The Top Tips For Using Estimating Software
Estimating software is something that many businesses consider investing in. However, most of these businesses will only use a small portion of the software’s functionality. To ensure that you are getting the most out of the software, you need to consider some tips for using the estimating software.
Always Read The Manual
One of the best things that you can do when it comes to estimating software is to actually read the entire manual. You should also look at taking notes about the functionality of the software and index some of the most important pages. This might sound like a daunting and time-consuming task, but it will be worthwhile.
Most manuals are organized into modules that you can easily find through the index. This allows you to pick up a few tips each day from the manual which will help you learn more about the program. Understanding the software is important because it will help you break down the estimate by area, phase, system, location and drawing. This knowledge will help you in your scheduling and help you with project management.
Find An Online Support Group
Most people do not consider the benefits of a good online support group like Ensign Support Systems. These groups will generally be other users who can help you understand the software and give you advice on any issues that you have. Some estimating software will have support groups that you can join where the developers will answer any problems that people have.
You should also look at signing up for the newsletter that the developer offers. This will often have valuable tips to using the software and information about any future features they may be adding. The FAQ section of the software website will also provide you with information about any issues that you may have.
Not Changing Your Methods To Fit The Software
The best estimating software will not require you to completely change the estimating methods you use for the software. The software should help you sharpen your methods and make them more efficient. If you feel that the software is too rigid and does not allow you to work as you want, you should consider contacting the developers. There could be an upgrade to the software that allows you to work in the way that you want.
It is also possible that the software is not as stiff as you think and you are simply not using it correctly. In these cases, the developers should be able to help you configure your software to work in the way that you want it to. You may also find that a small change in the way that you do things could make the software easier to use and the estimating process easier and more efficient.
Create Assembly Units And Templates
When using any estimating software, you need to look at creating company-specific assembly units and templates. This will help you standardize the estimates that you create. All estimating software should allow you to do this and will make the estimating process faster.
Of course, when you create these templates you need to allow for customizable assemblies. If your business does offer customized assemblies, you should create a template with the basics which are standard. You can then add to the template for the specific job and this will make the process faster than entering all of the points each time.
Get Graphic With Your Print Outs
Graphics are important and people area able to understand estimates when they have visuals. When setting up your estimating software, you need to include graphs and charts in any print-out templates. Of course, you need to ensure that the graphics you are using are relevant and offering valuable information to the viewer.
Graphs are important for the negotiation phases of any project. There are a number of graphs that you can use for your negotiations and you need to see what your software has to offer. A graph that you need to have for any negotiations is a bid breakdown. It is recommended that you ask your customers about what graphs they want to see on the print-outs then prepare them. Many of your competitors could be ignoring this step and it could give you the edge.
Use System Subdivisions
Most estimating software will have the ability to subdivide your estimates and you need to use this function. This is due to the fact that project managers will have billing cycles and milestones that they need to stick to. When you subdivide your estimate you can ensure that it fits into other measuring tools that are used for project management. This ensures that everyone will be on the same page and you will not have any issues.
Track Labor Individually
When using this software, you should also look at breaking down labor by function. Each member of your staff will have different rates and you need to include this in your estimate. When you track them individually you can create a more detailed estimate and track all of the costs.
Of course, this is not something that all businesses find practical. If you do not want to track labor individually, you should establish an average for your work crew. You can then estimate how many hours the crew will spend on the job and create an estimate. When you track labor you can keep any phase of the project from slipping.
Include All Your Costs
When you set up your estimating software, you need to ensure that you include all of your costs. If you leave something out, your estimate will be incorrect and this could cause problems for your business. The costs that you need to include are labor, the tools you need, equipment and geographic mobilization costs.
Estimating software will help your business, but you need to ensure that you are using it correctly. There are a number of tips that you need to consider when using these programs. Reading through the manual and joining a support group is important, but you also need to set up the software correctly.