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Celtic, was one of those free trials UDA Construction Suite?
I recently ordered this program ($700) and when I got it, I was so overwhelmed with everything it could do that I had to pay the $300 for the total care package.
The good news is that after my "free" training session, I have determined that I will never use 90% of the features, but the templating features for typical jobs can be customized and are very exciting.
Lot's of time saved once I get the bugs out of my own custom template.
 

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Making Bids ...

Sometimes making bids is as useless as ^%$ on a bull. You spend three days workig up a precise bid, then the customer changes the one thing that changes everything. But, most the time it is fairly fast, not difficult, and fairly accurate.

A couple years ago I started using an online estimator at costestimator.com to do bids. Once you get the hang of it, it is quite easy. It prepares most of the bid documents for the bid, allows you to modify prices as necessary, add items not in the database, and change your mark-up as you see fit.

The one thing I have learned by use of this program . . . is NEVER bid below the costs prior to mark-up, you will lose. If it says it will cost so much to do the job, trust it.

Sorry the link not included but this forum does not allow it until I have exercised my wit 15 times.

datajam dir4construction.com
 

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I'm a very small contractor. Two major jobs at a time is all I can handle while keeping up the personal attention I feel I owe my clients. (I do service calls and misc. during operations I sub out)
The only reason I think that the UDA program may be helpful is because, as you know it seems that all the scheduling, bidding, contracts, estimates etc, seem to happen at the same time. (Feast or famine as we say)
I used to use my own excel spreadsheets for all these operations, but trying to figure out how to make all these spreadsheets work together and exchange information got very confusing.
I am working on customizing UDA to my business. I think all the frustration will be worth it in the end. But for now AHHHHHHHHHHHH Help! :)
 

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THIS is one I like. It's a subscription deal (averages $2 a day), is setup for geographical areas, customizable, and updated four times a year.

It's called Clear Estimates.
 

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Smart phone? Scan me!
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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
HaHa so this is a total new discovery for me.. that I am actually a business geek/nerd/whatever you call it. :D Oh well I guess there is worse things in life! Oh and I am not the only one ;) it looks like.
 

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General Contractor
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I was an "Outside Contractor" for a defense contractor for a few years. They gave me an office to use, and access to their in-house CAD. All their work was set up with complete attributes of every single piece they used in anything... right down to nails and staples. All you had to do was draw any renovation you needed, and then just push a button for price, materials, suppliers, construction time, etc.

I thought I had died and gone to estimating heaven. Never seen a program like it since.
 

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Fentoozler
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Celtic, what are your thoughts on TurboBid? Is this something you would recommend?

Thanks

Recommend to whom?

Purchasing an estimating program is not a "one size fits all category".

For a small to mid-sized EC, focusing on new resi. and lt. comm. type work, I would recommend it.
 

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Fentoozler
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THIS is one I like. It's a subscription deal (averages $2 a day), is setup for geographical areas, customizable, and updated four times a year.

It's called Clear Estimates.

4x a year to update pricing?

I don't think that is nearly frequent enough for those of us who use petroleum based products [roof shingles for example] and copper based products [electricians, plumbers, some roofer types? like tinner666 ??].
The market is highly volatile with those commodities.
 

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General Contractor
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4x a year to update pricing?

I don't think that is nearly frequent enough for those of us who use petroleum based products [roof shingles for example] and copper based products [electricians, plumbers, some roofer types? like tinner666 ??].
The market is highly volatile with those commodities.
Yeah, today's market moves a lot quicker. But that is about the best I've seen on updates.

With this program, however, you can do your own update on any price or change any estimated task duration or any labor rate at any time you choose. Every day, if you want to.
 

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Tiling & Bath Contractor
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Ugh, I hate doing estimates as well. Actually I think it's more of a mental thing. I hate the thought of doing it, but once I'm doing it, it's fine.

