Quickbooks For Contractors

 
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Old 03-07-2016, 06:03 PM   #1
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Quickbooks For Contractors


I recently purchased Quickbooks for Contractors as I really want to shore up my job cost analysis, as well as have a centralized place to track everything from quote->contract->deposits->progress payments->time tracking ->invoicing

I met with my accountant this morning to start getting it set up, but she doesn't necessarily understand the how the phases of remodeling work. I would like to put the work in now to get it setup to maximize the reporting capabilities and job costing analysis.

Anyone have experience with this that they could share, or possibly a web tutorial that explains the best way to go about categorizing expenses/cost of goods sold for contracting?

I have been using some pretty elaborate spreadsheets up to this point, but it just became too much of a headache to design all the reporting pieces and tying in my time tracking. Even for the added expense of QB Contractor, it still seems worth it.

Currently I'm a little unsure as to where to categorize all of my consumables. In my spreadsheets I have a category for "Company Supplies", in there I have 7 sub categories that I track:
1) Blades/bits
2) Caulk/adhesive/filler
3) Personal Protective Equipment
4) Shop Jigs
6) Abrasives
7) Painting Supplies (not the actual paint, but all the other things that go with painting)

All of these get rolled into my other yearly overhead expenses to recalculate my annual overhead to set the next years rate. As well, it lets me know what things I might buy in bulk for the next year.

Where would I go about adding these categories in Quickbooks?
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Old 03-08-2016, 03:52 PM   #2
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Re: Quickbooks For Contractors


All of those would be listed as an ITEM. I have a very detailed item list that coordinates with my estimate spreadsheets.

Example
I have Framing as an item.
Then a sub item I have material, labor costs, sub costs, other costs...

Now when you estimate you select those items and enter the amounts. As you buy material you enter the receipts in and you enter by vendor, item category, and amount. Then when you run your reports its just like magic!

The hardest thing is entering all the receipts in the same item category as you estimated. Small jobs not to bad but bigger jobs, many receipts, gets complicated...

I also have mine setup where profit and overhead is an item and I enter that in separately.

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Old 03-08-2016, 03:53 PM   #3
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Re: Quickbooks For Contractors


Its under tab called lists then item list... its the heart of job costing in QuickBooks


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Old 03-11-2016, 04:21 PM   #4
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Re: Quickbooks For Contractors


I'm glad this thread was started. I too am considering Quickbooks for Contractors. I currently use ADP for payroll, have a business CC and checking acct and have a half dozen spreadsheets for tracking income, payroll, job cost sheets, etc.

Do I have to lump bidding into Quickbooks for it to work properly.

I also currently have Word doc templates for Estimates, Invoices, Contracts & Change Orders but they are not tied into anything just saved on the hard drive for referral. Would I be able to upload my current setup or do I have to start from scratch?

Lastly, what's the standard learning curve? How long did it take for you guys to get fluent at it?
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Old 03-11-2016, 05:11 PM   #5
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Re: Quickbooks For Contractors


Quote:
Originally Posted by MattK View Post
I'm glad this thread was started. I too am considering Quickbooks for Contractors. I currently use ADP for payroll, have a business CC and checking acct and have a half dozen spreadsheets for tracking income, payroll, job cost sheets, etc.

Do I have to lump bidding into Quickbooks for it to work properly.

I also currently have Word doc templates for Estimates, Invoices, Contracts & Change Orders but they are not tied into anything just saved on the hard drive for referral. Would I be able to upload my current setup or do I have to start from scratch?

Lastly, what's the standard learning curve? How long did it take for you guys to get fluent at it?
You would have to use the estimating in QuickBooks to run job costs. I estimate in excel then enter that estimate numbers into QuickBooks once I get the job...

Learning wasn't to bad, I was taught some in school so I picked it up quick. Setting up the item lists is very time consuming depending how detailed you get.

Once you set up your items and chart of accounts, running reports is easy... you just have to be accurate and consistent with entering all the receipts.

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Old 03-11-2016, 05:12 PM   #6
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Re: Quickbooks For Contractors


They also have templates for invoices and other things that are customisable to your likeing

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Old 03-11-2016, 06:54 PM   #7
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Re: Quickbooks For Contractors


Quote:
Originally Posted by MattK View Post
I'm glad this thread was started. I too am considering Quickbooks for Contractors. I currently use ADP for payroll, have a business CC and checking acct and have a half dozen spreadsheets for tracking income, payroll, job cost sheets, etc.

Do I have to lump bidding into Quickbooks for it to work properly.

I also currently have Word doc templates for Estimates, Invoices, Contracts & Change Orders but they are not tied into anything just saved on the hard drive for referral. Would I be able to upload my current setup or do I have to start from scratch?

Lastly, what's the standard learning curve? How long did it take for you guys to get fluent at it?
I am in the midst of setting it up right now and it is pretty time intensive to get the whole thing setup right (and this is coming from someone who is quite good with computers).

