Getting the most from your pricing service

I remember the days of the price book with thousands of pages and the continuous task of replacing those pages. It was a lot of work and took up a good deal of time, but it was worth it. When I needed a price for an item, I could usually find it. The evolution of pricing services has changed dramatically from those days and what used to take hours, now takes only seconds.

Why do I want a pricing service?

Over the years I’ve talked to many estimators and debated the need for pricing services. Everyone finds value in them, but some seem to balk at the cost. These days, just about every manufacturer has catalogs available on line, but very few of them include pricing. When you Google a catalog number, you’ll usually get pricing from some online supplier, so why do you need a pricing service? Productivity and accuracy.

Reduce time spent material pricing

Productivity is one of the key benefits to have a pricing service. The time these services save you alone is worth the price. Many drawings include specific catalog numbers for some aspects of the job such as lighting controls. Most pricing services include search engines that make it easier to find the items you want and will even take you to that item in the manufacturer’s catalog for additional information.

Also remember, most estimates have hundreds if not thousands of material parts. Whether you look up the prices with some online supply house or get the prices from your vendor, you still input or import the prices into the system. Pay attention to the amount of time you spend getting material pricing for your jobs and extend it out monthly. How many more estimates could you complete with that time?

Reduce mistakes in supply house charges

And finally, accuracy. Keep in mind that to get the most out of your pricing service, you still need to do your part. You will need to adjust to compensate for any variation of pricing. Once you’ve got your adjustments in place, your pricing service will change prices based on market conditions and posted changes in price from manufacturers. Your adjustments will remain and should keep you close. Periodic maintenance and spot checking should be enough. Have someone compare the prices in your database to recent invoices from your supply house. It’s a great way to maintain your adjustments and you may even find a few mistakes in the price your company was charged.

You don’t need to have the most expensive pricing service to make this work. Look at all your options and select the one that’s right for you.


About Allan Goodwin

Allan Goodwin has been with ConEst for 28 years (or since 1989). He started out as an estimator and was thrust into the role of technical support when Conest was first conceived. Since then, Allan spent many years as the QA director, then product manager. Allan is now the Director of Product Development/QA, ensuring the products meet the needs of the users. Allan is a licensed Master Electrician in the state of New Hampshire as well as a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting and Finance. He also has an Associate Degree in Business Administration from Hesser College.