Interactive flat rate pricing app - Electrician Talk - Professional Electrical Contractors Forum
CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY, IT'S FREE!
Go Back   Electrician Talk - Professional Electrical Contractors Forum > Business > Business, Marketing, and Sales


Like Tree16Likes
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-16-2019, 10:45 AM   #1
Member
 
Coppersmith's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 61
Rewards Points: 122
Default Interactive flat rate pricing app

I use flat rate pricing in my company. I currently calculate the price based on my experience with labor hours and knowledge of material prices. This works fine for me except taking a bit longer and being less accurate than I would like. This does not work at all for employees who have not enough experience or knowledge to give quotes. So I make all the quotes and just send them to jobs. I would like them to be able to quote on their own and arrive at the same prices I do.

I’ve tried a dozen times to create a good flat rate book but, there are always so many variables that the book gets too complex and unwieldy. I don’t like the idea of just simplifying it and living with the big swings in profitability. I have not seen a flat rate book (or sample of a FR book) produced by others that meets my needs either. (If you know of one, let me know.)

I’m thinking what I really need is a computer application that lets the user select a task and then it asks a series of questions. (Usually called an expert system.) Some of the questions would rely on previous answers to get at the detail needed to properly quote the job. Since the app would have a lot of information about the job, it could also generate a material list. For example:

Task: Run a new circuit segment.
Q: Voltage of segment? A: 208
Q: How many amps? A: 30
Q: Does the segment begin at a new circuit breaker? A: Yes
Q: Does the segment terminate at a new disconnect? A: No
Q: Does the segment terminate at owner supplied equipment? A: Yes
Q: Is a flexible whip required at the connection to the equipment? A: Yes
Q: How long of a whip is required in feet? A: 5
Q: Is the segment above ground or buried? A: Above ground
Q: Is the segment Indoor or outdoor? A: Outdoor
Q: Will the segment be supported on an existing structure? A: Yes
Q: Running conduit or cable? A: Conduit
Q: PVC, Rigid, EMT? A: EMT
Q: Length of run in feet? A: 300
Q: Factor in voltage drop at 3% max? A: Yes

Price if first task: $XXXX, Price if additional task: $XXXX
Estimated labor hours: 2 men at XX hours each
Click to see material list


(This example is off the top of my head and I’m sure it could be better. I tried to make it very detailed for example purposes. Don’t focus on the questions asked, just the methodology.)

Does something like this already exist? Is it for sale? If not I could build it myself, but I’d like to save some effort.

Last edited by Coppersmith; 02-16-2019 at 10:49 AM.
Coppersmith is offline   Reply With Quote
Join Contractor Talk

Join the #1 Electrician Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

ElectricianTalk.com - Are you a Professional Electrical Contractor? If so we invite you to join our community and see what it has to offer. Our site is specifically designed for you and it's the leading place for electricians to meet online. No homeowners asking DIY questions. Just fellow tradesmen who enjoy talking about their business, their trade, and anything else that comes up. No matter what your specialty is you'll find that ElectricianTalk.com is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally free!

Join ElectricianTalk.com - Click Here JOIN FOR FREE


Warning: The topics covered on this site include activities in which there exists the potential for serious injury or death. ElectricianTalk.com DOES NOT guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information contained on this site. Always use proper safety precaution and reference reliable outside sources before attempting any construction or remodeling task!

Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 02-16-2019, 02:00 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
CoolWill's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: SC
Posts: 1,294
Rewards Points: 618
Default

Contractor Success Systems has an app that I've never used but have heard is good. It started out as an electrical flat rate system but has since expanded to other trades. You should see if it does what you need.
CoolWill is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2019, 10:50 AM   #3
nlw
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Indiana
Posts: 56
Rewards Points: 63
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coppersmith View Post
I use flat rate pricing in my company. I currently calculate the price based on my experience with labor hours and knowledge of material prices. This works fine for me except taking a bit longer and being less accurate than I would like. This does not work at all for employees who have not enough experience or knowledge to give quotes. So I make all the quotes and just send them to jobs. I would like them to be able to quote on their own and arrive at the same prices I do.

Iíve tried a dozen times to create a good flat rate book but, there are always so many variables that the book gets too complex and unwieldy. I donít like the idea of just simplifying it and living with the big swings in profitability. I have not seen a flat rate book (or sample of a FR book) produced by others that meets my needs either. (If you know of one, let me know.)

