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Are your estimators using the best tools for the job?

10/7/2016 at 5:43 pm by

Your estimators are busier than ever these days. In addition to the pressure to complete a lot more estimates faster, they still work with slim profit margins that leave little room for error. The resulting work environment can challenge the best of estimators, especially if they don’t have all the right tools.

Generic spreadsheets are used by many estimators to create their estimates. For your top estimators who have perfected their own custom spreadsheets, this method may work just fine. However, many estimators are moving away from the generic spreadsheets to software specifically designed for construction estimating. Why?  According to an industry survey conducted by Software Advice, companies that use construction estimating software under and overestimate projects less often than spreadsheet users. They also have shorter bid turnaround times.

If your estimators use generic spreadsheets as their primary estimating tool, you may want to consider the following common issues they may encounter:

  • A project can be underestimated due to an overlooked, forgotten, or not properly quantified item (there are no built-in estimating safeguards with generic spreadsheets).
  • The time drain in building an estimate from scratch—one item at a time—is significant, and the need to maintain a number of Excel templates with up-to-date pricing and estimate details for specific types of projects is even more time intensive.
  • When deleting an individual item from within a generic spreadsheet, your estimators can run the risk of an associated formula being lost or worse, no longer calculating properly.
  • Too many steps or complex processes are involved for slicing and dicing, analyzing, and reporting on your estimate.
  • The estimate typically isn’t integrated with other software to do electronic takeoff, build budgets, and create purchase orders and RFQs.

An estimator’s work sets the stage for how successful a project will be. Estimating software is known to cut estimating time in half, providing more time to analyze and compare different cost strategies. When material and other changes occur, adjustments can also be made easily. And in the end, estimators are more confident that their estimates are accurate and competitive.

Want to see how estimating software compares to your current estimating tools? Check out the Sage estimating test drive.

About the Author

Deb Carpenter-Beck is a writer and marketer with more than 25 years of experience in the construction and real estate industries. She often writes about technology and best practices and is passionate about helping contractors and real estate professionals achieve their business goals. You can follow her on Twitter @DebCBConstruct.

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