Excel vs. Estimating Software
Excel is by far the most popular estimating software going right now. It can do many things; and after a little work, it can even push a proposal out with very little effort. So, why consider Estimating Systems like
Sage Timberline Estimating?
Start by asking others why they made the switch. The two most often stated reasons are Significant Increases in:
Significant improvements in estimating productivity can be achieved by adopting a construction-specific estimating solution versus manual or generic spreadsheet methods.
Some reasons for not using generic spreadsheet software include:
- You may seriously underestimate a project due to an overlooked, forgotten or not properly quantified item.
- Too many steps or complex processes are involved for "slicing and dicing," analyzing and reporting on your estimate.
- Ever had that queasy feeling when you are notified that you are the low bidder? Was it a bad calculation? A missed item? Or a great bid?
- The "time drain" in building an estimate from scratch, one item at a time, is significant and the need to maintain a number of spreadsheets with up-to-date pricing and estimate details for specific types of projects is even more intensive.
- One advantage of using a database type of estimating system is that there are pre-built databases available. Quote from one of our users: "When we built our database, we wanted to make sure that it prompted the users for key cost drivers. We've kept it simple, but at the same time very thorough."
Additional Productivity and Efficiency Tools
The development of digitizing technology has continued to evolve over the years; and in some situations, the need for paper blueprints or a digitizing board is reduced. With the rapid adoption of onscreen takeoff capabilities, estimators using construction specific software are taking advantage of this new approach to increase efficiencies even more.
Comparison and Variance Reporting
Flexible reporting is key when it comes to many aspects of the estimating process. Typically, construction-specific estimating software includes a variety of built in reports that are needed for estimate preparation, analysis, and collaboration. The ability to do a finite comparison between estimates or portions of estimates will ensure a better chance of success and accuracy with new jobs.
Locating, Accessing and Utilizing Historical Estimates
Organizing and locating past estimates often becomes a difficult challenge, especially during crunch times. You're looking for a certain project that you bid 12 months ago and you begin to question how much more time you should invest in looking versus just moving forward and developing an entirely new bid. In an already hectic estimating environment, organizing and locating old bids can be overwhelming. Specific lookups may include by owner, by type, by certain size or by
Looking back over your work before an estimate is considered final and your bid is submitted can sometimes be confusing. All too often, clarifications such as knowing just how a particular quantity takeoff was calculated or what dimensions or variables were used, relies on memory.
Last Minute Cuts and Adds
Having the ability to spread last minute cuts or adds to a near final estimate can make the difference between a winning bid or leaving profit on the table. Estimators require a quick and easy method for identifying the spread as well as the rules to be used. Equally important is the capability to remove the adjustment after it has been made.
Subcontractor Bid Tracking
When bid deadlines are getting tight and you're waiting for a supplier or sub quote in order to finish your estimate, multiple spreadsheets or scattered handwritten notes only add to the stress. Estimating solutions help in this area as well by allowing the logging of multiple bids by vendor for individual or groups of items. This makes last minute subcontractor/ vendor bid analysis, follow up, and selection a breeze.
In order to win more jobs, you have to "crank out" more estimates AND just generating twice as many estimates alone won't help. In today's fiercely competitive market, you've got to work smarter by creating tighter and more accurate estimates instead of cutting corners and putting your profits at risk.
Call us today to see how Sage Timberline Estimating can help put money in your pocket!