3 Must-Have Features You Need in Your Estimating Software 

estimating software key features

Estimating is one of the most complex parts of the construction process. And done inaccurately, you risk losing the bid, or worse, profits.  

Thankfully cloud-based software solutions enable teams to create more competitive bids with accurate estimates faster. Moreover, you can ensure that you see more profits from any given project by including all costs correctly. 

If you’re curious to learn more about how you can improve your process with cloud estimating software, we encourage you to check out our recent webinar, Cloud Estimating: The Secret to Winning More Bids

In it, Troy Simon, Head of Client Services at ProEst discusses the challenges of estimating at length. He also shares some of the most effective secrets to help your team win more bids. Specifically, he calls out three things you should look for when it comes to utilizing cloud estimating software:  

  1. Ease of use 
  2. Robust and reliable database 
  3. Connected takeoff and estimate 

Watch the webinar for in-depth insight, or read on to learn how each plays into accurate, profitable estimating. 

New: ProEst now integrates with the Cost Management module within Autodesk Build. Learn more here

1: Easy to Use 

Above anything else, estimating software should be easy to use. Otherwise, you will see resistance from people who are used to old systems, who can’t handle the “too much, too fast” perception that sometimes accompanies change. 

“You don't want to impede work with a process,” says Simon. “You want it to actually be something that is better, that when you get that collaboration, you're getting true collaboration.” That means your system needs: 

  • Built-in workflows to manage review and approval processes 
  • Integrated takeoff and estimating (more on this below) 
  • Integration with ERP and data analytics 

When you’ve got the above, you can enable true collaboration among all members of your team. 

And just as important as having the right tools in your cloud estimating software, you want to get rid of the wrong ones. The ones that nobody uses, that clutter up interfaces and dashboards with useless visual noise. Trimming the fat results in a solid, streamlined process that enhances performance and increases estimation efficiency. 

2: Robust Database 

“A database is the heart and soul of an estimating solution if you're going to have one,” Simon says. Maybe you have an excellent one of your own, that includes a high level of granular detail. If so, you’ll have an easy time moving that into a cloud estimating software and using it. If not, try to choose a software solution that offers you a higher level of detail. 

Why does it matter so much, anyway? 

"A database is the heart and soul of an estimating solution if you're going to have one."

- Troy Simon, Head of Client Services at ProEst

“There's a wide range of customers coming to adopt technology like this,” Simon adds, “but the database is what drives it. If you don't have a database, you essentially have a takeoff solution.” If you want more than that – a full estimating system that will work for any project – then you need a database that supports fast, efficient, true-to-the-facts pricing. Otherwise, you might overestimate (lose the bid) or underestimate (lose your profit). 

3: Connected 

Day in and day out, one of the most common challenges Simon hears is that takeoff and estimating are perpetually disconnected. 

“That's inefficient, right? You got data in two separate spots,” he says. “If you need to be mobile, that can be a challenge. If you need to get things updated, that's a challenge. Of course, anytime we're keying something in manually, we run that risk of transposing a number, and that can mean real dollars. If you're wrong on the estimate off the shoot, it's hard to make that money up when the job starts.” 

Any estimating software should be connected in another sense as well: connected to the cloud. 

“If you're not creating a more connected experience for the users, then it's almost a waste of time,” Simon says. “That's what I love about Autodesk Construction Cloud. We're not forcing you into one of our point solutions. In some cases, that software may not be the best fit for that particular company.” Instead, Autodesk provides a range of solutions with flexibility for teams to choose which ones work best for them. 

“We're building an environment that allows open integration, that allows you to use what you feel is the best of products. And it gives customers choice in their business.” 

Watch the Webinar Today 

Want to get all the insights in an easy-to-watch package? Head over to our webinar and watch it now

Grace Choi

Product Marketing Manager, Bid Management, Autodesk Construction Solutions