IPVMU Certified | 01/08/14 01:35am
Jeremy I was contemplating posting a topic on this as well. I have always used Quickbooks, simply because it is available. I would like to try another proposal software there are just so many out there where does a person start? I am amazed at how many business operational topics are being discussed lately, I like it.
At my last job we used the Project System. It worked fairly well for getting pricing done, but it didn't generate proposals very well. We did that manually.
They now use Quosal, which I have little experience with, but maybe I can wrangle someone in here to comment.
IPVMU Certified | 01/08/14 01:46am
I will mention that doing proposals in Quickbooks makes invoicing out jobs easier because you can convert a proposal to an invoice. The templates are customizable so you don't have to use a generic form. The one thing I don't like is the look of a proposal that includesa price breakdown in Quickbooks it looks messy and confusing. A software called Sage caught my eye a while back I may look into that.
IPVMU Certified | 01/08/14 02:15am
I have spoken to these companies in the past, but have never written any updates on their offerings:
I have the strong impression that many integrators never move beyond excel spreadsheets.
IPVMU Certified | 01/08/14 02:11pm
We've used and tested a few, but always revert back to Excel. As long as we keep our templates and document management processes in check, we have no issues and operate very efficiently with spreadsheets. We can also modify spreadsheets easily to fit the many, many ways that customers want to see pricing. We think it's cheaper, too. We have Office on every machine, so don't need to maintain a separate software package. We also find that most everyone these days is comfortable with Excel basics. We can get someone familiarized and operating with our templates in a couple of hours.
We’re using a program called QuotaMaker to create proposals. Using a utility vs. the spreadsheet enables the process to be somewhat automated. I can create and catalog custom generic scope letters and documents. Customize all of my formats. I can manipulate individual margins and blend everything seamlessly. It uses a database backend so all quotes company-wide are archived. It forces a sync every couple of weeks to ensure I have the most up to date pricing and parts. I can run metric reports on what I have quoted and apply granularity down to vertical or manufacture reports. Before using QuotaMaker, I was using Salesforce. That was a kick in the groin. The company I worked for at the time locked parts into MSRP pricing and had an extremely limited database of parts. I was unable to manually enter my own parts. My current setup has 30,000 parts not including my personal user defined database. I can build custom kits such as enclosures with power supplies and panduit and all of the peripheral parts that are typically the same across all access control projects - defined by the number of doors 2, 4, 6 8 etc...
We typically use Excel but have also been using QuoteRoller recently.
Is anyone out there using WeSuite? This seems to be becoming a popular estimating software for the low voltage industry. It offeres an element of CRM, estimating and proposal presentations.
Im currently trying out Bid Magic. I just finished my first propsal with it today. It turned out awesome. It takes a while to get the software setup but afterwards I think its very easy to use.
Resurrecting a Dinosaur anyone have any updates as to what the best bang for the buck is? Looking for something that has a visable edge on Excel and speeds the process. Paperwork automation is a plus too.
IPVMU Certified | 04/01/17 11:10am
We use the following programs:
ConceptDraw has replaced PowerPoint for us for a few reasons. We can lock objects to the board, so no accidental clicking and dragging of the wrong object. There are image libraries so we can quickly insert pre-made objects, and it has layers that we can quickly unview items on that layer.
We only use JVSG when we think the client really needs to see exact views, etc.
Once we have our design, we go to QuickBooks and line item everything. We have a checklist that helps us ensure we include everything.
Then we go to Publisher, and using a template we create the written proposal. Then save as PDF and insert any items such as the design from the design program or the estimate from QuickBooks.
We use Insightly for CRM.
We are starting to consider a service program, and looking for one that integrates with QuickBooks desktop. Any suggestions?
I am currently using niftyquoter.com, you have to put the time in and build templates. But it provides a great web based proposal at the end that your customer can choose options, see pictures and accept or reject.
- many template options
- graphs of monthly accepted, rejected, sent, viewed proposals
- no integration to crm, google, QB
Talking with Quosal as well, they are releasing a new 21hr training program for DIY setup at a discount. If you figure your value of 21 hrs at mid-morning it's not such a good deal.
Still, have not pulled the trigger.
Some of our biggest challenges are...
1. Making and keeping track of change orders.
2. Printing a final list of all parts after additions and deductions from change orders.
3. Outputting as CSV, Excel or text, item lists for import into other paperwork.
4. Being able to generate reports based on how many items are on outstanding quotes, so both us and our suppliers can forecast quantities needed.
So a lot of what we need is carrying through post sale to end of installation, except for the one report we'd like about quantities spec'd on pre-sale.