The Workamajig Way – Estimating, Purchasing, Vendor Bid Requests (Ron Ause)
Several ways to create an estimate. Workamajig recommends setting up by task and service. Most clients will see a summary output of your Estimate. Estimates are partially built once created (we are doing by task and service). There are two tabs — task and service. The rows are the tasks and the columns are the services (under the labor tab). Some clients do not charge by the hour but you need to be looking at a base for those fees you charge. You can use your template to define the structure of your estimate. The General Info tab contains a lookup option under “Estimating Services” to customize and select the services you want on the estimate as needed. Workamajig recommends this process be done up front. Having the services narrowed down per project type, then the information contained in the estimate becomes more meaningful and easier to use. Keep the data consistent so that you can measure your progress. Workamawiz tip: update your library of templates on a quarterly basis. Print budget analysis by project type to see if types (tied to estimates) are routinely over/under so that you can modify your estimates accordingly. Remember too, you can always make an existing project a template. Simply add a new project and copy the project you did. This is a good way to organically build your templates. However, you shouldn’t always copy projects themselves to create new projects. Rely on the template to store your knowledge of a project type over time.
Rates input into the system are based on national average. You can set up the services in system setup. You can set service rate sheets to specify service rates for clients that fall outside of the norm (examples: high paying clients, non-profits, etc), in the accounting tab of client setup. In the future this option will override the default service rates built into the template estimate.
There are two reasons to break down the estimates by task: to measure your milestones and/or client presentation. The task system allows you to manage where you are on a budget versus status on the schedule. It is a building block for flowing costs to accounting and establishing a schedule. It meets the needs of Traffic and Accounting. Consider keeping you estimates unrounded; this shows a client you’ve put thought into the estimate versus throwing out a random number. Keep the hours accurate.
The expense tab: costs can be pre-defined in the estimate and adjust them accordingly. It is just as important to keep you expenses updated on the estimates as is labor.
You can use a Change Order to show changes in the budget. They will add the original budget to derive a total budget. From a tracking perspective you would be better off keeping Change Orders for actual changes to the scope of the project. If the budget increases or decreases, you would want to create a new budget to reflect the cost change. Back to Expenses. The expenses in your estimate will have a cost, markup and gross amount. When you create new expenses you can select a purchase item (created in system setup) which can derive default markups. You can also create item rate sheets for specific clients that have non-standard markup percentages. Two ways to update outside costs from your predefined costs set in the estimate’s template. You can go into the expense line item and change the Gross amount or change the markup percentage. The second way will help you determine the numbers for your outside costs — you can request a quote from one or more from your vendors. This command displays on the line item screen of your estimate. This lets the vendor enter in their costs for you and you can select which cost you can approve and apply to your estimate. You have spec sheets pre-loaded into your project templates. These spec sheets can be stored within the project and attached to the request for quote. This is done on the Quote info tab. Next, click on the vendors tab and select vendors from your vendor list. There is a space for ‘special comments’ that you can direct to your specific vendor. When you select “Send for Quote” it will email the request to your vendors to respond to the quote. The email will have a link to login to your system. The Vendors cannot see the other vendors involved in the process nor their costs. Workamajig will email you once the vendor response system has been finalized. This process will allow you to save time in gathering cost information for a project. It is more efficient and allows you to also store bids in the database. If a vendor did refuse to take part in this process, you could fill in the information for them to get the historical record.
Once you have a quote to select, you can approve it and the costs will flow back to the estimate. Once the estimate is approved, you can generate a Purchase Order from the quote.