Working with the Estimate Engine
The Estimate Engine
After a lead is qualified, the next step is to book an estimation visit for the job.
The Estimate Engine is a tool for owners to generate, and send proposals from booked estimation visits.
It follows the first steps in a job's life-cycle, from "Estimation Booked", to "Estimate Complete", to "Proposal Accepted" or "Proposal Rejected".
Owners can use templates or add their own items, material, staff, tools, to generate cost estimates for a job based on the details found during the visit.
When the estimate is complete business owners can preview the generated proposal, and send it via email to the client.
The client will receive a link containing the estimate details and, on the same page, a form to accept or reject the proposal.
If a proposal is accepted, a job goes to the "Proposal Accepted" stage, one step away from being fully booked.
If a proposal is rejected, business owners can send a new proposal through the engine.
To enter the Estimate Engine for a job navigate to the "My Jobs" page.
Select "Tools" on the job you want to create an estimate for.
Selec Estimate in the drop-down menu.
Click "Authorize" to login automatically into the Engine.
Creating an Estimate
Estimate Step 1 - Project Details
In the first step of the estimate, process owners enter the project general details.
The only required field the owner needs to add manually is the Project Classification, which can be "Residential" or "Commercial".
The other fields will be pre-filled automatically based on the platform information.
Crew information can also be included optionally.
Estimate Step 2 - Project Materials
In the second step of the estimate, process owners enter the materials that will be used in the project.
The business owner will add materials named to the corresponding areas they will be used in.
Then while adding templates or individual inventory items,
And then, based on their names, assign items or templates to those materials
That makes it easier to calculate the amount of material to buy and communicate to the crew where each material should be applied.
For Example: If a customer wants all the walls painted a cream color, ceilings painted white, and trim painted olive green, you can create three material profiles with detailed notes for each one.
Then apply the materials to the exact items of inventory they need to be painted on.
This produces an accurate number of gallons the crew will need to purchase to produce the job at the most efficient price.
Once added materials will be listed with the corresponding details. The materials can be updated or deleted while the estimation is not complete.
Estimate Step 3 - Inventory Details
In the third step of the estimate process owners add the rooms or areas that will be produced in the project, and then assign inventory items or templates and materials to each room or area.
Areas or rooms are specific spaces that can be assigned many items of inventory or templates.
For example: On an interior job, spaces might consist of a living room, dining room, bedrooms, and perhaps a bathroom. On an exterior job, they would be the sides of the structure, Front, Right, Rear, Left, etc.
Adding a room requires some basic details: Area/Room Name, Area/Room Type (i.e Interior or Exterior), whether or not the space is lead positive, Description, Notes, and photos.
Individual items can be added to rooms or areas by searching existing items, adding new inventory items, or selecting an item off a template.
After an item is selected, you can enter the item's quantity and material or add a new inventory item.
Select the calculator function to calculate simple formulas, determine the room dimensions, or calculate the square footage of an area.
To add a template, tap the "Add Template" button and search for a template.
After a template is selected, you can enter the template's quantity and material or add a new template. Once there are no more items to add, select "Add Items" on the bottom left.
The added items should show up under the Area/Room they were assigned to.
Once added, items and templates can always be updated or deleted while the estimate is not complete.
Estimate Step 4 - Cost Details
In the fourth step of the estimate process, owners view and review the cost details for the project.
There are 3 types of costs involved in a paint job:
This includes all the materials used in the project, their unit costs (per gallon), as well as their volume (how many gallons are needed).
This includes the total number of labor hours required for the job, the hourly labor cost (paid to the crew), and the total cost of labor.
All Supply Costs:
Soft Supplies are consumables that are used on a job site, such as tape, primer, caulk, etc.
These items are not itemized on the estimate, but still, need to be accounted for.
Business owners can add Miscellaneous Costs ($ amount, Optional), a Discount (%, Optional), and a Tax Rate (%, Optional) at the bottom of the screen.
Estimate Step 5 - Project Summary
The project Summary shows the details of the estimate for the business owner to verify before generating the proposal for the customer or work-order for the crew.
This page shows all the project details, the materials list, the inventory items, their quantities, as well as the cost and price details.
Clicking the "Edit" button on the top right of each section links back to the corresponding page so the details can be edited there.
To be able to generate the proposal and work order click on "Preview".
On the "Preview" screen it's possible to review exactly what the client will see when they receive the proposal email and click the link.
On this page, a business owner can set the Insurance/bond amount, change the warranty details, and enter the deposit and final payment percentages.
The email template, subject, and client email address can also be updated.
Some customers prefer their estimate as a hard copy. To accommodate this, it's possible to download the proposal in PDF format.
Work Order Preview
At the "Preview" it's possible to toggle between the proposal and the work order by selecting "Customer" or "Crew" on the top left side of the screen.
The Estimate Engine pages
You can navigate through the Estimate Engine with the sidebar links or go back to the main platform selecting "Go to Main Street".
The Estimate Engine pages include Projects, Items, Templates, Cost Settings, and Crew.
The Projects dashboard displays all the projects created in Estimate Engine.
You can update a project by clicking "Edit". Then you can start updating it from the first step of the estimating process.
You can't add a new job directly through the Estimate Engine, to maintain consistency across the platforms, the only way to add or delete projects is through the Main Street Jobs Dashboard.
The Items page lists all of the inventory items you have in the Engine.
New Items can be created on this page or in the 3rd step of the estimate process.
You can see each item detail or remove it using the buttons on the right.
Pre-existing items cannot be edited or deleted, but new items you create can be changed however you like.
To create a new item, select "Add new item" and enter the details for the item, labor, and materials
The average job can have anywhere from 50 to 150 items of inventory, which can make completing an estimate very time-consuming.
This is why the Estimate Engine has Templates, to add multiple items based on what category you are currently estimating.
Item Templates contain pre-selected lists of items that allow adding an entire group of inventory items to an area/room at the same time.
The Estimate Engine comes with a list of pre-defined templates based on the common project types, so no item is forgotten.
Pre-existing templates cannot be edited or deleted, but the custom templates you create can be changed however you like.
To create a new template select "Add new Template".
Fill in the template name, type, description, and photos, then add the items you want to include in the new template.
The Cost Settings are used to view and edit all of the specific amounts and cost details for each project.
For each project, it's possible to view or update the following information:
- Labor Cost (Per Hour)
- Soft Supply Cost (Per Hour)
- Lead Supply Cost (Per Prep Hour)
- The desired Markup (in %)
All four of these fields are mandatory as they are all used in generating an accurate estimate.
This is information is incredibly important for financial reporting, maintaining the project budget. The complete values will not show up until all of the project's inventory items and templates are added.
You can organize all the sub-contractor crews on the Crew page. You can add a new crew, view crew details, edit crew Information, or delete a crew.
To create a new Crew select "Add Crew" and enter the Crew Lead's name, phone number, email address, hourly rate, and optionally a photo.