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Any mathematicians? Universal and simple estimating multipliers

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by BrendonTW, Jan 7, 2011.

  1. BrunoT

    BrunoT LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 741

    By the way, I DO start with a basic formula and then adjust from there based on other factors.

    $/hourly rate x hours required plus $standard trip charge.

    Then adjust from there.

    I think ultimately the bigger you are and the more strangers you have doing the bidding and the work the more formalized you need to be with it. But the ultimate test is do your bids match the reality of the time it's taking to do the work? I always get my goal price per unit of work done and often better. I do not like working for peanuts.

    Another factor I forgot was "convenience". For example, is the property on the way home at the end of the day from others where you can work later w/o hitting traffic? I wouldn't be working in some areas of town at 4:30, since I'd get stuck in traffic and waste tons of time sitting in the truck. But if a job was further towards where I live, I could be working at 6pm. So that lawn might be worth discounting a little.
     
  2. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    For fun, I can build an easy to use spreadsheet for you using your variables. Does anyone know if you can upload spreadsheets to this site?
     
  3. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    Done. It's in excel. :) Now to try the upload....

    I had to zip it to get the server to accept it, but here you go. In essence, it would be good to make a copy of this for each "type" of property you are doing. Each one having its own production numbers. IE, one for small residential and one for large open properties.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. BrendonTW

    BrendonTW LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Oklahoma City
    Posts: 545

    I will check that out soon. I will also upload mine when I'm finished. It's going to be really powerful!

    I think I will keep it simple and just as an estimating program right now. I have learned how to transfer data automatically between sheets. It will be useful as I have a sheet for materials and supplies costs and markups, as well as a sheet for labor times per [xx] units. Right now I'm working on the labor sheet. Then I will combine my costs, taxes, markups, and profit onto a sheet for me to see, save, print out for accounting, or adjust numbers manually. And then I will have a fourth sheet which will be the final estimate sheet for the customers. All I will need to do on my bid prep sheet (the third sheet) is fill in boxes for how many square feet, linear feet, or specific attention items my customers have. Turf, flowerbeds, bushes, trees, edging linear feet, etc... It will automatically apply all my pricing rates and material requirements.

    The only thing I wish I would be able to do is keep all of these in a database and if I need to change my labor rate or some other cost, I can go in and change it and it will automatically update every contract. I think this is something for Access though.
     
  5. BrendonTW

    BrendonTW LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Oklahoma City
    Posts: 545

    Also, your Excel file was locked so I couldn't see how you did that. Works nicely, but it doesn't really do as much as I desire. It is definitely functional though.
     
  6. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    I gave you exactly what you originally said you were looking for. Per your words: simple, systematic, efficient, estimator process. Now you say it isn't what you are looking for?

    Uh oh... It sounds like you have a case of fascination complication. :nono:

    Excel is fun to play with. And figuring out what you can do with it can be invigorating. But, herein is the problem. It is easy to get carried away and loose sight of your original goal. It becomes fascinating and thus you tend to make it more complicated than it needs to be.

    Case in point: You say your goal is to develop an easy/effective way for your future employees to do bids. You have that.

    Now, you say you want it to figure operating costs and provide information to help you assign tasks to each man on the crew.

    Fact is: if you want your estimator to be effective do NOT complicate it with these other "tools". If you do, you are NOT making it simple for your future employees to use. You are only adding complexity, learning time, and increasing your chance for error.

    The biggest problem with what you seem to be trying to do may be promoted by people on this site. Many people on this site say figure out your operating costs and set your prices based on those. Bad advice. Your prices should be based on what your local market will allow, NOT what you think you need plus a tiny bit more. Making an estimator based on this idea is asking for misspent time and a number of miss-bid accounts. (either too low leaving money on the table, or to high leaving you without work)

    Your job, as CEO is to find out what prices the market will allow, make sure those prices will be profitable, and then decide whether or not to do business in that market.

    Then your job as chief operating officer is to make it as EASY as possible for each of your employees to do THEIR JOB. In as big of a company as you say you want to build, a salesman should NOT have to worry about gas, labor, insurance, and equipment costs. That is your purchaser's and operations manager's job. Your salesman's job is to make sales on a given price. That's it!

    Keep things separate and don't confuse people (your salesman) with information they don't need to know.

    Just my .02 that I had to learn the hard way. I hope you take a serious look in the mirror and ask if you are really trying to build a big company, or build a big... you.
     
  7. BrendonTW

    BrendonTW LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Oklahoma City
    Posts: 545

    Yours would be fine if I was only calculating mowing. That's what the original post was for; Calculating weekly maintance type pricing. However, I bid on the entire contracts and want my other salesmen to do the same. Everything, mowing, weed&feed, annuals, etc... It will be simple, but there's more to it than you had. The salesmen won't have the version with all my costs and such in it, only the end prices.
     
  8. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    Ahh i see. :) I'll send you a PM to give you the password to unlock it.
     
  9. dougdm

    dougdm LawnSite Member
    Posts: 143

    Could you send it to me also. I would like to play, sitting at home is getting to me. I have been playing with your tool and have really enjoyed it. :clapping:

    Thanks in advance
    D
     
  10. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    Yep :) it's on its way. Glad you enjoy it.

    While playing you 'otta see if you can figure out how to include a contract with it. I simply open my bidding file in excel, enter the name and address. Enter the property measurements and print. VIOLA! I just printed my bid/contract. If it is through the web or phone, I just save it as a pdf, and email it to them. :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2011

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