Using E-Cab to produce estimates

Moderators: Jason Susnjara, Larry Epplin, Clint Buechlein, Scott G Vaal

Gregory Hairston
Junior Member
Posts: 69
Joined: Sat, Nov 18 2006, 5:07PM
Location: Memphis Tn

Using E-Cab to produce estimates

Postby Gregory Hairston » Thu, May 15 2008, 6:47AM

How many of you use Ecab exclusively to produce your estimates/pricing for jobs. Do you have it set up for your hardware? Are you costing price per cabinet or another way. Im looking for as much information on this as possible.

Thanks
Greg
Successful people do the things others won't

User avatar
Neville Bastian
Guru Member
Posts: 589
Joined: Fri, May 20 2005, 6:48PM
Company Name: Classic Cabinetry
Location: Albany Western Australia
Contact:

Re: Using E-Cab to produce estimates

Postby Neville Bastian » Fri, May 16 2008, 4:32AM

Hi Greg,
I'm trying to set this side up also but so far not much feed back on times from Ecabinet users.
I noticed 44 people at this stage have looked at your post. Maybe its worth a pole but my thoughts are very few people are using it for costing thus you could ask how are people who are using Ecabinets doing their quotes/Estimates? This reminds my curent drawing program whose proposal program hasn't been improved for over 10 years.
Hopefully if there is something lacking in Ecabinets in this area its on the improvement list.

Best of luck
Regards

Neville
Neville Australia

User avatar
Kerry Fullington
Wizard Member
Posts: 4566
Joined: Mon, May 09 2005, 7:33PM
Company Name: ProSource of Amarillo
Country: UNITED STATES
Location: Amarillo, TX

Re: Using E-Cab to produce estimates

Postby Kerry Fullington » Fri, May 16 2008, 6:55AM

Neville, Greg,

This is one of my pet peeves with eCabinets. It is very weak in job costing for custom work. I use eCabinets now for costing materials and I then use a spread sheet to calculate labor costs. eCabinets is really not good for getting material costs at this time either because there are so many items that may be available through the member store (and other vendors) that are not available in the software. Right now I create a display object of hardware items that are not available and add cost to them and place them in the job but this is time consuming and also these parts are not itemized. The way that eCabinets uses too add labor to jobs to me is too much guesswork. It is similar to linear foot pricing that some use and just isn't accurate.
Getting accurate job costs from this software (in my opinion) should be one of the most important things it does.
I am testing a new method of job costing this weekend that will only use eCabinets for the bill of materials and everything else will be done outside eCabinets. This of course requires me to enter the bill of materials goatherd from eCabinets.which is time consuming.

Dan Epps and I have been visiting about this for a little over a year, and he has an idea for a utility separate from eCabinets that would calculate all job costs (and eventually get into inventory control and some of the other problems in a shop). I think that a separate utility might be the way to go so that we are not adding any more "Bulk" to eCabinets that might slow it down. eCabinets would calculate all the materials and hardware needed and dump this into the separate utility to calculate job cost and create the proposal (which is something else that needs work in eCabinets).

I am not being critical, but this is one of the areas that I think needs a lot of attention. I would like to see it all within ecabinets but if not a separate utility that ties to eCabinets would be good also. (I don't want anything to slow ecabinets down.

This would be a good thing to add in Version 6.

Kerry

User avatar
Peter Walsh
Guru Member
Posts: 460
Joined: Thu, May 19 2005, 3:15PM
Location: Palm Springs, Ca
Contact:

Re: Using E-Cab to produce estimates

Postby Peter Walsh » Fri, May 16 2008, 2:55PM

Kerry,
I have been using eCab for pricing since ver. 3.
I labor each cab individually in eCab as I build them, and generally find the factors displayed in the labor list per cab works for me. This info is tallied up when pricing the whole project, and except for some past bugs, it is working. I run my pricing on the complete job as displayed in the room so I make sure I capture all the stuff I put in the room for the rendering I showed the customer. I don't know why you are assuming some price averaging (/lineal ft.) when doing it this way, since it totals the exact hours I have added for each step in each cab in the labor list and for all cabs at one time.
The BIG exception is the inability to labor assemblies entirely built with display items. These are usually custom pieces of some type, are really high in labor and leaving those out can cost you.

To the eCab output on costs and selling price, I must add all the usual:
Stain & finishing materials
Freight
Transport to site
Outside Labor
Lights and other various parts not purchased from eCab
A catch-all misc for sandpaper, saw sharpening, etc.
My spreadsheet is a paper worksheet (a little old-fashioned, I know)

It would add a lot of work for me if I couldn't use the existing eCab pricing resources as limited as they are. I support any improvements that you are pushing for though, we can all use those.

regards,

User avatar
Neville Bastian
Guru Member
Posts: 589
Joined: Fri, May 20 2005, 6:48PM
Company Name: Classic Cabinetry
Location: Albany Western Australia
Contact:

Re: Using E-Cab to produce estimates

Postby Neville Bastian » Fri, May 16 2008, 6:30PM

Hi Kerry and Peter,
Thanks for the tips. I seem to be getting a weird response with square meters which I use in Australia. I guess your using square foot but if you have the time can you check if you switch to metric you get the correct result. Maybe I have my settings wrong some where. I have asked my Thermwood Guru Doug in Oz for a reply but he is busy having swimming lessons. That's a in joke, sorry for digressing.
So when I do a 500mm 20inch base cabinet I have $450 worth of of materials
Kerry with your spreadsheet that you use are you open to send me a copy so I can see how you do your proposals. If you and Dan get something happening I'm happy to contribute to get a copy. I have something happening with inventory myself and time cost with a in-house program which you welcome to have a copy off but it might be overkill as I'm trying to keep a track of 14 staff.
Thanks for your reply

