Price List: FAQ

This article will provide you with a breakdown of Frequently Asked Questions pertaining to the Price List in LMN Estimating for your convenience! 

Select from the list below to jump to its spot within the article!

Importing FAQ

Materials FAQ

Labor FAQ

Equipment FAQ



How Can I Import Materials from a List or Spreadsheet?

Step One: Create the import file

You can import materials into the LMN estimating catalog for two purposes:

Adding New Materials to your Catalog

Before you begin creating your own list of materials, ask your suppliers if they can provide one to you.  You need their material list in an Excel spreadsheet in order to easily import the item.  Most suppliers will be happy to provide one, as it will increase their chances of getting orders from your company. If possible, ask them to include a SKU number or Part number in the import file. A unique number to identify the material(s) will mean future price updates can be done in seconds, using the SKU/Part number to uniquely identify each material for update.

If your supplier cannot provide you a file, it can be faster to create your own file and import rather than entering numbers one at a time.  Use Microsoft Excel (or similar) to create a spreadsheet file.

Updating Existing Costs and Other Information

You can also update your catalog information using an import file.  For instance, as your suppliers update their pricing, you can re-upload their updated pricing into your database.  Price + cost updates will be completed in mere seconds.

In order for updates to work, the catalog needs to use an ID number to uniquely identify the material to be updated.  A typical example of an ID number is a SKU number or Part number/ID.  Without an ID number, the import cannot guarantee an accurate match on materials and thus will treat every material without an ID number as a new material to be added to your catalog.

Step Two:  Format the import file

Everyone’s files look different, so we need to apply some standard rules to ensure the material catalog recognizes and imports everyone’s files accurately.

Delete any titles, supplier names, etc. from the top of the import file.  The first row of the import file must be used for headings. Your headings must exactly match the headings described in the list below. Any columns with an unrecognized heading will be ignored during the import. If your supplier has used their own heading names – you will have to change their headings to match the list below.

Click here to download a Sample Import File

Heading Names to be used in your Import file

*Please Note: Header names and punctuation must match our sample file exactly! Please also DO NOT delete any columns. You may leave optional columns blank.*


Column Heading Name


What Goes In the Column



The name of the material. NOTE:  materials must have a name or the import will ignore the row when importing.


Optional, but required for Update

A unique combination of letters and/or numbers that will identify the material, like a SKU number or part number.  The import can make use of the ID number later, using it to update information instead of adding new items (like updating a price list).  Assign all of your imported items an ID number to make future updates easy.  If your supplier does not provide ID numbers, you can make up your own.


Optional – default value is Hardscape

You can choose the material to be either a Hardscape or a Softscape item.  The following values (use only one of the following) will set the material to be a Hardscape:  H, HS, Hardscape. Any of the following values (use only one of the following) will set the material to be a Softscape:  S, SS, Softscape.



The size of the material (e.g.: 1 GAL, 12”x4’)



How the material is measured (e.g.: sq. ft, tons, yards, 20lb bags, etc.)



(For use with assemblies)  Entering a number in the round column will help assembly calculations.  The estimating software will round the material up to the nearest rounding factor when calculating quantities in assemblies. Examples:

If you purchase the material in 10’ lengths, enter ‘10’ for the rounding factor.

If the material is purchased in skids of 75 sq. ft, enter ‘75’ for the rounding factor.


Optional -recommended.  Default is 0

The cost-per-unit your company pays to purchase the material.


Optional - default is blank

Enter a price in this column ONLY if you want to set a fixed price for an material.  It's not recommended as LMN is designed to calculate a price for you, but if you want to force a specific unit price, fill that unit price in this column.


Optional - default is blank.

Enter a 'Y' or 'YES' in this field if you want to force LMN to use a specific unit price (entered in the PRICE column).  If you want LMN to calculate the price for you, just leave this column empty.


Optional, but required to set custom profit margin

If you wish your materials to be assigned a profit margin different than your budget default, enter the desired profit margin % here. Your profit should be expressed as a percentage (e.g. 15%) or as a decimal (.15).  You can skip this column if you wish everything to be priced according to your budget default profit margin.


Optional – default is 0

Enter a cost percentage factor for shipping.  If shipping charges are typically 5% of the total value of the materials, enter ‘5%’.


Optional – default is 0

Enter a warranty cost factor as a percentage.  If you expect to warranty 3% of your installations, enter ‘3%’.



