Construction Estimating Software

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What is construction estimating software?

Construction estimating software is a program used by construction companies, contractors, builders and industry professionals to facilitate the estimating process for building projects.

Commonly known as cost estimation software or construction bidding software, the service offers a wide variety of features and capabilities, including comprehensive cost databases for mechanical and electrical equipment and other construction-related materials that contractors and subcontractors may use as a reference for cost estimates on upcoming projects.

Estimating software solutions also allow general contractors and construction companies to place competitive bids to land projects. Having the ability to generate estimates that are more accurate is vital to a successful bidding process, especially when it comes to the cost of materials and labor. If your estimates are too high, then you land significantly fewer projects. If your cost estimates are too low, you can expect fewer profits from any jobs that you pursue.

The construction industry is a highly competitive environment. Contractors expect tough competition for every project on their radar. This is why when it comes to construction estimating, getting it right the first time is extremely important.

Delving into the estimating process by hand or using conventional means is time-consuming and it can put you at a disadvantage if your competition is already utilizing an estimating or bidding software to come up with accurate numbers for the prospective client. Nowadays, you have to consider using construction estimating software if you want to win more projects and remain competitive as a business.

For small contractors and construction businesses, investing in an estimating software solution may seem costly, just another purchase to add to your operating expenses. However, this type of software will pay for itself in the long run. Moreover, it’s a form of investment that doesn’t necessarily have to break the bank.


Expert Pick

Methvin

Methvin 83

17 ratings

Methvin is an online construction project management, estimating, gantt, takeoff and procurement portal. Good software supports your workflow. Great software improves it. View Listing...

Methvin, a cloud-based construction estimating solution, caters to businesses such as civil and general contractors and builders. Key features such as the estimating tool, take off tool, and project management tools, allow users to generate cost estimates, deliver estimates electronically and manage projects.


How is construction estimating software used?

Construction estimating software helps contractors, subcontractors and construction businesses to properly calculate materials, equipment and labor costs. The software allows users to produce detailed proposals based on the materials and labor estimates generated and then pass them on to prospective clients for review. The competition will do the same and the bidding process commences.

Reliable software designed to facilitate the estimating process has always been a useful tool for a wide variety of professionals and businesses, especially those in the construction industry. With the rise of fixed-bid work and growing competition, which means there are currently more contractors than there are available projects, good estimating software has become an even more valuable investment for construction companies and private contractors wanting to simply survive in a highly competitive market.

To get a better understanding of how this type of software is used in the estimating process, and how it can help your business to win more projects down the line, here are a few core features and capabilities that are often available in a standard construction estimating software system:

Up-to-date and accurate cost comparisons

One of the fundamental functions of construction estimating software solutions is to provide accurate and up-to-date data on materials and labor costs for future comparisons. This feature is invaluable if you want to make a fair and accurate assessment for potential clients. Using the estimating software, you can easily pull the latest prices of construction materials and equipment listed on the internet.

Most top-tier construction estimating systems also offer access to wholesale cost databases, which are regularly updated to ensure accurate and fair pricing. Additionally, these software solutions also allow users to add items and prices from their own suppliers, as well as others, so they can make more detailed comparisons. Similar databases can also be created for subcontractors for the purposes of comparing labor costs.

Mobile accessibility

Software systems optimized for use in mobile devices has become a common feature in the majority of software products in the market, not just construction estimating software. Having a mobile version of your estimating program will help you in many ways during the construction phase, especially when you or your people are onsite at all times.

With a mobile app, you will be able to access the software using your smartphone or tablet and get accurate estimates of materials and equipment on the fly. This is important as you will have the ability to make quick but informed decisions deep into the building process, saving time and energy having to do manual research and make calls to different suppliers.

Methvin offers a tendering portal, Gantt scheduler, estimating and takeoff tools along with its many other features designed for mobile accessibility and ease-of-use. You can check out the free trial version of these products to get a glimpse of their true capabilities and potential.

Also, estimating software that is compatible with both iOS and Android devices can help increase connectivity and improve communication throughout your entire team, thus making your overall workflow that much more efficient. It also allows you to communicate with the client more effectively to get their input as the project progresses.

Instant takeoff capability for efficient estimates adjustment

Digital takeoffs are vital to construction estimating, especially when you’re trying to win a bid. Having the ability to determine the exact amount of materials needed for the project, coming up with an accurate cost estimate of those materials and to be able to adjust them instantly to match the design plans provides you with a huge advantage over the competition during the bidding process.

