Production Estimate

CONVENTIONS

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PRODUCTION ESTIMATE

A Production Estimate enables you to compile an accurate project price. The more detailed its Work Categories and sub-items (Work Codes), the less likely you’ll be to overlook “the little things” like color outputs, rush charges and parking. An unlimited number of Categories and Work Codes can be entered in the Estimate. Think of the Categories as section “headers,” within the Estimate, and their respective Codes as the fields you’ll fill in (e.g. 3 Hours @ 100.00).

TIP: Enter a Disclaimer via Site Branding (e.g. “Thank you for the opportunity to estimate your needs. The above estimate does not constitute the final cost of Job production. Only after further review of specifications and all pertinent information will the above price be considered final.”).

NOTE: If your underlying Production Estimate form hasn’t yet been built within your CurrentTrack site, you’ll need to first build it. If it IS already in place, skip ahead to the section titled, “Creating an Estimate Template.

ADDING A WORK CODE (AND CATEGORY)

To create a Work Code, go to Admin — System Administration — Manage Work Codes.

A Work Code must be filed beneath a parent Work Category. If the applicable Work Category already exists (e.g. Account Service), simply click on its name and then Add Work Code. If the parent Work Category does not yet exist, click Add Work Category. Next, enter the Name and Rate of the Category (e.g. Account Service at a Rate of 150.00); click Submit.

Next, create a Work Code beneath the new Category by going to Work Category (name) — Add Work Code.

Enter a Name (e.g. Account Service), Code (e.g. AS) and Rate (e.g. 150.00). Don’t worry about the length of the Name. The field is unlimited and CurrentTrack will automatically create a Key at the bottom of the edit Time Sheet screen. As elsewhere in CurrentTrack, avoid using comma + number combinations (e.g. 1,000.00) in the Rate field.

Next, determine where you’d like the Code to appear within CurrentTrack. If you’d like it to appear in the Time Sheet Code drop-down menu, for example, check the box beneath Use in Time Sheets. If you’d like it to appear in your Production Estimate form, check the box beneath Use in Production Estimates. If the Code will be used in the Production Estimate form, check the corresponding boxes beneath Requires Qty, Can be Outsourced, Outsourced by Default, Can be Taxed, and Can be Marked Up; click Submit.

TIP: A good rule of thumb when creating Production Estimate Work Codes is, if you’ve assigned it a Qty. field, it’ll also need an Outsourced box. The equation CurrentTrack will use is as follows: Qty. x Outsourced (yes) x Cost = Net Cost + Tax and/or Markup = Subtotal.

Any number of Work Codes can be added beneath a Work Category. For example:

TIP: If you’re adding a Work Code, and it’s typically freelanced, assign both Qty. and Outsourced boxes. You can then enter the number of Hours spent on the Task (e.g. Copywriting) in its Qty. field (e.g. 3 [Hours]). If the Task is done in-house, no Qty. or Outsourced boxes are necessary. Simply enter the number in the Hours/Cost field (e.g. 3 [Hours of Copywriting]).

CREATING AN ESTIMATE TEMPLATE

Once your underlying Production Estimate form is in place, you can save variations of it for the different types of projects you do (e.g. 16-page Brochure, Full-page Newspaper Ad, etc.). To create an Estimate Template, go to Admin – System Administration – Manage Production Estimate Templates.

Select Create New Template from the drop-down menu and click Submit. Include a Template Title for the document (e.g. “Outdoor Board,” “Tri-fold Brochure,” etc.) and fill in all applicable fields; click Submit. Production Estimate Templates are accessible via the  menu, by selecting Create Production Estimate, and from within the I Want To: drop-down menu of all jobs.

TIP: If a Production Estimate precedes a Job Number in your agency, consider opening a catch-all job for the Client(s)(e.g. Proposed Estimates). Any number of Estimates can be submitted beneath the job and, once approved, easily moved to the “real” Job Number, once opened.

EDITING AN ESTIMATE TEMPLATE

To edit an existing Production Estimate Template, go to Admin – System Administration – Manage Production Estimate Templates.

Choose the Template from the drop-down menu; click Submit. Make any necessary revisions and again click Submit. The revised Template will be available on a go-forward basis. No existing Estimates using the old Template will be retroactively modified.

 

DELETING A TEMPLATE

To delete a Production Estimate Template, go to Admin – System Administration  Manage Production Estimate Templates.

Choose the Template from the drop-down menu; click Submit. At the bottom of the page, click Delete. Once a Template is deleted, it cannot be retrievedIn order to maintain jobs’ historical accuracy, deleted Templates won’t be removed from existing job folders. They simply won’t be available for use on a go-forward basis.

