When you compile a bid for a construction project, whether it's residential, industrial or governmental, missing even the smallest details can cause you to lose a bid or underestimate costs, which could result in big problems down the road.
Construction estimating software programs such as ProContractorMX, Estimation and Bid4Build simplify the process of calculating the bottom line by tracking and comparing estimated and actual costs, both during and after the job. They enable you to account for all aspects of a project, like equipment, labor, materials and subcontractor costs, so that you can generate detailed, accurate bids. The best packages eliminate many common and potentially costly mistakes.
We conducted side-by-side comparisons of the 10 best construction estimating software applications to help you narrow down your options. Also check out our detailed reviews of each product and articles relating to construction software.
Preparing accurate bids is just part of what the best construction estimating software can do. It also lets you complete a number of other daily tasks common to busy contractors. Here are the criteria we used to evaluate each estimating application:
The package you choose should have tools to make your job easier. These include the ability to track job costs and bids, and to handle general office management functions such as document preparation, purchase-order processing and archiving previous projects. It should also let you create invoices and perform some accounting tasks.
The best packages also let you create customized formulas and calculations, prepare reports, import national cost indexes, compare subcontractor and vendor quotes, and track jobs by divisions and subdivisions.
Ease of Use
Because this software manages many variables, it can be quite complex. Using it, however, should be as easy as possible. Good estimating applications are well organized, presenting information in a logical manner so that you can get up to speed quickly.
High-quality construction estimating software seamlessly integrates with other applications you may be using, such as QuickBooks, Microsoft Project and some CAD programs. Consolidating these resources can save you both time and money. Some packages are also compatible with mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, allowing you to update project information on the go.
Help & Support
Since this type of software involves many aspects, look for packages that provide tutorials, training classes or online demonstrations to help you learn how to use all the features productively. Customer support should be readily available through a variety of means, and the support team should respond to your inquiries quickly and thoroughly.
Investing in construction management software will help increase your speed and accuracy in creating and presenting bids, with the end result being an improved bottom line. While no application can guarantee you'll win every bid, these packages help you present the best bid possible.
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