Electrical Estimating Software Case Study Review

The Problem

When AJ Newton of Shrewsbury setup some years ago, it was originally the owner, Mr. Andrew Newton, and a mate carried out all of the contracting work. Progressively Mr. Newton found there was more to running a contracting business than the installation work. The problem is fairly typical. The installations were fine and customers happy but there was no spare time for administration or tendering for new work. Invoices were not sent out fast enough to bring in payments to cover the wholesalers bills which were coming in for materials used. This led to cash flow problems and in turn higher bank charges. Mr. Newton explained "I was working evenings and weekends just to keep on top of the administration and saw very little of my family. I did not have the time to tender for new work. It was a vicious circle, no tenders submitted, no work".

The Learning Curve

Mr. Newton had no experience of computers. He had read many articles and adverts in the trade press on computer software to help contractors and decided to buy a PC and software to help get things under control. Mr. Newton explains his experience "First time round I went for the cheapest option, never again! I was taken in by a cowboy outfit, I consistently experienced problems running the software and missed important deadlines. When I could get through to the company the support was less than adequate. It got to the stage where I just had no confidence in the software. Then a friend recommended Pricelynx, by this stage I was very sceptical but could still see the potential for estimating software and now at least knew exactly what to look for."

The Solution

"Eventually, and I must say with some reservations because of my past experience, I moved over to PriceLynx. My reservations were unfounded, it really was hard to believe just how easy the system is to use. Most systems appear to have similar ways of locating materials when taking off, it's not until you actually use the PriceLynx system in earnest that you find it is different, it's very easy to find materials if you do not know the codes. The printouts give a more professional presentation, our customers notice things like this, it reflects on us and I know we have won work because of that. I need a system that is fast and reliable from a professional company I can depend on, PriceLynx gives me that."

The Result

"It is important for me to spend time with my family and I am now able to do this. Because it takes less time, I turn around more tenders now, which gives me a greater opportunity to get the better contracts. Schedules of Rates can be produced automatically from my takeoff in seconds. Consolidated Material Orders based on my preferential discounts are produced, so I do not get bogged down checking incoming wholesaler invoices, or caught out by not checking them."

"Winning the work is only a small part of the job. Some of the time which has been freed up I now use to control the jobs, get back on site and sort potential problems instead of finding out when it's too late. Many of our customers require itemised invoices which used to take forever to collate and produce, with the additional invoicing software I can run these off automatically once a week in no time at all and it shows me the outstanding balances at a glance."

AJ Newton's is now an expanding business. Cash flow has improved, the administration and estimating for tenders which used to take up the evenings and weekends now takes a few hours a week.

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