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Forum topic by crowlader posted 09-18-2017 11:57 AM 727 views 1 time favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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crowlader

21 posts in 146 days


09-18-2017 11:57 AM

Topic tags/keywords: computer program computer program business help excel resource question update estimate money cost calculator cost calculator estimate calculator

I understand this question may be off base for this forum but I believe it can applicable to anyone if we can come up with an answer. I have started selling my work quite regularly and to help me with managing the cost I have made an excel program that calculates the cost of each piece down to the number of nails used and ounces of stain. It spits out the price to produce the piece, I put in how many hours it took me and what I will sell it for. It’s a great tool to give people very accurate estimates and helps my wife and I keep our finances in order. It is a constant work in progress, but it is clunky and at times a nightmare to update. I was wondering if anyone here has any experience with an app or program that does essentially the same thing but is much more refined and easier to update OR if anyone has any insight in how to hire a programmer to make such a program. Any help would be great.

I tried to upload a snapshot of the program so you could get a feel for it, but I am on a below average computer and not sure if it will work. Also, if anyone is interested in the program and can figure out a way for me to share it with them I’d be more than happy to send it out.

-- Conner, Georgia


14 replies so far

View Galootinator's profile

Galootinator

40 posts in 70 days


#1 posted 10-03-2017 10:36 PM

I don’t have anything to suggest as far as a program or app is concerned, but I do have some input. My dad is a woodworker by trade, and he gave me a simple formula that has worked great for me as well.

Cost of materials divided by .20 = customers cost

This seemed insane to me, so I put it to the test on a job. My customer needed a solid quote, and wasn’t going to settle for a “time and material” situation, in which they had no clear idea of the cost. My materials figured up to $150. I plugged it in to the equation and priced the job at $750 (well above what I would have otherwise quoted. The customer jumped all over it, and I was able to do the job at a comfortable pace without feeling like I had under bid it.
I asked him what he does when asked to do something light on materials, but heavy on work. He said he simply tells them that all specialty work, like carvings and such, are on a time and material basis.

-- I've never been accused of withholding my opinion ;)-- Walter M. ~ Missouri

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a1Jim

116560 posts in 3410 days


#2 posted 10-03-2017 11:04 PM

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HowardInToronto

72 posts in 1535 days


#3 posted 10-03-2017 11:18 PM

Jim – that is an amazing website link – thank you for posting it.

Conner – your idea intrigues me – I’m a huge fan of excel – but perhaps you can come up with a way of posting it “live” so we could try it out and provide feedback.

Howard

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a1Jim

116560 posts in 3410 days


#4 posted 10-03-2017 11:23 PM

Your welcome Howard

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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HowardInToronto

72 posts in 1535 days


#5 posted 10-04-2017 12:05 AM

Jim -

Your website is very impressive.

I am sure you have some pretty amazing stories to tell of being in your own family business for almost 30 years. I think offering classes is a great idea. Do you sell your furniture mostly local or quite far afield too?

Howard

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JGrant

2 posts in 68 days


#6 posted 10-04-2017 12:23 AM

If set up properly Quickbooks is capable of doing what you want. It can track expenses by job, track inventory, and generate estimates. It will also give you the ability to reconcile bank statements and track other aspects of your business.

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

116560 posts in 3410 days


#7 posted 10-04-2017 12:24 AM

Howard
Actually, my website is in need of a big update, My sons are off doing their own thing these days and since the median income in my area minimises my local sales I’ve had a good number of sales 300 miles north of me and some even shipped across country but not enough to pay all the bills since the financial down turn of 2008 so I’ve had to rely on my contracting business to have steady income.
I’ve been teaching an adult woodworking class for my local community college for more than 10 years and some private classes also now so that’s not anything new for me

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View crowlader's profile

crowlader

21 posts in 146 days


#8 posted 10-04-2017 12:45 AM



I don t have anything to suggest as far as a program or app is concerned, but I do have some input. My dad is a woodworker by trade, and he gave me a simple formula that has worked great for me as well.