Use this field to specify notes about the material only visible to estimator and/or crews (such as Vendor Name)


Optional – default is Uncategorized

Enter the name of the category to which you want the imported material(s) to be assigned.  If the category does not already exist, the import tool will add it for you. Remember to check your spelling – the import tool looks to find an exact match of existing categories.  If it does not match an category



A description of the material.  (255 character limit)

Step Three:  Check Your Import File For Errors

Once again, your heading names must match the above list or the information contained under that heading will be ignored.

Now check your rows and look for the following:

  1. Delete any blank rows before importing. They will be ignored anyway.
  2. Delete rows that contain headings (other than the first row in the file). If your file has rows that divide your import file into sections, delete all of these extra heading rows.  The category column is used to assign categories to materials.  Only the first row can be used to setup headings.
  3. Delete any extra (unnecessary) information from the spreadsheet. When ready to import, your spreadsheet should only contain:
    1. Row 1: Column Headings that match the list above
    2. All Other Rows: Material information to be imported
  4. Files must contain less than 1000 rows (999 Items + 1 Header row). Information past the 1000th row will be ignored.  In order to import more than 1000 items, you need to split your file into two (or more) files, each containing up to 1000 materials, but no more.
  5. Double-check your information. If you wish, add more information to the items by adding columns that might not exist in your supplier’s spreadsheet.  For instance, if your standard profit margin is 10%, but you make 30% on plant material, then make sure you add a Profit column and set the values to 30%.  You can make changes to a lot of items very quickly in Excel, saving you many hours of manually updating material information one material at a time.

When your import file is complete (the formatting stage), you need to save the file as a .csv file.

Step Four:  Save the import file as a .csv

  1. To save the import file as a .csv (or comma separated values file), click the File button and select “Save As”.  This will open the “Save As” dialog. Browse to the location where you wish to save the file.
  2. Enter a file name in the “File name” field.
  3. Click the “Save as type” drop-down list and select the “CSV (Comma delimited) option.


Step Five: Import the import file

  1. Click the Import button to re-open the import screen (if its not already open)
  2. If you're importing a vendor's file for the first time, disregard this step.  If you're re-importing a vendor file or re-importing a file you exported to update pricing, make sure you turn on the following options

    When a match is found, update the existing item
    Do not add new items, only update existing items
    Only update cost/price information (optional) mceclip0.png
  3. Click the Choose File button and locate the .CSV file on your computer (note: the import file must be in .CSV format, .XLSX format will not work!)
  4. Click OK to import the file

When finished, LMN will display a count of the number of items added, updated, skipped, etc.

Whoops!  I made a mistake!

If you made a mistake in your file, and you’ve imported a bunch of materials incorrectly, fixing your mistake is easy.  The import routine comes with a Rollback feature.  You can always go back and undo any of your imports – the system will delete all materials added during the import.  You can fix your import file, then re-import the corrected version. Keep in mind that this Rollback feature only works for new materials added (not updated materials).

  1. Click the Import button to re-open the import screen (if its not already open)
  2. Search for the file you imported in the dropdown beside the Rollback button
  3. Select the file and click Rollback to un-import/delete any items imported in that file


For troubleshooting tips regarding Material list Import Errors, see Here


How To Import fixed prices into your material catalog

You can import a fixed price or profit % via the CSV Material Import file into the material price list.  There are 3 columns in the material import file that will enable you to set a custom price or custom profit margin.

Price (Column J)

Optional - default is blank

Enter a price in this column ONLY if you want to set a fixed price for specific or all materials.  It's not recommended as LMN is designed to calculate a price for you, but if you want to force a specific unit price, fill that unit price in this column.

FixedPrice (Column K)

Optional - default is blank

Enter a 'Y' or 'YES' in this field if you want to force LMN to use a specific unit price or profit % (entered in column J or L).  If you want LMN to calculate the price for you, just leave this column empty.

Profit (Column L)

Optional - default is blank

Enter desired Profit Percentage per Material Item.  This will override the 'Default Profit from Budget' and use your Custom Profit Margin.   

To import a fixed price, make sure the PRICE or PROFIT column is set to the price/ percentage you want to charge (your customer) for the material.  Then, put a 'Y' in the FIXEDPRICE column to tell LMN that you want to use the fixed price (instead of the default profit margin from budget).  If there is a 'Y' in the fixed price column, LMN will import with desired PRICE or PROFIT.  


