Choosing a construction estimating software will increase estimating accuracy and can benefit a business. With all the products and features out there, it is hard to know which features are necessary and which aren’t. This guide highlights some key features and software options for 2018.
What Features Should a Construction Estimating Software Have?
Every business is different because each business is different there isn’t a one-size fit all solution for every business. However, there are some features that are useful to every construction company regardless of size. One such feature is an up-to-date estimating database. This helps subcontractors pull the most recent cost information directly into their estimate. When it’s broken down by industry, subcontractors will have better estimates. Another key component is ease of export. You will need to export your construction bid report into your project management software or accounting. You need to know upfront whether the bidding software you like will be able to do that. If it can’t you’re looking at wasted time having to manually re-enter information or using complex workarounds.
ConEst produces a construction estimating software called IntelliBid. IntelliBid has three levels to its software depending on your business size and needs. One of the key features of IntelliBid for all versions is its industry-smart database. The industry-smart database has most material items with their costs, and even assembly kits for all construction types, and can account for labor. It also allows for custom products and pricing which can make your estimation process easier. IntelliBid offers takeoffs, bid management, document management and reporting to help you control your estimates. ConEst does specialize in electrical contractors, so their functions and database are geared toward them.
ProEst doesn’t specialize in a specific trade, but they do offer estimating software tailored towards subcontractors. It does offer cost estimating and digital takeoffs, this helps create a process for estimating regardless of project size. Users can organize the estimates however they want in order to view the information they need. ProEst also offers a subcontractor database. It’s a flexible database that users define. It can even import data from older systems, so you don’t have to worry about losing data or manually transferring it over. One of the best features of this construction estimating software is the built-in report generator. That creates professional-looking proposals for your business.
The Bid2Win platform also offers a central database, which is a key feature that all construction estimating software platforms must have. Bid2Win has templates and cost structures that users can pull from to create professional looking bids. The platform is extremely scalable, so you get the features you need and pay for those only. Another key feature of Bid2Win is the easy to use interface. This reduces the amount of time necessary to learn it while making it easy to interface with project management and accounting platforms. The only potential drawback to Bid2Win is its targeted system since Bid2Win is specifically tailored to heavy civil construction.
The Viewpoint Estimating platform can be tailored to your profession. The system uses customizable built-in databases in order to help businesses build their bid. The databases have data on material, equipment, and labor costs using industry standard units. Viewpoint includes takeoff technology in order to ensure that your business can thrive. Their takeoffs can take in the bid calculations, cost analysis in order to produce more accurate estimates. Viewpoint estimating can export and import data into many project management systems. The benefit to this is it allows you to pick your project management and construction estimating software. Viewpoint doesn’t restrict your access to other project management options.
The Sage software suite includes Sage Estimating. However, Sage Estimating can be purchased outside of the Sage Software Suite. It features an easy integration with many project management, accounting, payroll and other tools. Like the other systems it offers prebuilt trade databases, so you can find the appropriate database for your business. These databases cover all aspects of a bid which helps you build your bids faster. One of the benefits of Sage Estimating is the multiple takeoff methods, so you can use the method that you’re most familiar with. Sage users can build their bids quickly and use templates to create professional bids.
STACK is a takeoff and estimating software. Unlike Sage Estimating and Viewpoint, STACK focuses specifically on takeoffs and estimates. They offer three levels depending on your business needs. The basic package just covers takeoffs; however, it’s a great option for smaller businesses or if you’re unsure if they’re right for you. They offer real-time backups, quick measure for areas, access from any device. The professional edition gives users an extensive library of industry-specific databases, unlimited reports, and the ability to import custom items. STACK gives customers a customizable construction estimating software to create better bids.