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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So you may have noticed that this is my first post asking a question thats been beaten to death, and you want to kick me in the nuts.

Let me say that I've exhausted the search option on this site. I've read posts from as far back as four years ago on this topic. My problem has been that the answers to this subject are both scattered and in some cases outdated.

What I've learned is that there are many different programs or systems which solve many different problems. I have a specific problem but I think asking for my answer would be short sighted and ultimately not provide more useful information for everyone, including myself.

Is it possible for this group to create a centralized and up-to-date review thread of the different Flat Rate programs and systems out there? I think this could be beneficial for many people.

What I had in mind:

1) The software/method you use for Flat Rate pricing
2) Quick review of your history using it - e.g. time used, success rate
3) Your primary area of business - e.g. service, small commercial, custom resi
4) Pros
5) Cons
6) Comments


Naturally this thread could end up buried and forgotten, but you never know. Thanks guys.
 

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I can think of at least 3 prevalent trade rags that should provide reviews on software as well as hardware

But they don't

In fact , you'll rarely find anything negative about the hand that feeds them.

That said, it's mighty hard to gain an unbiased consensus @ ET

Do carry on :thumbsup:

~CS~
 

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Hey!

I think y'all are giving CS a bad deal.

Sure, he doesn't subscribe to the FR way, but what's wrong with that?
 

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Flex Bits & Blindfolds
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1,120 Posts
I agree with teslawasawesome, we should have a thread with a comprehensive review of various flat rate systems and programs. If I get time, I may add one myself. The reason why CS comment does not belong here (as well as everyone else's for that matter) is that teslawasawesome asked for a review with pros and cons. If you have never used a particular system you can't intellegently weigh the pros or cons.
teslawasawesome did not ask about the philosophy of a flat rate business plan, he is asking of specifics. So CS and anybody else who wants to argue this, start a new thread. This is here for a comprehensive review based on specific experiences.
 

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Flex Bits & Blindfolds
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I agree with teslawasawesome, we should have a thread with a comprehensive review of various flat rate systems and programs. If I get time, I may add one myself. The reason why CS comment does not belong here (as well as everyone else's for that matter) is that teslawasawesome asked for a review with pros and cons. If you have never used a particular system you can't intellegently weigh the pros or cons.
teslawasawesome did not ask about the philosophy of a flat rate business plan, he is asking of specifics. So CS and anybody else who wants to argue this, start a new thread. This is here for a comprehensive review based on specific experiences.


+
Yup, I just did that
 

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1) The software/method you use for Flat Rate pricing
2) Quick review of your history using it - e.g. time used, success rate
3) Your primary area of business - e.g. service, small commercial, custom resi
4) Pros
5) Cons
6) Comments

Here's my experience using Flat Rate Software:

1). ES2 software which is installed on my iPad

2). I've been using it for 18 months. I would definitely say it's helped in my close rate.

3). We do residential remodel, residential service work, commercial and industrial wiring. We primarily use the flat rate software for residential projects and small commercial jobs.

4). It has helped streamline my estimating and invoicing process.

5). It took me sometime to get used to the new software as I'm a slow learner.:laughing:

6). For me it's worth the investment. It has helped increase my profit margin. Saves me time.

Overall, I'm very happy with my decision to use flat rate pricing software.
 

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RIP 1959-2015
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I think y'all are giving CS a bad deal.

Sure, he doesn't subscribe to the FR way, but what's wrong with that?
Nothing, however he has chased off some of the top of the line members on this particular topic, that is where the bad rap comes from.

I love Steve but on this topic he has been very disruptive, I understand his opinion and respect his loathing of the flat rate concept.

From what I've read in the automotive repair occupation at car dealerships the flat rate concept is used to cheat the mechanics out of a days pay, and also promotes working too fast and sloppy work to beat the clock.

I do neither in my business. Abusing employees and leaving a trail of sloppy crappy work will put you out of business over time.


You can use the flat rate concept to make higher profits by selling the best at top dollar, there is no need to abuse people to make a profit.
 