In order to get the most out of the job costing analysis, you have to spend a lot of time crafting what is called the "item list". I have found this web page to be a great starting point for importing a premade item list for contractors (there are download links at the bottom):
http://www.jobcosting.com/contractors-resource-page/

This is my basic understanding of how it works (please let me know if I've misunderstood this)
The way you setup your item list is directly correlated to how you want to see the breakdown of your job cost analysis. If you just want to see how you did overall vs your estimate it's fairly simple, but when you get into more complicated projects where you want to break it down into phases is where your really have to put the effort in.

For example if you just want to see Labour and materials it fairly easy, but let say you're doing a new house build you might want to see:
1)Prep
1a) Permits
1b) Engineering
1c) Design
.
.
.
2) Excavation
2a) Excavation Labour
2b) Excavation Materials
2c) Excavation Sub Contractor


3) Concrete
...
4) Framing
...
5) HVAC

......
You get the idea. For you to see how you do on all of these different phases (or however you want to track your job costing), your estimate must include all of the items. Then when it comes time to actually do the work, the bills are tracked according to the client&job in the correct item. Same goes for time tracking within quickbooks for you and your staff, you have to enter client&job and the "service" item (e.g. framing labour).


From what I can tell, the change order functionality is pretty weak. I would have expected a parent-child relationship between estimates. E.g. Having entered the original estimate, I would have expected to enter a new estimate for the change order (child) and link it to the original estimate (parent). It seems that in quick books you just edit the original estimate and it will ask you if it's a change order. It will then save the change orders at the bottom of the original estimate. Unless someone can explain it to me better, I don't really like how that works because I usually have different payment terms associated to change orders. Some are pay in full upon change order, some are deposit, then full payment on next draw (or a related draw to the change order), or at final billing. Keeping track of all of that is difficult and I don't see a good way of doing it in Quickbooks.

I think I will stick to using my spreadsheet and excel for the actual submitted proposals/contracts/quotes for ease of formatting, but attach them to the estimates in quickbooks for reference. Pretty sure I'll use the quickbooks invoicing though.

All in all for what you pay you get a lot, but it seems quite dated in it's architecture.
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Old 03-11-2016, 09:17 PM   #8
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Re: Quickbooks For Contractors


Quote:
Originally Posted by Philament View Post
I am in the midst of setting it up right now and it is pretty time intensive to get the whole thing setup right (and this is coming from someone who is quite good with computers).

In order to get the most out of the job costing analysis, you have to spend a lot of time crafting what is called the "item list". I have found this web page to be a great starting point for importing a premade item list for contractors (there are download links at the bottom):
http://www.jobcosting.com/contractors-resource-page/

This is my basic understanding of how it works (please let me know if I've misunderstood this)
The way you setup your item list is directly correlated to how you want to see the breakdown of your job cost analysis. If you just want to see how you did overall vs your estimate it's fairly simple, but when you get into more complicated projects where you want to break it down into phases is where your really have to put the effort in.

For example if you just want to see Labour and materials it fairly easy, but let say you're doing a new house build you might want to see:
1)Prep
1a) Permits
1b) Engineering
1c) Design
.
.
.
2) Excavation
2a) Excavation Labour
2b) Excavation Materials
2c) Excavation Sub Contractor


3) Concrete
...
4) Framing
...
5) HVAC

......
You get the idea. For you to see how you do on all of these different phases (or however you want to track your job costing), your estimate must include all of the items. Then when it comes time to actually do the work, the bills are tracked according to the client&job in the correct item. Same goes for time tracking within quickbooks for you and your staff, you have to enter client&job and the "service" item (e.g. framing labour).


From what I can tell, the change order functionality is pretty weak. I would have expected a parent-child relationship between estimates. E.g. Having entered the original estimate, I would have expected to enter a new estimate for the change order (child) and link it to the original estimate (parent). It seems that in quick books you just edit the original estimate and it will ask you if it's a change order. It will then save the change orders at the bottom of the original estimate. Unless someone can explain it to me better, I don't really like how that works because I usually have different payment terms associated to change orders. Some are pay in full upon change order, some are deposit, then full payment on next draw (or a related draw to the change order), or at final billing. Keeping track of all of that is difficult and I don't see a good way of doing it in Quickbooks.

I think I will stick to using my spreadsheet and excel for the actual submitted proposals/contracts/quotes for ease of formatting, but attach them to the estimates in quickbooks for reference. Pretty sure I'll use the quickbooks invoicing though.

All in all for what you pay you get a lot, but it seems quite dated in it's architecture.
Thank-you for this link. I watched some of her videos, but couldn't get the links to work.
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Old 03-12-2016, 04:54 AM   #9
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Re: Quickbooks For Contractors


I'm a one man band pretty much. All of my disposable go under materials per each job estimate and invoices. Trying to keep track of every little item would be time consuming. For me anyway.