Cost of materials divided by .20 = customers cost

This seemed insane to me, so I put it to the test on a job. My customer needed a solid quote, and wasn t going to settle for a “time and material” situation, in which they had no clear idea of the cost. My materials figured up to $150. I plugged it in to the equation and priced the job at $750 (well above what I would have otherwise quoted. The customer jumped all over it, and I was able to do the job at a comfortable pace without feeling like I had under bid it.
I asked him what he does when asked to do something light on materials, but heavy on work. He said he simply tells them that all specialty work, like carvings and such, are on a time and material basis.

- Galootinator

Thanks for the feedback. My dad was a contractor most of his life and has recently picked it up again. I want to say he told me something very similar to that years ago. I will be curious to see if that rule holds up to how much i have been charging for my furniture.

-- Conner, Georgia

View crowlader's profile

crowlader

21 posts in 146 days


#9 posted 10-04-2017 12:46 AM



Jim – that is an amazing website link – thank you for posting it.

Conner – your idea intrigues me – I m a huge fan of excel – but perhaps you can come up with a way of posting it “live” so we could try it out and provide feedback.

Howard

- HowardInToronto

I’d be happy to post it if you can give me instructions… i’ve never done anything like that on this forum.

-- Conner, Georgia

View crowlader's profile

crowlader

21 posts in 146 days


#10 posted 10-04-2017 12:47 AM



If set up properly Quickbooks is capable of doing what you want. It can track expenses by job, track inventory, and generate estimates. It will also give you the ability to reconcile bank statements and track other aspects of your business.

- JGrant

I will look into that. do you have any experience with quickbooks? is there a certain version of it i should use?

-- Conner, Georgia

View HowardInToronto's profile

HowardInToronto

72 posts in 1535 days


#11 posted 10-04-2017 12:58 AM

Jim – as you know yourself you modify you direction when circumstances dictate – shipping your projects that far sounds like it was….. interesting – the main thing is you’re still here after almost 30 years – that’s big – kudos – Howard

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JGrant

2 posts in 68 days


#12 posted 10-04-2017 04:09 PM


I will look into that. do you have any experience with quickbooks? is there a certain version of it i should use?

- crowlader

Quickbooks Pro Desktop can track inventory. Quickbooks is pushing everyone to purchase their online version now, but I still find the desktop easier to use. The nice thing about Quickbooks is that there are plenty of youtube videos showing how to use it. You may want to take a look at some of those and see if that is what you are wanting to do.

View DS's profile

DS

2820 posts in 2254 days


#13 posted 10-04-2017 10:46 PM

Unless you are in a hyper-competitive market, the level of job costing detail you describe isn’t really necessary.

In the simplest form, Profit = Gross Sales minus Materials minus Labor minus Fixed Expenses.
This is fairly easy to track with basic accounting software.

An interesting thing happens when you exceed the break-even point of gross sales, where your fixed expenses are already paid; The portion of each job allotted for fixed expenses drops out and becomes additional profits. This will usually magnify profits by a large factor, so it is very worthwhile to keep production at this level each month.

So be sure to set up your operation to always be able to exceed the break-even point and you will ensure greater profits.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

6419 posts in 3201 days


#14 posted 10-05-2017 03:59 AM

If you are using Excel, you can customize it to suit your specific needs with visual basic macros.
  • input sheet, select new or existing project, with drop downs, comboboxes, dialog boxes, and other user friendly tools
  • hardware data base, lists all typical hardware with costs, extensible for adding new hardware
  • wood data base, storage for “stock” woods, extensible for adding new woods
  • project sheet template, used to start a new project and filled in by entries into on input sheet
  • project sheet, for each project containing all data for a given project that can be edited when selecting existing project

The nice thing about doing your own, you control the features and the updates as you need!
And, there are many resources to help you build your application!

I was at one time very “fluent” in Excel but haven’t done any for over six years.
In fact I don’t even have Excel on my PC as I use Open Office because I don’t have to pay a yearly subscription fee. Some of the applications I wrote way back then are still in use today?

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

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