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I make all the electrons line up for their Flu shots
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It is difficult for me to make any judgements unless I get to see the DDS and the table relationships. If the major players are willing to have me make a very expert decision on who the winner really is, just pm me with proper documentation, along with any appropriate scripts, and of course an Admin Password **, and I will be happy to give my opinion..:)



** So I can run the script de-bugger and message watcher of course....:whistling2:
 

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Flex Bits & Blindfolds
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1,120 Posts
Since we’re not talking about why to choose one business practice or another, and we just want a thread dedicated to a comprehensive review of the programs we have used, I’ll give it a shot. Because you are well aware of how the system works, and how to sell yourself to your customer, I’ll try and stick strictly to a software review.

I use ES2 and have been since last October, so I am confident in saying that I am comfortable with this software. To start with it is far more than flat rate pricing.

**All of this assumes that you understand how you determine you Billable Hour Rate. So I won’t bore you.**

Also, here is your warning that I am a electrical contractor who owns runs his own business, I am not a writer.

It has over 2,800 pre-loaded tasks, and a limitless ways to customize your own. You’re able to have multiple users, and sync over to the cloud. If you have a data package with you cell phone provider it makes things much easier. You’ll will be online and essentially signed in at all times. If you have a wifi only device, you must go “offline” before you leave your wifi zone, enter everything you need to in the field, and upon returning to the office, go back “online” and your data will automatically upload and sync. I much prefer the device with data, going on and off line was a headache, so I sold my old device and bought a new one.

Just like any other piece of software, you start by inputting your personal and company info, including your rates, terms and conditions, users, etc. All of this will be automatically inputted into your estimate/invoice template. Entering the customer information is a bit clumsy. Everything you need, name, customer type, address, contact info, and notes, are scattered over 4 different pages, and each page must be saved individually, or you will get error messages.

When you have all the basic information inputted, you’ve meet with the customer, and have a general idea what is involved with the project, the fun begins. The software is very simple to use. Point and click through a variety of chapters and subchapters to find the specific tasks or assemblies you’re looking for. It automatically has a labor unit, material cost, and you billable hour factored in, and it attaches it to your estimate. Click the save button and it jumps to a signature screen for the customer. You now have a signed contract for a work order, totally paperless. Next click save again, then email, and it jumps you to the email mode. A generic template (not customizable) with your estimate all ready attached. This will BCC you, so you will have the same copy and know when it was sent.

In Calendar mode, assign the job to a tech on a time a date. It’s very handy for the techs to get their schedule without calling the office. This feature would be much better served if it would sync directly to Google Calendar. Truthfully, I don’t use it because I would rather have reminder set in my phone, than opening the program every time I need to remember what the hell I was supposed to be doing.

It has a Job Clock feature. I’m guessing it’s a running clock you start per job to track actual billable hours worked, against the averages the software assigns. Another feature I don’t use, I find the software’s labor unit to be very accurate.

Once you finish the project, you simply convert the estimate to an invoice, the customer resigns the box, and blam-o you have a check in hand.

You can set your own billable hour rates. You can have up to four different rates for various reasons. I have a service rate, 2-day projects, multiple day projects, and an emergency/holiday rate. For each task you enter into the program, it will ask you which rate you want to use. This software is absolutely perfect for service work, but I use it for all of my bids. Just pick the appropriate rate.

On the desktop version you can navigate through the Reports tab. Where you can see reports based on techs, different tasks, customer referrals, etc. You can even look at different techs closing percentage.

ES2 also has a massive Home Inspection checklist. This thing is awsome, you’ll never forget anything in the house if you use it properly. Much like a pre-flight checklist.

To be clear the software only supports iPads and a Desktop at this time. I believe there are plans for both Android and Windows supported tablets in the near future. Also in the future I am excited to see the new Quickbooks Online integration, inventory tracking, a better calendar system, and even more customization.