 

SUBMITTING AN ESTIMATE

To create a Production Estimate, go to Clients & Jobs — Client — Job One Sheet — I Want To: Create Production Estimate. You can also click  at the top of the screen.

Enter a Subject for the Estimate (e.g. “4C Tri-Fold Brochure,” “ Tradeshow Materials,” etc.) and work your way down the form. The figures you put in the Hours/Cost column are only marked up to the cost-plus that the Client is actually billed when you check the line items’ Markup box. Remember, all dollar amounts will be rounded up.

TIP: Avoid using comma + number combinations (e.g. 1,000.00).

Rates for line items that are automatically calculated are set in the Manage Work Codes (i.e. hourly rates) and Site Branding (i.e. State Sales Tax) interfaces of Admin and in the Markup field of the Client Spec SheetIf you change a Client’s Markup rate in the future, all previously created documents will retain the former rate. You wouldn’t want to change the dollar figures on Estimates you’d already given the Client, for example. Your records wouldn’t match and Accounting would be unhappy. You’ll simply need to create a new Estimate under the respective job(s) in order to reflect the rate change.

To tie additional information to a line item, click its Comments bubble, located to the far right. The information will flow through to the Printer Friendly version of the Estimate when submitted. If printing costs have been associated with the job via a Print Estimate, they’ll automatically appear in your Production Estimate. Once you’ve filled in your Estimate, click Submit. If the figures you’ve entered exceed the Budget indicated at the top of the form, CurrentTrack will alert you.

 

SHARING AN ESTIMATE WITH A CLIENT

If you’d like to share an Estimate with a Client (e.g. a Change Order), at the bottom of its Create (or Edit) screen, indicate the specific Client Viewable User(s). If e-mail addresses have been associated with selected User(s), they’ll appear in the Notify Client by E-mail field once a specific User(s) is indicated. To alert internal Employees via their Message box, simply add their names to the cc: field. External contacts will receive an e-mail that reads:

“The document ‘[Subject]’ has been posted by [Employee] for your review. To view it, please click on the following link and enter the Agency, User name, and Password supplied to you by your agency representative.

[Link]

To provide comments regarding the document, click its corresponding Add Comment link. Should you need further assistance, please contact your agency representative.”

Clients will be directed to the Client Interface where they can sign in using your Agency name and the User name and Password you’ve assigned within their Client Spec Sheet.

They’ll also need to check the box beside Client and enter their corresponding ID number. This number can be found within the Client Spec Sheet.

Clients can return comments via the Add Comment links beneath both Attachments and posted documents. Comments are automatically sent to the CurrentTrack Messages box of the Account Executive and Coordinator specified in the Client’s Spec Sheet, as well as Employees listed in the Default and Client-specific Notifications areas. A copy of the Comments are also saved in the [job] Documents Folder, beneath its parent document, and is viewable by everyone in your agency.

SHARING AN ESTIMATE WITH A VENDORS

If you’d like to share an Estimate with a Vendor (e.g. a Purchase Order), check the appropriate box beside Viewable, at the bottom of the form. Click the pop-up box to the right of the Vendor User(s) field. The Vendor Address Book will appear. Simply click the appropriate name(s) and close the box. Next, check the box beside Notify Vendor by E-mail. If addresses have been associated with the selected Vendor User(s), they’ll appear in the box. Manually enter (or remove) addresses, separated by commas. To alert internal Employees via their Message box, simply add their names to the cc: field. External contacts will receive an e-mail that reads:

“The document ‘[Subject]’ has been posted by [Employee] for your review. To view it, please click on the following link and enter the Agency, User name, and Password supplied to you by your agency representative.

[Link]

To provide comments regarding the document, click its corresponding Add Comment link. Should you need further assistance, please contact your agency representative.”

Vendors will be directed to the Client Interface where they can sign in using your Agency name and the User name and Password you’ve assigned them within the Vendor Address Book. 

They’ll also need to check the box beside Vendor and enter their corresponding ID number. This number can be found within their Vendor Address Book profile.

Vendors can return feedback via the Add Comment link located beneath each posted document. Feedback is automatically sent to the CurrentTrack Messages box of the Account Executive(s) and Coordinator(s) specified in the Client’s Spec Sheet as well as to Employees listed in the Notifications areas. A copy of the Feedback is saved in the [job] Documents Folder, beneath its parent document, and is viewable by everyone in your agency.

