Estimating cost is a critical part of the process. And that's tough, especially for beginners, who have no experience to base their estimates on.
To make that job much easier and faster, the University of Georgia has released two software packages, Hort Scape and Hort Management.
Hort Scape is brand new. Hort Management has been out since the 1980s but has been revised, updated and converted to Excel, so it's new, too.
Both programs are menu-driven, user-friendly software developed by UGA horticulture and agricultural economics faculty members as teaching tools for students and landscape pros. Each has a series of worksheets for estimating overhead, labor and equipment costs, as well as bid estimators and line-item contract proposals for presenting to clients.
Hort Scape streamlines the bidding process for landscape installation. Hort Management is more for estimating landscape management costs.
Both programs include extensive documentation and practice tutorials. They're easily modified, too, to fit local costs and time and task data supplied by the user.
The programs take the guesswork out of bidding and help managers feel more comfortable in competitive bid situations, knowing they've accounted for all the costs while building in a profit.
The software packages cost $100 each or $175 for both. Shipping costs are included. To learn more about the software or get an order form, check online at www.hort.uga.edu/extension/programs/hortmanage.html.
(Dan Rahn is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)