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.
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.
I use Vision Infosoft and have been happy with it. www.visioninfosoft.com 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.
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.
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.
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.