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Enjoy it..............hmmmm I find it frustrating yet enjoyable, a good bad. I have a data base of work that I could consult for a price but still have a need to start from fresh each and every freakin time. I have this thing where I must build every project in my head before I start. This takes time and means I spend some nights staying up later than I should. But you know, I wake up in the morning jazzed. There is bad stress and good stress, I would say that when I am building stuff in my head, I become pre-occupied with my thoughts. So, if this is what you mean about liking the estimate part then I would agree. The plus side to this process is when a client asks me about costs or bulding processes, I always have an answer and a reason. I never pull an idea or cost out of my as$. I speak with intent and conviction.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
THANKS.. I am all out again :laughing: yep I build the project in my head also. It is the best way to do it, these couple of projects I am bidding on.. I know their houses probably better than they do at this point :)
 

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I love to build an estimate. I find it fulfilling to see the bid take shape, as the job takes shape in my head. I even went as far as to write my own computer program to help build the bid. I looked at some of the products on the market, and found them to be too cookie cutter in nature. I wanted the program to work more like the actual bidding/job planning process. Rates change based upon the type and scope of the job, and I did not see anything that took that into consideration. This program has helped me drastically cut my actual bid time. It also allows me to keep track of correspondences as it stores them in the database as well.

For background, many years ago, while in college studying residential construction, I minored in computer programming. While at the time the two fields seemed worlds apart to everyone else, I just had a feeling it might help.
 

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Estimating is your lifeblood... If your not good at it get someone who is or a computer program that helps you. You must be able to account for every screw and nail and every detail cost in a project or you will find yourself wondering why your not making money.

I enjoy it a lot and I wrote my own excel spreadsheets that accounts for every little detail making it super fast. It takes me longer to write the estimate and put in the details for each project than it does to come up with a price that I know will be right on.
 

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Sean
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Do I enjoy it? Not so much (I have found that charging for them seems to help out some)

Am I good enough to make money on each job? So far so good, I guess that some of it is because I have already built it fully in my head a few times. He11, they should just give me the final check on signing - the jobs been done at least twice already
 

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Working
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I hate it and feel I am not very good at it yet. What are some programs that could help me? It's this or hire another sole.
 

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Contractor
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Bidding/Pricing jobs is probably the one task I hate the most.
We live and die on the bid, a little too high, and we loose the project, a little too low, and we loose our shirt.

Miss one little detail on the plans, it can cost the profit on the whole job.

I'd love to hear more about the software you others use to simplify things, I still do all the estimate work on paper, by hand.

I have 5 small projects to price out this weekend. :hang:

Which reminds me ......I'd better get to work.
 

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I enjoy doing them for people understand that actual costs and the cost in their heads maybe a little/lot different. I do mine all old school too. have looked into software but they all seem overwhelming for someone that doesnt know a thing about them
 

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Enjoy it..............hmmmm I find it frustrating yet enjoyable, a good bad. .
I couldn't agree more. Its the part of the job I love to hate. I have looked at a couple of estimating programs but my computer skills lack a lot to be desired.
I usually go to the spread sheets that I've made from other jobs. I'd have to have some tutoring before I could use a program with any peace of mind.
 

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I too do all my bidding on paper. For one I have little computer skills but also I can not see any program taking into account the distance to the job, lay of the land on-site, customers willingness to work with us, preference of work, other trades that may effect timing of our work, level of detail and quality of materials to be used. Also some jobs I know I can bid higher because we are a preferred installer others must be much tighter just to be considered even at a lower cost. I don't mind doing the bids though and like to have several waitng to be done. Makes it easier to sale when alot of people want you on their job.
 

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just finished a basement bath remodel with egress window install, I don't mind estimating and bids as long as price isn't deciding factor because I always lose that race to the bottom. :blink:
 

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I love to build an estimate. I find it fulfilling to see the bid take shape, as the job takes shape in my head. I even went as far as to write my own computer program to help build the bid. I looked at some of the products on the market, and found them to be too cookie cutter in nature. I wanted the program to work more like the actual bidding/job planning process. Rates change based upon the type and scope of the job, and I did not see anything that took that into consideration. This program has helped me drastically cut my actual bid time. It also allows me to keep track of correspondences as it stores them in the database as well.

For background, many years ago, while in college studying residential construction, I minored in computer programming. While at the time the two fields seemed worlds apart to everyone else, I just had a feeling it might help.
can I try it?
 

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Pro,self employed28 years
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Got a few ..

I have EASYEST for estimating. The program is available in modules so you customize it to your needs and keep the cost down. It serve's it's purpose but right now I'm looking at another program by Hometech, which seems to have more data, more features & easier to work with, and the price seems very reasonable. I may purchase it next week.

I've also have the estimator that comes with Craftsman National Construction Esimator, which also serves its purpose but a little difficult to work with.

I find if you create your own custom 'assemblies', it's a more efficient & easier way to create an estimate using software.

Rich
 

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ballpark walking through the project, not to exceed estimates take a day or two depending on the scope of work.

Small jobs are easy. tree-fiddy.
 

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THANKS.. I am all out again :laughing: yep I build the project in my head also. It is the best way to do it, these couple of projects I am bidding on.. I know their houses probably better than they do at this point :)
I totally agree. You have to walk the job from start to finish in your head. The problem is that the more experience you have, the more potential issues you discover that the less careful bidders miss.
It sucks to lose a job to these guys because you KNOW that they will try to bury the client with extras later to make up for what they missed.
I've only had ONE guy call me later and admit low bid was a bad idea, and that after the job was in progress the less experienced contractor came upon the same issues I predicted.
 

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Fentoozler
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I actually like it.

I've used a couple of programs [free trial downloads]...most I did not like.
I did find a spreadsheet some nut from California made up....I took that and expanded it.
What I liked best about this bastardized spreadhseet?
Since I had a hand in revising/improving it ~ I could make it be whatever I wanted it to be.
Built all my own "assemblies" for common electrical items:



I could estimate a house in minutes and derive data for rough and finish material, labor hours, etc




Unfortunately, my free source for updating pricing has gone the way of the dodo bird.
Currently, I am learning TurboBid.
 
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