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QuickEye Spreadsheet Template

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QuickEye Estimator is a tool that's the heart of the estimating process. The next step is costing, and many companies use a spreadsheet for that purpose. QuickEye Spreadsheet Template is a simple spreadsheet which demonstrates a way to interface costing functions in a spreadsheet with the output of QuickEye.

It's designed to be useful, as is, for many trades but also serves as a starting point to develop a very specific costing system for your company or to simply serve as an example to give ideas on how to customize your existing spreadsheet to accept QuickEye output more efficiently.

It is provided free of charge from www.quickeye.us, and as such, comes without warranty or support. But since it's a simple spreadsheet, you have many options. You can clearly see each of the formulas, so if anything does not behave as you expect you can investigate and modify to suit your needs. Various online or local courses can be taken to understand the basic or deeper functions of spreadsheets as well as self study.

There are also various consultants available to help very specifically with construction costing.

QuickEye Spreadsheet Template works with your spreadsheet program as a template so when you use it to create a spreadsheet, it creates a new spreadsheet which will insist on a new name (name of project), so that you don't have to worry about over-writing the template with project specific information.

A template is actually just a normal spreadsheet file with a different file name extension. With LibreOffice calc (free spreadsheet), the normal spreadsheet extension is .ods, and the extension of the spreadsheet template is .odt. With Microsoft Excel, the normal spreadsheet extension is .xlsx, and the template extension is .xltx.

The template can be installed into the correct place so the program will offer it when you create a new document but it's simpler to place it on your desktop or a shared network drive (for access by multiple estimators). This way you just double click it and it should open the spreadsheet program with an untitled spreadsheet ready for your project specific information.

Template Setup
To prepare the template for use, by customizing it to match your companies items and practices, first set up Item Definitions on the third sheet.

In general, the use of item codes in QuickEye Estimator is optional. But to use this spreadsheet as it's designed, each item created in QuickEye needs to have a code and a matching item code in the spreadsheet's Item Definitions list.

Using the Quick-Library of QuickEye, it's easy to set up all your items with pricing codes. They only need to be entered once, and then selected as they are needed. Each Quick-Library entry also includes a description, modifiers to convert to the needed units or apply wall heights or slab thicknesses, and the output units label.

Each of the codes, to work efficiently with the spreadsheet, needs to uniquely identify the supplied material and labor operation of the item in order to satisfy the estimating process.

So the key thing to remember about the codes as you create them, is that if the same material can be installed two different ways with quite different production rates, then you need two Quick-Library entries with two different codes. That way, when the item is matched up by code with an item in the spreadsheet, you can have different default production rates, even if it's the exact same material.

After the setup in the Quick-Library is done, you may use a copy function to transfer the list to the spreadsheet. From QuickEye's Quick-Library screen, press the Options button near the bottom right to open the Quick-Library Options dialog, and then press the 'Copy Complete Item List' button on the bottom left.

This copies the Code, Description and Units for all library items currently displayed to the clipboard. You then can select the first 'Item Code' cell on the Item Definitions sheet of the spreadsheet and hit paste. This will rough out your item definitions in the spreadsheet template.

You will probably see an import dialog with options. There should be a preview of how it's going to paste the information. The data from QuickEye is always 'tab' delimited. In LibreOffice, you have to check the 'Tab' checkbox for it to paste into three columns properly.

Once you have the list of items, you then add the other information about them. Material Unit Price is the cost per unit for the material supplied.

This is a area where a specialty database for costing, designed for your trade, can be a huge benefit. With this simple spreadsheet, you need to take the current cost, for example, of a gallon of paint and devide that by the coverage rate of that product (spread rate) to determine the cost per square foot. A spreadsheet such as this could be expanded (more columns and formulas) to handle this case, but there may be other trades where after a certain point it's more cost effective to purchase dedicated software.

The next two columns, Waste % and Waste Quantity, are pre-filled in with zeros for convenience, and allow you to pad the material cost to cover the cost of estimated waste. The percentage column increases the unit quantity by a percentage of the whole, while the quantity column increases it by a fixed quantity. They can be used in combination to account for waste on large projects (without over-adding) and small projects (without under-adding).

The Production Rate is how many 'Units' per hour will be installed or applied, to calculate the labor hours. This will be displayed on the Project Items sheet as 'Standard Production Rate', but not directly used in the calculation. The column next to it (on the Project Items sheet), 'Production Rate' will reflect the standard rate but allow you to override it to fine tune the estimate for the conditions on this project. So the standard rate in the template is a suggestion for the estimator to consider.

