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#155667 01/29/05 10:39 AM
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 35
I'm considering purchasing and estimating software. I've noticed a lot of options are available. I'm currently considering either McCormack software or Power Estimator by Jaffe software. I'd be interested to know what systems others are using and how they seem to like them. I'm planning on spending around $1,200

Most of my work is for Residential; however, I will be persuing Commercial down the road.
Comments from anyone would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Latest Estimating Cost Guides & Software:
#155668 01/29/05 11:29 AM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 697
I've been using The Worksite CD available free at Home Depot (how's that for a little commercial). I use it mostly for the prices, but it's tied in with Craftsman estimating software. It's easily adjustable for labor rate, quantities, tax, markup, profit, and will print estimates with or without break-downs.

What it doesn't have is assemblies, so I've been laboriously creating usable assemblies. I'm using it for residential service, but I'll try it on commercial also with a reduction in labor rate.

Whatever software you use, remember to adjust for all the variables like distance to supplier, distance from truck to work, ladder use, attic or crawl work, remodeling, etc. It's a thinking man's game. Don't use anyone else's numbers without thinking about them.


#155669 01/29/05 12:08 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 272

I use Vision Infosoft and have been happy with it.
Most of these software companies will let you download a free demo to try.
I would try them out before you buy.
I've heard Accubid is good.

#155670 01/29/05 01:13 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 15
I also use Vision InfoSoft I'm happy with it
be careful They have an aggressive sales team

#155671 01/30/05 11:20 AM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 94
tkb Offline
I have used ConEst and Accubid.

Accubid is hands down the best.
They have various levels of their software at different prices.
Right now I am using Bidwinner Plus.

Edit: Don't forget after you get estimitating software you will need pricing updates from Epic or Trade Service, unless you will do manual individual price updates from your invoices.

[This message has been edited by tkb (edited 01-30-2005).]

#155672 02/01/05 07:22 AM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 74
I have been using power! and absolutely love it.

My advice is download some, find some proposals you did by hand, and run them thru the software. This way you can see which program thinks like you do.

However you need to watch the percentages. They call out different reduction when bidding, and for me there's was unacceptable. The first thing you should do is customize all the forms for your company name, license info and percentage's for markup and such.

I have bid projects from 500 to 100000, and gotten them succesfully. It especialy helps on the 15000 to 100000 dollar range, because some of the bids were against other contractors and I won and made money.

It also helps to keep you consistent with customers, once you determine a markup vakue for customer X, just open up their last proposal, save it as the new project and rework all the numbers for the proposal.

And as for pricing, power!'s database is priced high for the most part, once the proposal is complete, I generate a pricing request sheet and fax to my supplier, compare notes and fix in the main database if needed. Works great.

#155673 02/08/05 05:32 AM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 34
Here's a link where you can download a copy of my Estimating and Bid package. It's free, and it's in exel format.

John C. Harvey
IndCom Electrical Estimates
#155674 02/08/05 11:29 AM
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 19
Do any of your suppliers have software to download up to date material pricing into your system. That is the key factor that I have been searching for. Our supplier has software that you can purchase, but it is expensive.

#155675 02/08/05 11:24 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 34
Hi Buck.

No I generally just update the prices myself for conduit of all types, wire, and metal boxes and these items tend to sky-rocket pretty quick.

I normally get monthly updates from my suppliers (3 at least) and input the data myself.

John C. Harvey
IndCom Electrical Estimates
#155676 02/09/05 06:38 PM
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 35

Thanks for taking the time to provide comments. After spending numerous hours checking out different demos Accubid, McCormack, ConEst and some others... I've finally purchased an estimator which I feel is the most for your money.

I've purchased Power Estimator by Jaffee Software. I made my final decision based on the following criteria.

-- Very well organized, most bang for the buck, contains a rather large parts database (which a lot of companies charge extra for). Also works in conjunction with invoices and contains a well written proposal. And finally, the sales rep also happend to be the software developer and was very informative and not aggresive at all.

Hope this helps anyone else who may be considering estimating software. I should mention that Accubid did seem very good but it's also very expensive.

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