 

 

EDITING A PRODUCTION ESTIMATE

To edit a Production Estimate, go to Clients & Jobs — Client — Job — I Want To: Open Documents Folder.

Click the Edit link beside the Estimate.

Note: A Work Code that’s been inactivated will appear in red when an Estimate is edited. You may then move any associated charges to the new Code(s). If you do so, the old line item(s), with a value of 0, will disappear when the edited form is submitted. You may also opt to leave the charges under the old Code(s) for reference.

VIEWING A PRODUCTION ESTIMATE

To View a Production Estimate, go to Clients & Jobs — Client — Job — I Want To: Open Documents Folder.

Click the View link beside the Estimate. To view its Printer Friendly version, click the printer icon in the top left corner of the screen. 

If external notification has been sent to a Client or Vendor, they’ll be directed to the Client Interface where they can sign in using your Agency Name and the User Name and Password you’ve assigned them within either the Client Spect Sheet or Vendor Address BookExternal users can return comments via the Feedback link located to the left of each posted document. Feedback is automatically sent to the Unread Messages box of the Account Executive(s) and Coordinator(s) specified in the Client’s Spec Sheet, as well as to Employees listed in the Notifications areas. A copy of the Feedback is automatically saved in the [job] Documents Folder, beneath its parent document, and is viewable by everyone in your agency.

 

MOVING A PRODUCTION ESTIMATE

If you happen to misfile a Production Estimate, go to Clients & Jobs — Client — Job One Sheet — I Want To: Open Documents Folder.

Click the Move link beside the Estimate. Fill in the correct Job Number and click Move Document.

 

DELETING A PRODUCTION ESTIMATE

To delete a Production Estimate, go to Clients & Jobs — Client — Job One Sheet — I Want To: Open Documents Folder.

Click the Delete link beside the document. At the “Are you sure…” prompt, click OK. A Production Estimate can also be deleted from within the document itself. Simply click its Edit link and, once inside, click Delete, at the bottom of the page.

TIP: Complete a tentative Estimate before work begins. That way, everyone involved will know roughly what’s been allotted for each of the job’s facets and work won’t be stalled while “formal” figures are being gathered (e.g. printing quotes, studio fees, etc.). You can always go back and edit your Estimate.

 

SCENARIO

Can I divide the information in a Print Estimate into multiple Production Estimates under the same job?

Ideally, each job only contains one Production Estimate. You may, however, create more than one Print Estimate. All numbers associated with the Items whose circles to the left of the Qty. field have been filled will automatically be pulled into the Production Estimate once created by the Account Executive, for example. If you were to create a second Production Estimate, under the same job, the Print Estimate numbers would again be pulled over. There would then be two Production Estimates bearing the same Print Estimate figures and your numbers would be inaccurate.

If you were only modifying the number of Creative Hours, for example, in your Production Estimate and sending one version of the Estimate to the Client and one to someone else who needed to see slightly different numbers (but still see the same Print Estimate information), this wouldn’t be a problem.

If you were creating two Print Estimates (e.g. one for banners and one for flyers) under the same job and then hoping to pull the banner information into one Production Estimate and the flyer information into another, you wouldn’t be able to do so. CurrentTrack doesn’t allow users to specify which Print Estimate Items are pulled into which Production Estimate(s). If you wanted to pull the banner information into one Production Estimate and the flyer information into another, for example, you’d have to open another Job (e.g. 2014 Flyers) and enter the information under it in order for its Production Estimate to solely reflect the desired numbers.

SCENARIO

Why don’t Media details flow into the Production Estimate?

Keep two things in mind, as related to CurrentTrack:

1. A Production Estimate is “an estimation of the production costs associated with a job” (e.g. the Art Director’s time, price of color outputs, etc.).

2. A Media Detail is “an estimation of the media costs associated with a job” (e.g. air time, magazine space, etc.).

Print Estimate contains several Vendor quotes for printing. Once you decide which figure(s) to go with, you edit the Estimate and check the box beside the figure(s). The figure(s) then flows into the larger Production Estimate for the job. These figures DON’T flow into the [job] Financial Report as it’s a snapshot of incurred costs, to date. [Printing costs are only reflected in the Financial Report once a  has been entered.]

A Broadcast (or Print) Media Detail is a “worksheet” in which possible media combinations are outlined. Once your Client approves the buy, the Detail is edited and its “Final Revision” box is checked (Monthly Billing Projections are also entered). The Detail then becomes an incurred cost and the figures flow into the [job] Financial Report. It wouldn’t make sense for the figure(s) to flow back into the Production Estimate.

