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Hi there. New to contractortalk but have been in this racket for a while. 10 years to be exact. Not as tenured as some of the locals on this site, but then again I do this as fill in work as my main business is swimming pool construction and renovation.

My question is pretty basic. What is a good program for data entry that includes cost estimator software? Also, What is a good program for cost estimating software that is easy to use and how long will it take to enter the data for a simple bid.

I have a company which appears to be a regional based company and they want me to use such software and I fear it will be cutting my bids down rather than paying me what the HUD guidelines are. :censored:
 

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Paul Pfieffer said:
Hi there. New to contractortalk but have been in this racket for a while. 10 years to be exact. Not as tenured as some of the locals on this site, but then again I do this as fill in work as my main business is swimming pool construction and renovation.

My question is pretty basic. What is a good program for data entry that includes cost estimator software? Also, What is a good program for cost estimating software that is easy to use and how long will it take to enter the data for a simple bid.

I have a company which appears to be a regional based company and they want me to use such software and I fear it will be cutting my bids down rather than paying me what the HUD guidelines are. :censored:
I got something similar from LPS... Having estimated in the real construction industry in excess of 20 years-I've always used MS Excel, and created my own spreadsheets and estimates. I've bid $20/million bridge demo jobs, $3/m dollar environmental clean-ups and 6 figure site demo, bids, and I have found it the simpliest way to track data.
I can understand there are firms out there... Marshall-Swift, XactWare...etc. The problem I have with it is that they do not know "my business"...sure it models with national averages etc, but there is no national that is going to tell me what my overhead and profit are, as well as figurin in their discount as a cost to the job.
These program provide a general concept of the proposed task, but what about the reality of condition once your tear open a wall and the entire subconstruction in beyond re-use and you've bid just to replace drywall... scary situation.
 
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Paul Pfieffer said:
Hi there. New to contractortalk but have been in this racket for a while. 10 years to be exact. Not as tenured as some of the locals on this site, but then again I do this as fill in work as my main business is swimming pool construction and renovation.

My question is pretty basic. What is a good program for data entry that includes cost estimator software? Also, What is a good program for cost estimating software that is easy to use and how long will it take to enter the data for a simple bid.

I have a company which appears to be a regional based company and they want me to use such software and I fear it will be cutting my bids down rather than paying me what the HUD guidelines are. :censored:
There really is no silver bullet answer on this. If your client is referring to RepairBase, it's mostly good. You have an occasional low ball number that is head scratching but mostly its pretty profitable.

Of course, if you deviate from their pricing and say things, like, Repair base only pays $15 for 1' 1/2" copper pipe repair and modify it to $200 per, they understand and accept it. I have found plumbing to be the only broken part and my clients haven't pushed back.

The secret to their bidding is to include every step to achieve your repair. For example, if your objective is to repair a copper pipe. You need to prep the area, cut the drywall, cut the pipe, sweat new pipe in place, clean up area. Bid to repair the dw separately.

For non-REO related items, I have good success with the RS Means books which sounds pretty old school but I have found nothing else.
 

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Of course, if you deviate from their pricing and say things, like, Repair base only pays $15 for 1' 1/2" copper pipe repair and modify it to $200 per, they understand and accept it. I have found plumbing to be the only broken part and my clients haven't pushed back.
I've forwarded this issue to our research department and they are looking into it. I will let you know when I hear back on a resolution.

FYI: Meanwhile, within plumbing there is a minimum charge repair option for small items which might work in conjunction with appropriate comments.
 

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My question is pretty basic. What is a good program for data entry that includes cost estimator software? Also, What is a good program for cost estimating software that is easy to use and how long will it take to enter the data for a simple bid.

I have a company which appears to be a regional based company and they want me to use such software and I fear it will be cutting my bids down rather than paying me what the HUD guidelines are. :censored:
HUD has selected RepairBASE, which is also used by most of the regionals. To avoid cross-posting in multiple threads, I'll refer to this other thread where I posted the recent announcement about HUD's decision.

http://www.preservationtalk.com/showthread.php?p=44174#post44174
 

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I have a question. I was a professional commercial construction estimator for about 10 years. I have estimated literally thousands of jobs and I never ever, not one time, found an estimating software that was even remotely close to accurate about pricing for jobs, especially for what the software thinks materials cost and what they actually cost.

All of the ones I ever looked at were a sure fire one way ticket to bankruptcy.

Do these estimating programs allow you to input your actual costs for materials and labor? If not how can they possibly be accurate?

How can they know what I am paying for a gallon of paint or a SF of drywall in Central Florida this week and what the exact same item costs in San Diego, California?

How about different labor rates? There is Davis Bacon requirements that can vary from one project to another, union and non-union scales and other factors.
 

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i use exaciamate and love it.

You can put all your costs in and a percentage for materials increase. I don't put all the costs in, just the big ones and the everything else I use percentages.

After using 3rd party software I get close to 90% of my bids on rehab and repairs approved. It does take more time, but the clients like the fact that it breaks down the costs and they can see what your charging.
 
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