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TheHotShotKid
03-11-2006, 06:21 PM
How are you using them in your lighting business?

TheHotShotKid
03-11-2006, 10:34 PM
Anyone using spreadsheets?

Mike & Lucia
03-12-2006, 08:30 AM
I can't live without my Excel spreadsheets! I have built templates to calculate cost and pricing for project installation. It allows me to change fixture types, models, markups, etcetera. I can adjust my overall gross profit to be more competitive if necessary or increase the margin if there is reason for that, also. Knowing exact cost allows me to "see" what I can and can't do with the final price. I rarely adjust quoted price at a closing meeting, however, if it is a multiple phase project, I can discount in order to incent client to sign for more work. This idea is based on lower cost to mobilize crews, efficiency in ordering materials, and better planning, all of which save me real dollars as opposed to breaking the job into separate pieces.

I also have my secretary keep my most often used products in a different spreadsheet with their most recent price changes. This allows me to have MY pricing at my fingertips, on my Palm Pilot, at all times. We will also use this template to place an order with our distributors by fax, eliminating errors. Easy for us and they love it because we include part numbers. We ask them to attach a copy of the fax (purchase order) to our invoice, which goes a long way to streamlining her work in the office.

Another way we use spreadsheets is after the project is complete. Taking copious notes in the field, allows me to compare my actual cost, as-built, with my proposal. Sometimes we'll spend a bit more time or wire than originally planned, sometimes less. It keeps us close, and allows for better planning on each subsequent project.

Bottom line: I'm a student of cost-accounting. With out spreadsheets, I'm a fish out of water!

Mike

PS: I noticed you re-posted your query. It is frustrating when a good question goes un-answered. I thought we would get a good exchange going on my post regarding service / maintenance agreements and Paul was the only member to respond. Maybe some will take a second look at my post, however it has fallen back a page or two.

Flow Control
03-12-2006, 08:38 AM
Hey Kid,

I have family in Ohio, what part are you from?

TheHotShotKid
03-12-2006, 11:03 AM
Mike and Lucia would you mind sharing with us the program that you use for spreadshhets. By chance would it happen to be Microsoft Excel?

Flow Control
03-12-2006, 11:16 AM
That would by far be the most generous thing of all time since others are selling isimilar programs for 100usd. What part of Ohio are you from Hot Shot.

SamIV
03-12-2006, 08:57 PM
He's not from Ohio, he's from New Jersey.

Sam IV

NightScenes
03-12-2006, 09:13 PM
He's not from Ohio, he's from New Jersey.

Sam IV

I was thinking of a place much much much hotter that New Jersey, if you know what I mean. I love this ignore feature!!

Pro-Scapes
03-13-2006, 12:06 AM
Mike and Lucia would you mind sharing with us the program that you use for spreadshhets. By chance would it happen to be Microsoft Excel?


I can't live without my Excel spreadsheets! .

If your not going to take the time to READ someones reply when you start a thread dont start it.

BTW that was great info mike. Would it be possible to email me a copy so I can see your layout so I can customize it for me ?

Flow Control
03-13-2006, 07:35 AM
I was thinking of a place much much much hotter that New Jersey, if you know what I mean. I love this ignore feature!!

I was thinking big

Mike & Lucia
03-14-2006, 06:34 AM
Billy, Thanks for posting that quotation. I was thinking the same thing, but decided not to waste the keystrokes, as I believe Hot Shot has retired from this forum.

As for sharing the templates: I'm not sure I'm comfortable sharing work that took me countless hours to complete. I'm still trying to get a feel for this forum and the individuals behind the screen names. Please, don't take my hesitation personally. I'd love to help, but still not sure what are some of the motivations here.

I will tell you this: I built these templates while taking a semester-long class on Bidding and Estimating. The class was geared for Landscape Design/Built and Maintenance and was based on a textbook by Jim Houston. Houston's system of cost accounting is called "Multiple Overhead Recovery System", and is his interpretation of Van der Kooi. His templates are available for sale (for a few hundred dollars). I chose not to buy them because building from the ground up, allows for a complete and thorough understanding.

If you are interested in exact titles and authors, let me know.

Mike

Pro-Scapes
03-14-2006, 08:27 AM
I understand mike. I respect your time and work.

If your comfortable maybe just give a little info on how you did them like what is in each colum etc like did you put:

MR16 bullet then quantity and price for each quantity ? for at least right now I plan to estimate everything individually but I would be interested in building my own later. I wasnt trying to use your numbers but to see how you did yours as an example so I could build my own.

I think I sold another job yesterday. She has 2 loran spots and a nighscaping trans and thats it. Had it for 8 years and HATES it lol. I havent seen it at night but I been doing the maint there for quite some time now.

She sould be an easy sell once I install this other job because she is that doctors nurse and Im installing him in april.

Mike & Lucia
03-15-2006, 06:33 AM
Billy, Good luck on the Doctor and Nurse team.

Here's the basics:
First section is all materials, fixtures, lamps, transformer, estimated wire, estimated labor, warranty (call-back) reserve, state sales tax, misc hardware. ALL materials and labor. In NJ we pay sales tax at the wholesale level, client is exempt - it's a home improvement. This is the most important area, mostly because it forces me to 'build' the project in my head, and on paper. Estimating labor time is always interesting, so I build in a little cushion. Call back reserve is imperative. I include a bumper-to-bumber warranty in the first year, clients LOVE it. And, they pay for it; no, they do not see the line item, but I'm covered. Most projects will never exhaust the reserve I include (per transformer or zone).

After knowing my total cost, I can play with margins. I include a sales/design commission. Pay myself well for a hard day's labor, and don't forget any spiff payed to the referring landscape designer (or other pro) who might have laid the project at my feet. At this point I know my costs and margins and i can adjust according to how badly I want the project or other unique factors. But, the basics are always the same.

I hope this helps a bit...

Mike