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The Best Construction Management Estimating Software To Control Your Budget Better

By February 27, 2024March 6th, 2024No Comments
A construction professional using estimating software on a bright screen, illustrating efficient budget management in a modern workspace

Across the industry, inaccurate estimates lead to over 80% of construction projects exceeding their budgets. Not a good look for your business, even if it is the industry norm. Making more accurate estimates upfront could trigger a massive advantage for your construction business in the marketplace. 

Traditional estimations typically rely on manual calculations. It leads to errors and delays–an inefficiency that results in costly budget overruns.

Nobody wants to plan an entire project only to see it derailed by unforeseen expenses and delays. It’s why you need a better solution–to get your hands on the best construction management estimating software. 

Cutting-edge software suites offer a streamlined approach to estimating. You get accurate and reliable estimates every time. Plus, happy clients and a positively boosted reputation are nice side effects.

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What Is Construction Estimator Software?

Construction estimator software is a specialized tool that streamlines the process of estimating project costs and resources. These software solutions facilitate accurate calculations for materials, labor, and other expenses. It significantly aids in project planning, budgeting, and resource allocation. 

Construction estimator software enables you to create detailed estimates quickly and efficiently by automating manual tasks and providing comprehensive data analysis. It’s the most effective way to ensure project feasibility, optimize resource utilization, and control project budgets.

Quick View Comparison of Estimating Software Options:

Explore a quick comparison of estimating software options below to find the best fit for your construction project needs.

SoftwareKey FeatureBest ForPrice
Contractor ForemanEstimating Templates, Online Approvals, Custom Fields.Foreman, Project Managers, Estimators.Starting at $49/mo.
PlanSwiftPaperless Process, User-Friendly Interface.General Contractors, Skilled Trades Workers.$1,749/annually ($145.75/month).
PronamicsMatrices and Cost Codes, Worry-Free Formulas.Site and Civil Engineers, Consultants and Operations Managers.Custom Quotes.

Key Factors To Look For in Construction Estimating Software:

Whether you’re estimating for residential construction or bidding on that big commercial job downtown, knowing what to look for in your construction estimator software can make or break your overall success.

Cost:

When selecting construction estimating software, thoroughly review pricing models, comparing tiers and plans for the best fit within your budget. Pay attention to hidden costs like implementation fees or add-ons to ensure transparency in pricing.

Features:

Evaluate essential features such as 3D modeling and quantity takeoff, ensuring they meet project requirements. Explore customizable templates and libraries to streamline estimating processes and enhance accuracy.

Integration Capabilities:

Consider integration with other project management tools for seamless workflow. Assess compatibility with accounting software for efficient invoicing and financial management. Look for compatibility with BIM software to enhance collaboration and data exchange.

Scalability:

Assess the software’s scalability to accommodate project growth. Evaluate options like user licenses, storage capacity, and support for concurrent projects to meet evolving business needs. Consider scalability for multi-location support and enterprise-level deployment.

User-Friendliness:

Ease of use is crucial. Test the interface through demo versions and evaluate training and support resources to ensure smooth user onboarding and proficiency.

Customer Support:

Responsive customer support is essential. Assess available support options, response time, and expertise of representatives to address technical issues and inquiries promptly. Consider user communities and knowledge bases for self-service support and peer-to-peer assistance.

Customization Options:

Analyze the software’s flexibility to adapt to specific project needs. Explore customization options like user-defined fields and templates to align with unique business processes. Consider the ability to integrate custom plugins or extensions for extended functionality and specialized requirements.

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The 3 Best Construction Management Estimating Software:

The best construction management estimating software suites include comprehensive features and user-friendly interfaces–all at affordable prices.

1. Contractor Foreman

Contractor Foreman

Contractor Foreman is a powerful end-to-end software suite with streamlined estimating capabilities. From fast, electronic approval and signatures to detailed cost item databases, it empowers you to generate accurate estimates efficiently. 

The entire software suite works in unison to provide an unparalleled construction management experience. Streamlined estimates lay the foundation for effective bid management. Winning bids transition smoothly into project execution, where scheduled crews and managed work orders ensure timely completion. 

You build one cohesive workflow–from estimate to execution–making Contractor Foreman the best comprehensive solution for construction professionals.

