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#158327 - 04/19/06 05:46 PM Estimating Standards  
jft1215  Offline
Junior Member
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 9
Orange County, CA
Hi everyone. In the past we have typically worked on a T&M basis but as we attempt to understand our cot structure better and our efficiencies we are going to move to flat rate bidding. I remember seeing a book or disk that was a database for the standards broken down to the smallest function. Can anyone help me out and tell me if I was dreaming or the name of the resource?

Thanks!


Business, Office, Estimating, Legal:

#158328 - 04/19/06 06:18 PM Re: Estimating Standards  
mahlere  Offline
Member
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 507
New Jersey
jft,

check out www.catlystservicemarketing.com

or

google "flat rate pricing manuals"

or

look for RS Means or NECA for labor units.

There are dozens of options on the market.

Good luck.

[This message has been edited by mahlere (edited 04-19-2006).]


#158329 - 04/19/06 06:21 PM Re: Estimating Standards  
jft1215  Offline
Junior Member
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 9
Orange County, CA
Thanks for the reply Mahlere!

I believe it was RS Means that I remember seeing. Doesn't that include the pricing as well as the labor it "should" take to install the respective part, etc.?


#158330 - 04/19/06 06:24 PM Re: Estimating Standards  
mahlere  Offline
Member
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 507
New Jersey
RS Means has it all. The thing is, it will not be specific for you.

If you really want to go flat rate, look into a flat rate system. You will need to determine your costs and times.

That will allow you to charge profitably and keep your customers happy.


#158331 - 04/19/06 06:40 PM Re: Estimating Standards  
LK  Offline
Member
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,429
New Jersey
jft1215,

Welcome, first if you could complete your profile, it would help us know a little about, what area you are working, and if you are an estimator. or contractor.

T&M, or contract, your cost basis will be your guide, some price guides, give labor hours, based on what it takes, to do a certin task, others, breake it down. to time and motion units, they may come from, an estimators, actuals record, or from detailed job reports, with all this information, you will still need, to know the job conditions, and skills needed, for each job.

"a book or disk that was a database for the standards broken down to the smallest function."

When tasks are broken down, into the smallest function, they become, time, and motion, which is good to study a workers efficency, but not much good to estimate a project.


#158332 - 04/19/06 06:52 PM Re: Estimating Standards  
jft1215  Offline
Junior Member
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 9
Orange County, CA
Thanks for the help LK. I'm going to complete my profile now.

I'm a contractor working in the family business. For the last 20+ years we have only treated it as a side business since we all have other jobs. My father started the business in the early 80's. We're now looking at taking on larger contracts and I'm attempting to build an excel estimating model that will help us. We've never really analyzed how efficient we were compared to any standards. I want to use this as a benchmark to fully understand our efficiencies and where we can improve.

I see where it might not be the best approach to estimate (who can really break every function down like that). I just want to take some data and see how I can use it in my estimating model.

Thanks for everyone's input! I will take it and learn from it.


#158333 - 04/20/06 12:55 PM Re: Estimating Standards  
jft1215  Offline
Junior Member
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 9
Orange County, CA
I've been looking at the references everyone referred to me and they look like what I'm after. My only concern is that I don't see anywhere where I could get this data electronically so I could use it in Excel. Does anyone know where to get this database electronically? I don't want to keystroke that!


#158334 - 04/20/06 05:25 PM Re: Estimating Standards  
Radar  Offline
Member
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 349
Los Angeles, CA
RS Means sells their data in electronic format as an overall solution called Means CostWorks. I've never used the product (we have Means books and Means database data in our estimating system) - but they can be reached at 800 / 334-3509.

The NECA labor units data is available also in electronic format in a proprietary lookup application that will export individual items to an excel format. A little klunky, but it works OK. Ya gotta contact NECA directly to see how to get this.

Note: Both of these are cost based, meaning they attempt to estimate the cost to the contractor of performing the work. NOT the same as a Flat Rate Pricing system.

Another note regarding Means: Material prices sometimes fluctuate much faster than they are able to provide updates.

Lastly, you'll find that these products are not cheap. Might be easier to buy a light version of an electrical estimating system and build custom assemblies that represent various items or work tasks that can be priced, labored, marked-up and tabulated as Flat Rate Price items. Just an idea . . .

Radar


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