Iím thinking what I really need is a computer application that lets the user select a task and then it asks a series of questions. (Usually called an expert system.) Some of the questions would rely on previous answers to get at the detail needed to properly quote the job. Since the app would have a lot of information about the job, it could also generate a material list. For example:

Task: Run a new circuit segment.
Q: Voltage of segment? A: 208
Q: How many amps? A: 30
Q: Does the segment begin at a new circuit breaker? A: Yes
Q: Does the segment terminate at a new disconnect? A: No
Q: Does the segment terminate at owner supplied equipment? A: Yes
Q: Is a flexible whip required at the connection to the equipment? A: Yes
Q: How long of a whip is required in feet? A: 5
Q: Is the segment above ground or buried? A: Above ground
Q: Is the segment Indoor or outdoor? A: Outdoor
Q: Will the segment be supported on an existing structure? A: Yes
Q: Running conduit or cable? A: Conduit
Q: PVC, Rigid, EMT? A: EMT
Q: Length of run in feet? A: 300
Q: Factor in voltage drop at 3% max? A: Yes

Price if first task: $XXXX, Price if additional task: $XXXX
Estimated labor hours: 2 men at XX hours each
Click to see material list


(This example is off the top of my head and Iím sure it could be better. I tried to make it very detailed for example purposes. Donít focus on the questions asked, just the methodology.)

Does something like this already exist? Is it for sale? If not I could build it myself, but Iíd like to save some effort.
Damn we must be related, that sounds like my situation, works, I make money but ugg getting tired of resi service over it.
nlw is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 02-28-2019, 07:25 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Florida
Posts: 124
Rewards Points: 131
Default

Wow I need to up my flat rate game! My sheet is a joke but I'm trying to improve it.
Switched to mainly flat rate several years ago after learning on this forum there was something other than t&m and bankruptcy, reap the benefits everyday!
Yesterday when I went to my accountant I saw his price sheet for the first time. His hourly rate is $150 but by charging per form filed my bill was almost $500 for the 1 hour appointment. Since he keeps us from paying the IRS all our profits each year I never mind paying whatever he charges though.
MrsElectric is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2019, 07:43 PM   #5
Member
 
Coppersmith's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 61
Rewards Points: 122
Default

Since nobody has steered me toward an existing product, I've started to build this app myself. Most of the design phase is complete and it's looking pretty cool. I'm not planning on selling it, at least not to anybody in my state. This thing could create a serious competitive advantage.
MrsElectric likes this.
Coppersmith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2019, 08:11 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
HackWork's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: -
Posts: 31,302
Rewards Points: 1,625
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coppersmith View Post
This thing could create a serious competitive advantage.
How so???
HackWork is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2019, 08:14 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
HackWork's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: -
Posts: 31,302
Rewards Points: 1,625
Default

There is nothing special or magical about flat rate pricing.

It does work really well when you have guys out in the field pricing jobs. But when I see someone proclaims that they make so much more money now that they flat rate price jobs, all that means is that they weren’t charging enough using their previous pricing method.
HackWork is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2019, 06:47 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Florida
Posts: 124
Rewards Points: 131
Default

I learned we weren't charging enough for our time prior to switching to flat rate.
Also I keep every inch of the van well stocked, charging t&m the customer gets the advantage of saving money. I want the advantage for the effort/ expense by charging a flat rate for each item installed, especially with easy upsells like surge protectors, LED retrofits and such.
HackWork likes this.
MrsElectric is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2019, 06:56 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Florida
Posts: 124
Rewards Points: 131
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coppersmith View Post
Since nobody has steered me toward an existing product, I've started to build this app myself. Most of the design phase is complete and it's looking pretty cool. I'm not planning on selling it, at least not to anybody in my state. This thing could create a serious competitive advantage.
Liked until I saw we are the same state, different coasts tho! I would love the guys to be able to do their own quotes and they would need something like this. Otherwise they land on my desk to do.
MrsElectric is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2019, 09:35 AM   #10
Member
 
Coppersmith's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 61
Rewards Points: 122
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coppersmith View Post
This thing could create a serious competitive advantage.
Quote:
Originally Posted by HackWork View Post
How so???
Quote:
Originally Posted by HackWork View Post
There is nothing special or magical about flat rate pricing.
LOL. I re-read my post and it came off as an advertisement for flat rate pricing which was not my intent. The app that I am building (and I am perfectly happy to buy if someone can point me to a product), will be "magically" in that it will make quoting a price on a detailed job practically automatic.

