This series of lessons explains how to make full use of CMAP’s Fee Estimator tool. The Fee Estimator is where you conduct your project costing and is packed with useful functions to make it quicker, easier and to be more consistent in your quoting.
NOTE: If you are responsible for quoting for projects it is important that you read through all the lessons carefully.
This lesson is split into the following sub-lessons:
- When to use a Blank Template vs. when to use a Template
- Building a Fee Estimate
- Editing a Fee Estimate
- Saving a Template
- Getting a Fee Estimate Approved
- Generating a Costing Table
1. When to use a Blank Template vs. when to use a Template
Pre-CMAP, you may have fired-up an old Excel document of a quote that’s very similar to the project you’re about to quote for, and simply tweaked it to match the requirements of the new project – rather than ‘start from scratch’. Templates follow the same thought-process.
It is up to you how far they go. Some Templates may have every Fee Stage and its constituent tasks fully budgeted with roles and time. Others may simply be a shopping list of possible deliverables, so you simply add time to the Tasks that are relevant and delete the Tasks that aren’t required for that particular project.
If you have certain project types you deliver all the time, it would be wise to save these as a Template. This means:
- Everybody uses the same starting point, so there’s consistency (you don’t get two people arriving at wildly different numbers for the same project).
- Nothing gets forgotten since it’s an approved, considered template with all the relevant Fee Stages, Tasks and Days/Hours preloaded.
NOTE: CMAP makes it easy to review projects via the Reports, so as you learn more about the Fee Stages and/or Tasks that experience delivery issues, you can factor that learning into your Templates i.e. quote more time, or be clearer with your scoping (e.g. limiting the rounds of amends the client can make before proceeding to the next Task). This ensures your users are building profitable quotes.
A Blank Template will commonly only be used when you have little option but to ‘start from scratch’ e.g., it’s a new type of project to the company, it’s a special project, etc.
NOTE: Initially most of your quotes will be built from scratch using a Blank Template, but very quickly you will develop a bank of Templates as you save good examples to re-use in the future.
2. Building a Fee Estimate
Step 1: Come into the Pipeline tab and find your Potential project.
Step 2: Click into the Fee Estimator page to reach the Choose a template below to start building your Fee Estimator area, where you can choose to start from a Blank Template or a saved Template.
NOTE: If you are selecting a saved Template, don’t skip forward, as some elements in this lesson will still apply and it will orientate you with using the Fee Estimator. But Lesson 1.2.3 – Editing a Fee Estimate will offer more guidance on editing a saved Template.
Step 3: Select Blank Template from the dropdown and click Create to reach the Fee Estimator interface and begin to build your quote.
Step 4: To begin, click the + icon to add your first tab. Give it a suitable name in the text box and click Save.
NOTE: Additional Tabs can be added for projects with multiple work streams that need to be run independently, but you still want to run under the umbrella of a single project code.
You will notice the Fee Estimator tool now has more options, including the ability to add Fee Stages, Additionals i.e., externals or third-party costs, Adjustments i.e., contingencies or discounts, and it provides a summarised Total at the bottom. We will now go through each of these in turn.
Step 5: To start to structure your quote, click the Add Fee Stage button. Give it a suitable name e.g., 'Initiation', 'Feasibility', 'Scoping', etc. and click Save.
Step 6: You can now choose to add Tasks to the Fee Stage by giving them a suitable name in the text box located under the Fee Stage heading and clicking Add Task.
For example, for the Fee Stage 'Initiation' you may have the Tasks 'Identify Team Members', 'Client Call to Finalise Scope' and 'Identify Target Journals'.
Step 7: Repeat as necessary, adding relevant Fee Stages and their constituent Tasks until you have a full list of deliverables for your Fee Estimate.
NOTE: Each Fee Stage will have its own green bar to help distinguish between them.
