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Question How do you estimate/quote job?

Discussion in 'Business Management' started by Goatshaver, Aug 12, 2020.

  1. Goatshaver

    Goatshaver Member

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    This has probably been beat to death but I'm wondering how ya'll estimate/quote your jobs?
    I've been using Createabid.com which has been great cause it's got a lot of stuff setup but now that I'm on Quickbooks I feel it's rather redundant to use Createabid and then put that same info into QB.

    And if you're using quickbooks how do you figure your pricing for stuff like printing time, ink usage, waste, etc...?

    Just trying to find the easiest solution to this as quoting can be a pain in arse at times.
     
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  2. ColorCrest

    ColorCrest Active Member

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    A sign shop software typically calculates all the components which are used to make the sign and a quote is generated for approval. For the final invoice only a simple line item product name and description is referenced for the customer as opposed to all the various layers of components. The sign shop software exports just the data necessary for the bookkeeping package such as QuickBooks. Codes or SKU numbers can be used for QB to lookup product names, descriptions and prices but QB does not normally handle the details of sign making components.

    So, check to see if CreatABid exports data to QB.
     
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  3. Andy D

    Andy D Very Active Member

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    I detest QB!
    I would like to check out this Createabid.com, the "sign up for free" is just a temp trial, right?
    Do you know how much is a basic level per month?
     
  4. Andy D

    Andy D Very Active Member

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    Agreed, QB IMHO should only be a data holding tank that you use a good POS program to export too.
    I have a hard time believing any business person would mess with QB if their accountant didn't require it.
     
  5. ColorCrest

    ColorCrest Active Member

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    Be interesting to learn what you find.
     
  6. Notarealsignguy

    Notarealsignguy Very Active Member

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    QB has some annoyances but if you get good at it, you can’t beat it for accounting. I wouldn’t trust sign software to handle any substantial accounting. Im not very computer savy but would think if they came out with an open source copy of QB then youd get developers integrating full blown accounting capability into industry specific programming. Problem is that theres so much to keep up with with accounting changes that it almost makes it impossible to do this without making the software pretty expensive. Without the updates, it would become useless pretty quickly.
     
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  7. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Personally, I really like QB. Been using it since the late 90's, I think. I don't do the accounting end of things, but for estimating, work orders and calculating things needed to run the business (or any business for that matter) it can be made to fit your needs. I have sections set up for particular customers. I have items setup down to what a nut will cost or a can of paint. It's as good as you make it. Then, you hafta update it as costs change. For customers who buy the same ol' stuff, it's great. Customer name, then sub-title as you go from there and it just keeps on going. I find it extremely useful. I still estimate a lotta things with pencil and paper, but that's for preliminary work. The fine tuning takes place in QB. After that, I make an invoice facsimile to send to the office or I send an e-mail. It's converted on the other end and off it goes. You can let shop employees see certain parts or not. Entirely up to you who sees what. Quarterly, our accountant comes in and reconciles things and then we have a different year-end accountant and it's easy-peasy to create the tax information. I say that, cause I don't hafta do it, but what took weeks to do before, now only takes a day or two.
     
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  8. Goatshaver

    Goatshaver Member

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    I'll have to try it again because I haven't been able to get the exports for QB to work at all.
     
  9. Goatshaver

    Goatshaver Member

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    I think you get 30 invoices a month for the trial and then they ask you to sign up. $39 a month.
     
  10. netsol

    netsol Very Active Member

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    come on Gino, no one who wasn't paid to be on the design team REALLY likes quickbooks

    it's the generally the lesser of two evils (and they can thank peachtree/sage business works & mas90 family for being slightly harder to accomplish simple tasks in)
     
  11. netsol

    netsol Very Active Member

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    30 years ago, george will wrote a column about his drunken neighbor who came home every night from the bar and kicked the dog

    one night he was SO DRUNK he couldn't even kick the dog, THE DOG WAS FRANTIC. he thought his owner didn't care anymore

    i can't speak for your relationship with quickbooks, but george's story (he was comparing the relationship between the democrats and certain republicans) certainly sums up my relationship with intuit to a tee. i have been using them since 1992, myself
     
  12. ColorCrest

    ColorCrest Active Member

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    Because of some current threads running elsewhere here at Signs101, I've been trying to compare the features and price points of the common solutions available to sign shops. What I can say now is only that I empathize, especially with the very small shops of less than 5 users or so.

    More later when I find the time.
     
  13. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Yo netsol........ does happy hour start at 2 in the afternoon for your shop ??
     
  14. ColorCrest

    ColorCrest Active Member

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    I'm sure Gino has found what's best for him both economically and ease-of-use. I venture to say the "center" of his daily business is easily all-knowing to him and maybe a couple others. Quick and simple is the ultimate goal.

    When more souls get involved is where "records" come into play. "Who charged this customer what, the time before last, and why?" "Where did we buy the heavy brushed aluminum? "Who did the same-day powder coat 3 years ago? (Asks the new CSR while quoting the customer over the phone in June, vacation season.)

    The more evolved solutions for the industry are a centralized database of records and I'm somewhat surprised quick and simple, is not so much.
     
  15. ColorCrest

    ColorCrest Active Member

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    "How do you estimate/quote job?"
    For what it's worth, in my neck of the woods, all jobs have been firm quotes for decades at this point in time, not estimates. A legacy software from the mid / late 1980's was primarily responsible for this practice.
     
  16. Notarealsignguy

    Notarealsignguy Very Active Member

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    I still find that pen and paper coupled with a good filing system and QB for invoices is the easiest and fastest way to run things. Ive used all kinds of software and it has always seemed to become a job in itself to manage.
     
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  17. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    I am small shop, but I try to flat rate price common signs and surcharge if I see something needs it. Like a 4x8 pole sign reface is $1750. If it needs paint thats +$275. Missing retainer then I add some more. But I have a list of common sign sizes and prices and work off that. For anything that is out of the ordinary I'll have to do my complete homework on and price accordingly. I use Quickbooks online for estimates, invoicing and receiving payments, along with the book keeping. Ive tried other software and really Quickbooks combines a lot into one package. It's not perfect by any means and is expensive and glitchy, but it's so far the one that seems the best. Plus it looks more legit when you send a Quickbooks invoice VS some no name program.
     
  18. Stacey K

    Stacey K I like making signs

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    Like Texas, I also have some flat rate common prices and adjust as needed, anything odd it's pen and paper. I'm one person with an occassional helper. I find QB to be more complicated than I need for a one person shop. I use Wave Accounting and it's free! You can create estimates and invoices, the end of the year accounting works well.
     
  19. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

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    Like others we have flat rates for popular items. Estimate is used for most things though. Lately it is pen and paper which gets turned into a quote with QuickBooks. I like the pen and paper stuff because it forces me to think completely through the job. Easy to burn yourself pushing buttons.;)
     
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  20. iam808

    iam808 New Member

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    I use Freshbooks as an alternative to Quickbooks and I recommend it, especially for smaller shops. The mobile app can be a little wonky but it's proved invaluable to me for on the fly changes and immediate payments without a card reader, etc.

    Writing a proposal is particularly useful. They allow for attachments, have timeline & scope of work line options, all assembled and published to .pdf in one cohesive package that can be e-signed. I feel like someone in the company came from a manufacturing background. The overall interface is easy to use and it covers all the reporting I need.

    I don't like the subscription model of Freshbooks but QB was so difficult to use, I chose to pay the frustration away.
     
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