How Can I Assign Categories to a Bunch of Materials At Once?

To assign categories to a list of materials all at once... 

  1. Go to Price List > Materials mceclip2.png
  2. Use the checkboxes on the left to select the materials to which you want to assign a category.
  3. Then click the Assign Categories button
  4. Choose the categories you wish to assign (you can choose more than 1) mceclip3.png
  5. Then use the bottom dropdown to choose whether you want to:
    • Add Categories - adds the selected categories to any other categories to which the materials were already assigned
    • Replace Categories - erases any older category assignments and assigns each selected material only to the newly selected categories mceclip4.png


How Can I Edit More than One Material At A Time?

Being able to import your Material Catalog is a valuable tool in the LMN Item Catalog!

New companies to LMN will notice that their account was provided with Sample Data, which is very useful if customized to suit your supplier pricing.  Below are some instructions on how you can overwrite/update your Material Catalog:

Exporting from LMN

To begin, you will need to export your current Material Catalog from LMN.

  1. In your Material Catalog, click Export
  2. Select OK
  3. From your browser's download area, select the downloaded file

Manipulating the data in Excel

Next, you will need to edit the information in excel.

    1. Edit the data in any of the highlighted fields below.  Do not edit the ID field
    2. Here are some tips for editing the Material Catalog:
      • Please try to keep your material names uniform so your items will be easily identified while building estimates.
      • If you have materials from multiple suppliers, please include a line for the material from each different supplier.  You can indicate the supplier initial in the material name (ie. V – Paver, A - Paver, etc.)
      • If you do not need to use all of the materials in the sample list, indicate the materials you wish to delete with some distinguishing factor (ie. ZZ - Paver).  That way, when you update the list you can search for and delete all unused materials at one time.
      • Your material catalog can only import 1000 items (999 plus the header) at one time.  If you have more than 1000 materials to import, please split into multiple documents.

Once your Material Catalog is updated, you will save as CSV.


Importing to LMN

After you have followed the above steps, you can import into LMN.

  1. Click Import mceclip6.png
  2. Click Choose File
  3. mceclip5.png
  4. Find your file and OK mceclip7.png


How Can I Delete Multiple Materials At Once?

To delete a list of materials all at once... 

  1. Use the checkboxes on the left to select the materials for deletion
  2. Then click the Delete Selected button
  3. Confirm that you want to delete the selected materials (warning, there no undo!)


Note about deleting materials:  Materials used on estimates will not be deleted from the estimate, only from the catalog.


How can I Increase or Decrease Prices or Costs to a List of Materials?

Often times, users look to make changes to a group of selected materials instead of one at at time.  Especially changes to material lists like:

  • Updating material costs
  • Updating material prices
  • Updating material profit margins
  • Updating shipping, or warranty factors

The easiest way your item catalog costs to a bunch of materials at once is to Export your items to Excel.  Make your changes in Excel (where you can easily copy/paste or create formulas that can make changes to all rows).  Then re-import your materials back into LMN, where your changes will automatically be updated.

  • Start by going to the Item Catalog | Material screen
  • Next, use the Export button to export a list of materials to an Excel spreadsheet
  • At this point, you have the option to select specific categories to export - use this if you only want to export certain categories of materials
  • Next, download this Excel file to your machine.

Now you need to find the file on hard drive and open it.  Once you have the Excel file, follow these steps to increase or decrease your profit markup (but you can follow similar steps to update costs or fixed prices as well!)

  • Insert two Columns next to your Cost column
  • In the first new column this will be the percentage you wish to mark-up your items
  • In the second new column enter the formula =I2*(1+J2) *Use your cells* 
  • Copy that formula down your entire column (highlight cells and Ctrl +D)
  • Highlight the cells for all your new numbers now and Copy (Ctrl + C) then right click
  • Select 'Paste Values'
  • Delete your old Cost column and the Percentage column and rename your new column to Cost

Once you've followed these steps you can save your document and re-import that back into LMN. Here, make sure you have "When a match is found, update the existing item selected."

Select Choose File and pick your updated excel document. Click OK to begin the import.


How Can I Search for Materials?

To get to your list of materials, click the Item Catalog menu, then click the Materials sub-menu.

To search for a material... enter all or part of a material name in the Search box.


