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Thread: Web-Est... Anyone?

  1. Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Web-Est... Anyone?

    I signed up for a subscription. Have you?

    Just like I had previously promised... I would sign up with Web-Est as soon as my "Wrongways" contract expired. Well it did and I did. It was a big argument with Wrongways when renewal came around . But we got through it. Now, after a couple of trials I decided to sign up with Web-Est. I hope it works out. Is there anyone else here using it?

    I have found several issues. I brought my concerns to the tech support department and they said either they would submit my suggestions to the programing person or staff. The tech explained how I could implement simple work arounds. But, I had already devised work arounds of my own that deal with several short comings. I was told that the owners of Web-Est make the decisions as to what gets added or improved.

    Anyway, I have had two trial periods. One about a year ago and another just recently. But, I didn't become very familiar with the system until I actually started using it side by side with Wrongways. I plan on giving Web-Est a honest chance and make every attempt to use the system full time for one year. I am very interested to see if the system is developed further in that period.

    If anyone would like to share their experiences with this estimating system, then this thread might be a good place to do so.

    So, I will start by providing a few of my concerns below.

    Web-Est is a little quirky. But, after a short learning curve it starts to grow on you. There are a few items that need improvement. For one, the naming of certain items is a little inconsistent from one area of the program to the other. Another issue for me is that there is no place to add fleet or company names for customers. Another problem is that the sales report does not list customers by Repair Order number and lists the customers by first name. And the sales report is a little difficult to get to display. On my setup I need to log out and then log back in again and run the sales report immediately after logging in or I will get a error screen.

    I could go on... but, I am waiting to hear what some others might have to say.

    As far as tech support goes... Well, I am having a couple of other issues and waiting for tech support to deal with the problems. The issues were over the ability level of the one tech support person I talked to on Friday. I was told that someone else had to look into it for me. I guess that would be "level two" tech support and that person was unavailable at that late date and time. We will see come Monday if they have a system in place to address my concerns on a timely basis.

    All in all, so far I have received excellent service from very polite and professional people. I am happy with the look and feel of the estimates and the program interface. It flows nicely. I like the fact that I can access from anyplace. The subscription allows for two users to be logged in at one time.

    I like the small company feel. I don't feel like I'm just a number. And, I don't feel like a bunch of "shirts" are going to try and nail me to a wall. Or, sell all my customer names and info to some internet spammers. Or, should I dare mention Clue...

    It is refreshing to know there are options out there that go beyond the typical, main stream estimating systems. I suggest that you all support these people and hopefully they will be able to advance the software to the next level.

    Let us know what you think.

  2. Join Date
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    Assuming your real cost of doing business, your cost of goods means something do you have an idea of where they get their times and operations?
    Roy Smalley,
    Texas

  3. Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    196

    As a past user of Web Est I can say.....

    I appreciate what the company is trying to do. The Mitchell software was my biggest concern. I wrote several estimates in the $2,000.00 range and using Compest side by side and found that the gross estimate was 20-30% less on Web est. I could not afford to lose $200.00 to $300.00 on every $1,500.00 Repair order.

    If they keep working with customers and trying to tailor the program to meet everyone's needs it may be good in the end. I for one could not afford to wait for it to happen.

    I also was concerned about all the data about my customers, labor rates, materials etc. How secure are thier servers and data?

    B
    Last edited by mastertech; 07-25-2010 at 10:27 AM. Reason: cause
    "If Discussions with one's enemies could be worthwhile banks would invite robbers and burglers to their association meetings to discuss security"
    Jim Lynas

  4. Join Date
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    Web-Est uses Mitchell, adjusted by your truly. But that isn't the question.

    Motor / Mitchell... There are in fact differences between the two. One needs to understand the P-Pages and the differences between the two if the two are to be compared side by side. I agree that there are plenty of differences between the two. But, the estimator needs to understand the P-pages and then be able to use them to his advantage... or dis-advantage as it may be. lol...

    I am asking about the program, the software, the interface. Not the information or database behind it. I'm asking how you like the way it works. I'm asking for "tips & tricks".

    Here is one. Did you know that Web-Est doesn't highlight manual entries to my knowledge. No underline or other give aways that the user modified his entry from what the database supplied. When I scan my estimate I use the manual entry screen to adjust times that automatically fall on the sheet from selections made in graphical view. One of the most basic changes I make is to overlap deductions, I am able to change them as I see necessary. Also labor time additions quickly change from .1 to .2 or .3 to .4 and so on. It goes without mentioning that times and prices are easily adjusted. And, adjusted without a obvious notation that draws unwarranted attention to fact that I made an adjustment to a time or price that I felt necessary.

