If you run a construction company, one of the constants in your life is generating estimates. Clients want accurate estimates, and they want them fast. Trying to get an accurate estimate can feel a little like the Goldilocks story. You don’t want to go too high, and you don’t want to go too low, or your customer will be unhappy and you may lose the job.
Calculating estimates by hand can be time-consuming and requires immense attention to detail. Luckily, you don’t have to do it by hand anymore. Construction estimating software handles all the numbers for you, allowing you to generate accurate estimates with the punch of a button. Read on to learn about the top five builder estimating programs on the market today.
Why Have Estimating Software
If you find yourself losing bids more often than you’d like, you might want to look into bid estimating software. Bidding either too low or too high on a project can cause you to lose business. If you swing too low, you’ll wind up going over budget, but if you estimate too high, you’ll never get the job in the first place.
Estimating software helps you know how much a project will cost so you can give your customers spot-on numbers from the start. They calculate the cost of materials, equipment, and labor for the whole job. They also compile all the costs for a project into a document that can serve as a ready-made proposal. Some of the best estimating software even allows you to track deviations from the usual costs. You can show your clients exactly where you went over budget should that happen.
What to Look For
When you’re shopping for estimating software, there are several factors to take into consideration. First of all, you’ll want to evaluate whether the software will, in fact, make work easier and save you time on the job. Some systems may be slow, lack the functionality you need or be so complex it will take you longer to figure out how to use the software than it would to do the estimate by hand.
You should also look into the reputation of the software. Does it have a good name in the market, and is it known for being accurate? Finally, what will integration of this software look like for your company in terms of fees, modernization options, mobile access, and data security?
Viewpoint MEP, a major player in the estimating software industry, is best suited for contractors who focus on mechanical, HVAC, electrical, and plumbing work. It has estimating capabilities tailored to those trades. Their software allows you to produce the most accurate estimates possible. Its database includes up-to-date information about labor costs and pricing on materials. It even factors in equipment for your specific industry.
If you like a lot of tools for presenting your data, Viewpoint is a good choice for you. It integrates with Microsoft Excel and puts visual assemblies and proposal generators at your fingertips. It even has “what-if” analysis capabilities to let you estimate even the most custom jobs accurately.
B2W stands for Bid 2 Win, which is exactly what this software helps you do. The numbers speak to how well this software does its job. B2W has more than 5,000 users in many different countries.
B2W is for contractors who focus on highway work, such as paving and earthwork. It works with Microsoft Excel, as well as the Department of Transportation’s electronic bidding system. Its versatility makes it easier than ever for your company to land jobs. It also integrates with Dexter + Chaney, Foundation, Oracle, and Maxwell Systems, as well as several others.
HCCS Heavy Bid
HCCS Heavy Bid has a reputation as one of the best estimating tools on the market. More than 35,000 estimators use this software, from large companies to small subcontractors. It has powerful functionality designed to help you manage every step of your project budgets.
Heavy Bid pulls estimating data from multiple sources, ensuring that you have an accurate number to give to your client. It also automates the repetitive tasks, which helps save you time and lets you focus on doing the major work instead. If you hate sending reports to your accounting office, Heavy Bid integrates with many accounting programs. Reports generate automatically, saving you time and money.
Sage Estimating is flexible, working with whatever your needs are to produce a solution that fits well for your business. The software comes with a variety of industry-specific databases, helping you get accurate estimates for your job. It has takeoff solutions that help speed up the estimate process as well. You can get your customers hard numbers and signed contracts quicker than ever.
Sage does focus on flexibility and can meet the needs of a company of any size. But the one downside is it can be a little on the expensive side. Because of the cost, it’s best suited to companies that are operating on more than $1 million a year.
If you’re looking for a cloud solution for your estimating software, ProContractor is a good choice for you. Viewpoint, the same company we talked about earlier, makes ProContractor, but this time the software focuses on small to mid-size contractors. Not only does it help you grow your business, it grows with you so you can always be confident that you have the best numbers at your disposal.
ProContractor helps you manage change orders and lien notices, as well as setting up cost and building codes for you. It even has an application that manages equipment tracking and unit billing. If accounting is a hassle for you, ProContractor also has an accounting software that can handle generating payroll checks, managing accounts payable, keeping a general ledger, and generating insurance and tax reports.
Get the Best Results from Builder Estimating
If you’re looking for the best results from your builder estimating software, you’ll need to take the improved efficiency past the computer screen. That’s where we come in: at Rhumbix, we help you put your data to work to improve labor productivity. Learn about how it works and request a demo to start saving time today.