A workaround would be to create a Production Estimate that reflects your Media Buyer’s time, for example, along with any other costs (e.g. press clipping service, research, etc.). Create a Broadcast (or Print) Media Detail as you normally would, arriving at a Grand Total for the buy. Edit your Production Estimate and enter the Grand Total in a Work Code Sub-Item field (e.g. Media Buy Amount). Then, your “recommended” media costs will be reflected in the overall Estimate for the job.

 

SCENARIO

Which Work Code Sub-Items do you recommend be included in the Production Estimate form?

We recommend including the following Work Code Sub-Items in your Production Estimate. These items have been listed under the corresponding Work Code categories that are typically used in an advertising agency. It’s entirely up to you, of course, as to which Codes and Sub-Items you ultimately incorporate into your system.

Account Service (Code: AS)(Rate: $125.00/hr.)       
ItemQty.OutsourcedHours/CostNet CostTaxMarkupSubtotal
Account Coordinator Time  XX  X
Account Executive Time  XX  X
Food XXXXXX
Lodging XXXXXX
MileageXXXX XX
Miscellaneous Expenses XXXXXX
Parking XXX XX
PR Coordination  XX  X
PR Planning  XX  X
PR Supervision  XX  X
Travel Time  XX  X
        
Administration (Code: A)(Rate: $75.00/hr.)       
Item
Qty.
Outsourced
Hours/Cost
Net Cost
Tax
Markup
Subtotal
Catering XXXXXX
Delivery Charges XXX XX
Entertainment XXXXXX
Legal Services XXX XX
Miscellaneous Expenses XXXXXX
PostageXXXX  X
Printing Estimation  XX  X
Printing Supervision  XX  X
Project Research  XX  X
Proofreading  XX  X
Rush Charges XXX  X
Systems Support XXX  X
Telephone Charges XXX XX
        
Creative (Code: C)(Rate: $100.00/hr.)       
Item
Qty.
Outsourced
Hours/Cost
Net Cost
Tax
Markup
Subtotal
3-D Animation XXX XX
Agency Fees  XX XX
Art Direction  XX  X
Artwork Disk(s)XXXXXXX
Audio XXXXXX
Broadcast Director  XX  X
B/W LasersXXXXXXX
Camera/Crew XXX XX
Casting XXX XX
Color OutputsXXXXXXX
Concept Development  XX  X
CopywritingXXXX XX
Creative Direction  XX  X
Film Stock XXXXXX
Graphics XXXXXX
Grip XXX XX
Illustration XXX XX
Lights XXXXXX
Location Fees XXXXXX
Location Shoot Time XXX  X
Make-up XXX XX
Master Cost XXXXXX
Miscellaneous Art Expenses XXXXXX
Miscellaneous Broadcast Expenses XXXXXX
Miscellaneous PR Expenses XXXXXX
Music XXXXXX
Photography XXXXXX
Photography Director XXX  X
Press Clipping  XX  X
Production Company XXXXXX
Product Styling XXXXXX
Props XXXXXX
Retouching  XX  X
Rights/Fees XXX XX
ScansXXXXXXX
Set Design/Construction XXX  X
Stock Photos XXXXXX
Sytlist XXX XX
Talent XXX XX
Type Formatting  XX  X
Velox(es)XXXXXXX
Video Stock XXXXXX
Voiceover(s) XXXXXX
Wardrobe XXXXXX
        
Digital (Code: D)(Rate: $100.00/hr.)       
Item
Qty.
Outsourced
Hours/Cost
Net Cost
Tax
Markup
Subtotal
Audio DubsXXXXXXX
Audio Mix XXX  X
CD DubsXXXXXXX
CD Packaging  XX  X
Film Transfer/Processing XXXXXX
HTML Tweaking  XX  X
Interactive CD Design  XX  X
Internet Planning/Design  XX  X
Internet Programming/Debugging XXX XX
Miscellaneous Digital Expenses XXXXXX
Motion Design/FX/Compositing XXX  X
Offline Video Editing XXX  X
Online Video Editing XXX  X
Sample Production XXX  X
Special Effects XXX  X
Video DubsXXXXXXX
        
Media (Code: M)(Rate: $0.00/hr.)
       
Item
Qty.
Outsourced
Hours/Cost
Net Cost
Tax
Markup
Subtotal
Billable Planning/Buying Time  XX  X
Media Fees XXXXXX
Media Research XXX  X
Miscellaneous Media Expenses XXXXXX
Post Analysis Time  XX  X
PR Newswire Service XXX  X
        

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