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Pure Mechanical Group Levels Up Its Estimating Process

Nov. 9, 2021
Efforts increase speed and accuracy, resulting in more new business.

Pure Mechanical Group, Inc. is a leader in commercial and industrial HVAC construction and services contractor in the Durham Region/Greater Toronto Area, and is the only unionized mechanical company in Oshawa, ON. When Jeff Fertile, President and Founder of Pure Mechanical Group, started the company in 2014 he began by installing pool heaters which soon led to furnaces, and then to jobs with small apartment buildings and beyond. The company has grown significantly since then and it recently started growing the construction side of the business by adding more staff with construction industry experience. 

Inaccurate Information Impacted Profitability and Efficiency

When Fertile started bidding on additional jobs, the company was successful just holding a ruler up to the computer screen to measure plans for its estimates. However, he knew the company’s bids would need to be much more accurate if he wanted the company to grow. In addition, as the company began to do more fully installed HVAC projects, Fertile noticed that they were losing money because they were not being true to their hours. The profit margin was always good for the materials, but it was the labor hours that were hurting the bottom line. Another problem with the old way the company was doing estimates was in the limited number of quotes it could produce and the amount of time it took to get them done. 

Beating the Competition with Innovative Technology

Fertile reached out to his local Union to determine what other companies were using to do their estimates. Several of them mentioned Trimble AutoBid.  Although Pure Mechanical is much smaller than its competitors, the company decided that using the software would help level the playing field and be a good first step in the company’s growth. 

The mechanical estimating software leverages a prebuilt database of over 100,000 items. Trimble’s AutoBid SheetMetal estimating software includes spec-driven
takeoffs that speed up the estimating process by applying specs that automatically determine the properties of items.

Accelerating the Estimating Process and Winning More Bids Fuels Company Growth

Adoption of this software has been a key component of Pure Mechanical Group’s growth. It makes the company more competitive by leveling the playing field against bigger companies, speeds up the estimating process so it can bid more jobs to bring in more work, and increases the accuracy and confidence of its bids. Pure Mechanical is now able to compare pricing and see where it stands against its competitors when bids are awarded. 

“We’ve been consistently competitive with everyone else. One of the first jobs estimated using Trimble AutoBid, we were off by only $600 compared to our closest competitors,” said Fertile. “We are now focused on making sure we are quoting the right jobs with the right contractors to grow the business. If we can increase our quoting volume, we can increase the number of wins.” 

The company has won up to $285,000 worth of new work that it would not have had time to quote previously, which also helped it stay afloat during the pandemic and avoid layoffs. In addition, Pure Mechanical has rapidly increased the number of quotes it can bid on for new business and reduced the amount of time it takes to do each one. In fact, within three weeks it was able to quote over $1 million dollars in work, due in large part to the new software. In the past, this would have taken between three to six months to accomplish. 

“If you had asked me six months ago if we could bid that much business in less than a month, I would have said that was impossible,” said Fertile.  

Improved Accuracy and Material Cost Savings

The estimating software is also helping Pure Mechanical save money on material costs. Previously, the company would do a job and buy a bunch of materials based on a rough idea of what it thought the project would need. This would lead to either overbuying materials that would sit in the warehouse or underbuying materials and running out before the job was complete. Now, the software tells it exactly what it needs to buy saving both time and money. 

It has also improved the accuracy of the information. Before, Pure Mechanical would print out the blueprints and measure them with a scale ruler.  Now it can do a five-minute takeoff on a computer screen and instantly get the pricing and product data it needs.   

Fertile was also impressed with Trimble’s tech support during the implementation. “There is so much value, not just in how we use the product day-to-day, but in the amount of support we get. The company is responsive and knowledgeable and there are a lot of resources available to help with learning the product.” 

For a small company like Pure Mechanical, adopting a new software platform was a big investment that has paid off tremendously. “For us, using Trimble AutoBid has altered the course of our business. As we continue to grow, we are pleased to know that the product will continue to adapt to our needs,” added Fertile.