Estimate Work Orders

RTA has an option allowing estimate work orders to be generated. Estimates can be generated, printed, and given to customers, departments, managers, or anyone else who needs this information. The great thing about the Estimate Work Orders feature is that it's easy to learn and use because it works similarly to the standard work order option (WW, WB). Therefore, if you know how to create and post to work orders, you already know how to use estimate work orders. The main difference between work orders and estimate work orders is that the items posted on estimate work orders (costs, inventory, mechanic productivity, etc.) DO NOT affect most data files in the RTA system. Instead, they remain on "hold" until the estimates are approved and become actual work orders. Due to the similarities between Work Orders and Estimate Work Orders, the instructions for creating and posting to estimate work orders will be explained briefly. For more detailed information about a particular option or function, refer to the earlier sections in this chapter.
Many of the prompts or windows discussed in this section may vary from the actual prompts and windows that will appear on your system. The work order switches apply to estimate work orders as well; therefore, you may or may not be prompted for some of the information described due to the settings in the system parameters. Data fields controlled by a switch will be noted (SSx, switch xx).

Adding an Estimate

As previously mentioned, the process of adding an estimate is very similar to the process of adding a work order. Refer to "Adding a Work Order" for field descriptions if necessary. To add an estimate work order, do the following:

  1. Select WOs > Estimate WOs from the RTA main menu (WE).
  2. If you're using your own work order numbers (SSI, Miscellaneous I tab, switch 16), enter the estimate number and then choose New Estimate; otherwise, leave the Estimate WO Number field blank and choose New Estimate.
  3. Add the work order header information.
  4. Add the work order lines as needed. You'll notice a slight difference in the way this works.

If a mechanic number is left unassigned, the labor rate comes from the "Flat Labor Rate" set in the Main System Parameters (SSM, switch 4). The labor cost can be posted while adding the job to the estimate. This eliminates the need to post a separate labor entry and is especially handy for labor-only jobs! To post a labor cost, accept the default estimated time to complete the job or enter a different value in the Posting hours field. The Post total field shows the cost that will be posted to the estimate. If you don't want to post labor cost, enter 0.0 in the Posting hours field.
You can import job lines from a template work order, if desired, by choosing Template and selecting a template from the list. Refer to "Template Work Orders" for more information.

  1. Post transaction costs as needed. The posting routines work exactly as they do in the Work Order module, with one exception—the items posted on estimate work orders DO NOT update most of the files in the RTA system. This means data such as vehicle cost and usage, vehicle history, parts cost and usage, parts inventory and requisitions, tire inventory, warranty statistics, and mechanic productivity aren't affected by the transactions posted to estimate work orders. The vehicle odometer gets updated, however, if the new meter reading entered is higher than the current meter reading. Refer to "Posting Work Order Transactions" earlier in this chapter for detailed posting instructions.
  2. Add notes and checklists as needed.

Estimate Statuses

Estimate work orders can have one of three statuses: PENDING, READY, and APPROVED. The status is displayed in the header of the estimate work order. A newly created estimate has a PENDING status. The status changes to APPROVED when the estimate is accepted and a work order is auto-generated.
If the customer approves the work but you are not yet ready to generate a work order (waiting for parts, scheduling reasons, etc.), the estimate status can be changed from PENDING to READY. Though this step is optional, doing so can help differentiate the pending jobs (waiting for OK) from those that have been approved but are not yet ready to be worked on.

Changing an Estimate

To change an estimate work order, do the following:

  1. Select WOs > Estimate WOs from the RTA main menu (WE).
  2. Enter an estimate work order number or press F1 to select an estimate from the lookup list.
  3. Make changes to the work order header as needed.
  4. To edit a work order line, highlight the work order line to change and then select Edit > Edit Line from the menu or click on the Edit line icon in the toolbar OR click on the work order line number button.
  5. Make changes to the notes or checklist by selecting the appropriate option from the Notes menu or clicking on the corresponding icon in the toolbar.