    Also it is important to note that you have complete control of overlap calculations in Rate Profile setup.

    Now, keep in mind that I am using this software as the local "Lone Wolf". I have no real insurance company involvement. I do custom cars, antique and classic restoration and some fleet work for the usual nationwide clients. And I want to mention I do plenty of customer pay repairs on late model cars. The fleets are accepting the estimates no questions asked. At this point I don't care if insurance company's like them or not.

    Which brings me to the EMS capabilities of Web-Est. Has anyone used the import or export function with any success? I have no "partners" left where I might need to use it.

    As far as privacy. I am not concerned about it. They have made a privacy statement. They said they wouldn't resell my info or use it... I guess I have to take their word. Are the servers secure? Why wouldn't they be? Are you able to hack into them? And if you did what is really so secret? Labor rates? Come on get serious.I for one don't care what another shop charges for labor. Customer names and addresses or phone numbers? Get a phone book. Are you saying this company is conspiring with some unknown entity to rob or make use of some "insider information". Like Clue or Car fax. Really...

    Seruity... Now thats funny... I have more trouble with the local competition dumpster diving for my "secure" information. Really, I'm not making it up. I have caught one guy in my dumpster. You should see my shop, electronically locked doors and gates, barb wire, security cameras, video recording, dogs, the whole bit. Secure hard wired network, WEP wireless internet, secure as far as I know... but the dumpster. Geezuzz. So, I bag the desk trash and take it home and burn it in the fire pit.

    I understand that Web-Est will be able to interface with Quickbooks in the near future. That could be cool. I used an interface for years. Back in the day I thought it was cool. I beta tested for Autosoft a system that Wrongways bought and put to bed. I settled on one called Q-bridge in later years. For the last two or three I have been back to double entry because I wanted to track more in Quickbooks than my interface program could give me. Importing from an estimating system to Quickbooks only allows for few items. Being able to import only a few labor types and a few parts types just doesn't cut it. I have several hundred different items in Quickbooks.

    I will not be using Web-Est for every little job. I use Quickbooks by itself for my Restoration business and retail speed shop business.

    Did I mention the price? Nice...

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    Joplin MOzzuri
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    Just off the top of my head, I only have a couple of small issues with Web-est. I've used it and focus write for 4 of the last 5 years. When you select R&I of a side mldg it always tags a clear coat addition that you must go back to edit out. Most of the issues are programming issues that I thought would have been fixed long ago. Chronologically bumpers appear at the top of the estimate replace or repair. However, the overhaul time appears always as the last line item in the estimate before manually added entries. I can't find a way to manually add my own line item in a catagory; it places it at the end of the estimate. Like you, I've worked around most issues they can not or do not fix. There is a place in the manual screen where you can select a sub section such as inner structure, fenders, rear body or whatever, but when you complete the operation and add it, it will not appear in the subsection you select, it most like will wind up in the last sub section you were working in while you were in the graphical screen section.

    Some times you can not read all of the notes pertaining to the operation of replacing a part. You must adjust the frames of the screens to reduce the graphics to be able to read all of the included operations in the note. I'd like to be able to copy the notes at times, and paste them into the notes under a line item, but it can't be done, because if you move the mouse from the part number to highlight the notes they disappear.

    Really minor things, but I like it, and the fact that a tech person usually responds back to your email or phone call immediately or timely.
    If you can't find the time to do it right, how will you ever find the time to do it over?

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    Tim, you say you are not concerned about the data

    yet this in your closing statement, contradict your concern: "I will not be using Web-Est for every little job. I use Quickbooks by itself for my Restoration business and retail speed shop business". Interesting. I used Quick Books the last year I was in the collision business. Income was up a bunch, spent a whole lot less time fooling with 'estimates and supplements'. But at the end of the day yep, I shut her down and went back to restoration where I should have stayed. Not because I could have made it at some level and done OK but you have to factor in the continual threats, direct and indirect you have to live with....and life is too short for that. Not to mention the stupid clones that try to tell you what to do, relentlessly.

    Collision repairers use all kinds of justification to avoid the real truth, and that truth is, in the business outside of insurance sourced repairs you make the rules, based on the quality of service delivered to the market place.

    One can never win by being part of the problem; inevitably my route will be yours' unless enough people get fed up and understand they are their own undoing.

    Don't take this as criticism of you and what you do, it isn't. I expect you are doing what you have to do like all of us. But at least recognize that regardless of the 'better' web est, it like all the data providers, has a strangle hold around you and your financial future.

