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I just picked up a bunch of books from the public library and came across one that I was quite interested in. Its the 2005 National Estimator. I ended up picking up the renovation and insurance, and the remodeling books.

They came with software that you can install and use to estimate. They take into account features like material, hours, labor, etc on a national level/standard. It then converts it into your regional area based on area code.

I've been keeping track of all my stuff in QB, but its been touchy over the last year because we do some many different types of projects. In the past the company was ran with 'not-so-good' estimating techniques. I came on to change that.

I wanted to know if anyone else uses this estimator/book and how close it was to their region specific? I've been going over past estimates/invoices and am finding it pretty close to what I had been charging.

I'm really intested in knowing because if some job comes up that we don't do often, but is within our ability to do a professional job, I would like to use this system.
 

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...jammin
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Yes, I use it
For my area I have to add a set % for my region, as labor costs are higher here, but it's pretty good at giving me a rough idea of what's going on

If it converts it for my area, I haven't figured that out yet

I never check it until after I've figured out my estimate with my brain first
(With my brain, it's good to have a back-up)
Then I'll check 05NE and see what they say

I have others but I rarely check them since I got this one
Really only if my brain and 05NE are really far off of one another
 

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DGR,IABD
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I got their "National Electrical Estimator" product, and was quite excited when I got it. The more I used it, the more I saw that EVERYTHING was way off. Not only were the unit prices off (which I expected would need adjustment) the labor units per line item were off too. That puts me back at square one. Basically, all I ended up with was a list of tasks and materials with incorrect prices and labor units.
 

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Had it, used it. Great guideline, but your pricing is your own past performance.

For example, while out on the high seas you may be equipped to handle 30 foot waves. In the stormy world of contracting, the seas may average 30 foot waves, but a seventy footer would swamp you.

No job can be described by unit costs. There are too many variables. Such pricing is a guideline. If I remember, the costbook advises you to let your market experience overrule.

That said, I like costbooks. I think they are usefull thinking tools.
 
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