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Another Estimating Software Thread

 
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Old 07-13-2007, 03:15 AM   #1
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Another Estimating Software Thread


I'm not sure how many estimators are on this site since most of the other estimating software threads dont help much and are mostly "i do it oldschool" replies from people afraid of computers. I use timberline for the person i am working with now, but i have an interview coming up and id like to have my own software on my laptop. There are dozens of programs out there and i was wondering if anyone had some experience whith which ones are worth demoing. Im comfortable with timberline and im sure if im good with that i can easily adapt to any software out there. Timberline would cost thousands and im looking for something in the $500 range. Any suggestions are appreciated, THANKS
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Old 07-26-2007, 08:45 PM   #2
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Re: Another Estimating Software Thread


Im having an estimate software and spreedsheet dilema myself. Im looking for software on or excell spreedsheets for job tracking, take offs, and culculating over all cost

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Old 07-27-2007, 12:18 PM   #3
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Re: Another Estimating Software Thread


Me three. Same boat. Look at this thread.

http://www.contractortalk.com/showth...ating+software

Last post had this suggestion, I went thru all of the tutorials it seems really good.

http://www.etakeoff.com/viewer/demonstrations.php
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Old 08-08-2007, 08:34 AM   #4
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Re: Another Estimating Software Thread


I like Xactimate but it costs $1625 for the first year and $1500 every year after.

I just spent some time learning on CATO, the adjusters forum and Simso seems to be a good one too.

There's MSB, Integra, and a few other ones. A few months back had a company send me the roofing price list, it was called contractor something and was under $600 a year. When I compared the prices to Xactimate each roof would be a grand or two less than using Xactimate.

Ended up buying Xactimate and make up for the cost on pretty much every roof I do.
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Old 08-08-2007, 11:31 PM   #5
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Re: Another Estimating Software Thread


www.estimatorpro.com great for the small builder...which is what I am. When I bought it several years ago it was about $800 bucks. It is just an excel based spreadsheet program. I love it and have no desire for anything else.

Sam
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Old 08-09-2007, 12:47 AM   #6
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Re: Another Estimating Software Thread


How detailed are these estimating software programs? I am not afraid of computers, I am just stuck old school and as I am estimating I am building the project in my mind, does 2 things, keeps my math brain working and allows me to find issues now rather than later on the project (most times)
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Old 08-09-2007, 11:21 AM   #7
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Re: Another Estimating Software Thread


Here is a free download of estimating software to try. It has a demo function in the help file.
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Old 08-12-2007, 09:34 PM   #8
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Re: Another Estimating Software Thread


I like my Craftsman software, but we always do it by hand to double check. And always review the costs.
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Old 08-22-2007, 07:07 AM   #9
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Re: Another Estimating Software Thread


I hate to say it, but for $500, you get what you pay for. If you want software that is good and has features your going to need, you'll have to spend some money. Most of the companies offer some type of financing as well as technical support, with updates. I use to work for a software company, as a trainer, and I have been to quite a few trade shows and they all do the same thing, for the most part, they just have different bells and whistles. So do some research and make sure you get the most for your money.
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Old 08-22-2007, 02:49 PM   #10
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Re: Another Estimating Software Thread


Quote:
Originally Posted by jdaviau View Post
I hate to say it, but for $500, you get what you pay for. If you want software that is good and has features your going to need, you'll have to spend some money. Most of the companies offer some type of financing as well as technical support, with updates. I use to work for a software company, as a trainer, and I have been to quite a few trade shows and they all do the same thing, for the most part, they just have different bells and whistles. So do some research and make sure you get the most for your money.
Some are no more than a spreadsheet that only allows you to use unit prices. Others only do quantity takeoffs with no pricing. Some make you input total quantities for pricing (no ability to input measurements).

jdaviau is correct in saying a good one will cost you some bux but a good one that will do all of your calculations for you could save you more than the cost of the software and computer by saving you from 1 decimal point error using a pencil, paper and calculator. I would guess that the good ones probably start at about $2000 and the sky is the limit. Some like Timberline I have heard cost about $10,000 and tie into your accounting software.

Personally I don't see any advantage (other than your computer printed estimate being legible) of many of those that cost very little. It depends on what you need.
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Old 08-22-2007, 06:12 PM   #11
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Re: Another Estimating Software Thread


I, personally, use a software package that run about $18k. There are 2 packages, 1 for dirt take-off and 1 for estimates. The estimate package has a database, but also a spreadsheet. It exports to most major accouinting packages and both have digital take-off capabilities. Is that right for you, only you can answer what and how much you really need.
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Old 08-22-2007, 09:42 PM   #12
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Re: Another Estimating Software Thread


Quote:
Originally Posted by jdaviau View Post
I, personally, use a software package that run about $18k. There are 2 packages, 1 for dirt take-off and 1 for estimates. The estimate package has a database, but also a spreadsheet. It exports to most major accouinting packages and both have digital take-off capabilities. Is that right for you, only you can answer what and how much you really need.
It would be my guess that the software you are using is much more than most contractors here would need. It seems most people here do residential work and do all of the estimating themselves. Like I said, a guess.

