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[Software] Estimator

Members; Does any one have an idea where there is a software program
that can be used to estimate what a piece of jewelry costs to make,
time, materials separately, and one that will
perhaps allow you to put an inventory into??

I am currently in the process of trying MYOB (from Quickbooks Pro).
You can check them out at It was the best one I found for
the features and especially the price. Good Luck.


Estimating software…well there are programs for estimating
construction (houses etc)… and I am sure I could possibly modify…
by why?? You will still need to get basic particular to
your production/designs… You need to know the cost of raw material
in each piece…everything from metal (i suggest by weight) to
stones- findings- if it is a solder piece or not…etc etc. Then you
choose an ARBITRARY figure of mark up of each element. that means you
decide that you got a great deal on your stones… so the "normal"
mark up ( maybe 3x) mean the piece is gonna be a steal to customers–
or you decide if you have to replace that stone at “normal” market
value and go on. Clock yourself if necessary on how long you actually
spend on production… (so many solder points at x-minutes each) The
number of “baths” you can get from your pickle - so this is a part of
the cost of pickle-- Perhaps you can see it can be done… but you
either use a down-and-dirty gross estimation-- or get to details to
see if you are covering all expenses. (can you tell I actualy expect
to support myself with jewelry??.. :slight_smile: But no program is going to
decide the mark-up for you. You still have to do that. I suspect that
is the hardest decision… for those of you that want such… I can
(for a very small reasonable fee) set you up… But only you can
decide your time value and your markup…

I have been using MYOB since 1993. It was, and as far as I know the
only one of the off the shelf accounting systems that had a useable
inventory module and can be used as a Point of Sale system. It will
allow you to to track “assemblies” by “building” the assembly from
other parts you have included in the inventory. It will assign cost
of goods and will track the sub-assembly items, including reorder
alerts. It is not an easy tool to use and is designed for production
runs. I would not attempt to use it for estimating the cost of a
piece of jewelry, especially where you are using one off stones and
design. A better approach would to build a simple Excel or Lotus
123 spread sheet to do the calculations for you.


Hi Dallas,

I’ve just finished my second mid term exam on cost accounting (I am a
business analyst upgrading my skills), just the topic you’re asking
about. I believe that the reason you were enquiring about a program
is that you thought that such a program might be able to prompt you
think about in what should be considered in estimating a cost. And the
answer you get depends on a whole set of variables and conditions,
some of which you might not even be aware of. That’s the bad news, the
good news is that many artisans and tradespeople do just fine with
simple sums done on the back of an envelope. Ask a house painter and
he (or she) can come up pretty quickly with an estimate, because she
(or he) has been doing house painting for awhile. I imagine that you
already have a good idea of the “cost” and corresponding price you can
charge for work that you do all the time. So standard jobs aren’t an
issue, it’s the special ones that can cost you a bundle in foregoing
work that you could have completed on time and on budget, in addition
to the excess wastage of supplies and materials.

The first question you must ask yourself is how are you going to
treat all those indirect costs like rent, solder, cleaning agents,
rolling mills, a trip to the suppliers and so on. An indirect cost is
a cost that can not be traced back to a particular job in an
economical fashion, and so it must be allocated across two or more
jobs. If these certain jobs consume more of an indirect cost than
others, and if this indirect cost is a major component of the job,
averaging its cost across all jobs means that the jobs that you do
well are subsidizing the others.

To sum up, keep a record of time of every activity you do with a
particular job (that requires enormous discipline, and only you can
decide just how precise you need to be). Weigh and count all direct
materials that go into the job (investment, time burner was on,
broken saw blades) so that you can get an good estimate of the cost of
materials. Similarly, weigh and count all materials that contribute
to all jobs at the start of a period and at the end of the period (and
don’t forget the purchase costs). The differences are the quantities
of indirect materials whose costs must be allocated to the jobs done
during the period. Define the allocation base you want to use to
allocate the costs (your time for each job, the quantity of gold or
silver in a job, the cost of the gems in a job etc.; only you can
decide, get it wrong and it costs you). Then decide how you are going
to allocate the cost of your rent, heating, water etc. etc.

On the other hand, maybe I’d just walk down the street and drop in on
the old jeweller who seems to have made a good life and ask him (or
her) how she (or he) does it. The response will certainly be a lot
more interesting than a computer program.

Questions like yours remind me why I am so happy to remain an
amateur, I do not envy you and wish you well. I was recently asked to
create an enamelled brooch with a certain colour pattern. It took me
four tries and over four ten-hour days before I came close to what was
required. My price? Just the cost of direct materials. Am I taking
work away from the professionals here in Victoria? Nope, because the
only enamalists around here are amateurs :wink: