When you’re running a construction company, you have a lot of things you have to handle every day. You have to make sure all your current projects are on schedule and that they have the materials and equipment they need. You also have to handle new RFPs, multiple bidding processes, finances, and pages of documentation.

Having good construction estimating software is critical for running a successful, productive business. Read on to learn more about what you should look for in these programs and what functionality they can offer your business.

1. Communication Tools

One of the biggest features you need to look for in your construction estimating software is communication tools. As you no doubt know, keeping your team all on the same page can be a challenge sometimes. You need everyone to be up to date on all your projects without having a thousand different text or email threads going on with everyone. 

Good software for construction estimates will make it easy for your team to stay in touch no matter where you are. You can message different team members directly or work on chats dedicated to certain groups or projects. All these messages will be stored in one place, making it easy to go back and check on what someone said when questions arise later.

2. Job Costing

Of course, job costing is another huge part of construction software. In order to provide accurate estimates and keep your company in the black, you need to know how much you’ll have to spend on each project. This can get extraordinarily complicated, especially for larger or more customized projects.

With good construction estimating software, you can make job costing much simpler and more accurate. You’ll be able to set standard rates for materials, services, and even different employee work costs. This will make it simple for you to put together estimates that give you a competitive price and a healthy profit margin.

3. Bid Management

Managing bids is another huge part of your financial life as a construction company. Not only will you need to be able to generate accurate bids, but you’ll also have to keep up with which projects you’ve bid on. You’ll need to know how much you bid for the project, whether you got the project, and when you should expect to hear back about each bid.

Your construction estimating software will need to make your bid management process a cinch.

It can help you manage all your RFPs and submittals. It can remind you when upcoming RFPs are due and when you should hear if you’ve been awarded a job. It can even help you track bids for subcontractors so you can keep your prices competitive and avoid losing out on potential savings.

4. Customer Management

After you’ve been awarded jobs, you’ll need to keep up with all the different customers you’re working with. Not only will you need to track their projects (more on that in a moment), but you’ll also need to keep up with a lot of other information. This can include all the projects you’ve worked with them on, whether you’ve collected payment from them, who their primary contact is, and so on.

Good construction estimating software will keep all your customer information available at your fingertips. You can make notes about different customers, including what upcoming projects they may be looking for bids on. You can jot down who their contact person is, any specific preferences they have, and when the last time you talked to them was.

5. Project Management

Of course, project management is another of the biggest roles your construction estimating software will need to play. Each project has a lot of moving pieces, and you need to be able to keep your team and your clients up to date on all of them. You need to track progress, estimated milestones, and subcontractor schedules.

With construction estimating software, you can quickly and easily check in on all your projects. Many programs will allow you to see everything happening on your projects that week or to look at each project individually. Your team can provide real-time updates as milestones get completed, and you can even make project notes.

6. Job Scheduling

Scheduling out all your jobs correctly is critical to keeping your company running smoothly.

You need to make sure all the right subcontractors are at the right place at the right time. You also need to be able to give your clients reasonable timelines for their projects. This is challenging enough with one project, let alone the multiple that you’re working on.

You want to be sure to choose construction estimating software that has strong job scheduling capabilities. Your project managers should be able to assign tasks to different subcontractors and set up overall project plans. You can easily see if you’re on schedule, when different subcontractors need to be brought in, and how your projects are progressing.

7. Reporting

While being able to see all the information about your projects is a great first step, it shouldn’t be your last step. If you want your business to stay competitive, you need to be working constantly to improve. This means generating and analyzing reports and looking for areas that could use more work.

A good construction estimating program can make generating these reports a snap. You can run reports with various data points ranging from how accurate your time estimates are to how much material you’re losing. Once you have that information in hand, you can start analyzing ways to improve your company.

8. Document Management

Document management is another factor that likely plays a large role in your day-to-day operations. You may have reams of paperwork. This can include financial statements, RFPs, contracts, subcontractor agreements, and so on.

All of these are important, but they don’t do you any good if you can’t find them when you need them.

Your construction estimating software should have a solid document management system. Many allow you to sort these into folders and subfolders, just as you would with a normal computer file system. You can also control who has access to these documents so you don’t create data silos or compromise sensitive information.

9. Inventory Management

Without a good inventory management system, your company could be losing thousands of dollars in material fees alone. For one thing, you could end up double-ordering materials you already have. But you also have to keep track of any custom orders you have, including finish materials for all your projects.

You need to make sure your construction estimating software has a solid inventory management system. You should be able to check supply lists for a project against your inventory to determine what you need to order for the job. You also need to be able to mark materials as committed so you don’t accidentally wind up sending the materials for one job to another site and wind up short.

10. Equipment Management

Like your materials, keeping track of your equipment is an incredibly important part of running a successful business. You need to know what tools you already have and which pieces of equipment need maintenance when. It’s also a good idea to keep up with which tools you need on a regular basis so you can determine if it’s worth the investment to buy them.

A good construction estimating program can help you keep up with which equipment is available on which days. You can also track when routine maintenance needs to happen and even set reminders for your team. Plus, having data for how often each piece gets used can tell you a lot about where your company needs to be allocating your equipment budget.

Find the Right Construction Estimating Software

Running a construction company means keeping a lot of plates spinning, and you shouldn’t have to do that on your own. The right construction estimating software can make running your company on a day-to-day basis easier and more efficient. From managing projects and documents to handling proposals and billing, these programs can save you time, money, and a lot of headaches. Have you ever wondered how much time you can save by improving your estimating system? Try this ROI Calculator, and find out!

If you’d like to find the right construction estimating software for your company, check out the rest of our site at Bolster. We can help you turn your boring, static construction estimates into a beautiful, e-commerce buying experience for your customers. Book a demo with us today and start providing a frictionless e-commerce experience in construction.

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