Many ContractorTools users have been using our first app called "Construction Cost Estimator". If you have been using Construction Cost Estimator, you will be familiar with the Phases, Areas, and Cost Categories that it uses, and you may want to know how to use ContractorTools in the same way.

While Construction Cost Estimator uses fixed Phases, Areas, and Cost Categories to organize items in estimates, ContractorTools allows you to use “Item Groups” to do that. Item groups are more flexible because they can be named and arranged in any way. Item Groups are like “folders” for files in your computer.

An estimate in ContractorTools can have any number of item groups, and item groups can be arranged in any order. Each item group can contain any number of items or item groups, and item groups can be nested any number of levels deep.

How To Add An Item Group

You create item groups the same way you create items: when you tap + to add an estimate item, this box appears:

Tap “Item Group” to add an item group. This will prompt you for a name for the item group. Enter a name and tap Save. That will put you in the new item group, so that when you tap + again to add an item, the new item will be added to that group.

How To Move An Item (or Item Group) To A Different Item Group

To move an item (or item group) to an item group select the Item Group to which you want to move the item in the prompt for "Item Group”

If you select “None” as the Item Group, this will move the item (or group) to the top level of items in the estimate. In other words, the item (or group) will not be in a group.

How To Change The Sequence Of Items Or Item Groups

By default, items are ordered in the estimate in the sequence in which they are added or imported, but you can order estimate items (or groups) in any sequence. To change the sequence of estimate items (or groups), tap Edit in the lower left corner of the list of estimate items. This will display the delete buttons (on the left) and the item sequencer handles (on the right):

To re-sequence an item, touch and hold the sequencer handle (on the right) until the row “raises” from its position in the list. You can then drag it and drop it to reposition it in the list.

If You Still Want To Use Phases, Areas, and Cost Categories

If you have been using Construction Cost Estimator, and you would like to stick with using Phases, Areas, and Cost Categories, you can do that in ContractorTools by creating a Job Template with all of the Phases, Areas, and Cost Categories pre-defined in it. These will then be automatically loaded into new estimates when you create a job by copying from the job template. Here’s how:

  • Go into Construction Cost Estimator, tap on Export, and export a project that has items arranged in Phases, Areas, and Cost Categories.

  • Go into ContractorTools, and, in the main menu, tap on Job Templates,

  • Tap + to add a new Job Template.

  • Enter a name for the Job Template.

  • Tap “Blank Job Template”.

  • Tap Save. This will take you to the Job Template screen.

  • Tap Estimate. This will take you to the Estimate screen.

  • Tap + to add items. This will display the New Item screen.

  • Tap “From a Job”.

  • Select the job you just exported from Construction Cost Estimator. This will list the items from that job.

  • Tap “Copy All Items”. This will copy all of the items into the new Job Template estimate.

At this point, you may want to go into each item that was copied into the new job template estimate and zero out the quantities so that they do not get automatically added to a new job when you create a new job from the template.

Now, when you create a new job by copying from this template, it will have all of the Phases, Areas, and Cost Categories (and items) that are in the template.

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