Which Construction Estimating or Takeoff Software Program Is Used the Most?
So many smaller construction contractor trades in the world of construction calculate work differently than the general contractor. General Contractors come in many different flavors, particularly: Construction Managers (like brokers) that just take prices for turnkey bid packages to formulate a total bid on a project. Or a little more traditional and most shared general contractor that also takes turnkey bid packages in some disciplines, but also takes quotes from trades in many situations, Labor only. Whereby, this kind of general contractor will truly calculate the takeoff quantity of some materials he would supply for the project and consequently make them a little more competitive. Then there is the self-performing general contractor. The self-performer often performs takeoff and estimates all labor and all material for the disciplines that they are going to perform the work. So as you can see, with these four flavors of contractors, the questions is: Do they need estimating software?
The Construction Manager: The construction manager just needs a spreadsheet to total up many quotes from suppliers and contractors that will perform the actual work. Nothing complicated at all and probably a computer spreadsheet program would work just fine for the construction estimating or takeoff software function.
The General Contractor that receives turnkey quotes like the Construction Manager BUT also takes Labor only quotes and estimates materials for the labor only quotes: This kind of General Contractor is very shared. An automated construction estimating or takeoff software program would be advantageous particularly in the detailed estimating area for the many material parts.
The General Contractor that self performs: This kind of General Contractor is unfortunately dwindling in number these days. Everything has become so specialized that there is almost a trade for every kind of work. But this kind of general contractor has the labor forces to perform much of the work, usually concrete, masonry, and rough carpentry; and they subcontract the rest of the disciplines. So they would need all the sophistication of a construction estimating or takeoff software program for sure.
The Trades of Sub-Contractors: The majority of trades / sub-contractors are made up of small companies. Their sphere of work is usually very tight in scope. They regularly perform the same kind of work that spans all jobs. Think of a drywall, paint or curb & gutter sub. Since the scope of work is often the same, small, and manageable, subcontractors often have a way to look at their performance in terms of making money or losing money on the job. Then they adjust their system prices for the future jobs or bids. for example, a drywall contractor may have a selling retail price of $32/ foot for a 9′ Drywall partition for class “A” office space. If the contractor loses money but is competitive in price, he may be forced to raise his price to make money. He would have to raise his price high enough to stay competitive but nevertheless make money. Since the smaller contractor often uses retail system prices like the drywall sub, probably a computer spreadsheet program would work just fine here too for the construction estimating or takeoff software function.
REALITY: already though four types of contractors are mentioned above, the reality is that the MAJORITY of estimators are very comfortable with a computer spreadsheet program whereby they are able to customize the spreadsheet to their own processes. additionally, many estimators like to measure or performing takeoff first, and later calculate the construction costs of a final calculate or proposal. That really has become a predominant course of action choice of contractors in all trades over the years. Integration of takeoff software with an estimating software program is a very nice characterize to have BUT, the majority of estimators like performing takeoff first, then calculate the construction cost or proposal later.
Here is the reality of our construction estimating software industry. Approximately 80% of estimators in all disciplines in the world of construction use a simple computerized spreadsheet program to calculate or takeoff construction projects. The dominant reason is so that estimators can customize a computerized spreadsheet program for takeoff of materials or already construction labor & equipment cost items. The computer spreadsheet program usually comes with the new computer estimators buy. Construction estimating or takeoff software programs are great, however, the ramp up time to learn the estimating programs usually are quite substantial, and that time is something contractors of the world are not willing to commit to.