I have recently acquired my C-2, full electrical license, in Nevada.
I am hoping for some recommendations on software that contractors are using for invoicing, billing, estimating, inventory, etc.
Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
I am also new to the forums, but haven't found any similar topics, if there is a topic on this already directions to that forum would be great as well.
Thanks in advance
In another life I used RS Means on occasion. I have heard criticism from folks on this forum that they are too conservative or not conservative enough on labor costs, but the nice thing is that you can edit those inputs as you develop your own history of job material and labor costs.
Originally Posted by John May
Congrats on the new venture.
Vegas may boom again soon.
What market are you going after? Resi, commercial, casino, solar, new construction, TI's, remodels, service calls?
For software you may need several programs.
The no brainier is MS office Word and Excel.
I have Outlook email. It works. Never spent the time to get it dialed in to the way I want, if possible.
For PDFs I hate Adobe. Constant updates, slow, bloated, and costly for a full version.
For that I can't recommend PDF Exchange Editor.
There is a free version to get a feel for and a 1 time reasonable price for purchase.
Full versions permit editing, signing, removing pages, rotate, etc.
For electrical estimating there only seems to be a few choices.
It would depend on the type of work you plan on estimating.
Just starting out an estimating book version may be more economical if your jobs are smaller.
The problem with software lately is the companies don't want to sell you a program, they want to sell you a subscription to use it.
Such as Adobe standard @ $22/month for 1 PC. Or MS Office @ $10/month for 1 PC. Discounts for prepaying can bring it down.
For me it just seems like a paracite.
Also I hate programs that rely on an internet connection to operate.
No internet and PC is a paperweight. Weak connection and your PC acts like it's from the 1980's.
Recently I have spent some time researching and looking for invoicing, billing, inventory software, and customer data base software.
Something that would integrate credit card payments a plus. Or GPS mapping to the next call.
Due to several reasons. Multi-part invoices can look bad if there is a typo then crossed out, misspellings, or other errors.
Then the contact data has to be entered in a data base. The sale entered into a spread sheet. Unpaid put in a collection bin.
When you get a repeat call the tech can't look-up the invoice history from the truck.
What I found was a ton of companies selling some sort of program. Some were aps, which I'm looking more PC based.
Many looked like they were designed for other trades such as HVAC. Focused on equipment numbers, service contracts, factory warranty, etc.
Others looked like they were designed for nation wide service fleets for publicly traded companies.
Some looked like they did one of the above well but not all.
I looked into all ones I could skipping the leave a name and number and a sales rep will contact you about pricing.
A few went into the subscription of $1000's per year. Worse is all your account and customer data was on their cloud. Over time you would be dependent on them.
I remember 1 that looked interesting but seemed too much yes, no, click here, are you sure, etc for the tech.
That was the other problem is finding something efficient to operate.
Looked at reviews and seen complaints about some these small software companies programs are buggy, crash, loose data, or tech support that can take days for a response.
The only one that kept coming up was Quick Books.
Was trying to avoid them as I viewed it as an accounting software, and tried it years ago for 2 different ventures only to turn the financials into scrambled eggs.
But the positive is it's from a solid company and should be a robust program. Many know how to operate QB's including accountants.
Tons of books and information about QB's online.
There are 3rd party add-on's to adjust to your needs. There is a QB app store. In 2012 there was over 500 apps available.
Haven't gone down that path of QB's yet. If I do, I'll still have an accountant do the payroll, monthly P/L, taxes, etc.
$30 / mo for what looks like the full version with multiple users seems reasonable, but you may also be able to buy it outright.
I have been at this now 13 years in Florida.....I run 10 to 15 guys on commercial projects from $15K to over $500K
Originally Posted by John May
I use Quick Books Pro Contractor Version......with it I can keep up to date with my current job costs to compare against my estimates. This is the most important software I use......as long as someone is inputting all of my job costs and labor hours into the software, I can check where my costs are on any project at any time....I also can email the file to the accountant each quarter to keep track of my tax information.
For employee payroll I use a 3rd party company (ADP currently) to process and make the direct deposits.....when starting out as a new company your Worker's Comp. Experience Mod rate will cause your rates to be high......you may want to use a leasing company to run your payroll through, as they can get you good Worker's Comp rates......you become part of their group and they process everything...including payroll...
Estimating software is relevant to what you can afford.....I use Quantum XP software from Electrical Resources...mid range priced software with $1000 annual cost to receive monthly material cost updates......but regardless of whichever software you choose to use, nothing replaces the knowledge you get from the experience gained from years of estimate tracking.