Complex Estimating Software

June 4, 2015
Elevators, General, HVAC, Microsoft Dynamics CRM
3 min read

“Yes we can use your software to do complex estimating!!”

Detailed Quote 1118 with Labor, Material and Subcontractor

As a software product manager, I find it really interesting when you have a client use your system in a way you did not predict. That happened to us recently with one of our new mechanical contractor clients who does a lot of construction estimating.

As anybody in the service industry knows, there are more stand-a-lone estimating software packages out there than you can count. Certainly Excel would hold most of the top 10 positions on any list. This client was like most, multiple spreadsheets and even a well know estimating software were used in various capacities by their staff. The challenge with having one or more stand-a-lone estimating systems (Excel or otherwise) is to keep your pricing and margin structure up to date, have any consistent policy for pricing new jobs and maintain control over pricing and profits. They checked all of these boxes.

Project where quote 1118 is selected

We had not envisioned building our own integrated estimating tool due to the level of complexity of estimating and the varying ways people want to do it. We did have a pretty good quoting tool for service repairs and small jobs that could price it quickly, is fully integrated to the sales opportunity, uses Word mail merge, and creates the work order in one click when you get the deal. However for large projects, we did not think it would cut it.

Budget Revenue and Estimated Costs

Well, after getting trained, our client felt otherwise and wanted us to train their staff to enter individual or bulk add material, labor, subcontract and expenses to the quote, even for large jobs.  All we had to build was a function that grouped and totaled all the lines on the quote by cost category and automatically updated the estimate/budget fields on the project. Changes to the estimate were easily handled by the existing quote revision process with a simple update of the revised quote to the project or change order project.  Bingo….one estimating process for both small and big jobs, fully integrated from sales to work orders.  Overrides of markups and pricing can still be made on the estimate, but there is the ability for management to see them online in real time along with the effect on profit and decide to approve or not.

No more hunting for that off line spreadsheet or estimate and maintaining their control of customer specific pricing in one location.  What do you know, now we do handle estimating for large jobs.  I wasn’t expecting to retire that off our product road map any time soon.