Brent Freeman, Estimating Manager with Kraemer North America, works directly with 2-3 estimators in the Midwest region to bid between 70 and 100 estimates, ranging from $50,000 to $250M, each year. His team is one of many at Kraemer that bid different regions across America. He shared with me a few tips that his team has implemented over the past few years to successfully build confidence in their estimates using HeavyBid.
Throughout the year, Brent works on his library estimates and codebooks to ensure they are up-to-date, and ready for the next job. These two HeavyBid setups are critical to automating and eliminating the worry of the most common estimating tasks that they do repeatedly.
However, even with a solid reference of library estimates and codebooks, estimators carry a lot of weight on their shoulders to ensure their estimates yield the highest winning profitability and the fewest mistakes. “The estimates move so quickly that you need to know that you are not missing a step or putting in an incorrect number,” says Brent. As he works through each bid, Brent shared with us his tips to make sure his team’s estimates are being checked for errors without slowing them down.
- Always Look at the Estimate Entry Screen – The estimate entry screen is where Brent lives. All the materials, sub suppliers and quotes are entered into the vendor quote subsystem. As the information changes in the estimate, the Estimate Entry gets updated. Regularly spot checking the activities and biditems in the Estimate Entry for irregularities will help you see errors as they are happening.
- Check where items are unbalanced. “We can find a lot of errors in the Pricing Screen by seeing where we are out of balance on an item,” says Brent. There are multiple spots where you can find those errors, but this screen shows all biditems, highlights where you are overrun or underrun, and gives you a preview of what the bid proposal will look like.
- Estimate Review is a one-stop place to uncover errors and create lists to fix the issues. This will show you where entry mistakes were made. The importance of this comes when you are working with multiple estimators you can ensure everyone is thoroughly completing their part of the estimate.
We encourage users of all levels and expertise to call us if something could take longer than a minute or two to figure out on your own. As a HeavyBid user since 2008, Brent says, “Do not hesitate to call support. Up until the User’s Group Meeting (this year), I had not called into support often. Since then, I have used this benefit more, and the customer service is excellent. They typically work to resolve issues quickly, and if they can’t during the call, they always follow-up within 24 hours.”
Brent has worked in Civil Construction for the past 17 years, and has been using HeavyBid since 2008. “HeavyBid is the only estimating software I’ve ever used, and this is the third company that I’ve worked for that uses HeavyBid. I don’t know any other, and I don’t care to know any other one. I am familiar with it, and I love all the features I can get out of it,” says Brent. “I love being part of the construction industry. With estimating, you get to experience so many different jobs so often. It is fun to get involved in all the plans, details, and figuring out the best way to build those plans.”
If you have HeavyBid tips that have helped you, please share them in the comments below.