Benefits of a Cloud Based Estimating Tool

Best Practices
January 17, 2017

Hi Everyone, Software Advice, the top construction cost estimator app reviews site has just released their annual report, Construction Industry Trends. In this breakdown, Software Advice lays out major findings related to contractor needs, benefits, and former ways. Below, I will lay out some of Software Advice’s key findings, as well as some of Clear Estimates’ - all with the intention of helping you, the estimator understand the needs of your peers, as well as the benefits of an online, cloud-based estimating tool. According to Software Advice, the top construction industry trends of 2017 were:

  • Construction companies slow to adopt a software solution
  • Most companies looking to improve estimating and project management
  • Contractors want functionality that spreads from presale to execution

The majority of small and medium sized business’ (SMB) are still using manual methods to estimate. This refers to those using Excel spreadsheets, Word docs, pen and paper etc.

Prospective Buyers' Current Mehtods

(Software Advice)Most of the prospective buyers from Software Advice’s survey are small business’ with $5 million/year or less. It makes sense that the majority are still using manual methods, as cloud-based estimating is still new to many. Making change is scary, especially when it involves business. Unfortunately, though, many find that they simply cannot keep up with the demand when manually writing bids. An interviewed contractor in Montana noted that “It’s gotten to the point where [we’re] taking on too much work and it’s a little overwhelming. We have multiple projects that we need to track.” The burden of manually going about things not only hampers estimating, but it affects the ability to do takeoffs and track projects. The desire to adapt to a cloud-based estimating tool has only increased in the past years. Companies look to improve as their company:

  • Grows financially - coping with an increased number of jobs
  • Grows physically - as the company gets bigger, more people need to be hired - need to provide a new hire than with a streamlined process
  • Makes a mistake - all it takes is one botched job or lawsuit to regret your undisciplined approach.

These three pain points appear to be the most popular among those looking for a software solution. According to Software Advice, the top reason for evaluating construction software is to speed up processes, specifically that of estimating and takeoff.

Top Reasons for Evaluating Construction Software

(Software Advice)It’s no surprise that estimating functionality is at the top of the list. Both Software Advice as well as Clear Estimates’ research shows that contractors are looking for a software to reduce their bidding time, estimate accuracy as well as transparency with potential clients. At Clear Estimates, three of the most common pain points we hear from those who do not have a cloud-based estimating tool are:

  • Slow turnaround
  • Need for a professional looking proposal
  • Process is not streamlined, spending way too much time in the office compiling an estimate

This follows along with Software Advice’s findings that potential buyers are looking to improve estimating, streamlining the process. As bid requests increase, so do the hours it takes to compile an estimate. Streamlining this process with an online tool, like Clear Estimates will save you both time and money, while simultaneously legitimizing operations.  Underbidding can quite possibly be the direst consequence of all the pain points. If a job fails to meet the original bid, thousands can be lost and chaos can erupt. All it takes is an inaccurate judgment, or failure to keep up with rates. 15 percent of those surveyed recognize bid accuracy as the reason for an online tool. Overall, the top requested software capability is that of estimating. Nearly 60 percent of those surveyed said they would like a tool that calculates material and labor costs in order to execute accurate bids.

Top Four Construction Software Capabilities Requested

(Software Advice)The benefits of a cloud-based tool are enormous, but we know that change can be scary, and placing your estimate data with a cloud-based company can be scarier, but we can tell you this; cloud-based estimating is a far greater tool than forging manual bids.

It is important to understand construction industry trends before you buy, as they will help you find or realize a cloud-based tool is for you. Here at Clear Estimates we are dedicated to providing our clients with an estimating tool that fosters quick bidding, transparency, and accuracy. We price out material and labor to 400 locations across the United States. We offer over 60 preloaded templates, as well as the ability to automatically generate a professional looking proposal from your estimate.

Helpful Links:

Construction Industry TrendsSoftware Advice

Thanks for reading! Please do reach out if you have any questions.

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Alex Krull
Alex Krull