“Everything is in one place, and the entire team can see the same data at the same time. No more paper estimates, schedules, change orders, time tracking, etc. It is all online.”

–Vicky V. (Sycon, LLC)

Standout Features:

  • Estimate Templates: Speed up estimating 10-fold, with fewer errors. Utilize pre-made templates to avoid recreating estimates from scratch.
  • Custom Fields: Keep your company’s heartbeat strong with customizable estimating fields, allowing for tailored tracking and analysis.
  • Online Change Orders: Streamline approval processes and eliminate delays by submitting change orders online, complete with client approval, digital signatures, and timestamp tracking.
  • Profit Control: Maintain control over your profits by separately marking up materials and labor. Gain insight into project profitability in real-time and use bulk markup tools to adjust item pricing efficiently.

Pricing:

Contractor Foreman offers flexible pricing plans to accommodate your business, with options for monthly or annual subscriptions. The software’s value lies in its lineup of comprehensive features that come to you at an affordable price point. It’s a cost-effective solution for construction companies of any size seeking efficient estimating software.

  • Basic: $49/month
  • Standard: $79/month
  • Plus: $125/month
  • Pro: $166/month
  • Unlimited: $249/month

Pros:

  • Mobile app allows users to access project data and perform estimating tasks on the go, enhancing productivity and flexibility.
  • The software utilizes cloud technology for secure storage and easy access to project files from any device with internet connectivity.
  • Contractor Foreman offers responsive customer support services, including live chat, email support, and an extensive knowledge base.
  • The intuitive interface and user-friendly design of Contractor Foreman ensure seamless adoption and a minimal learning curve for users.

Cons:

  • While designed for ease of use, some users may still experience a learning curve when navigating the software’s advanced features and functionalities.
  • With such a comprehensive suite of tools, some users may find certain advanced features or integrations lacking compared to more specialized software solutions.

Best For:

Contractor Foreman caters best to contractors, foremen, estimators, and project managers by offering a powerful software suite of tools–from estimating and project management to advanced communication and scheduling capabilities. 

Contractors benefit from overseeing multiple projects seamlessly, while estimators enjoy advanced features for accurate material takeoff and bid management. 

Project managers find real-time project visibility and streamlined communication channels vital for effective decision-making.

2. PlanSwift:

 

 

PlanSwift offers customizable solutions tailored to your trade. You can create assemblies of commonly used materials and labor, then apply them to takeoff items for accurate cost estimates. 

Its click, drop, and estimate functionality can speed up takeoff–and precise calculations allow the software to manage projects of any size relatively effectively. You can also adjust cost projections and work toward growing your business. It’s a generally reliable tool with a strong foundation for continuous improvement.

Standout Features:

  • Paperless Process: PlanSwift’s digital estimating software eliminates the need for paper, making the estimating process cheaper, faster, easier, and environmentally friendly.
  • Accelerated Estimating: Finish bids in half the time with PlanSwift’s digital estimating software, reducing hours or even days of manual work to a quick and easy process.
  • Precision and Accuracy: Eliminate guesswork with exact measurements at the click of a button, achieving unmatched accuracy in estimating.
  • User-Friendly Interface: An intuitive interface makes learning the software relatively straightforward and simple, minimizing time spent on a learning curve.

Pricing:

PlanSwift Professional is priced at US$1749 annually, offering comprehensive value with inclusive support, software updates, and 2 hours of training. However, there is only one plan option to choose from, and there is no option to pay in monthly installments. You must pay for the full year in advance. 

  • PlanSwift Professional: $1,749/annually ($145.75/month) 

Pros:

  • Streamlines the estimating process, allowing users to complete takeoffs and estimates quickly with its click, drop, and estimate functionality.
  • Users can create assemblies of commonly used materials and labor, improving accuracy and saving time on repetitive tasks.
  • Reliable customer support, including software updates and training, ensures users have the resources to succeed.

Cons:

  • Some users may experience a learning curve when mastering the software’s features and functionality.
  • The annual subscription fee for PlanSwift Professional may be prohibitive for smaller businesses or independent contractors with limited budgets.

Best For:

PlanSwift is best suited for general contractors and various skilled trades personnel who need to streamline their estimating process. Whether you’re a contractor overseeing multiple projects or a tradesperson needing precise material takeoffs, PlanSwift offers customizable solutions to meet your needs.

