The ABCs of Accurate Print Estimating

PixtaFlow’s estimator is the most accurate way to price your products so you don’t leave profit on the table, or lose a job to a price that is too high.

We’ve definitely come a long way since the early days of job quoting when print jobs weren’t so complicated.  Just figure the cost of the materials, add in some cost for turning on the lights and heat in the building, add profit margin and, ta-da!  A price.  Now-a-days there seems to be more competition driving job prices down, more material options with differing price ladders and more pieces of the overhead pie to account for.  And now you need to pay for the kids going through college, so your profit margins need to grow.  Add all that together and, well, you really don’t know how much to charge let alone how much you are making, or if you are being competitive enough.

From the hip estimating obviously should be a thing of the past, but surprisingly a large percentage of print shops are doing just that.  And losing money.  To help address that situation several companies have come out with estimating programs that help you take the guess work out of coming up with a price.  Well, some of the guess work.   Many estimating programs still use averaging and table-based models to come up with an estimate which, unfortunately, is an appropriate name for it.  What you want is a price that you KNOW is accurate and takes into account actual costs of everything that goes into a job and the profit you’ll get out of it.

Which is where PixtaFlow estimating steps in.  Our estimator uses something called Activity Base Costing (ABC – not just a catchy blog title), just like other manufacturing-based industries do.  Activity base costing is a very accurate way of accounting for all the pieces that make up an estimate.  Tables and averaging are not used; actual overhead, labor costs and materials costs are, instead, used.  So every estimate (which we really should call a ‘definite’) is accurate and ensures you are not leaving money on the table.  And if you lose a job to a competitor at least you know you didn’t price the job too low or two high, and that your competitor is probably losing money on the job.  Because they probably aren’t using the ABC’s of estimating.

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