If you’re like a lot of busy contractors in the walls and ceilings industry, every day can be bid day if you’re working up multiple bids at the same time. 

But if your construction business is still relying on manual entry for takeoff and estimating, you could be turning in less than polished, professional bids—especially if you’re juggling last-minute information. The amount of paper, post-it notes, and emails passed back and forth on any construction project can be overwhelming. 

For many contractors, adapting to changes in materials, height, sizes, and quantities manually could mean unintended errors on their final estimate. With 90 percent of spreadsheets reportedly containing errors, this can be potentially costly if you’re using spreadsheets to finalize your estimate. 

Five Questions to Answer 

Before you hit send on your next Excel masterpiece, maybe it’s time to reconsider the impact of manual workflows. If your construction business is thinking about adding new tools in 2020, it might be a good time to weigh the pros and cons of adopting or upgrading to integrated estimating tools. 

For starters, go ahead and evaluate your situation by answering five simple questions. See how many “yes” answers apply to your construction business: 

  1. Are your existing takeoff and estimating tools limiting your ability to bid available jobs in today’s hot construction market? 
  2. Do you still rely on paper documents and have trouble keeping track of them? 
  3. Is estimating accuracy important to your company’s bottom line? 
  4. Are you always confident in your bid accuracy and anticipated profit margins? 
  5. Would a historical record of takeoffs and estimates be valuable for working on new/future project bids? 

If you answered “yes” to three or more questions, 2020 could be a good time to consider new digital takeoff and estimating tools. 

Knowing When to Upgrade Your Tech Tools 

Adding streamlined takeoff and estimating tools can add speed and efficiency—along with organization—to a chaotic bidding process. Even knowing that to be true, many contractors resist making changes because they are comfortable with their current estimating tools or workflow. 

If you are already using a bidding solution, how do you know if it’s time to upgrade to integrated takeoff and estimating tools? Here are three signs to look for: 

  1. Your current tools are really slow. 
  2. Your current tools don’t perform takeoffs and estimates as advertised. 
  3. Your tools aren’t scalable so you still keep supplier prices in separate spreadsheets and have to cut-and-paste quantities. 

Choosing Integrated Tools for Better Collaboration 

When your construction business adds integrated estimating tools, you will see considerable savings in speed and accuracy. Not only will it help you safeguard against misplaced files or missed emails, but it will make life much easier when it comes to collaboration. 

For example, using integrated tools, an estimator can open a project and see what another estimator is working on or visually show or explain their takeoff with co-workers or even clients. By comparison, siloed estimating workflows not only inhibit collaboration, but it could make the difference in whether a project comes in over-budget and behind schedule. 

Inevitably, you would like everyone involved in a construction project to have access to the most accurate, up-to-date information. With integrated takeoff and estimating tools, you can ensure everyone involved in a project—from owners to engineers—are on the same page. 

Ready to learn more about how integrated tools can help your construction business? Don’t miss On Center’s Contractor’s Suite White Paper.