RELATED: Top Expense Management Software for Construction

3. Pronamics

Pronamics offers specialized estimating, budgeting, and cost management software tailored for construction projects. Its flagship product, Expert Estimation, delivers fast, accurate, and detailed estimates, catering to the needs of business owners, managers, and estimators.

Standout Features:

  • Customizable Templates: Tailor estimates and reports to specific project needs with customizable templates, enhancing flexibility and usability.
  • Matrices and Cost Codes: Gain granular control over project costs with matrices, cost codes, and work breakdown structures, facilitating detailed cost analysis and reporting.
  • Worry-Free Formulas: Ensure accuracy and reliability in cost calculations with Pronamics’ worry-free formulas, minimizing errors and overspending.
  • Take Offs: Streamline material takeoffs with built-in tools, improving accuracy and efficiency in estimating processes.

Pricing:

Pronamics offers three license levels: Excelerate, Express, and Genesis, available through a monthly subscription or outright purchase. Custom pricing is available, requiring consultation or a scheduled demo to determine the best fit for your needs.

Pros:

  • Extensive reporting features provide users with comprehensive project insights and analysis.
  • Visualize project data and progress effectively with Pronamics’ project visualization tools, facilitating better decision-making.
  • Customize templates, formulas, and workflows to align with specific project requirements, enhancing usability and efficiency.

Cons:

  • Users may encounter challenges with software compatibility, particularly when integrating with other systems or software tools.
  • Software may lack comprehensive training resources, potentially impacting user onboarding and proficiency.

Best For:

Pronamics’ Expert Estimation software is particularly well-suited for site engineers and civil engineers seeking detailed cost estimation and project scheduling tools. Operations managers benefit from its powerful reporting capabilities and project visualization tools, while consultants appreciate its customizable templates and flexibility in meeting diverse project requirements.

Construction Estimator Software in Action:

A local construction firm recently embarked on a project to transform an old warehouse into a vibrant coworking space. With deadlines looming and a tight budget to navigate, they opted to scrap their paper and calculators for construction estimator software. It was a move that paid dividends–big time.

With the software at their fingertips, they created detailed estimates for materials, labor, and subcontractor costs. For instance, they estimated the cost of renovating the flooring by inputting the square footage, material type, and labor rates. With the software’s advanced features, they could easily adjust quantities and prices as the market fluctuated, ensuring accuracy and flexibility in their estimates.

As the project progressed, the firm relied on the software’s project management tools to stay organized and efficient. They used the software to schedule deliveries, track expenses, and manage subcontractors. For example, they scheduled the flooring installation to coincide with the delivery of materials, optimizing workflow and minimizing downtime.

Thanks to the software’s integration capabilities, the firm could easily share project updates with stakeholders and collaborate with team members in real time. When unexpected changes came to fruition, the firm quickly adjusted its estimates and updated its budget accordingly.

As the project neared completion, they reflected on how construction estimator software had transformed their workflow. What was once a daunting task of manually calculating estimates and managing budgets had become a streamlined and efficient process. 

With the help of the software, they successfully delivered a high-quality coworking space on time and within budget, solidifying their reputation as a reliable and efficient construction firm.

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Future Trends in Construction Estimation Software:

Future trends in construction estimation software are heavily influenced by emerging technologies like AI, machine learning, and automation. These innovations can potentially revolutionize estimating processes, making them faster, more accurate, and more efficient. 

The power of data analytics and predictive algorithms will give construction firms the ability to anticipate project costs and timelines with unprecedented accuracy. With so much evolving, you must begin immersing yourself and your construction business in the software now. You don’t want to fall too far behind as technology keeps advancing. 

Create More Accurate Estimates With Contractor Foreman:

Selecting the best construction management estimating software is paramount for project success. Contractor Foreman is a top recommendation with its powerful features, affordability, and positive user feedback. 

Making informed decisions based on your unique project requirements is crucial, so doing your homework is still wise. Choosing the right software allows you to streamline processes, enhance efficiency, and achieve greater project success. Contractor Foreman can help.

Join the Thousands of Construction Businesses Making Accurate Estimations and Winning Bids With Contractor Foreman–Start Your Free Trial Today!

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