How to Choose Construction Estimating Software

May 3, 2022
remodeler using 1build construction estimating software on tablet|alternatives to construction estimating software|alternatives to construction estimating software|

Picking the best construction cost estimator tech and takeoff tools for your business.

What is the one tool that could help your construction business really take off? It’s probably not the newest circular saw or trailer. The technology you adopt for your team can create a high-efficiency model that retains the best employees and showcases your professionalism to clients. But where do you start? Let’s begin with your preconstruction process.

It’s estimated that a third of all construction companies aren’t making as much as they expected based on their cost estimates. It’s easy to discover why that’s a problem, considering bids on small projects can vary more than 20%, either over or under real costs.

When you need your numbers to be precise from the very start, historical construction cost data in a big book isn’t going to get you there. The price of raw materials like lumber, glass, and aluminum are jumping from week to week. The labor market is shifting as skilled trade workers are in short supply. That’s where technology steps in. A strong construction estimating software can work to your advantage, bringing your plans, cost data, and measurements together.

When you are ready to level-up, and leave the pen and paper behind, start your construction estimating tech search with these must-haves.

4 Features Every Contractor Needs in Construction Estimating Software

  1. Local Cost Data
  2. Cloud-Based Estimating and Takeoff Tools
  3. Prebuilt Assemblies
  4. Link Sharing for Clients

1. Local Cost Data

When you rely solely on national cost data, whether it’s equipment, materials, or labor, you are taking a chance that the average costs in New York, Los Angeles, Houston, or Kansas City will match up with your county. Because of transportation costs and supply chain complications, it is more important than ever to use a construction cost estimator software that pulls data directly from local suppliers. The 1build database uses more than 1,000 suppliers and populates costs specifically for each county in the United States.

2. Cloud-Based Estimating and Construction Takeoff Tools

No one wants to be stuck with a software that requires downloads for every device and takes up vats of memory on your computer. Look for a cloud-based estimating and takeoff software that can be accessed from any browser, even from a phone or tablet. That way, you always have access to your numbers and can make adjustments from anywhere. With 1build, your takeoff measurements are saved automatically on a secure server, and you can easily add users for different members of your team. Access is easy, so you can adjust your estimate from your office or the field.

3. Prebuilt Assemblies

For the most common sets of material and equipment, you don’t want to choose individual items for every single estimate. Make sure your construction estimating software has assemblies that are ready to go, and even better if you can create your own library of items that you are always reaching for in your bids. Having sets of interior wall materials or plumbing fixtures can save hours when you are estimating similar projects each month. If you are performing a specialty trade like excavation, maybe you need to create a library of gravel and backfill, allowing you to track those prices in your area.

4. Link Sharing for Clients

What use is an estimate if it can’t be easily shared? When you are shopping for the perfect construction estimating software, check to see what options are available for downloads, exports, and link sharing. Can the estimate you just created be part of a professional bid package? Can you send a live link to the most recent version of your estimate, no matter how many times you change it? With 1build, live links also include tracking (so you can see how many times an estimate was opened), and you can also receive an email notification the moment it is viewed (so you can touch base with your potential client in real time).

Our team of 1build software specialists and pro construction estimators can walk you through all of the features included in our construction estimating platform so you can see how they line up with your business.

1build provides an easy-to-use integration with construction supplier catalogs and purchasing systems. Get access to millions of construction materials with our API today