top of page

SharpeSoft Estimator Fast Trax 6/7: Easy Steps for Creating Subcontractor Comparisons

Updated: Jul 12, 2023



Scroll down for 4 helpful videos!

Estimator uses Subcontractor Comparison Packages to define the various subcontractor work packages (concrete, paving, excavation, etc.) for comparing subcontractor bids for evaluation and final inclusion into the job. You will use the Subcontractor Package Wizard create a package, select the bid items that will go into it, and choose the subcontractors who will participate in the quote request and comparison.


Using the Subcontractor Comparison Detail window, you will compare the quotes side-by-side, subsequently selecting those to be included in the job bid. The detail window also allows you to email quote requests to your vendors and load their emailed responses directly into the package, eliminating manual entry.


Before You Start

Before you can email quote requests and receive email quotes from your selected vendors, the following must be completed. (If you will be manually sending RFQs and entering vendor prices, you can skip this step.)



  • The SharpeSoft Quote Processing Email Server must have been installed and configured. For information on setting up and configuring the email server, press F1 to open the on-screen Help. Navigate to the SharpeSoft Email Server topic header, click to open the topic book, and then click Installing the Email Server.

  • The Email Configuration window must be configured in system Defaults. For information on configuring your email, press F1 to open the on-screen Help. Navigate to the Defaults Menu topic header. Click the node icon to open the topic book, and then click Email Configuration.

  • The RFQs (requests for quotes) tab must be configured in system Defaults. For information on configuring RFQs, go to Defaults menu > Preferences. Press F1 on your keyboard. In the Help topic that opens, click the RFQs tab in the User and System Preferences screen shot. The RFQsHelp topic will open.

  • Email addresses for your vendors must be entered in the Vendor Detail window. For information on entering vendor email addresses, go to Tables menu > Vendors and press F1 on your keyboard. In the Help topic that opens, scroll down to Related Topics and click Vendor Detail.

Create Package

Go to: Job menu > Subcontractor Comparisons


In the Subcontractor Comparison Packages window, click insert to open the Insert Subcontractor Package wizard. In the package wizard, enter a Code and Description for the new package (i.e. PAVE = Paving Package, etc).



Exclusion Mode

If you plan to enter subcontractor exclusions, select the method in which those exclusions should be spread: Weighted, Override or None. Click the arrow next to the Exclusion mode to select from the drop menu. Double click on the method you want.


Weighted: the system will automatically calculate the percent of the exclusion for each item based on the bid amounts in the package detail window.


Override: you must enter the exclusion percent you want for each item in the package detail window.


None: the exclusion total will not be spread to the items entered into the package detail window, however the total exclusion amount will still be displayed in the price panel at the bottom of that window.


Click Next.


Select Bid Items


You will now be in the Select Bid Items window.


Click the node icons in the bid item tree to open the tree to the sub item level. Click on a sub item and then press your keyboard spacebar. This will mark the item and highlight it in blue. If you change your mind and want to deselect an item, just click on it again and press the spacebar. This will un-mark the item. Continue marking all of the items you want, and when finished, press Enter, or click .


You will be returned to the Subcontractor Comparison Wizard bid items window where the bid items you selected will be displayed.


Click Next.


Select Vendors

You will now be in the Select Vendor window. Select each vendor who will be returning a quote for this particular package. Mark your vendors for inclusion in the package by clicking on each and pressing the space bar.


Once you have marked all the vendors, click Select. You will be returned to the vendors page of the Insert Subcontractor Package window and all of the vendors you selected will be displayed.


If needed, you can edit the window using the insert, change, and delete buttons. Once you have included all applicable materials, click Next. The Select Vendor window will open.

Click Next and the final window for the package wizard will open.

  • Note the checkbox that will appear in the center of the window: Continue on to the Subcontractor Package detail.

To continue to the package detail and begin sending out quote requests, leave the box checked and click finish. You will be moved to the detail window. If you want to leave the window and create additional packages, uncheck the box and click Finish. You will be returned to the Subcontractor Comparison Packages window.


Typically, you will move to the package detail window where you will email a quote request to your vendors and automatically load their replies as they are received.


Review Package Detail

When the detail window opens, all the items you entered in the wizard will be displayed in the middle table.


The top of the window displays the 'parent' items (bid item and sub item) for the highlighted item in the table. When you click on a different item, the panel will display that item's parent information.


Each of the vendors you selected for the package has a column with their individual vendor codes identifying them at the top. Note that these columns are displayed in both the middle and lower panels of the package detail window.


As you enter or load subcontractor prices into the grid, the low price for each item will be highlighted in red. Each vendor column extends down into the Price Panel where the lowest total package price is also highlighted in red.



Email Quote Request to Vendors

You can email a request for a quote to just one vendor, or to all of them at the same time. If you want to send a request to just one, click in that vendor’s column and then click the toolbar button (Email request for quote to selected vendor only). The request will be sent to the selected vendor.


To send a quote request to all of the vendors at once, click the toolbar button (Email request for quote to all vendors). Once you confirm your request, the request for quote email will be sent immediately to all of the vendors you selected for the package.

  • If a vendor has more than one contact listed in the Tables menu > Vendors >Vendor Detail window, the Select Vendor Contact window will open and you will be prompted to select the contact that is to receive the email.

