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I am looking for an estimating program that ties in with some sort of job costing data base so that I can gather data on how much it actually cost me to do a particular job and use that data to do my estimating. It would also be nice if I could drop in some RS Means data to do some comparisons as well as update material costs, etc. If possible, I would also like the database to be as customizable as possible which would mean it might have to be in SQL. A lot of the programs I've looked at are proprietary, meaning you have to use THEIR databases in THEIR format.

Does anybody know of any good software that comes close to meeting these criteria?

Thanks

Matt Perry
 

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mperry said:
A lot of the programs I've looked at are proprietary, meaning you have to use THEIR databases in THEIR format.
Tell me the ones you don't like so I have a better idea of what you are looking for?
 

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I believe Intuit Master Builder is one of the "bad" programs I am referring to. I have not used it but that's what I've gathered from what I've heard. The Timberline stuff says it's ODBC-compliant, but I'm not sure how much flexibility they actually allow. We've never actually had one of these systems and I just want to make sure I get something that is flexible (able to adapt to our way of doing business), scalable, and highly-compatible. There are so many crappy products out there, it's hard to find one that is on the up-and-up.

Thnx

Matt
 

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peachtree, goldenseal, contractor 5, streetsmart....Goldenseal looks pretty cool to me.

I've been cost estimating since 1987 - as an employee for (2) very succesful contractors for most of that time. Neither contractor used integrated estimating applications. Both used out of the box spreadsheet / database apps to accomplish the estimating and then set up construction budgets in the accounting software. Job cost was tracked through accounting, independent of estimating.

Spreadsheets always afford you the greatest flexibility. Otherwise, regardless of the integrated package that you buy, you'll always be boxed into some version of someone else's idea of how it should work.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
We outsource our accounting, so there is a need for some in-house job costing from a project management standpoint. I would like to be able to tie this data into our estimating, as well as use it as a benchmark.
 

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I use Quick Books Pro to do my accounting and track my job cost. It worksd for me because I don't have an extensive array of tasks that I'm wanting to assign costs to. It's strictly and 'estimated vs. actual' picture that I want - wages (by task), materials (by vendor) and subcontractors (by sub). QBP has a very simple 'estimate' module that I've never used.
 

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We use Peachtree to do our accounting. Everybody I've spoken to says that it's not made for contractors and is only good to about $2,000,000 a year. We're up to about $9,000,000 and our system is busting at the seams. Not only that, but the PM's (including me) don't have good access to Job Costing information. I want to develop a database and integrate it with the estimating. Timberline looks good.

Matt
 

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Job cost project estimating software ?

If you're really serious about being in the business, take a look at Timberline Estimator, (http://www.timberline.com/). I worked up in New England for 20+years where 1/2 the construction companies in the area used it.
I've seen bids submitted for $1,000,000 with 10-15 contractors submitting.
All the best, most concise plans were withing $500 low-to-high bid.
That's a $500 bid spread on a one million dollar project over 10-12 bidders.

It never failed that one of the companies using Timberline would end up getting the contract.

Everybody else, (using other software), would be $20,000-40,000 off and rarley ever got any of the good jobs.

Drawback ? It ain't cheap, and there is a learning curve. That's why I said "If you're serious about the biz".
 

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cessnapilot said:
I've seen bids submitted for $1,000,000 with 10-15 contractors submitting. All the best withing $500 low-to-high bid.
That's a $500 bid spread on a one million dollar project over 10-12 bidders.
Can you say "price fixing"...sure.

Are you saying that $1M subcontract awards were made on the basis of a $500 price difference? If so, I think that borders on the obsurd. I'd rather not help a GC get a job if $500 can stand between me and someone else on a $1M dollar bid.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the info...I've looked at Timberline and it looks excellent, but it's going to be a hard sell at that price. I'm still going to be looking for alternatives.
 

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Try SoftPlan
http://www.softplan.com/
SoftList uses the drawing information added in SoftPlan and generates a complete material list and cost estimate report for the design. SoftList will count all construction materials, add user-definable costs, mark-ups, waste factors and labor rates to provide a material list. As with any SoftPlan module, the material list can easily be customized to meet your needs. This generated material list can also be exported to other software packages including estimating, accounting and scheduling programs.
 

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Estimating software

RS Means is proprietary too and their items are what are assemblies in other software.

mperry said:
I am looking for an estimating program that ties in with some sort of job costing data base so that I can gather data on how much it actually cost me to do a particular job and use that data to do my estimating. It would also be nice if I could drop in some RS Means data to do some comparisons as well as update material costs, etc. If possible, I would also like the database to be as customizable as possible which would mean it might have to be in SQL. A lot of the programs I've looked at are proprietary, meaning you have to use THEIR databases in THEIR format.

Does anybody know of any good software that comes close to meeting these criteria?

Thanks

Matt Perry
 

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Master Builder is not proprietary. As long as you can get the data into spreadsheet or text format, you can get it into Master Builder.
 
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