For most builders, time is of the essence. With multiple projects on the go, each with their own moving parts, finding ways to speed up processes can have a big impact on efficiency and overall profitability.
Previously, one of the most time-consuming tasks has been estimating the cost of building projects. However, with the increasing availability of digital tools, it no longer needs to be the laborious task it once was. With the right building estimating software in place, you can produce estimates up to five times faster than doing it manually, freeing up time for other high-value tasks.
Here we look at the top three ways that building estimating software can help you estimate faster and more accurately.
- Taking time off takeoffs
To estimate a project accurately, you’ll need to develop a comprehensive list of all the materials you’re going to use and the associated costs. Also known as a ‘takeoff’, this process is vital, and if you get it wrong, you could run the risk of either underquoting and losing money or quoting too high and pricing yourself out.
Before estimation software, takeoffs were produced manually, requiring significant time, skill and experience to quote accurately. Material lists and quantities were worked out from paper plans, with measurements taken with a scale ruler. You’d then need to speak to various suppliers to work out the material costs for each item. This all made the process painfully slow, and potentially inaccurate, but the introduction of software has changed the game forever.
Now, it’s possible to upload your plans to software and easily take measurements using digital tools. It then uses this information to automatically create a list of the exact materials required. Once you’re happy, the software then assigns costs to each item from its cost database, or it can connect directly with your preferred supplier for a live price list.
- Streamline repeatable jobs
One of the best ways to save time on cost estimations is to use templates from previous jobs. If you’re working digitally, you can access an entire back catalogue of job history. It means that when it comes to repeat business or a job that’s similar in size or scale, reusable templates save you the trouble of creating a new one each time.
Information can still be easily changed or tailored to your particular project, but it means there’s no need to repeat all the work. A checklist-style approach also ensures that no item gets missed, making your estimates as accurate as possible.
- Collaborating with suppliers
One of the most time-consuming tasks for a builder is the back and forth with suppliers when pricing up a job, especially if plans are amended, items are missed, or prices change.
However, when you have up-to-date supplier price catalogues automatically integrated into your building estimating software, you can drastically cut the time needed, and send a quote to your customer within hours, rather days or weeks. Those days of multiple phone calls, internet searches and waiting for prices and quotes are long gone!
It’s even possible to use ‘supplier recipes’, where SKUs (or items) are grouped together to create a packaged component, making ordering faster, and reducing the chances of you forgetting something. For example, a door recipe could include door jambs, hinges and lockset, all available in one click.
These automated functions are a lifesaver for builders on the go. Using estimating software like Buildxact can help you streamline your entire estimating process, from doing takeoffs to creating estimates and sending out professional quotes. Not only will tools like Buildxact increase accuracy, but they’ll also save you time. Time that you can either spend on other jobs or with the family.