To show only a specific category of materials... select a specific material category from the Category drop down list.



What is the difference between Raw Material Costs and Total Material Costs?

When running estimate reports you may see raw material costs and total/loaded material costs. When you set up a material item you will notice a shipping factor, warranty factor and a purchasing tax option. These are not mandatory for setting up a material item, although it may be necessary for certain types of materials.

  • Shipping factor: this is used if your vendor has some sort of shipping cost on top of their raw material cost.
  • Warranty factor: generally used for softscape materials such as plants and trees. It is building in a markup to take into consideration the likelihood of having to replace some of those materials. In cased like hardscaping stone, salt for de-icing, gravel, etc... you would not need a warranty factor (or it will be very small) since these types of materials will not break/die and need to be replaced.
  • Purchasing tax: this is only used if you pay a tax when you purchase materials from your vendor.

Raw material costs: the cost of your materials before the shipping factor, warranty factor and purchasing tax are included.

Total material costs: the cost of your materials after the shipping factor, warranty factor and purchasing tax have been added to the raw material cost.


What is the formula for calculating the Unit Price?

How is unit pricing calculated?  

Please see the following steps for how LMN calculates Unit Pricing.



What Is Included in Labor Burden?

Labor burden are the costs that are added to every employee's paycheck that are added over and above the employee's wages.

Typically, these costs include:

US Labor Burden

  • Payroll taxes (e.g. FICA, FUTA, SUTA)
  • Worker's Compensation
  • Vacation Pay (if applicable to all employees)

Canadian Labor Burden

  • Payroll taxes (employer contributions)
  • EI
  • WSIB (Worker's Comp)
  • CPP
  • Vacation Pay (if applicable to all employees)

To calculate your labor burden, you want to divide the total burden by the total wages to get a percentage.

i.e. Total Burden Divided by Total Wages = Labor Burden %

The average labor burden is about 20%.  This means, on top of the hourly wage paid to the employee, the employer spends about 20 cents on every dollar on taxes, insurances etc. listed above.

Note:  Your labor burden may be different than the average.  Burden changes with company size, number of worker's comp claims, worker's comp class, state/provincial unemployment, and much more.  Consult your accountant or payroll professional for advice in determining your company's actual labor burden %.


Does the labor catalog give me my crew price per hour or my price per man per hour?

LMN's calculates the cost and price per man, per hour.  Because the wages used are the average crew wage (not the total crew wage) the costs and rates calculated by LMN are the costs/prices per man, not per crew.


Quick method to combine truck and trailer costs in the equipment catalog


If you have your truck and trailers already in the Budget as Equipment items, you can use the below method to combine the costs to easily create a truck+trailer combined equipment item.

First, add the Equipment to your Equipment Price list by Importing the Truck from your Budget and entering the Operating details in the Cost Calculator >click OK:first_add.png 

Second, Import the Trailer (which should be a grouped Item in your Budget) and fill in the Cost Calculator, if applicable:   



Next, view both Items from your Equipment Pricelist and manually add the hourly cost together to calculate the bundled Truck + Trailer.  In this example: we have the truck at $11.64 and the trailer at $2.25 for a total cost per hour of 13.89.

Lastly, create a third Item - Truck and Trailer and enter the calculated Cost Per Hour, in this example $13.89.  Because you entered the Operating Costs in the individual Truck and Trailer, they are accounted for when combining the two items.  


And now you have a combined Truck and Trailer item with accurate costs that will allow you to bid as a bundled item and/ or if applicable individually.


How Do I Forecast My Equipment's Billable Hrs/Year?

There are two schools of thought when estimating equipment.  Some contractors estimate By the Operating Hour where they estimate only hours where the vehicle/equipment is actually in use.  Other contractors estimate By The Day where the vehicles/equipment are charged while they are at the clients' site, regardless of whether they are actually being operated.