**I am confident that I left out a lot of the things in this software that I take for granted. Don't hesitate to ask questions, and maybe I can help further.**
 

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Flex Bits & Blindfolds
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1,120 Posts
Pros:
2800+ tasks
customizable tasks
syncs with cloud
“offline” version
streamlined estimate/invoice creation
labor units, material, billable hours instantly calculated
signature capture
instantly email estimates/invoices
multi user calendar
job/tech reports
Home Inspection checklist

Cons:
Clumsy entering customer info
Calendar mode does not sync with google



Speed, efficiency, and vey reasonable costs are what ES2 is all about
And all with no contracts to sign
 

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RIP 1959-2015
Joined
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10,750 Posts
Since we’re not talking about why to choose one business practice or another, and we just want a thread dedicated to a comprehensive review of the programs we have used, I’ll give it a shot. Because you are well aware of how the system works, and how to sell yourself to your customer, I’ll try and stick strictly to a software review.

I use ES2 and have been since last October, so I am confident in saying that I am comfortable with this software. To start with it is far more than flat rate pricing.

**All of this assumes that you understand how you determine you Billable Hour Rate. So I won’t bore you.**

Also, here is your warning that I am a electrical contractor who owns runs his own business, I am not a writer.

It has over 2,800 pre-loaded tasks, and a limitless ways to customize your own. You’re able to have multiple users, and sync over to the cloud. If you have a data package with you cell phone provider it makes things much easier. You’ll will be online and essentially signed in at all times. If you have a wifi only device, you must go “offline” before you leave your wifi zone, enter everything you need to in the field, and upon returning to the office, go back “online” and your data will automatically upload and sync. I much prefer the device with data, going on and off line was a headache, so I sold my old device and bought a new one.

Just like any other piece of software, you start by inputting your personal and company info, including your rates, terms and conditions, users, etc. All of this will be automatically inputted into your estimate/invoice template. Entering the customer information is a bit clumsy. Everything you need, name, customer type, address, contact info, and notes, are scattered over 4 different pages, and each page must be saved individually, or you will get error messages.

When you have all the basic information inputted, you’ve meet with the customer, and have a general idea what is involved with the project, the fun begins. The software is very simple to use. Point and click through a variety of chapters and subchapters to find the specific tasks or assemblies you’re looking for. It automatically has a labor unit, material cost, and you billable hour factored in, and it attaches it to your estimate. Click the save button and it jumps to a signature screen for the customer. You now have a signed contract for a work order, totally paperless. Next click save again, then email, and it jumps you to the email mode. A generic template (not customizable) with your estimate all ready attached. This will BCC you, so you will have the same copy and know when it was sent.

In Calendar mode, assign the job to a tech on a time a date. It’s very handy for the techs to get their schedule without calling the office. This feature would be much better served if it would sync directly to Google Calendar. Truthfully, I don’t use it because I would rather have reminder set in my phone, than opening the program every time I need to remember what the hell I was supposed to be doing.

It has a Job Clock feature. I’m guessing it’s a running clock you start per job to track actual billable hours worked, against the averages the software assigns. Another feature I don’t use, I find the software’s labor unit to be very accurate.

Once you finish the project, you simply convert the estimate to an invoice, the customer resigns the box, and blam-o you have a check in hand.

You can set your own billable hour rates. You can have up to four different rates for various reasons. I have a service rate, 2-day projects, multiple day projects, and an emergency/holiday rate. For each task you enter into the program, it will ask you which rate you want to use. This software is absolutely perfect for service work, but I use it for all of my bids. Just pick the appropriate rate.

On the desktop version you can navigate through the Reports tab. Where you can see reports based on techs, different tasks, customer referrals, etc. You can even look at different techs closing percentage.

ES2 also has a massive Home Inspection checklist. This thing is awsome, you’ll never forget anything in the house if you use it properly. Much like a pre-flight checklist.

To be clear the software only supports iPads and a Desktop at this time. I believe there are plans for both Android and Windows supported tablets in the near future. Also in the future I am excited to see the new Quickbooks Online integration, inventory tracking, a better calendar system, and even more customization.

**I am confident that I left out a lot of the things in this software that I take for granted. Don't hesitate to ask questions, and maybe I can help further.**
:thumbsup::thumbsup:
 
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