I'm not sure if this helps much. Been using Quickbooks close to ten yrs now. Wife takes care of the nitty gritty. (Thank God)

Good luck to you.
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Old 03-12-2016, 05:29 AM   #10
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Re: Quickbooks For Contractors


Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Shoe View Post
I'm a one man band pretty much. All of my disposable go under materials per each job estimate and invoices. Trying to keep track of every little item would be time consuming. For me anyway.

I'm not sure if this helps much. Been using Quickbooks close to ten yrs now. Wife takes care of the nitty gritty. (Thank God)

Good luck to you.
That's the nature of the beast. The more post job analytics you're interested in, the more data you have to capture. For a subcontractor doing a single line of work there probably isn't much sense in having all kinds of items, perhaps just types of jobs. Say residential vs commercial, bathrooms vs kitchens..etc

Alternatively, If I'm understanding correctly, there are also "classes" in QB, which is yet another way to slice your data. Classes could be used for different lines of business (e.g. Design, Service work, Renovations, New House)

The hard part is setting it all up, after that it's just habit forming. You can just copy existing estimates and invoices and work from them, coding you receipts, tracking time according to activity.

For me I can't really know where I'm going if I don't know where I've been. Having the numbers gives me extra support in making informed business decisions.
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Old 03-12-2016, 05:57 AM   #11
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Re: Quickbooks For Contractors


Quote:
Originally Posted by VinylHanger View Post
Thank-you for this link. I watched some of her videos, but couldn't get the links to work.
Of all the tutorials I've watched/read, I find hers the best. She has a really good pace and covers the important things without droning on.
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Old 03-12-2016, 09:37 AM   #12
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Re: Quickbooks For Contractors


Do you guys have the flat rate program to purchase, seems to be offered for $349.99 or the monthly pay as you go program, for $9.99/month? It looks like there is a promo rate for $4.99 for the first 12 months. If you buy the program outright, does it come with free upgrades as Intuit produces them or are those all additional costs?
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Old 03-12-2016, 09:46 AM   #13
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Re: Quickbooks For Contractors


I bought it outright, but I don't do payroll through it. If you do payroll through it i gather you have to get a new version every year (at least that's what I was told for here in Canada)
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Old 03-12-2016, 09:55 AM   #14
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I bought it outright, but I don't do payroll through it. If you do payroll through it i gather you have to get a new version every year (at least that's what I was told for here in Canada)
I have a payroll service through a 3rd party so would want the 2 programs to "speak to eachother" but not necessarily be the same. If I have to manually enter the numbers from payroll into Quickbooks, that isn't the end of the world.
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Old 03-12-2016, 10:17 AM   #15
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Re: Quickbooks For Contractors


I did notice on the $349, it does not include upgrades or any tech support. The alternative is $299/year to include both.
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Old 03-12-2016, 10:29 AM   #16
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I did notice on the $349, it does not include upgrades or any tech support. The alternative is $299/year to include both.
Sounds about right. I'm relying on my accountant and forums for support. Most people I know that use quickbooks tend to use the same version forever unless they have have payroll.
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Old 03-12-2016, 07:16 PM   #17
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Re: Quickbooks For Contractors


My accountant doesn't want us to mess with payroll. As for Quick books payroll features he says its junk and has his own system set up for payroll. Ill learn more as time goes by.

Question and sorry to high jack this thread but for the ones that do use it, do you link your bank account to qb? What are the advantages and what are some precautions to take so you don't mess up your bookkeeping?

I have tweaked some things this week. The problem was when you enter invoice and receive payment then you have to record deposit. Well my partner was labeling in the deposit book just last names, so you have to find the right (first name) and concur it with the deposit. then you have to go to the check register and make sure the deposit was entered. So I have requested him to fill out individual deposit receipts per deposit and not to group deposits. Its a little pain but when your making one deposit with four customers it can be a pain to look at a 15k deposit and not know who it was for and only have the last names to go by.

If we add first and last names in the deposit book then I can record the deposit better. Also if we do individual deposit slips we can find the deposit amount easier in the check register and add a name in the memo to the check register and put the deposit into the customers file that we keep hard copies of.

With this being my solution for our dilemma of keeping up with deposits would it benefit me to ling QB with my bank account for this certain situation?
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Old 03-12-2016, 09:10 PM   #18
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Re: Quickbooks For Contractors


When you enter receive payments it should automatically be reflected in your bank account


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Old 03-12-2016, 09:29 PM   #19
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When you enter receive payments it should automatically be reflected in your bank account


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So when I have to enter receive payment I am still having to take another step and record deposit. Should the record deposit happen automatically when I enter in receive payment? Or would what your saying should happen, only happen if I had my bank account linked?
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Old 03-12-2016, 10:20 PM   #20
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Re: Quickbooks For Contractors


Quickbooks for contractors pisses me off. They end all online banking with your current edition and make you purchase the new upgraded addition EVERY THREE YEARS! it's always 300 bucks.

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