In today’s McDonald’s world of getting a big mac, fries and a coke in minutes, builders and contractors are discovering that their clients are wanting an estimate sooner rather than later. Many builders and contractors are losing jobs because they can’t get back to their clients faster enough with a proposal or they’re losing money because their estimates weren’t accurate.
It is great that some vendors offer the service of estimating the materials and other costs needed for a job but waiting weeks for an estimate doesn’t really help builders or contractors get back to their clients quickly.
It is nice that material suppliers also provide a web site for their customers so they can look up and order materials online. I can see where this service helps suppliers process orders quickly and helps their smaller retail clients but It doesn’t necessarily help builders and contractors expedite their process of estimating and getting back to their clients quickly with a proposal. It actually creates more work. This is why.
To be able to create an accurate proposal for their client successful builders and contractors do the following: first, someone has to estimate the materials and other costs needed for the job. Then, they either submit their material list and/or specifications to their vendors for pricing or they enter their materials needed into the supplier’s web site. In either case once they receive the pricing, they have to re-enter the information back into their estimating system and add their overhead and profit so they can generate a detailed cost estimate and/or proposal for their clients.
Since this above process is time consuming many builders and contractors turn to guessing or relying on past history. This creates even bigger issues. For one they could lose the job because they guessed too high or secondly when they get the job and go to order materials and/or services they discover they underestimated what was needed to finish the job. Therefore, the job isn’t as profitable.
What is the answer?
The requiring of your vendors to offer electronic pricing, which is providing their products and/or services via Excel or .csv file. This way with estimating systems from Contractors Software Group (CSG) you can easily import their catalog and update pricing quickly in seconds rather than hours. This way you’re estimating with real costs instead of averages or guess work. You’re able to get back to the client with a proposal in minutes or hours rather than days. In addition, with estimating software from CSG you’re also able to communicate more effectively with your vendors by creating RFQ’s, purchase orders, work orders and subcontracts from the estimate in seconds. This way what was proposed or sold to your client is automatically communicated to your vendors and employees via written documentation so there is no confusion to what materials are to be delivered or services that are expected. This reduces mistakes and makes for happy referring clients.
The smart vendors are even taking the automated process to another level by allowing for importing of purchase orders into their order entry system so there is no re-entry of information. This way they’re reducing delivery mistake from clients or internal employees’ mis keying in the wrong information.
For more information on Contractors Software Group’s estimating products go to: https://contractorssoftwaregroup.com/construction-software-solutions/construction-estimating-software/