I have a template I built and have been updating for a few years now. Not perfect yet but I have put a bit of work into making it do most calculating for you and it prints a decent looking take off or invoice too. It lists the items I use most often and is easily modified to list your items. PM me and I'll email to you. Vince
For what it's worth guys I just bought a book on excel that's easy to use and that has been very helpful to me. It's called "Microsoft Office Excel Step by Step" and cost $25 US. If you're like me you'll buy it much cheaper used from Amazon.com.
About 10 years ago, a buddy of mine sat down and showed me a few tricks in excel. From that informal lesson on, and a book like the one above, I learned that excel is one the most powerful and useful programs you will ever use. I cant imagine being in business and not using it.
Invest in an estimating software. Many of them have a Lite version to make them more affordable. I think mine cost like $1300 initially and they financed it for me. I added modules when I could afford them.
The neat thing about software, if you bid a job and six months later they tell you to proceed, I can click two buttons and get current prices on everything for the job but the gear and fixtures. Graybar participates in an online pricing service called Net PRicer, which my software uses to update.
This way I don't spend hours calling the stores and recalculating the job.
BTW, my software is Conest Intellibid. I don't know if it it the best, I doubt it is but is does a decent job. AS I said, they financed it for me with very good terms! You can't go wrong with a decent estimating software if you want to be efficient and accurate with your bids.
It might cost you up front but will pay for itself quickly in saving you time and making you more competitive.
Why am I telling my competitors here my secrets?????