NOTE: Please ensure that the project is split into its relevant Fee Stages. Wherever possible a project shouldn’t just have one Fee Stage with all the Tasks contained within that one Fee Stage. There are two very important reasons for this:
- CMAP enables you to do Fee Stage-by-Fee Stage Budget vs. Actual breakdowns, so you can pinpoint exactly where it is that delivery issues have occurred – this is only possible if you have multiple Fee Stages.
- If you have situations where you part win projects i.e., you get signed off for the first Fee Stage(s), but not the rest, you won’t be able to use CMAP’s Part Win functionality to convert only the Fee Stages the client signed-off to a Live project (and therefore only the Fees associated to those Workstages), whilst retaining the other Fee Stages in your Pipeline.
Step 8: Next, you need to add some Roles. In the grey Task bar click the Add a Role button.
Step 9: Select the relevant Role from the dropdown list in the Manage Roles pop-up window and click Save.
NOTE: Repeat Step 7 and 8 as necessary until you have all the required Roles for the project.
Step 10: Next, you need to add some Time. You do this on a Task-by-Task basis. You must hit Save before you move on to the next Task.
TIP: If you envisage the Roles and Tasks like a matrix (e.g., an Excel sheet), you can actually click where you’d imagine a cell to be to allow you to quickly enter time – rather than clicking the Edit pencil icon at the far-right of each Task.
NOTE: Towards the top-right of the screen, you can click between quoting in days or hours using the Change to days/hours button.
Step 11: Next, you need to make sure you’re using the appropriate Rate Card. Select the relevant Rate Card from the dropdown list on the left-hand side of the page above your first Fee Stage (next to the Customise Rates link in blue). This automatically adjusts the Fee Totals to the relevant rates.
Now all the time related costs have been calculated, move on to non-time related costs…
Step 12: Scroll down to the Additionals section, which is found within a blue bar to help distinguish between the time-related Fee Stages. This is where you factor in any external or third party costs you wish to build into your quote.
Step 13: To add an Additional, enter a Description of Item in the blank text box e.g. 'Printing Costs', 'Consultant', etc., and then enter a Value for Cost Price and Sale Price. Once complete, click Add Item.
Now all the additionals have been factored in, let’s move on to Adjustments…
Step 14: Scroll down to the Adjustments section, which is also found within a blue bar. This is where you factor in contingencies and discounts, as well as Allowances e.g. for expenses.
Step 15: To include an Adjustment, enter a Description of Adjustment in the text box e.g. 'Agreed Discount', 'Expenses Allowance', 'Contingency Buffer', etc. and then enter a Value for the Adjustment. Once complete, click Add Adjustment.
NOTE: If you are entering a negative Value i.e., for a discount, include a minus '-' before the Value. For example, to discount £1,000 enter a Value of '-£1,000'.
Now your Fee Estimate is complete, if you scroll to the bottom of the page you will reach the Totals section, which is found within a green bar. This provides a detailed breakdown of:
- Total Units – The total number of hours/days per Role
- Total Fees – The total number of fees per Role and their amalgamated Total
- Adjustments – The amalgamated value of Adjustments
- Adjusted Fees – The “Total Fees” with “Adjustments” factored in
- Total Additional Items – The overall Sale Prices for all Additionals
- Tab Total – The amalgamated Total of all the Tabs you’ve included
- Fee Estimate Total – The total sale price to quote to the client
3. Editing a Fee Estimate
This lesson applies to both Fee Estimates built from a Blank Template and a saved Template. If you need to tweak a Fee Estimate, the Fee Estimator is packed with handy tools to allow you to quickly adapt to match the requirements of your project. This lesson will focus on additional tools you can use to edit your Fee Estimate including:
- Dragging & Dropping Fee Stages and Tasks
- Cleaning the Budget
- Adding extra Fee Stages and Tasks
- Changing the Rate Card
- Adding and removing Roles
- Adding, editing and removing Additional
- Adding, editing and removing Adjustments
- Copying Tabs in the Fee Estimator
- Dragging & Dropping Fee Stages and Tasks
Step 1: Next to each Fee Stage and Task you’ll see an icon (three horizontal lines laid on top of each other). If you hover over the icon you’ll see it tells you to Drag here to reorder.