Viewing, Changing, and Deleting Estimate Costs

Estimate work order information can be viewed in the same manner as standard work orders. Refer to "Work Order Views" if necessary. Unlike standard work orders, everything added or posted to estimate work orders is "on hold" until the estimate is accepted. In standard work orders you cannot edit a transaction once it's postedyou have to post reversing or correcting entries. In estimate work orders, since the transactions are pending, they can be modified directly if needed. To change a posted transaction, do the following:

  1. Select WOs > Estimate WOs from the RTA main menu (WE).
  2. Enter an estimate work order number or press F1 to select an estimate from the lookup list.
  3. Select View > View Work Order from the menu or click on the View WO icon in the toolbar.
  4. Highlight the transaction to change and then press ENTER (or double-click on it). The transactions posted to the first job display on the screen initially. If the transaction you need to change is on a different work order line, choose Next until the needed transaction displays on the screen.
  5. Make the changes as needed. OR

To delete the transaction altogether from the estimate, choose Delete. You won't be prompted for confirmation so be sure you have the correct transaction before doing so.

Deleting an Estimate

It's a good idea to review the estimates on file occasionally and delete the old or inactive estimates. There may also be times when you wish to delete an erroneous estimate rather than correct the transactions on it. To delete an estimate work order, do the following:

  1. Select WOs > Estimate WOs from the RTA main menu (WE).
  2. Enter an estimate work order number or press F1 to select an estimate from the lookup list.
  3. Select Edit > Delete Estimate from the menu or click on the Delete Estimate icon in the toolbar.
  4. Choose Yes to confirm the deletion.

Printing an Estimate

Printed estimate work orders look similar to the Standard work order format. To print an estimate, do the following:

  1. Select WOs > Estimate WOs from the RTA main menu (WE).
  2. Enter an estimate work order number or press F1 to select an estimate from the lookup list.
  3. Select File > Print from the menu or click on the Print WO icon in the toolbar.
  4. Select the desired print options. Depending on how your system switches are set, the options to include or exclude line notes and/or prices on the printed estimate may or may not be available (SSI, Miscellaneous I tab, switches 15 and 44).

An option to print a parts pick list is available. The pick list prints a list of file parts posted to the estimate through the Post Parts option. Non-file parts, outside parts, and tires posted through the Post Tires option are not included on the parts pick list.
You can enter up to five lines of text to print on every estimate. The notes entered here will be used as the default notes for all estimates printed for all facilities. This is handy for any disclaimers or advertisement you may want to print on the estimate.

Approving an Estimate

When approval has been given to perform the work on an estimate, a standard work order can quickly and easily be created without having to reenter most of the data. Once an estimate is approved, the status changes from PENDING to APPROVED. The system date is used as the approval date. All the data from the estimate work order is copied to the new work order except the posted costs. Parts, labor, and other applicable charges need to be posted to the actual work order. For convenience, if the "WO Post Estimate Parts" switch is set to YES (SSM, Parts Parameters tab, switch 35), you'll have the option of auto-posting all the parts from the estimate when attempting to post parts to the work order. The current system price is used at the time of posting; therefore, the actual cost of the work order may differ from the estimated cost if the labor was more or less intensive, or if inventory prices fluctuated from the time the estimate was issued to the time it was "OK'd." If you require the work order cost to be identical to the cost on the estimate work order, we recommend the use of the Customer Flat Rate option (MCF). This feature allows a set amount to be charged for labor and/or parts regardless of the actual time and/or materials involved. Refer to "Customer Flat Rates" for additional information.
To approve an estimate work order, do the following:

  1. Select WOs > Estimate WOs from the RTA main menu (WE).
  2. Enter an estimate work order number or press F1 to select an estimate from the lookup list.
  3. Select Edit > Create WO from the menu or click on the Create WO icon in the toolbar.
  4. If you're using your own numbers, specify the work order number to create. If RTA is generating work order numbers, the next work order number will be displayed in the WO Number field (SSI, Miscellaneous I tab, switch 16).
  5. Select the desired note options. Depending on how your system switches are set, the options to include or exclude lines notes, master notes, and/or checklist notes on the new work order may or may not be available (SSI, Miscellaneous I tab, switches 15 and 31).