A good takeoff software solution that is seamlessly integrated with your estimating and/or bidding software can mean the difference between winning over the client and losing them to your competitors. For example, if you want to submit a bid to a potential client, you can generate a complete breakdown of materials and labor estimates using the software. You can then instantly make the necessary adjustments for the client to review. This will help keep you in the running to potentially land the project.

Cloud-based service infrastructure

The cloud is the most common service delivery system these days, when it comes to software systems and applications. It is also one of the most practical and secure ways to process and store all sorts of data, including the cost estimates data you have amassed throughout your career as a contractor and building professional.

There are three main types to consider when it comes to cloud-based construction: software-as-a-service (SaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS). Both IaaS and PaaS generally cater to larger more advanced IT operations, meaning these cloud solutions are specifically tailored for bigger construction companies with sophisticated project management processes.

SaaS solutions, on the other hand, are the most accessible to a lot of businesses and professionals in the construction industry and the most cost-effective in terms of capability, design and function. It is essentially the easiest and most practical way to get the most out of cloud computing technology with the least investment requirement.

Many SaaS solutions cater to small- to medium-sized construction companies and contractors. These solutions are quite well known for estimating software systems that offer robust cloud construction.

Comprehensive all-in-one platforms can improve your capabilities and remain competitive during the estimating process. Some construction estimating software comes as an integrated feature of larger more comprehensive suites designed for construction project management.

A few of the other solutions included in these construction estimating suites include accounting tools, scheduling software, takeoffs estimate solution, subcontractor comparison tool, reporting and analytics, auto-revisioning, invoicing programs and customer support. If you’re looking for a more complete platform for your construction business, and you don’t mind the steeper cost, this is the type of software solution you want.

What are the benefits of using construction estimating software?

In today’s highly competitive market, it is vital for construction companies, contractors and building professionals to be more accurate and efficient when it comes to assessing a potential client’s project requirements. It’s not enough to be the first to be able to submit a complete proposal to prospective clients. You need to have the ability to quickly generate accurate cost estimates on labor, construction materials and equipment.

There’s a delicate balance involved when it comes to construction estimating and this is where a good construction estimating software solution can be beneficial for your business. By utilizing this type of software at its full potential, you can expect:

Greatly improved efficiency

Your estimating software is capable of collecting and processing pricing data from different cost databases, including information from previous projects, to come up with up-to-date and accurate estimates. With the tools available, you can quickly turn all the information you’ve gathered into an easily digestible proposal you can send to a potential client.

As a result, you will be able to generate quotes that are more accurate quickly and efficiently for multiple projects and stay competitive without sacrificing your profit margin.

Increased accuracy

The estimating process, especially in the construction industry, is all about being accurate when sending proposals and quotes to prospective clients. Your construction estimating program will keep track of all important data pertaining to material and labor costs, equipment rental charges, transportation costs, inventories, subcontractor expenses and more.

This will allow you to be more accurate in your cost estimates and avoid having to do some guesswork when making your calculations. You want to generate good estimates that closely match the true value and the actual expenses that may be incurred upon completing the project.

Remain consistent with your outputs

With a feature-rich construction estimating software, you will have the ability to generate estimates derived from industry-tested and industry-approved processes, methodologies and workflows. This will then allow you to deliver proposals and quotes with a high level of consistency. The software solution also helps you to be more consistent with your operation whilst streamlining your estimating process and workflow.

Minimal investment with great returns

It’s no secret that a great number of small businesses and startups are reluctant to invest in any kind of software solution, even if it helps streamline their operation. This is partly due to the perceived notion that software solutions are expensive. The truth of the matter is it doesn’t have to be.

There are many options available in the market. In the case of construction estimating software, there are affordable and even free options available.

Most estimating software vendors offer free trial versions of their product, while others even provide a free basic plan as an option. Of course, these will have limited features and/or users compared to the premium version. Still, such programs can have a positive impact on your accuracy and efficiency during the estimating process.

Construction companies, general contractors and subcontractors require specialized software that will allow them to provide accurate estimates on equipment, construction materials and labor expenses. The goal is to have a centralized platform that will help users manage industry-specific requirements.

With that said, estimating software solutions provide businesses in the construction industry the tools they need to deliver more detailed cost analysis and estimates for multiple projects, from the building materials needed down to labor costs and equipment rental charges.


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