Step 2: Click on the Fee Stage or Task you wish to reorder and drag it to where you’d like it to appear. When you release the mouse the Fee Stage or Task will now be repositioned.
- Cleaning the Budget
Some Tasks may not be required for the project and therefore have no Days/Hours budgeted to them. Rather than deleting each Task one-by-one, you can simply Clean the Budget to strip out any Tasks that have no requirement in your project.
Step 1: Click the More Stuff dropdown towards the top-right of the screen and select Clean the Budget from the list of options.
NOTE: CMAP will automatically delete any Tasks which have no Days/Hours budgeted to them, making your Fee Estimate nice and neat.
- Adding Extra Fee Stages and Tasks
To add an additional Fee Stage, locate the Add Fee Stage button above the Additionals area. Give it a suitable name and click Save to add it to your Fee Estimate.
To add additional Tasks, start by giving it a suitable name in the text box located under the relevant Fee Stage heading and click Add Task.
TIP: You can now use the Drag & Drop feature to put the Fee Stage or Task in its relevant place in the delivery process.
- Changing the Rate Card
The Fee Estimator defaults to your Standard Rate Card (which is set in the Admin area). You may have client-specific rate cards, geographical rate cards, etc. To apply those Rates you need to select the relevant rate card.
Step 1: Click into the Rate Card dropdown found at the top-left of the Fee Estimator tool (next to the Customise Rates link in blue) and select the relevant Rate Card from the list of options.
NOTE: CMAP will automatically update your Fees based on the Charge Out Rates of the selected Rate Card.
- Adding and Removing Roles
To Add a Role follow the following 2 steps…
Step 1: In the light blue Task bar click the blue Add a Role button.
Step 2: Select the relevant Role from the dropdown list in the Manage Roles pop-up window and click Save.
To Remove a Role you need to ensure there’s no Days/Hours budgeted to the role, and then use the Clean the Budget tool.
- Adding, Editing and Removing Additionals
Additionals are found in a blue band below the Fee Stages.
To add an Additional, enter a Description of Item in the blank text box e.g., 'Printing Costs', 'Consultant', etc. and then enter a Value for Cost Price and Sale Price. Once complete, click Add Item.
To edit an Additional, use the Edit pencil icon to alter the fields, clicking Save once complete.
To remove an Additional, click the Cross ('X') icon and CMAP will ask 'Are you sure you want to delete this additional cost?'. Click Yes to delete the Additional.
- Adding, Editing and Removing Adjustments
Adjustments are found in a blue band below the Additionals.
To add an Adjustment, enter a Description of Adjustment in the blank text box e.g. 'Contingency', 'Discount', etc. and then enter a Value. Once complete, click Add Adjustment.
To edit an Adjustment, use the Edit pencil icon to alter the fields, clicking Save once complete.
To remove an Adjustment, click the Cross ('X') icon and CMAP will ask 'Are you sure you want to delete this adjustment?'. Click Yes to delete the Adjustment.
- Copying Tabs in the Fee Estimator
We've now added the ability to copy a tab in the Fee Estimator. This one has been on the Ideas Forum for a while, so we're glad we've finally been able to do it.
To do this, follow the following steps:
Step 1: Go into the Fee Estimator of your chosen project.
Step 2: Click on the tab that you wish to copy and click on the Edit Pencil of that tab.
NOTE: A number of options will appear – Save, Delete, Copy and Cancel.
Step 3: Click on the Copy option and a box will appear with the question ‘Are you sure you wish to copy this tab?’ Click on Yes and the tab will be copied.
Once the new tab is created, you can rename it, delete it or copy it by using the options in the Edit Pencil of the new tab.
