Making the change from using Excel to a full-blown estimating software may seem like a daunting task.
After all, like many estimators, you likely have a fine-tuned process and developed your system after years of industry experience.
Not to mention, you have elaborate spreadsheets and years worth of pricing, labor, and historical data to consider.
So, with all this in mind, if you’re considering making the switch to an estimating system, here are some things you should know:
Eliminating Errors is Key
Even the most seasoned estimators know that when you’re working with spreadsheets, errors happen.
Consider this: have you ever had an extra row in your spreadsheet cause the totals to be incorrect? Item costs that did not get added to the bid? Forgotten to add a cost for an indirect or bond?
Now, what if I told you the chances of a miscalculation in a spreadsheet can be virtually eliminated?
ProEstimate.NET has built-in checks and balances as well as “Bid Check” functionality to limit the risk of such omissions. This improved accuracy reduces the time spent correcting bid errors and virtually eliminates mistakes.
You will also no longer need to worry about a file being accidentally deleted or moved to a different folder. All data is stored in one location where every user has shared access.
Error-free estimating has a pretty nice ring to it.
Standardization Improves Bid Accuracy
Speaking of eliminating errors, standardizing your estimating process also greatly reduces the chance of mistakes.
By using an estimating system, you can add structure to your project set-up, crew building, bid closeout, and more. This structure improves productivity, enhances profitability, and, again, reduces errors.
The standardization of reports within the system allows management to review an estimate in the same manner, every time, regardless of who put the estimate together.
Implementation Shouldn’t Be Painful
If you decide to make the switch to using an estimating system, the implementation process is an important part of getting started.
However, this process shouldn’t require an exorbitant amount of work on your part. Beware: some companies require you to fill out 15+ spreadsheets to get your system up and running.
An estimating system is meant to make your life easier, not burden you with spreadsheet homework.
Treat Training and Support Like a Necessity, Not an Added Luxury
When you make the switch to estimating software, you should have access to expert training and unlimited technical support.
Many companies require you to purchase an additional support package to get the help you need.
The standard should be 24/7 support without any additional price tags or hoops to jump through. You should also be able to pick up the phone and easily reach a real person, every time.
Don’t settle for less than optimal, all-inclusive support.
Finding Systems that Work for You is What’s Most Important
Most companies will say you need to use all of their products (and yes of course we highly recommend our field management, crew scheduling, dispatch, and bid tabulation software), but what is most important is making sure you’re getting what works best for you.
Your estimating software should be able to pull data from a variety of systems rather than forcing you to make a switch that you might not want or need.
Your estimating system should be able to integrate with all of your systems, including accounting, field, takeoff, and more.
Before switching to an estimating program, make sure you get all of the information you need and make this a one-time move, done the right way.