The way the spreadsheet is set up, a production rate on Item Definitions may be left blank or entered as a range, e.g. '105 - 120', and on the Project Items list, an error will be displayed until a numeric production rate is entered. This way, the template can be set up so that for certain, important items, the estimator will have to manually enter a production rate to complete the estimate. This is a feature which can be employed on all the items or none of them or anywhere in-between. This way, key items, which are critical to winning bids and maintaining profit, can be set up to force the estimator to consider the value on every project, instead of using a default value without due consideration.

The next column, Note, will be reflected on the Project Items sheet and may be used for any purpose, such as reminders to consider a certain aspect of that item or to call for a material quote. This column on the Project Items sheet can also be overridden to reflect estimator notes specific to the project.

The other columns on the Item Definitions sheet are for the Labor Rate calculation and assignment. The Labor Class can be any designation you choose (letter, number or word). The chart on the right needs each labor class once, and the labor class column in the Item Definitions will display the calculated rate based on a lookup from the chart on the right.

The Labor Rate Factor can be set to markup labor to cover overhead or be left at 1.0 if your company marks up everything uniformly. (See our Contractor Resources for information on this topic.) If you want this left at 1.0, cells on the Project Summary sheet will allow you to perform uniform markups. A factor of 1 will leave Labor Rate and Weighted Rate the same.

The labor rates entered here may be a single number or very detailed and item specific. If your estimating requires calculations for multiple workers and varied rates, or you have many factors you would like to use to calculate the current rate, this may be another area where you can expand the spreadsheet or purchase a specialized pricing database product.

The final cells which need set up in the template are the markups on the Project Summary sheet. If you markup everything evenly, just fill in accordingly. The settings shown, assume that overhead is recovered in the weighted labor rate and are set for 10% profit on labor and materials.

You may also want to enter some standard Extra items which occur on all of your bids, depending on your trade.

Now that everything needed in the template is all set, save as a template and put it in the location of your choice. You can use save as and select the current spreadsheet template and override it, or just save normally and then rename the file extension to make it a template.

Template Usage
Now create a new spreadsheet from the template for each new project. Enter the Project Name on the top of the Project Items sheet and save the spreadsheet under the name of the project.

Once all the Quantity Items are created in QuickEye, use the 'Copy Quantity List' button on the Item Summary dialog to put the list on the clipboard. Then paste the list into the first Item Code cell on the Project Items sheet. If you are including some of the optional fields in the list, then paste more to the left so that the Item Code falls into the correct location.

Again, you will see the Text Import dialog and in LibreOffice you must select the Tab checkbox.

After pasting in the list, look for any errors in the Material Costs or Labor Costs columns. Any Item Codes which are in the Item List for the current project but do not have a matching Item Definition will need to be resolved.

QuickEye allows you to store production rates in the Quick-Library, which will copy to the Quantity Item list and then into the spreadsheet. This feature is totally optional but allows you to adjust the production rate in QuickEye while you are working with the drawings. This also provides for having the same item in two places on the drawings with different production rates to adjust for different conditions for the most accurate bids.

In the spreadsheet, if the production rate column in the list from QuickEye is filled in, that rate will carry to the right as the production rate for the labor calculation. Otherwise the Standard Production Rate (which is looked up from the Item Definitions sheet) will be used. The Production Rate column contains a simple formula which is un-protected (may be changed or replaced) so you can override it here for project conditions. The formula is set up to only copy numeric values so if the Standard rate is a range, then you will need to define a number to resolve the error shown. Review each one, whether or not there is an error displayed and adjust as necessary.

Once all the missing info is resolved you are ready to move on to the Project Summary.

The Project Summary sheet pulls together the totals and is where you add extras and adjust the markups.

You may have noticed that the Template Setup instructions were three times longer than the Template Usage instructions. This is the power of spreadsheets. Once everything is set up, they are fast to use.

It is the goal of QuickEye Spreadsheet Template to provide a tool to work with QuickEye Estimator and further streamline your estimating process to be: Fast, accurate, consistant, profitable and competitive.

Please keep in mind that the spreadsheet is easy to extend to further reduce manual calculations and that many companies grow into needing a specialized database to fill their needs. Have fun!