This means I can take an employee who has no real experience in estimating and very quickly have him/her making expert level on-the-spot quotes. That's the competitive advantage.

Simple example: Customer says to Tech they want a ceiling fan installed. An experienced tech will know to ask a bunch of questions (or look at conditions) to get to the right price. (How high is the ceiling? Is there an existing fan rated box? Does the fan have a remote? If installing a new circuit, do you want switches or will the pull chain be used? Two switches or one?, Normal sized fan or giant fan? Etc.)

An inexperienced tech will probably forget some of these important questions and quote the wrong price causing a lot of pain for both the company and the customer later. The app will have an expert system AI built in. As soon as the tech selects "install a ceiling fan" it will start an interview where it asks all the relevant questions (and none of the irrelevant) and then generates the correct price as well as a material list and a labor hours estimate making scheduling easier.

That's a easy example. I've already designed the interview for running pipe and wire with automated sizing of both based on amp load, derating and voltage drop.

The app is looking like it will be a standard estimating system with the AI layered on top so it will be able to function like an interactive flat-rate book and also like a desktop estimating system, only faster since the desktop user will also get AI guidance.

Again, if anybody knows of an existing product, save me some time and tell me what it is. I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel.
Coppersmith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2019, 09:48 AM   #11
Senior Member
 
HertzHound's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: East coast
Posts: 202
Rewards Points: 238
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coppersmith View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coppersmith View Post
This thing could create a serious competitive advantage.
Quote:
Originally Posted by HackWork View Post
How so???
Quote:
Originally Posted by HackWork View Post
There is nothing special or magical about flat rate pricing.
LOL. I re-read my post and it came off as an advertisement for flat rate pricing which was not my intent. The app that I am building (and I am perfectly happy to buy if someone can point me to a product), will be "magically" in that it will make quoting a price on a detailed job practically automatic.

This means I can take an employee who has no real experience in estimating and very quickly have him/her making expert level on-the-spot quotes. That's the competitive advantage.

Simple example: Customer says to Tech they want a ceiling fan installed. An experienced tech will know to ask a bunch of questions (or look at conditions) to get to the right price. (How high is the ceiling? Is there an existing fan rated box? Does the fan have a remote? If installing a new circuit, do you want switches or will the pull chain be used? Two switches or one?, Normal sized fan or giant fan? Etc.)

An inexperienced tech will probably forget some of these important questions and quote the wrong price causing a lot of pain for both the company and the customer later. The app will have an expert system AI built in. As soon as the tech selects "install a ceiling fan" it will start an interview where it asks all the relevant questions (and none of the irrelevant) and then generates the correct price as well as a material list and a labor hours estimate making scheduling easier.

That's a easy example. I've already designed the interview for running pipe and wire with automated sizing of both based on amp load, derating and voltage drop.

The app is looking like it will be a standard estimating system with the AI layered on top so it will be able to function like an interactive flat-rate book and also like a desktop estimating system, only faster since the desktop user will also get AI guidance.

Again, if anybody knows of an existing product, save me some time and tell me what it is. I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel.
If you can build this App, your in the wrong Buisiness.

Wasn’t “Contractor’s success system” already suggested?
HackWork likes this.
__________________
ďWhy say lot words when few words do trickĒ
HertzHound is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to HertzHound For This Useful Post:
HackWork (03-02-2019)
Old 03-02-2019, 10:29 AM   #12
MTW
Senior Member
 
MTW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Northeast USA
Posts: 13,846
Rewards Points: 6,832
Default

A "tech"

In my area, a residential electrician would already be experienced enough to know all these factors to price a job without having to rely on a flat rate book to spit out questions to price the job correctly. I'd say better training of your "techs" is the problem here that won't magically be solved with a pricing app.
HackWork likes this.
MTW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2019, 10:45 AM   #13
Senior Member
 
HackWork's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: -
Posts: 31,302
Rewards Points: 1,625
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coppersmith View Post
LOL. I re-read my post and it came off as an advertisement for flat rate pricing which was not my intent. The app that I am building (and I am perfectly happy to buy if someone can point me to a product), will be "magically" in that it will make quoting a price on a detailed job practically automatic.

This means I can take an employee who has no real experience in estimating and very quickly have him/her making expert level on-the-spot quotes. That's the competitive advantage.
So that's the one big advantage of flatrating that I mentioned when I said: "It does work really well when you have guys out in the field pricing jobs.".

With that said, I don't see it giving that much of a "serious competitive advantage", if any at all. Just my opinion.
HackWork is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2019, 10:47 AM   #14
Senior Member
 
HackWork's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: -
Posts: 31,302
Rewards Points: 1,625
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by MTW View Post
A "tech"

In my area, a residential electrician would already be experienced enough to know all these factors to price a job without having to rely on a flat rate book to spit out questions to price the job correctly. I'd say better training of your "techs" is the problem here that won't magically be solved with a pricing app.
I have to agree. Any electrician experienced in resi service work should know the cost of all the material on his truck and how long it will take to install it. It's simple math.
HackWork is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2019, 12:07 PM   #15
Senior Member
 
Switched's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: California
Posts: 6,001
Rewards Points: 8,730
Default

Contractors Success Systems doesn't ask the questions in the format that you're looking for, but it does have the best FR system created. It also generates a list of materials based upon the tasks chosen and you can create options to present to the customer, a "Good" "Better" "Best" system.

It is a very good product.
Switched is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2019, 12:08 PM   #16
Senile Member
 
macmikeman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Honolulu
Posts: 26,216
Rewards Points: 14,777
Default

I made myself a pretty good estimation app at least for my needs, a number of years back. Within around 5 years it was obsolete thanks to the habit of Apple changing the operating system for iPads about every other month or so..... I did it with Filemaker and Filemaker Go. But it became it's own monster and I couldn't keep up to it , let alone try to make it useful to market it. The thing about any software system nowadays is it becomes a larger effort than the thing it is trying to reduce labor for. I suggest the op think about that and then I suggest he go take a look at Contractor Success Systems. They did things smarter and different from the gate- they (He) hired outside expert help and continued on that path till he had a topnotch product.
__________________
[inappropriate signature removed]
macmikeman is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2019, 06:07 PM   #17
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Florida
Posts: 124
Rewards Points: 131
Default

[QUOTE=HertzHound;5170188]If you can build this App, your in the wrong Buisiness.

That's what I was thinking
I would love to build one, integrate accounting software and a calendar but wouldn't where to begin

I should check out contractor systems again
One guy charged $25 to supply and install a Kidde Carbon combo the other day
MrsElectric is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2019, 06:27 PM   #18
Member
 
Coppersmith's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 61
Rewards Points: 122
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by HertzHound View Post
If you can build this App, your in the wrong Buisiness.
I have a computer science degree and was a professional software engineer for 23 years before becoming an electrician. Writing software for yourself is pleasurable and very useful. Doing it for a big company sucks. In a big company you are constantly forced to fix problems others created and did not document in any reasonable manner. I hated the job almost from the moment I started doing it. Unfortunately (if you can call it that), I was being paid so much money I couldn't walk away. I waited until I was forced out by the economy and my age. I love being an electrician. I wish I had become one right out of high school. Wrong business? Nope. right business!

Quote:
Originally Posted by HertzHound View Post
Wasnít ďContractorís success systemĒ already suggested?
Thank you all who suggested this. I will evaluate it.
MrsElectric and splatz like this.
Coppersmith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2019, 08:47 PM   #19
Senior Member
 
Switched's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: California
Posts: 6,001
Rewards Points: 8,730
Default

Here is a link to the pricing information: https://es2flatrate.com
Switched is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2019, 10:05 PM   #20
Electron Pathway Engineer
 
The_Modifier's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: On cloud 9 in Ontario
Posts: 2,513
Rewards Points: 282
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Switched View Post
Contractors Success Systems doesn't ask the questions in the format that you're looking for, but it does have the best FR system created. It also generates a list of materials based upon the tasks chosen and you can create options to present to the customer, a "Good" "Better" "Best" system.

It is a very good product.
Are you a member @Switched?
electricguy likes this.
__________________
Opportunities multiply as they are seized.
The_Modifier is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Flat rate pricing descriptions on invoices NDC Business, Marketing, and Sales 1 02-12-2017 09:04 PM
Flat rate in a T&M world MrsElectric Business, Marketing, and Sales 29 01-21-2017 09:22 AM
Flat Rate Price List for Residential and commercial service and remodel work. Angel Advanced Tech Business, Marketing, and Sales 8 09-06-2016 08:43 PM
Flat rate proposals gold Business, Marketing, and Sales 195 06-08-2016 05:12 PM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 03:30 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.1
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Our Pro Sites Network
ContractorTalk.com | DrywallTalk.com | HVACSite.com | PaintTalk.com | PlumbingZone.com | RoofingTalk.com