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Software for job-cost analysis

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Sources interviewed named three kinds of software as keys to their job-cost analysis:

  • With Peachtree Accounting software from Sage Group plc, Mark Matson relentlessly monitors material and labor costs as a percentage of overall revenue. “We focus on the total cost in a few categories versus job-by-job comparison of estimates to actual cost,” says Matson, president of ACF Tarp and Awning in Fort Worth, Texas. If a particular job’s cost versus likely revenue strays too far from those guidelines, it’s a red flag.
  • Matson also uses a computer-aided design program called Drawing Board. With it, he gets accurate measures of tubing and material, which go directly into his job-cost estimates.
  • Greg Schmieler counts on a familiar standby—Microsoft® Excel®. The president of Laurel Awning Co. of Apollo, Pa., created his own sizeable spreadsheet and updates it regularly to incorporate fluctuations in routine costs such as materials, vehicle fuel and other variable expenses. The spreadsheet points carefully to his break-even on any prospective job—and lets him know how much to charge to make his target margin.

To find manufacturers of different kinds of software for this industry, check the 2011 Buyer’s Guide.

Marc Hequet is a business writer based in St. Paul, Minn.

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