Many of the electrical estimating programs are tied into a national database for production rates. Personally I like to use my own production rates with my own real time data. I also don't really understand how pricing can be handled on a national scale. I'm sure it can be done but that isn't something I need so I haven't thought a lot about it. Even mine is a bit too complicated for some peoples uses but I do like to have the ability to enter all room finish schedule information then take the measurements if that is the type of job I am estimating. I also like the ability to walk into a room and just enter the task such as gyp walls or wood base or french doors (whatever designation I decide) and then enter the measurements or count and have a total break down of labor and material along with my own markups etc. The ability to use unit prices if I need to is also helpful for my needs.

It is all personal preference. I guess if mine was for sale it would be around $2,000.00.
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Old 08-23-2007, 07:42 AM   #13
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Re: Another Estimating Software Thread


Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidNTX View Post
It would be my guess that the software you are using is much more than most contractors here would need. It seems most people here do residential work and do all of the estimating themselves. Like I said, a guess.

Many of the electrical estimating programs are tied into a national database for production rates. Personally I like to use my own production rates with my own real time data. I also don't really understand how pricing can be handled on a national scale. I'm sure it can be done but that isn't something I need so I haven't thought a lot about it. Even mine is a bit too complicated for some peoples uses but I do like to have the ability to enter all room finish schedule information then take the measurements if that is the type of job I am estimating. I also like the ability to walk into a room and just enter the task such as gyp walls or wood base or french doors (whatever designation I decide) and then enter the measurements or count and have a total break down of labor and material along with my own markups etc. The ability to use unit prices if I need to is also helpful for my needs.

It is all personal preference. I guess if mine was for sale it would be around $2,000.00.

I agree, it probably is more than most need. When I worked for the software company, as a trainer, one of the companies I trained was Beazer Homes, so for residenctial use it's great. We just completed a $650k custom home, and the database I created is extensive. There many small compnies out there that use it, it's just a matter of persoanl preference, and what each company needs to get the job done.
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Old 08-23-2007, 09:08 AM   #14
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Re: Another Estimating Software Thread


Quote:
Originally Posted by jdaviau View Post
I agree, it probably is more than most need. When I worked for the software company, as a trainer, one of the companies I trained was Beazer Homes, so for residenctial use it's great. We just completed a $650k custom home, and the database I created is extensive. There many small compnies out there that use it, it's just a matter of persoanl preference, and what each company needs to get the job done.
Does your database contain material costs and production rates?

Is it a single central database that contractors nationwide use?

Do individual contractors update their own material prices and production rates or is it done by the software company to the central database?

What functions does your spreadsheet perform?

Mine also has a database that keeps up with my own material costs and production rates and are saved for the next time I need to use a particular product or estimate a particular task. This makes it extremely easy and fast to be able to simply enter a task (i.e. Painted Gyp) and just enter the measurements. This results in reports of total labor and material requirements with pricing, markups etc.

While this is extremely easy and fast, the first time SubsBid is used this information has to be filled in. Every time I enter a new task that hasn't been added to the database, it forces me to enter that item and then it is there to use for the current project you are estimating as well as saved for all future projects. Whenever a task is required in an estimate, a simple mouse click will add it to your estimate.
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Old 08-23-2007, 11:42 AM   #15
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Re: Another Estimating Software Thread


There are sample databases that come with the software. But I built my own. Yes, you can put in production rates, there are equipment calculators, and there are labor calculators for labor burden and all that. Like I said, there is more than most will ever use. The spreadsheet calculates totals and breaks out labor, equip. and material cost, based on the cost items. You can also create financials, so you put all your items in at cost and then put your profit and overhead in at the end, and it will do all the calculations for you. A couple more post and I can show you a screen capture. LOL
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Old 08-23-2007, 11:45 AM   #16
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Re: Another Estimating Software Thread


post number 14
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Old 08-23-2007, 11:45 AM   #17
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Old 08-23-2007, 11:46 AM   #18
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Post number 16
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Old 08-23-2007, 11:47 AM   #19
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Re: Another Estimating Software Thread


Here check it out. Again, I am not trying to sell anything. Just showing what I use to estimate.

http://www.questsolutions.com/estimator.php
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Old 08-23-2007, 06:40 PM   #20
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Re: Another Estimating Software Thread


Here is a pic of the roof we are bidding on. It took me about 40 minutes on E Takeoff, it was under $2000.00 (software) I really like it.

All of the different colors represent the various components: ridges, valleys, hip & ridge, shingles, brai etc....
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Another estimating software thread-2sample-plan.jpg  

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Last edited by Tonkadad; 08-23-2007 at 06:41 PM. Reason: mistake
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