  • You can quickly bring up a vendor's record to check their phone number or update an email address by double-clicking in the header of a vendor column. This opens the Edit Vendor window, which includes all of the vendor’s current information.

Load Returned Quotes

When a completed quote is emailed back to you, the Quote button above the vendor column is enabled. To open the email, click on the button.


The vendor quote window will open displaying the name of the package and the vendor who is submitting the quote at the top of the window.


Notice in the vendor quote window that there is a memo icon in the Email Date column. The system allows vendors to add memos to their return quotes. To read a memo, double click on the icon.


If a vendor decides to include quotes on additional items (ones other than those included in your original request), a materials icon will also appear in the Email Date column. Double click on this icon and the Mailed New Item window will open displaying the added items and their costs. These items will NOT be added to the package. Any additional items must be manually added.


To load this vendor's quote amounts into their column, highlight the email date and then click Load Quote at the bottom of the window. Note that this button is simply loading the vendor's quote into his column (NOT into the job).


When the quote is loaded, a check will be placed in the Version column in the returned quote window. If this vendor emails updated quotes later and you decide to load one of the updates, the check will move next to the version you loaded. Version numbers are also updated


Conflicts in the Return Vendor Information

If the system sees a conflict between the returned email vendor information (address, phone, etc.) versus the information currently in the Vendor table > Vendors > Vendor Detail window, the Resolve Vendor Office Conflicts window will open. Any conflicting information will be highlighted in that window. You will be given the option to leave your current Vendor table information as is or you can change one or all of the conflicting data fields.


After vendor quotes are loaded into the columns

As bid amounts are loaded into the vendor columns, individual cells containing the lowest prices are highlighted in red. This highlighting lets you quickly identify the lowest bid item prices. The Price Panel at the bottom of the window highlights the lowest overall total.


Cuts/Adds, Bonding, Mobilization, and Exclusions

To enter a vendor cut or add, click the Cut or Add buttons that appear in the Price Panel at the bottom of the window to select a decrease or an increase in the vendor total bid amount. Next, click the Percent or the Dollar button, depending on whether you are applying the cut/add as a percentage or as a dollar amount. Last, click in the Cuts/Adds row directly beneath the vendor's column header and enter either a dollar amount or percent (depending on which you selected), then press Enter.


To review a vendor’s overall cuts or adds, double click in the Cuts/Adds row in the vendor’s column. This opens the Cuts/Adds for… window.


Examples

If you wanted to cut a vendor’s total bid by 10%, you would go to the Price Panel and click the Cut button, and then click the percent button. Next, click in the Total Cut/Add row just beneath the vendor's column header. Type '10' and press Enter. The total price is now decreased by 10%.


Spread Method: The system will spread this type of decrease by subtracting 10% from the total of each item in the bid.


If you needed to increase another vendor’s total bid by $1500 and the vendor has bid on 15 separate items. In the Price Panel, click the Add button and then click the Dollar button. Now click in the Cuts/Adds row just beneath the vendor's column header. Type '1500' and press Enter. The total price is now increased by $1500.


Spread Method: The system will spread this type of increase by dividing the total dollar amount ($1500) by the vendor’s total number of items (15) and add the resulting dollar amount ($100) to each item.


Bonding and Mobilization

The fastest way to access the Edit Bond Rate or the Edit Mobilization Rate windows is to double click in the Total Bond or Mobilization row for the vendor you want in the price panel at the bottom of the window. Enter any necessary bonding or mobilization costs for each vendor in the same manner.


Exclusions

To access the Exclusions for... window, double click in the Total Exclusions row of the price panel at the bottom of the window under the vendor you want to work with.



To calculate the true cost of selecting a vendor as your subcontractor for this package, make sure that you enter any additional needed costs that the vendor may have omitted.

  • If exclusions for each vendor are to be the same, simply open the first vendor exclusion window and enter the exclusion. Next, open the second vendor’s exclusion window and then immediately exit out of it. The exclusions entered in the first vendor window will be copied to the second vendor window. Repeat opening and immediately closing each of your vendor exclusion windows to copy the original exclusions into each vendor’s exclusion window.

Selecting a vendor and loading the package into the job

The fastest way to select a vendor and load his/her quote into the job is to click the Load button directly above the vendor column. When you select a package (other than the Prime Price package) to load into the job, a window will appear warning that your original items, sub items, and detail will change to reflect your selection. If later you want to reload the Prime Price amount, simply click the Load button at the top of the Prime Price column. Any exclusions you have entered for the loaded vendor will follow the spread mode you selected in the Insert Subcontractor Package window (see the first page of this document).


When you set up a package and load it into the job, it will replace the sub-items and/or detail for that particular job bid item.


If you originally selected a bid item, the loaded package will replace all the sub items and detail under that bid item and will become the detail for the job bid item.


If you originally selected a sub item, the loaded package will replace all the sub items and detail under that first sub item and the package will become the detail again.


If you want to learn more about each window in the Subcontractor Comparison, press F1 while in one of the windows to access on-screen Help.


Conclusion


Getting started with SharpeSoft is a breeze. Whether you are looking to create a new job or add one, SharpeSoft has got your back. We have the tools and expertise necessary to help you make it happen without breaking a sweat.


You can continue on to other helpful Fast Trax articles below. To learn more about this particular subject, consult your system Help manual, or just give us a call and we’ll be glad to walk you through it.



Commenti


bottom of page