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Livin the dream...
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm getting quickbooks setup and was wondering what kind of detail you guys go into on your items list? This is all new territory for me so any help is appreciated...

Is having a more detailed items list an advantage when doing estimates or scope of work docs?
 

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That may depend on how much detail you want on your estimates and invoices. If you don't want to go into much detail or breakdown of charges, keep the list pretty general. Look at what you currently put on your invoices and base it on that.

Also, those items can be linked to timesheet/ labor items for time tracking. It's a decision you need to make based on your own preferences. Detail can be good, but you sometimes add more work than necessary.

For me, I keep it pretty general. Framing labor, finished basement framing, deck framing, demolition, then job materials, building supplies, equipment rental, maybe sales tax, etc.
 
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Always Learning
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Set it up detailed now. Even if right now you don't use every item, get it setup for job costing and line items for if/when you grow into larger projects. We have a separate item for subs, materials, and labor for specific tasks. These are some... demo, framing, windows/doors, siding, masonry, trim, cabinets, foundation, concrete, etc. I enter job estimates into quick books and then can run accurate job costing after a job is closed out. I can see instantly what item I was short on and which ones I was good on.
 

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Talking Head
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Pretty much exactly what Overanalyze said. I don't do estimates or Scopes through QB but it's really helpful for project and long term analysis to have your item categories line up with your estimating categories. Even if you use separate software for your estimates you can just print out a job/item report and manually check it against your estimate.

The other big benefit is that it allows you to examine your profit centers at the end of a period. Some areas of projects are your real cash cows and you want to make sure you are doing as much of that as possible. I'm always blown away by how much time I actually spend just cleaning up. I hired a real laborer this year because I figured that, even if I only get a good 4 hours of work out of him in a day, it saves me a good chunk of money.
 

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Pretty much exactly what Overanalyze said. I don't do estimates or Scopes through QB but it's really helpful for project and long term analysis to have your item categories line up with your estimating categories. Even if you use separate software for your estimates you can just print out a job/item report and manually check it against your estimate.

The other big benefit is that it allows you to examine your profit centers at the end of a period. Some areas of projects are your real cash cows and you want to make sure you are doing as much of that as possible. I'm always blown away by how much time I actually spend just cleaning up. I hired a real laborer this year because I figured that, even if I only get a good 4 hours of work out of him in a day, it saves me a good chunk of money.
This is spot on.......don't forget to put in items for client meetings, contingencies (Like difficult job conditions), tank charge, putting up dust barriers.....carpet protection. You'll be glad as your job progresses....it's very easy to see how it's going.....and easy to do a audit at the end. It should reflect your estimating process.

_________
Mike
 

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Hair Splitter
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Every Item is a line on a quote in QB. When you create the Invoice those line items are transferred to the invoice. I don't do line item quotes or invoices, for the most part. So I only have maybe 50 or so line items and use only a handful now. If I am remodeling a bathroom, I use "Bathroom" as my line item for the entire project.

I will make notes on the Quote that I edit out of the Invoice (such as line item pricing), but everything that relates to that remodel goes pretty much on one line item.

I have a hard enough time keeping up my accounts in QB let alone tracking all of that at this point. Maybe some day down the road when I have some help in the office I will start tracking that info, but for now I would suggest just making some main items and a few sub-items off of those. And keep the numbering system intact. It's a great way to keep track of different categories.

As an example, my exterior work starts at 0100, interior 0200 and so on.

Example:

0110 Doors & Trim
0210 Doors & Trim

So at an glance I know that 0110 is an exterior door and 0210 is interior.

That's how I do it and it's getting me by for now.
 

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Check out this product.

http://www.powertoolssoftware.com/index.html

This guy put in a lot of effort and built a great item list and corresponding chart of accounts. I installed it when I was setting up QB a couple years ago and have never looked back. It is scalable no matter what size operation you run. In fact today I enabled a couple new items that I had hidden. It also has nice invoice temples and customized reports. It brings out the power of quickbooks and let's you focus on building projects not item lists.
 

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Livin the dream...
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Check out this product.

http://www.powertoolssoftware.com/index.html

This guy put in a lot of effort and built a great item list and corresponding chart of accounts. I installed it when I was setting up QB a couple years ago and have never looked back. It is scalable no matter what size operation you run. In fact today I enabled a couple new items that I had hidden. It also has nice invoice temples and customized reports. It brings out the power of quickbooks and let's you focus on building projects not item lists.
I had run across that site. I think I'm going to buy it. Looks like it would be the smart move in the long run.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Every Item is a line on a quote in QB. When you create the Invoice those line items are transferred to the invoice. I don't do line item quotes or invoices, for the most part. So I only have maybe 50 or so line items and use only a handful now. If I am remodeling a bathroom, I use "Bathroom" as my line item for the entire project.

I will make notes on the Quote that I edit out of the Invoice (such as line item pricing), but everything that relates to that remodel goes pretty much on one line item.

I have a hard enough time keeping up my accounts in QB let alone tracking all of that at this point. Maybe some day down the road when I have some help in the office I will start tracking that info, but for now I would suggest just making some main items and a few sub-items off of those. And keep the numbering system intact. It's a great way to keep track of different categories.

As an example, my exterior work starts at 0100, interior 0200 and so on.