4. Saving a Template
If you have certain project types you deliver all the time it would be wise to save these as a Template in whichever structure best suits the project. This means:
- Everybody uses the same starting point, so there’s consistency (you don’t get two fee earners arriving at wildly different numbers for the same project)
- Nothing gets forgotten since it’s an approved, considered, Template (only users with the relevant permissions have the right to save Templates)
NOTE: CMAP makes it easy to review projects, so as you learn more about whereabouts in the delivery of your projects they consistently deviate from budget, you can factor that learning into your Templates. This ensures all your fee earners are building profitable quotes.
A Blank Template would be used when you have little option but to start from scratch e.g. it’s a new type of project, it’s a special project, etc.
NOTE: Initially most of your quotes will be built from scratch using a Blank Template, but very quickly you will develop your own bank of Templates as you save good examples.
To save a template, click the More Stuff dropdown in the top-right and select Save As Template:
- Overwrite an existing template – Use this option if you want to overwrite a template to update it with a more current, accurate version for people to use moving forward.
- Enter the name for this new fee estimator template – Use this option if you want to store it as a new template for people to use moving forward.
NOTE: It is wise to consider the name(s) you give to your templates, as they will need to be sufficiently detailed/helpful to allow users to select an appropriate Template to use as their starting point.
- Getting a Fee Estimate Approved
To request approval of a fee estimate, you need to add the required approver(s) via the View/Set Approvers button. Ultimately, you only need approval from a Finance Admin user with an appropriate approval range.
Step 1: When in the Fee Estimator tab, click the View/Set Approvers button on the top right hand side of the screen.
Step 2: Type the name of your preferred approver in the Approvers box and Click Add.
NOTE: When adding approvers via the View/Set Approvers form, the drop down list of departments is purely there to limit the search for approvers to people within the selected departments. You DO NOT need to invite an approver from every department.
An email will then be sent to your approver, asking them to ‘Approve’ or ‘Reject’ the Fee Estimate for your Project.
Once any of the invited Finance Admins have approved the fee estimate, CMAP will automatically send an email to the Project Manager confirming that approval has been received and notifying them that the ‘Win the Project’ button is now enabled.
6. Generating a Costing Table
You can export a summary of the Fee Estimator if you wish. The Costing Table will export into Word.
Step 1: Click the More Stuff dropdown and select Generate Costing Table from the options.
You will be given four options, which are…
- Summary by Role – A breakdown of the Roles budgeted, time quoted, their day rate and overall cost per Role.
- Summary by Stage – A breakdown of the Fee Stages and the overall cost per Fee Stage.
- Summary by Stage by Role – A combined summary of the above (Summary by Role and Summary by Stage).
- Full Breakdown – A Fee Stage-by-Fee Stage breakdown, including the Roles budgeted, time quoted and overall cost per Role per Fee Stage.
NOTE: All Additionals and Adjustments are included in the Summary.
If you have situations where clients ask for multiple versions of a quote, Snapshots are a handy way of keeping a history of all the different versions, as you can restore an old version should the client decide to proceed with an earlier version of your quote.
Step 1: Click the More Stuff dropdown and select Save Snapshot from the list of options.
NOTE: CMAP will automatically save a Version of the Fee Estimator, containing all the Fee Stages, Tasks, Roles, Hours/Days, Additionals, Adjustments – absolutely everything.
NOTE: Every time a client asks for a change to be made, click Save Snapshot to build up a complete list of previous Versions.
If a client decides they want to progress with a previous Version…
Step 2: Click the More Stuff dropdown and select View Snapshots from the list of options.
NOTE: You will now be greeted by a pop-out window containing a list of all the previous Versions, including who took the Snapshot and when.
Step 3: Click a Version to see what was saved from the Fee Estimator in that Snapshot.
Step 4: You can now either Close the Snapshot to return to the most recent Version of the Fee Estimator, or Restore This Snapshot to bring that Version back into the Fee Estimator, ready to proceed.
NOTE: If you choose to Restore This Version, CMAP will say; 'Restoring this snapshot will replace your current Fee Estimate. Are you sure you want to proceed?' Click Yes to proceed and restore that Version of the Fee Estimate.