I am a sole prop so most of my estimates tend to be smaller. But my estimates are as exact as anything. I use quickbooks contractor 09 to do them. I got all the prices of all the materials I use and added them as items. I add items as I need them for different jobs. Of course I have to make sure the prices don't change so I check the ones I use most in my local store every few months. I also add a little more to the job just to make sure to cover any price changes, etc.

Doing the estimates in QB has made life so much easier. I can't imagine doing it on paper. :no:
 

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I started writing my own estimating program some 20 years ago on Lotus 123, an old DOS spreadsheet. Still use it. My main concerns are labor (not the labor cost, but the time it takes to complete just about any individual section of a project) and material cost. For labor times, I use R S Means Repair and Remodeling Cost Data. And also my own experience. Then by entering my own labor rate, I can get the labor cost, and what I want to sell it for.
I update material every time I buy something. I list the month and year, the supplier, and the price. And I'm always checking prices for items at any supplier I'm at. Then I use a small macro to get an item cost and an item sell price.
I use all this in several ways. I can immediately see which supplier is cheaper for any item. And by having one line for each individual job action, I can easily build whole assemblies.
I also select each line I need for a particular estimate and send it over to Word, as an ASCII file. Fill in the customer's name and address, print the document, and I'm done.
I do a lot of residential bathroom remodeling, middle and lower price ranges. It takes me about 7 - 10 minutes to estimate the job, print and send out the proposal.
The trick in estimating is build your estimate one small piece at a time. Unitize everything. Trying to figure each job as time and material will make you crazy.
 

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Average Joe
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I love estimating. Like so many have already said, it gives you an opportunity to "walk through the job in your head". That's the biggest upshot.

I might throw some rough numbers together to get a feel for the client at first, but if it's a go I take a deposit and charge for my estimates. That part helps a lot, knowing that you're getting paid 100% of the time.

I played around with a few software variations, but always went back to my own custom spreadsheet. Like someone already said, the software is too cookie cutter and every job is specific to a variety of circumstances.

I usually follow this process:
-scope of work written out
-measurements confirmed
-estimate spreadsheet
-material selection, update/modifications
-move towards contract.

Some nice classical tunes, cup of coffee and excel...now there's an afternoon.:shifty:
 

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I'd rather be punched in the ballz by a pizzed off midget all day then work on bids....would'nt be so bad i guess if all our work was'nt multi scoped typically involving all trades, and a usual bid is a good 4-6hr time frame from start to finish...and like many have mentioned already, often you get some lowball freak to come in and steal your thunder completely wasting your time on that one bid, and we typically have 1-6 bids going per week small to large. I hate anything involving paper...just hate it LOL!!

Then what sucks is when we are in a situation like i'm in right now, did'nt hear anything for a month, and NOW everybody i've bid in the past month is calling, "when can you start?" WTF??!! feat or famine all the time:laughing:
 

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Working
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I'd rather be punched in the ballz by a pizzed off midget all day then work on bids....would'nt be so bad i guess if all our work was'nt multi scoped typically involving all trades, and a usual bid is a good 4-6hr time frame from start to finish...and like many have mentioned already, often you get some lowball freak to come in and steal your thunder completely wasting your time on that one bid, and we typically have 1-6 bids going per week small to large. I hate anything involving paper...just hate it LOL!!

Then what sucks is when we are in a situation like i'm in right now, did'nt hear anything for a month, and NOW everybody i've bid in the past month is calling, "when can you start?" WTF??!! feat or famine all the time:laughing:
That is because they forcasted snow sunday and monday!

Since I posted I inlisted my wife to get prices on every thing calling around for me has saved me a lot of time.
 

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That is because they forcasted snow sunday and monday!

Since I posted I inlisted my wife to get prices on every thing calling around for me has saved me a lot of time.
I hope the weather keeps peeps away from the race track...huge purse this weekend and if less guys show up, the less rounds to go to make munie!! LOL!!

Is'nt no way i'd let my wife near the business, no way no how....wish i could since it'd make life better bizness wise, but she'd ruin me.
 
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