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5 Best Construction Estimating Tools

business.com editorial staff
business.com editorial staff

Use one of these programs to gauge the costs of your next construction project.

  • The five best construction estimating tools are ProContractor Estimating, PlanSwift, Clear Estimates, B2W and Sage Estimating.
  • Benefits of using estimating tools include faster bids and accurate calculations.
  • The costs of estimating tools depend on the needs and size of your business.

Accurate estimates are key to a construction firm's success. If you overprice a bid, you'll likely lose the project. If you underprice, you'll lose money on it and create problems with your partners and clients. You can avoid these lose-lose situations – and drive profit for your firm – by using the right construction estimating tool with the most up-to-date pricing information.

Benefits of estimating tools

According to On Center Software, these are the benefits of using estimating tools for construction:

  • Faster bids: In the construction realm, timing is everything. When you have a potential client who needs work done immediately, providing them with a quick and accurate estimate can help you get the job.

  • Costs of equipment and material: There is no way to generate an estimate without first knowing the costs of equipment and materials. Without the proper software, this can take considerable time and effort. With estimation software, these costs can be easily calculated without wasting much-needed time and energy.

  • Accurate calculations: In addition to offering fast calculations, construction estimation software ensures that your estimates are accurate. This type of software automatically calculates all costs in an instant.

  • Up-to-date data: Another major benefit of estimating tools is that they allow you to remain up to date on all changes made to the project along the way. This means you can easily keep track of materials used, man-hours, etc. for the life of the project.

Cost of estimating tools

The costs of estimating tools tend to vary from day to day. Various things play a role in the overall costs of your construction estimating tool. For example, if you have a large company and a lot of employees who need to access the estimating tool, you will often pay more for that. However, some types of software offer unlimited access for an unlimited number of employees at one price. The way the software is hosted also plays a role in pricing. Construction software is offered as either a cloud-hosted or on-premises service. For cloud-hosted services, there is often a monthly or annual fee, whereas on-premises software typically does not carry those fees.

Here are five construction estimating tools that make it easy to generate estimates efficiently and accurately.

1. ProContractor Estimating

ProContractor Estimating is a powerful tool that has everything you need to estimate costs, create bids and track spending. It lets you determine material, equipment and labor costs from the ground up, including for underground excavation, plumbing and electric, all the way to aboveground construction. The software also supports CAD designs, making it easy to work with blueprints for faster and more efficient cost estimations. Additionally, ProContractor integrates with popular business solutions such as accounting software and CRM software to help you manage clients and sync their accounts to their projects.

2. PlanSwift

Looking for a simpler, easier way to generate estimates? PlanSwift takes the legwork out of estimating construction costs. Designed to save time, PlanSwift lets you create an estimate in three steps: point and click parts of the floor plan to highlight what you want to measure, such as an area's footage or wall angles; drag and drop required materials and labor; and print your estimate or export it into an Excel spreadsheet. PlanSwift can also be customized for specific trades and construction professionals, such as general contractors, flooring, electrical, drywall, HVAC, concrete, plumbing and landscaping.

 

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3. Clear Estimates

Clear Estimates lets you quickly determine project costs and turn estimates into proposals. As a cloud-based solution that also has mobile capabilities, Clear Estimates lets you create estimates in the office, at job sites and anywhere there's an internet connection. The software also offers a parts library with up-to-date pricing, a customer database and the ability to create a wide range of reports. Clear Estimates integrates with business solutions your construction firm already uses, such as CRM, CAD and accounting software. 

4. B2W

If you have a heavy construction business, B2W aims to make estimating and bidding more efficient and profitable so you can get big projects underway quickly. Other features include scheduling and dispatching, business intelligence, equipment maintenance, friend tracking, and field data collection. B2W supports a wide range of industries, such as specialty civil contracting, land and site development, energy and resources, transportation, and utilities.

5. Sage Estimating

Sage Estimating offers one of the best pricing tools available to construction firms. The software has an all-inclusive database packed with thousands of materials, vendors, suppliers and subcontractors, which allows you to quickly gather up-to-date pricing information. This both saves you time and minimizes pricing errors for a better chance at winning bids. Other features include scheduling tools and the ability to build labor crews, generate contracts, and create and edit purchase orders. Sage Estimating integrates with the rest of Sage's business suite as well as third-party accounting, payroll, project management, document control, procurement and other business software.

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