I have realized that most if not all major business decisions in running a successful EC company will depend heavily on one single variable... Job costing. What should I charge hourly? What should I bid? How much should I be paying employee "x"? Can we afford a new truck? what about the shop & tool situation?
I am still wrestling with QB 2003 pro to do what I want, but i continually run into limitaions and have to figure a roundabout way of making the software do what I want it to. Then the trouble is trying to remember how I went about doing something because the software doesn't have that specific feature.
Please tell me someone out there uses a piece of jobcost software that tracks everything in as much or little detail as they want. I thought this looked good: http://www.marketplace.intuit.com:80/AppCard/appinfo.asp?AppID=354&QID=6790907&CatID=236
I may order the trial and if so I tell you what I think. Any input as I continue my neverending search?
The best software out there needs good data, so if you have job actuals for labor, and automatic material updating, then any of the software will work, without good data, none of these programs will work well, and don't forget the cost to input data, and updating services, these are the after purchase costs.
If what you mean by "automatic material updating" is RS Means or EPIC, I'm less interested in what they say material should cost vs. what I'm actually paying for it.
Right now my work volume is a lot lower than yours so I don't know if I'm being niave, but ultimately I would like to enter in every part. I am thinking of taking on the task of creating a noninventory part list in my items and breaking every invoice down by part and entering what I paid. Then indicating a job to cost it to or misc. stock if not directly to one specific job.
For labor I would do the same thing. I think the data entry cost is really an issue of finding software that efficiently handles that data entry. Payroll has to be done anyway. Job cost labor can be done quickly while entering hours. Provided a timecard is legible and properly broken out, it shouldn't be too much more work.
Also with parts. The physical work of making a material list has to be done anyway. The guy at the parts counter has to enter each line item indivdually. I have long wondered if these things were done on a pocket PC as they happen, how much extra time would it take? What if while standing in line waiting for my order to filled I was entering every thing into the Pocket PC?
I could see these ideas working for a smaller shop where I actually go to the supply house to pick stuff up. As I get bigger and order and have stuff delivered it may need to be tweaked. But even the process of issuing PO's could be directly tied into jobcosting without extra data entry. It really is about marrying the right process with the right software. But I continue to search for that match, not giving up hope that somewhere it's out there.
[This message has been edited by Jps1006 (edited 11-06-2005).]
Well I had a long phone consult with a CoreCon salesman. He was upfront enough to tell me that based on my needs, he doesn't yet think I need his software. I think he's right. I'm thinking I will just keep muddling through using Quickbooks. I ordered the 2006 Premier Contractor's edition trial. It is supposed to have more job costing features than the QB 2003 Pro I am currently using.
I found a 2004 Contractor's trial I had laying around and it doesn't seem to have more features that Pro, just more predefined reports and help topics. But I have found I can make similar reports using the customize reports feature.
I browsed QB's forum and found a post with people complaining that QB just doesn't do what they want. I don't know what to think. I'm inclined to think these are people that are impatient, don't know how to use it, and don't want to learn. They want it work the way they think it should. Then I realized I might be of that mentality. I'm just going to continue to bite the bullet and continue to attempt to master the software. I just hope I don't regret the investment of time and come to the conclusion once learning it inside and out, that it still sucks.
Do any of you job cost using QB? If so, how? What is your stradegy?
Jps1006 -- I am probably not the best person to ask since I still struggle with QB. However, you can put me in the down as one who uses QB for accounting, but NOT for cost tracking and analysis. I am very impressed with the way QB handles basic accounting functions – checks, bills, invoicing, sales tax, payroll, etc. However, the job costing reports are fairly hard wired and QB does a lot “behind the scenes”. This makes it difficult for me to analyze my data. Perhaps now that I have been using QB for ~ a year, I can work with my account to set up the classes, time tracking, etc. so I can capture and analyze my cost data. Until, I will use my bid program, time cards, materials used cards and an Excel spread sheet to track and analyze my costs. Hope this helps. VinceR