Let's illustrate how to enter these costs using some examples:

A skid steer gets 300 operating hours per year, and spends about 70 days per year out working on jobs.  The user can estimate in two different ways

By-The-Hour Method (maintenance or construction)
Start with the number of operating hours per year.  You can pull this number off the hours meter on most machines.  For example, you enter 250 hours in the forecast billable hours field (assuming 300 is the average operating hrs per year).   When estimating, you only estimate the actual operating time on each job. The cost per hour is higher, but the less hours are estimated since you are only estimating when its actually being operated.  Machine should be setup to use HOURS as its units.
By-The-Day Method (construction only)
Start by estimating the number of days the skid steer is used on jobs per year.  In the example above, we're estimating it gets 70 days of actual use on jobs.  If your average work day is 8 hours, so you could enter 560 hours (8 hours x 70 days) in the forecast billable hours field.  All hours while the skid steer is at customer's site are estimated, regardless of whether its operating or parked.  The cost per hour is lower than the operating hour method, but the user estimates more hours, since you're estimating full days.
  • You estimate that the average crew truck works every day, all day, 180 days per year.  But on average, it spends only 1.5 hours actually driving each day.  
By-The-Hour Method (maintenance or construction)
Enter 270 hours (1.5 hrs/day * 180 days) in the forecast billable hours field.  Then only estimate actual driving time in estimates. The cost per hour is higher, but estimates include less hours since they are only estimating when the truck is actually driving.  Truck should use HOURS as its units.
By-The-Day Method (construction only)
Estimate the number of working days in a year for the truck;  For example: You estimate the truck gets 180 days of use, minus 20 days for rain days, holidays and warranty.  If your average work day is 8 hours, you would enter 1,280 (160 days x 8 hours per day) hours in the forecast billable hours field.  When estimating, you estimate full days while the truck is parked at a customer's site, regardless of whether its driving or sitting idle at the curb.  The cost per hour is lower than the operating hour method, but you're estimating more total hours, since you're estimating in full days.
Equipment Costing Tip:

At LMN, we use the By-The-Day method for all construction equipment.  It's simpler for estimators and reviewers to understand and less likely to get missed.  If you estimate 27 operating hours, no one knows whether the machine should be there 3 days at 8 hours a day, or 10 days at 2.7 hours per day.


How to Create a Work Area Template From Something I've Estimated?

Work Area Templates can be created directly in an estimate as well as from your Price List menu It can be beneficial to create it directly in an estimate as you're creating estimates so there's less duplication of work.

To create your work area template from your estimate follow these steps:

  1. In your estimate go to the Workarea/Service Area tab of your estimate.
  2. Create the Workarea/Service by clicking the +Add Work Area button
  3. Add your labor, equipment, material, etc. items to the work area and create your template/work area.
  4. Click the down arrow next to edit as shown below and then select 'Save as Template'4_click_on.png
  5. Give the template a name and click OK 

Your new template is now saved and can be found by going to LMN Estimating > Price List > Templates


How do I Setup the Item Catalog for Discounts?

How to Setup An Other Item for Discounts on Estimates

Because they don't have overhead markups, other items are really handy for setting up line items like discounts.  Here's a few tips on setting up an item that you can use to apply discounts to estimates:

  • Name the other item Discount
  • Use Each as the units
  • Set the Unit Cost to $0.00 (you will customize this on each estimate where you want to apply a discount)
  • Choose the Pricing Calculator option to Set a Custom Profit Margin
  • Set the Custom Profit Margin to 0%  (we don't want to add any profit to the discount)

Now you have an item that you can add to estimates for a discount.  Simply add this Discount item to an estimate, set the unit cost to a negative amount to apply a discount (e.g. -$300.00) and the 0% profit margin will ensure the discount gets applied correctly.


How to Setup An Other Item to Help You Round Estimates to the Nearest Dollar

Because they don't have overhead markups, other items can also be used to help round up prices to the nearest dollar.  Some companies like to leave estimates as unrounded numbers (e.g. $1,790.09) while others like to round to an even number (e.g. $1,800.00).  If you like to round to nearest whole numbers, you'll need an other item called a Rounding Factor.

  • Name the other item Rounding Factor
  • Use Each as the units
  • Set the Unit Cost to $0.00 (you will customize this on each estimate where you want to round to the nearest whole number)
  • Choose the Pricing Calculator option to Set Fixed Profit
  • Set the Fixed Profit Margin to 0%  (we don't want to add any profit to the rounding factor)

Now you have an item that you can help you round estimating pricing to the nearest number.  Simply add this item to any estimate work area or service where you want to round the price.  Enter the dollars and cents you need to round up (or if you're rounding down, enter a negative number) and your estimate will come out with a nice, round number.



If you require further assistance, please contact our Support Team via email at or reach out to us through our Live Chats feature or by Phone: (888) 347-9864! 

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