    Regards,

    Roy
    Roy Smalley,
    Texas

  7. Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    196

    You asked I answered!

    Don't want someones opinion don't ask!

    I was pointing out the short falls as I saw them.

    Biggest one is shorting the gross ticket or estimate. How much is your time worth to P-page a door handle that is .2 instead of .4? R&I a door panel .4 vs .7.

    The program used to put a bullet next to manual entries so if I changed the time alarms were going off.

    Insurers in my area don't care if you use a book a sundial or a Mitchell or CCC they all have thier doctored profiles and this is what they pay based on the market area period.
    "If Discussions with one's enemies could be worthwhile banks would invite robbers and burglers to their association meetings to discuss security"
    Jim Lynas

  8. Join Date
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    .......master tech, my point. I did try WebEest way back, and while they had some whistles and bells that are good and their original intention was good, the fact is, their data can be no more correct than others. Accuracy could have more than one meaning. I suppose if you are defining it relative to a corporate philosophy "if we say it it must be true" it could have one another meaning, but my Webster's defines accurate as "without error".

    Now, why would anyone use something to determine their livelihood that they know experientially that is not correct and used by others to control your life? There is only one basic reason. You have no choice but emasculate your business.

    Makes absolutely no sense at any level. My opinion.
    Roy Smalley,
    Texas

  9. Join Date
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    Posts
    196

    Not directed at You Roy

    I was responding to the comment about my comment LOL

    I do not use it anymore, I doctor someone elses higher times.
    "If Discussions with one's enemies could be worthwhile banks would invite robbers and burglers to their association meetings to discuss security"
    Jim Lynas

  10. Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    112

    No one called from tech support today...

    But the bill did show up in the email.

    In big red letters it says I should pay on time or face a 5% reconnect fee. However, when I paid the bill there was a Thank you. And, that is something you don't get from Wrongways.

    Maybe tech support can't figure out my problem(s). Or, maybe they are hoping I go away, knowing I will work through it. Who knows. But, I trust these are good people and are going to provide excellent service. A simple email would suffice.

    I see the problem and I am familiar with the glitch that occurs when adding just about any part as a R&I and getting clearcoat on the sheet for no reason at all. If anything else knowing that will keep me on my toes.

    One reason why I like to use a estimating system is for the reassurance that I'm charging to little, LOL. And the other is it keeps some of my associates out of Quickbooks. But mostly, I like the idea of producing an estimate that at least looks kinda-sort-a like the "industry standard". Besides, I can still do all the posting into Qkbks as I see fit.

    My Qkbks set up is extensive. That is something that people do not seem to share enough about. I think people get tired of fooling around with it and just settle for what is easy. Just like everyone does in this industry in the first place. It would seem a guy could rake in some big bucks by simply suppling a service setting up company's for the ones who can not or will not get it. But, I guess one would call that guy an accountant. I feel that if there were some company setups or templates for this industry out there that one could copy for their own use that many people would get more from their Qbks software.

    Most of the dopes out there can not even tell you decimal equivalent of 15%. They do not posses the basic math skills to do even that. Forget the rest. It will not take long before those fools are gone.

    Another cool feature is the larger font size when printing. I'm getting old and that helps allot. It also faxes cleaner. Although I can set the larger font through the set up for a rate profile when that profile is called up later I find it didn't stick. It appears to be something that has to set on each estimate one writes and prints. A side note is one needs to be careful when setting up rate profiles and making changes. Not all changes are global and only affect the estimate that is open.

    The PDF print format is really nice. I like being able to save the file with out hauling out additional software. It makes it pretty easy to use email for a change.

    There hasn't been an estimate written on my desk for as long as I can remember that has not been hacked by the "doctor". If I didn't "doctor" every sheet I would be in the same sinking ship as every other rat. Doctoring really isn't an issue for me. I read each and every line of every estimate several times. Each time it gets adjustments and in the end I know it is accurate. Doctoring is a requirement no matter what system your using.

    But, I agree that a system has to be relatively easy to use and not so quirky that a estimate can not be produced by the typical dude.

    Another problem that came up is that it seems that one can only group or include one labor amount into another after the base labor type has already been selected. In other words, I would like to have structure add up and total in frame. But if I have it set up that way and I don't select a frame item first, Then when I add a structure item it doesn't calculate at all. The time gets orphaned and doesn't total at all. And, that is a bad thing.

    Oh well.

    I have been working this pretty much daily for a month and I feel I'm ready to roll it out and use it full time. It seems that many of you guys have also done your due diligence with this thing. I appreciate you sharing your experiences.

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