Regards

Neville
Neville Australia

Joe Redburn
New Member
Posts: 18
Joined: Thu, May 08 2008, 7:11PM

Re: Using E-Cab to produce estimates

Postby Joe Redburn » Fri, May 16 2008, 9:20PM

Greetings One and All,
I am new to the forum and the software but I am not new to the cabinet business.
I have one of the high end cabinet design programs that produces wonderful pictures of cabinets set in a proposed kitchen. It would be a great sales tool if I did residential work. Which I don't. It will export a bill of materials that I can stick in a optimizer program and find out how much stock to buy. Thats good. It outputs to a CNC machine also. Thats good.
It does not do worth a *** at producing a cost estimate. It will only calculate in lineal / square feet/ meters of frontage, counter tops, doors, etc. Since a cabinet 12" wide costs a minimum of say, $150, a cabinet 48" long does not cost 4 times as much or $600. There is no way in that program to price my product realistically. It does not adapt to commercial design either,
Thats why I'm here. This software looks like it will do what I need for the weird designs that i run into. If I can ever climb that learning curve.
The ability to produce an accurate cost estimate is as important as all the other features combined. We are all in this business for the money and without an accurate estimating system you just as well throw darts at a wall. If it takes a lot of time to price each individual piece and part in the library that you use, then you better spend the time because your competition is going to do just that.
If I have to take the output from the program and dump it into a database or spreadsheet to come up with an accurate system , then that is what has to be done. It is not the way I would prefer but it is better than nothing. I am willing to contribute to a joint effort also.
Regards,
joe

User avatar
Damon Nabors
eCabinets Beta Tester
Posts: 923
Joined: Wed, Apr 05 2006, 5:50PM
Location: Marion, Ar.
Contact:

Re: Using E-Cab to produce estimates

Postby Damon Nabors » Fri, May 16 2008, 10:15PM

There are so many variables in accurately pricing a job. Most will come with experience. Such things like: painted or stained, painted and glazed, what type of product are you using such as oil base or lacquer. What type of clears you are using. Shop supplies like nails, staple, screws, sand paper, glue,utilities, delivery expense, etc. will you need to hire additional help to help you deliver those cabinets on the second or third floor of that condo or what ever it may be. How many trips will you have to make to install, do you have a large enough trailer to make it in one trip. Are your materials delivered to your shop or do you have to go and pick them up. How much is your time worth.

One of the best things I ever did was to start a journal and keep track of every move I made for an entire month. You will be surprised at how much time is spent on the phone or talking to people that just show up to B.S. and kill time. I have found that a lot of the time it is cheaper to maybe pay a few dollars more and have your merchandise delivered via UPS, truck line or what ever you need to get your supplies.

You can sit there and figure material and labor all day long but you must also have a plan in place to get the merchandise out the door. It is amazing how many of us Super Men out there think we can build any thing in a day. :D Just to find out that time flies fast when your having fun.

Another thing you really need to analyze is your overhead. And don't get caught up in the theory that if you work out of your 2 car garage or what ever "back yard warrior "set up you may have that you DON'T have overhead. Your equipment will not have babies and replace itself when it retires or breaks. You have fuel expense, utilities, building maintenance, bank fees, web site fees, business cards, computer expense, paper, pens, pencils, license fees, workers comp, insurance, bonding, payroll, and the list goes on. Start yourself a journal and keep up with time, materials, shop supplies, office supplies trips to make deposits and what ever else you may do throughout the day and see what it cost you to do business every day.
Its not the job that will sink you, its all the other cost of doing buisiness that will catch you by surprise.

Well, I have voiced my opinion, BTW.

Damon

P.S. I almost forgot, Don't forget the Router Payment :)
Damon Nabors

User avatar
Neville Bastian
Guru Member
Posts: 589
Joined: Fri, May 20 2005, 6:48PM
Company Name: Classic Cabinetry
Location: Albany Western Australia
Contact:

Re: Using E-Cab to produce estimates

Postby Neville Bastian » Sat, May 17 2008, 12:30AM

Hi Damon,
No matter what size business you are you need to meet your costs, profit and then some. Many back yarders I know just try and beat your price by a few hundred dollars so are counting on the larger firms to have the costing right. Some guys are happy to make $30 an hour.
The advantage of Ecabinets software should be the ability to get the material usage correct based on historical data on what percentage is waste and historical data on how long it normally takes to perform certain work.
When you are like Joe doing commercial or specialised work, that can be scary as your not sure on your times but go on past experience. I like the historical data based on common past jobs so that if I do have a commercial job I can adjust that factor in to my base line. The advantage of out of the ordinary work is there are less people willing to spend the time calculating the cost. Why spend a day adding up materials and labour on a job your not keen on doing because of the unknown profit margin.
I'm sure Ecabinets can be adapted to give the actual material cost and actual labour cost based on the kitchen design. In my neck of the woods a kitchen can be a basic melamine style with abs edging laminate bench tops to a high gloss foil kitchen with engineered stone tops. The labour per cabinet has to be different for the two extremes. As Joe said a 300mm cabinet labour content is not 4 times the amount for a 1200 cabinet. With the estimating you need to average things so you loose on the swings you make up on the round about. At the end of the job you need that result actual labour including add-ons e.g. holidays/sick leave + actual material including off cuts+ percentage for overheads and profit is less than amount invoiced/charged out. If that's more than 10% in my favour I'm real happy.
I think Kerry and Dan are right. The program needs improving in this area or at least allow better export of data that can be accessed by a spreadsheet or database. Even if we had to pay for this module seeing its getting away from the core reason Ecabinets was made as a free design program that links into the Thermwood. It's up to Thermwood if they do this or contract the work out.
Regards

Neville
Neville Australia


Return to “eCabinet Systems Software”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests