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Old 09-03-2019, 07:30 PM   #1
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Hi ,
I am just starting my own business and was wondering if any one has a good estimating software to suggest for a small company

Thanks
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Old 09-03-2019, 08:00 PM   #2
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Figure all jobs as either half-day jobs, full-day jobs -- or multiple day jobs.

That's the smallest labor division a small operator can pull off.

Don't use Big Contractor estimating logic.

Then, tack on materials -- to include some allowance for trivial hardware -- wire nuts and such.

Develop your own spread sheets for what you'd call a standard job -- say a heavy-up.

Do allow for a multiplier for difficulties and weirdness. This is when conditions make everything take twice as long -- and so forth.

I've never seen a decent estimating package oriented towards a start-up small guy.

Keep in mind that you can't afford to kill your time working up perfect estimates.

You can't afford to kill your wallet and your time coming up to speed for an alien software package.

If you're bidding Plans & Specifications jobs at a commercial scale -- the above advice does not hold.

No book is going to tell you how long it takes YOU to perform a Service Call.

Don't even attempt to be the lowest bidder, not as a start-up. That's a sure fire route to the poor house.
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Old 09-03-2019, 08:07 PM   #3
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What type of work? Resi new construction? Remodel? Service?

Telsa has some good advice and points.
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Old 09-03-2019, 08:53 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Switched View Post
What type of work? Resi new construction? Remodel? Service?

Telsa has some good advice and points.
I do mostly service type, but have been getting into remodels more lately
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Old 09-03-2019, 08:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by telsa View Post
Figure all jobs as either half-day jobs, full-day jobs -- or multiple day jobs.

That's the smallest labor division a small operator can pull off.

Don't use Big Contractor estimating logic.

Then, tack on materials -- to include some allowance for trivial hardware -- wire nuts and such.

Develop your own spread sheets for what you'd call a standard job -- say a heavy-up.

Do allow for a multiplier for difficulties and weirdness. This is when conditions make everything take twice as long -- and so forth.

I've never seen a decent estimating package oriented towards a start-up small guy.

Keep in mind that you can't afford to kill your time working up perfect estimates.

You can't afford to kill your wallet and your time coming up to speed for an alien software package.

If you're bidding Plans & Specifications jobs at a commercial scale -- the above advice does not hold.

No book is going to tell you how long it takes YOU to perform a Service Call.

Don't even attempt to be the lowest bidder, not as a start-up. That's a sure fire route to the poor house.
Thanks for the advice greatly appreciate it
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Old 09-04-2019, 12:55 PM   #6
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I've been on my own since 2012 and I still struggle with bidding work. What Tesla said is REALLY GOOD advice.
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Old 09-04-2019, 01:16 PM   #7
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I've been on my own since 2012 and I still struggle with bidding work. What Tesla said is REALLY GOOD advice.
He stole it all out of my super secret super duper book I keep in the vault. Now I know he broke in I have to change the combination again.....

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Old 09-04-2019, 01:16 PM   #8
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If you're bidding service calls, you'll never make any money, someone will always under bid you. Service is flat rate T&M. People usually don't put "flickering lights" out to bid. Besides, trying to estimate a call like that is impossible. Something like that could range from a lose bulb, lose wirenut, to a panel change because of an arced bus.
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Old 09-04-2019, 01:21 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by joebanana View Post
If you're bidding service calls, you'll never make any money, someone will always under bid you. Service is flat rate T&M. People usually don't put "flickering lights" out to bid. Besides, trying to estimate a call like that is impossible. Something like that could range from a lose bulb, lose wirenut, to a panel change because of an arced bus.
Many of us call residential work that is less than a renovation "service work". Others will say service and installation work.

A panel change, a vehicle charger, adding some lights, installing new outlets, running a new line for central AC, etc. etc. etc. 1 day or less work, we often call service work.

kkbor27- I do this work and I price is all by simply estimating the time I think it will take and adding in the material. As you think about the job you should be able to say to yourself "this will take me about 5 hours".

You will get very good at estimating that way. I prefer to do it like that because I am the one looking at the job and I know how fast I can do things. No one else can have the accuracy that I can.
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Old 09-04-2019, 11:19 PM   #10
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No one else can have the accuracy that I can.
Rumor has it NewElect85 can estimate a job dead on accurate for Southeast Power
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Old 09-05-2019, 01:12 AM   #11
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OP: Personal Message WronGun for how to build a Book -- very, very fast.

Estimating is only 1/4 of the equation.

Last edited by telsa; 09-05-2019 at 01:21 AM.
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Old 09-06-2019, 06:40 AM   #12
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I have done commercial my whole career working for company in Maryland. Now I am in PA and wanna start out on my own and the residential part is some what new . I think I have tried to treat the residential pricing like I would commercial. so I thank you all for the advice it will help.
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