Switching to an Estimating System | 5 Things You Should Know

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. 

At Oman Systems, we only ask for labor and equipment to get you started with ProEstimate.NET

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. 

Construction Industry Information Sources

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How Technology Impacts the Construction Industry

Construction Technology

The age of technology has managed to seep into nearly every part of our lives.

The construction industry, despite being one of the oldest professions in the world (fun fact: the profession of “builder” dates back 10,000 – 15,000 years ago), has been heavily influenced by the technological boom. 

While some may prefer to stick to the old-school way of doing things, technology has allowed the industry to grow in scope exponentially over the past decade.

Here are some ways technology is changing the construction industry:

Improved Safety Technology

Numerous innovations have improved on-site safety.

FMP Mobile Safety Form

For heavy highway construction, documentation technology provides a paperless system for workers to enter safety chat surveys and record all necessary on-site precautions. 

This is especially important during this pandemic as many states are requiring COVID-19 questionnaires to be filled out and person-to-person contact to be minimized.

On the vertical side, sensors allow companies to track water, fire, and mold risks inside buildings. These sensors give real-time alerts, such as rising temperatures, which could indicate a fire hazard. They also provide foreman, superintendents, and office management with an overall analysis of a site’s risk level. 

Vertical workers also have access to technology that notifies management if they fall on the job and where their exact location is. The Spot-r clips to workers’ vests and ensures they will receive immediate medical attention if a fall occurs. 

Learn more about FieldManagement Pro

Remote Operated Equipment 

Heavy equipment operated remotely has increased 42 percent in the past year. 

Remote Control Construction Equipment

This new technology allows operators to navigate through dangerous projects without the risk of rollovers or missing blind spots.

“Being able to stand outside of the machine allows visibility of every angle,” Britta Kopp with Bobcat Company tells Curt Bennink with ForConstructionPros.com. “There is also the opportunity for enhanced operator comfort and a more inclusive working environment. If equipment operators are unable to sit in the cab of a loader for a full 8- to 10-hour shift for any reason, they can work outside of the cab without losing productivity.”

These machines improve safety, make it easier to work longer hours, and increase labor productivity through their automated features. 

Faster and More Accurate Bidding

Long gone are the days of searching through worksheets to find historical pricing data. 

There is now technology available that allows you to not only quickly search for historical prices, but also run a market analysis on pricing trends and what your competition is bidding. 

Estimators can also now streamline their bidding process with estimating software. This technology increases bid accuracy by proving a standardized estimating method and highlighting any errors. 

Learn more about BidTabs.NET and ProEstimate.NET

Drones On-Site

The construction industry is the fastest-growing commercial adopter of drones and has seen on-site drone usage increase by 239 percent in the past year. 

So, how are drones being used in the field?

Their main use is for tracking productivity by providing an aerial view of the site’s progress. They also help with surveying and pre-construction planning.

Construction Drone

“With a 15-minute flight, a drone pilot can gather the same visual data that it might take a surveyor working for a construction company half a day to collect by walking on foot,” says Zacc Dukowitz with UAV Coach. “The construction drone’s data will be more thorough and more accurate because the drone can capture visual footage constantly while in flight. This footage can later be processed automatically using software created just for this purpose into several different kinds of maps of the entire site.”

As you can see, construction may be one of the oldest professions, but it is one that continues to grow and adapt with the help of technological advances. 

Let’s continue the age of innovation and keep the construction industry growing.