Construction takeoff and estimating software enables you calculate sundry costs (materials, equipment, labor, etc.) for upcoming projects, and submit formal bid offers to prospective clients. The software just requires you to input the required parameters and does the complex calculations. You just have to compile projected costs, thus saving your precious time and equipping you to forward more accurate bids.
When you begin the process of looking for the right software, you’ll find a bevy of products. You need to determine which of these products will do what you need and help your team do business your way.
1. How easy is the software to handle?
Ease of navigation is a core requirement of takeoff software. The product should have clean and visually appealing interface that makes navigation like sailing through space. Your team should require minimal assistance from support guides or tutorials when it comes to understanding the navigation. Importing blueprint images and creating cost sheets has to be an easy process. An ideal program will let you efficiently create scales and takeoffs, and compose an official bid.
2. How efficient it is when generating an estimate?
Essential estimating features include the ability to do instant takeoffs of materials from the estimate and alter single item costs to view speculative estimates. You need to take into account the variety of estimate generating tools on a program. Advanced features include the ability to merge multiple bids into a single estimate. Make it a point to get a program that allows generating estimates using uploaded blueprints that are editable.
3. Does the project work in conjunction with project management software?
Once your bid is accepted by client and work begins, you should be able to keep track of costs during construction. You can do this by bringing in project management software in the loop, thus keeping your expenses close to the original estimate. Using both the software in tandem will enable you to take of stock of available material and get alerted if certain aspects of the projects have exceeded the original estimate.
4. Is help available?
Regardless of the ease of learning curve, construction takeoff software can be complicated to operate. Ready help such as tutorial material should be available. Inquire if they’re offering 24/7 support via phone or live chat. Some companies put up extensive training materials on their websites. Find if they’re hosting remote seminars or in-person training classes, and whether joining these will require you to pay a fee.
5. Does software integrate with Excel and QuickBooks?
There’ll be times when you need to integrate your takeoff software with programs like Excel and QuickBooks. You need to have a look at the program’s compatibility with the business software used at your company. If you’ve been using spreadsheets a lot when estimating, you’ll like to seamlessly import these files into the program and be able to work into them.
6. How is software useful once the client has accepted the bid and project is underway?
Ideal software should act as a repository of sorts. It should facilitate keeping all job files associated with that particular job. As the job changes, and it always does, the entire team can see any time what is changing and what modifications are being made (new plan pages imported). Ability to place notes on pages allows for better collaboration (“please verify if door opening is correct, will this door swing interfere with that opening?”).
A takeoff & estimation software could be considered a ‘hub’ of information. Cloud-based software allows for near real time viewing as compared to desktop solutions that need to have the file emailed again and again.
7. Can you access the software on different devices?
Make sure the product you finally pick works well on different platforms. Your staff should be able to access software, regardless of the device they’re using. For instance, if some of them are using tablets and others smartphones, they should have no problem working with the software.
Your choice of construction takeoff and estimating software is set to be a major aspect of the bidding processes, impacting your bottom-line. It’s important you do adequate research of software and zero in on one that is most likely to give value for your money.