 series) is pretty good. Go from Quotation, to order entry to invoice in the same software. Our company as used it for quite a while.
_________________________
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#217502 - 08/19/16 03:41 AM Re: What estimating software do you recommend? [Re: bigpapa]
PoLu Offline
New Member

Registered: 08/16/16
Posts: 6
Loc: Texas
Hi, I would like to continue in this discussion, even though it is 2 years old. I am looking for some estimating software to help me bid on larger projects. So far I have used spreadsheets. Also tried TurboBid, but would rather try something else. Thank you for all suggestions.

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#217553 - 08/29/16 07:00 AM Re: What estimating software do you recommend? [Re: PoLu]
PoLu Offline
New Member

Registered: 08/16/16
Posts: 6
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: PoLu
Hi, I would like to continue in this discussion, even though it is 2 years old. I am looking for some estimating software to help me bid on larger projects. So far I have used spreadsheets. Also tried TurboBid, but would rather try something else. Thank you for all suggestions.


So far, no one answered, so at least I will write my experience with Esticom software, which I work with for the last 15 days.
Advantages:

  • There is a free trial for free.
  • Everything is in cloud, which is something I like very much.
  • You can set up a live price feeds.


Disadvantages:
  • Think it is little needles, when you have small projects.
  • There are preset databases, it takes time to edit them.


I would still appreciate any suggestions or experiences with another software.

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