How to bid Materials - Construction question needing solution:

Hi Smartsheet, I have the following problem. I am a contractor that has to go around a home and take a materials count on a list of tasks say a door install, window install, etc. Anyways, I am trying to figure out the quickest and best solution to take a materials count for my given tasks and then fill in the info I'll need for the amount of materials I'll need of each material and then I can send that sheet to a materials supplier so they can do the quote for me and then I can give this to the customer. Maybe the way I've laid this all out is inefficient and someone may have a way better idea, if that's the case, please advise.

My troubles so far are the following:

  • You can see from the attached photo that how I've got it laid out it's only laid out for one wall system, one foundation system, etc, what if I have multiple? Do I create duplicates of each and every new wall and copy paste the same list of materials for each item? Maybe I can create a sheet or rollup sheet somehow that would then group all of my duplicate materials together to then show how much I need of each material in total. The problem with that, is when I have to estimate drywall for example, drywall boards need to be purchased by the size of the sheet and not dividing the total sq ft for example of wall space into a standard 4'x8' board, I actually need different sheet sizes sometimes, so I can't just take the total sq ft of a wall area and divide that by a 4'x8' sheet, so how could a graph show the difference between drywall sq ft I need for an 8' sheet vs drywall sq ft I need for the 12' long sheets. Seems like I've been struggling with this for awhile. To summarize, all I'm trying to do is to create a materials count for a jobs tasks and then send that to a supplier for quoting, trying to make this as simple as possible, maybe there's a way better way to lay this out and not how I have it, for example maybe creating individual tasks and referencing what room they are in and then choosing a material for them and then inputting the material lenghts sq ft etc I need, however the problem I have there is that I would need to have this huge list of material types that you already see I have, but I need to have that list somewhere so I can pick them and use them for the new tasks I created for example, I need to install a new door, I then need to find all materials associated with installing a new door and of course all of those materials for each system would have to live in their own list together. Any ideas?


  • Richard Rymill SBP
    Richard Rymill SBP ✭✭✭✭✭✭


    i feel your pain and having worked with dozens of Construction companies helping them to manage their businesses using Smartsheet, I can see what you are looking to achieve and with careful design of your workflows and supporting sheets Reports and Dashboards, what you seek is quite achievable... But it cannot be answered in a couple of sentences. It requires detailed design having mapped out your processes first and I can recommend Lucid Charts for that as it will give you a visual for all the variations and What ifs you need to deal with.

    You can use Dropdown lists a Picklists which offer you all the material sizes you need to source and maintaining those picklists can best be done using our "Smarter dropdown list manager" one of our API Apps from our Smarter Controls 4 Smartsheet solution. More detail here...

    In the end I think it would help you a lot if you can talk through your requirements in detail and build from the bottom, keep it simple to start with then add complexity as the design proves its value. if you can afford some outside advice that's what we do and we have colleagues in the UK and North America so timezone is no problem and we use Zoom for screen shares so no money (or carbon) is wasted travelling.

    Happy to help if you can justify it otherwise I suggest you build from the bottom based on your mapped out processes.

    Good luck and i've attached a summary of how we would go about the mapping process.

    Richard Rymill Smarter Business Processes (Consulting Partners)

  • Richard, this is an awesome comment and I really appreciate your feedback! I'm confused as to how to best impliment this still however I pay enough for smartsheet at the moment and am low on money at the beginning of this year so I'm just looking for solutions and feedback from others willing to help. I'm also fairly good at figuring these things out so it's not something I'd need to pay for I don't believe or am atleast currently ready to. Thanks for your thoughts though and sorry I couldn't be a customer for you. Cheers and good luck.

  • Richard Rymill SBP
    Richard Rymill SBP ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    You are welcome Tucker, you cant beat keeping things simple to start with then building complexity on your success as you go. Good luck.