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I have been aware that HUD has approved Marshall-Swift estimator programs as the benchmark for all repair estimates including debris, demo etc. The pricing can be a bit prohibitive so I am looking for some feedback on any other programs being used by my industry cohorts. I have researched Marshall-Swift and am currently looking at costestimator.com offered by the folks at Home Tech. It's $22/month, updated every 6 months. Marshall-Swift is $250 for 50 transactions that must be used in 1 year. It would seem like Marshall's offer would be more cost effective, and if my bids make note that they are generated by Marshall-Swift, it would SEEM that they would not NEED a second bid, and mine would be automatically approved. Perfect world scenario. Anybody have any experience(s) with these or any other type of program and had success? Thanks!!:thumbup:
 

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I may be one of the few, but I do not use any of those estimating programs. I base everything on cost of material, time (labor) and o/h.
I know what the numbers need to be and if they are lower then so be it. I would rather not do a job than do one and lose money.
Just my opinion.
 
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Simon,

We looked at the Marshall & Swift estimating software when they had the free "look/trial" (they may still have this) and if you can afford to work for the rates/estimates that they have for HUD/FHA work than have at it.

We personally still use our "own" estimating software which is our own templates or xactimate.

Either way its RTA (real,true & accurate) for US. Our rates are the only ones that apply.
 
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brm1109;
I sort of agree if you are a general contractor type who does these types of estimates on a regular basis. But when you get into roof and window installations, doors, plumbing and electrical, etc, it might be better than shooting in the dark about material pricing; one or two layer tearoffs, different types of materials etc. I'm not talking trashouts. They can be bid quite easily, and are usually plain black and white. REPAIR bids for HUD properties are being gaged with the Marshall-Swift estimator. If you are doing these types of bids or do this type of preservation work, you should try to stay within the guides that the industry is setting. Contractors who low-ball estimates dilute the pool of good contractors, and lower the industry's expectations of what they should be paying us. Research is key when doing these type of estimates. Can't just wing it. Have to be competetive to keep the industry profitable.
 
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FremontREO ;

Are you saying these estimators are not accurate to the point that you can lose $$, or not make a good profit if they are used? Marshall-Swift does not have the trial anymore, but costestimator.com does.
Thanks
 
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your right on the lowballers but they don't last. Most of those type of estimates need to have a 3rd party professional to bid out. No estimating software is going to help you unless you know what to put into your bid.

Example: M&S has a R&R on roofing (sheeting included) at roughly $145.00 sq. You can't find anyone around here that will touch that price. We are having bids coming in at 2X that amount directly from the roofers. Now understand they are licensed and insured which will be higher priced than the illegals that I will not us period!
 
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I have costestimator but found it way to time consuming to bid out a project and not realistic when it comes to pricing.

There are so many variables in this industry that M&S/HUD/Service Companies don't WANT to consider but you and I in this field have to markup for such as chargeback risks, other contractors tampering with your work, etc etc. We always "markup" a bid 8% for chargeback risk to help offset any "possible" chargebacks that we, the contractor, may have to "eat".

Because of these variables it is very tough to find any estimating software that will give us the pricing we need. M&S estimating is so the Service Companies can try to "cut your pricing if you allow them to". That is a business decision you have to make
 

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FremontREO said:
I have costestimator but found it way to time consuming to bid out a project and not realistic when it comes to pricing.

There are so many variables in this industry that M&S/HUD/Service Companies don't WANT to consider but you and I in this field have to markup for such as chargeback risks, other contractors tampering with your work, etc etc. We always "markup" a bid 8% for chargeback risk to help offset any "possible" chargebacks that we, the contractor, may have to "eat".

Because of these variables it is very tough to find any estimating software that will give us the pricing we need. M&S estimating is so the Service Companies can try to "cut your pricing if you allow them to". That is a business decision you have to make
I love your posts Freemont, you have a wealth of knowledge! thanks again!
 

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The few examples I saw of M&S pricing was at or below what the contractors would charge for most items. Then you've got the 8% mark up Fremont mentioned.
You've got the 20% to 35% the service company mark up.
Aint no way thats going to work!
 
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RS Means

I've been using RS Means forever and I swear by them.

I don't do whole house restorations. My top end repairs are 33k (I wouldnt mind if bigger).

I use RS Means, and then mark it up 40%. This might seem excessive but I give 10% for sales/job management commission, 30% me, 60% sub.

I rarely have a job go so smooth it works out this way. Getting the bids accepted isn't my problem, it's finding someone to do them and not screw it up, on time.

Many times, the customer (homeowner or bank) finds something to screw with, just so they can say they really nailed me and it pops off about 5%.
 

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I have been aware that HUD has approved Marshall-Swift estimator programs as the benchmark for all repair estimates including debris, demo etc. The pricing can be a bit prohibitive so I am looking for some feedback on any other programs being used by my industry cohorts.
HUD actually switched to Bluebook's RepairBASE in 2011 and in February 2013 awarded RepairBASE a five year contract extension. RepairBASE is now the standard used by HUD. See here for additional information: http://www.preservationtalk.com/showthread.php?t=2167
 
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