Example:

0110 Doors & Trim
0210 Doors & Trim

So at an glance I know that 0110 is an exterior door and 0210 is interior.

That's how I do it and it's getting me by for now.
How do you handle figuring up your estimates with the numbers that you just use for yourself? I'm talking about the finer details of the job -- x number of 2x4's -- x boxes of fasteners -- etc.

It would be nice if quickbooks let you itemize things for your quote and then collapse it into general lines for the customer...
 

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How do you handle figuring up your estimates with the numbers that you just use for yourself? I'm talking about the finer details of the job -- x number of 2x4's -- x boxes of fasteners -- etc.

It would be nice if quickbooks let you itemize things for your quote and then collapse it into general lines for the customer...
That works be neat but far too time consuming to prepare prices. You will realize quickly how finding a fast method to quote is more important than accounting for every screw.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
That works be neat but far too time consuming to prepare prices. You will realize quickly how finding a fast method to quote is more important than accounting for every screw.
I'm just talking about using quickbooks for estimates and having more info for labor and materials.

Lets say you break you labor down by the day/phase. Materials by phase (drywall, flooring, cabinets, shower, etc)

Surely you wouldn't just do a sq ft price for a bathroom...you would have to be more specific than just "Line 1....bathroom" or how would you know where your money is going like Ethan was saying earlier.

I'm just wondering if estimates can be done effectively in quickbooks for your own personal use.
 

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I'm just talking about using quickbooks for estimates and having more info for labor and material.
Your "more info" will come as you pay bills and record them into the specific cost code (list item). When you run job cost or profitability reports you'll get that "more info" for a tighter bid on the next job.

As for estimating, QB sucks, and a well developed (happens over time, trial & error) excel spreadsheet well work best. Use these same cost codes in your excel estimate as QB and you can easily compare.

Although, I build my estimates in excel, I put the final job price in QB as an estimate and give that to the client. If I win the job, I convert the estimate to an invoices (QB does this for you) and bill of of that.

PS- that Powertool download takes a little finageling to fit it to your needs, but it will be far more powerful than building your own from scratch.
 

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Hair Splitter
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Your "more info" will come as you pay bills and record them into the specific cost code (list item). When you run job cost or profitability reports you'll get that "more info" for a tighter bid on the next job.

As for estimating, QB sucks, and a well developed (happens over time, trial & error) excel spreadsheet well work best. Use these same cost codes in your excel estimate as QB and you can easily compare.

Although, I build my estimates in excel, I put the final job price in QB as an estimate and give that to the client. If I win the job, I convert the estimate to an invoices (QB does this for you) and bill of of that.

PS- that Powertool download takes a little finageling to fit it to your needs, but it will be far more powerful than building your own from scratch.
Excel is great but maintaining correct pricing is tedious and time consuming.

When I figure hardware I am very generous with pricing. For instance, if I am installing a standard shower I'll add a full box of backer screws to the bid even though I only need half a box. A box is $25. So that's what I charge.
 

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I use my items list extensively to track materials use and apply billing. I have a 2 digit number for each of my vendors that makes up the first 2 digits of the item number, the next 4 digits is either the last 4 of the vendors sku or part number.

All the items have a full description and standard pricing, so when a sales man writes up a quote, all they need to do it put the customer and a 6 digit part number on a quote sheet and it is mostly done.
 

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I don't track every item. At the end of the job I just need to know how it came in on material and labor. Typically if one of these comes in under or over in a significant amount it's pretty obvious the cause.

I bid all my stuff in excel. I can't really use quickbooks for this since I have lots of modifiers that affect my unit costs. Height, distance, difficulty, etc.

I break my overhead/expenses down though. I'll enter money I included in the quote for bad debt, warranty, fuel, etc into quickbooks from each job. All the expenses get consumed off every job.

I can run a report at any moment and see how much marketing money I have to spend or how much I have for small tools. Makes controlling your cash flow much easier.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I don't track every item. At the end of the job I just need to know how it came in on material and labor. Typically if one of these comes in under or over in a significant amount it's pretty obvious the cause.

I bid all my stuff in excel. I can't really use quickbooks for this since I have lots of modifiers that affect my unit costs. Height, distance, difficulty, etc.

I break my overhead/expenses down though. I'll enter money I included in the quote for bad debt, warranty, fuel, etc into quickbooks from each job. All the expenses get consumed off every job.

I can run a report at any moment and see how much marketing money I have to spend or how much I have for small tools. Makes controlling your cash flow much easier.
So you set up a budget/savings for things like marketing, small tools, future large purchases? Mind sharing what percentage works good for you?

I'm starting out with a lot of tools but would like to have a lot more so my budget in that area will be pretty large. :thumbup:
 

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How do you handle figuring up your estimates with the numbers that you just use for yourself? I'm talking about the finer details of the job -- x number of 2x4's -- x boxes of fasteners -- etc.

It would be nice if quickbooks let you itemize things for your quote and then collapse it into general lines for the customer...
It does - Its called groups
 

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I've been using quick books for about 8-9 yrs now.

I just use it for proposals and invoices. And the wife does the banking end. I don't enter in all the hours and materials to each job. I keep that in my folders and daily log book.

Good luck.
 
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