Are you struggling to drive revenue with your construction business? According to survey results, almost 1 in 3 contractors make less profit than expected based on their estimates. What's more 20% of respondents said that creating estimates was one of the hardest financial processes. Yet, more than half of contractors (54%) said they are still doing estimates by hand. If you are part of this 54%, it's time to switch to contractor estimating software. Contractor estimating software can be a gamechanger for increasing accuracy, creating solid profit margins, and winning back vast amounts of time. However, to make the most of contractor estimating software, you need to know what features to look for. It's important to get clear on what features you want before you invest time and money into a solution. If you're ready to make the most of contractor estimating software, keep reading.

Choose a Cloud-Based Solution

One of the first things to look for in contractor estimating software is cloud-based service. If you choose cloud-based contractor estimating software, you will be able to access the software from any device. This means that if you're out on a job, you can jump on your phone and add a new lead or prospect. When you're back at the office, you can create an estimate for the lead. Any sales personnel you have will also be able to access your contractor estimating software. All they have to do is log in. With Bolster, we make estimate creation super simple. You can even generate an estimate from a mobile device while sitting in your car or waiting at a job site. Being able to utilize your contractor estimating software from anywhere means you can get admin done on the fly. You can also get estimates to clients quicker and capture important info in real-time. Instead of jumping between dog-eared notebooks, your email, and something like MS Excel, you can do everything in one place. 

Be Aware of the Limitations of Free Estimating Software for Contractors

Have you yet to start using estimating software for small contractors? If so, it can be tempting to try out a free option instead of investing in contractor estimate pro software. However, this can often cost you a lot of time. Free estimating software for contractors usually comes with certain limitations and a general lack of features. When you switch over to using contractor estimating software, you will need to invest some time into the setup process. If you do this, it will save you time down the line and allow you to create estimates in minutes instead of hours. For instance, with Bolster you will initially need to set up your product selections. You can also create assemblies. These contain the standard elements that certain projects need. Such as tiles, counter materials, and cabinetry for a kitchen reno. If you take time to set up your account, you will be able to create accurate estimates in a fraction of the time it usually takes you. However, if you opt for free estimating software for contractors, you might end up investing time into the setup process, only to find that the software doesn't have enough features to adequality meet your needs. Therefore it's usually best to opt for contractor estimate pro software from the start. 

Look For a Solution That Will Boost Your Estimate Acceptance Rate

Another key thing to vet for when choosing contractor estimating software is features that will boost your estimate acceptance rate. Here at Bolster, we believe that contractor estimating software shouldn't just save you time. It should also make your estimates stand out from the competition. During our years in the construction industry, we noticed a serious problem with estimates. They don't give clients much information or get them excited about their project. Most construction estimates are boring lists of line times with a static total at the bottom. This doesn't give clients a visual on finishes, doesn't allow clients to easily compare options, and creates a friction point in the buyer journey. To solve these issues we developed a revolutionary estimate experience for clients. When you create a Bolster estimate, it will auto-populate with images of the selected finishes and products, giving clients an instant visual on their project. What's more, our estimates are also interactive. If a client is unsure about a certain finish, they can click on the item and browse a list of upgrades and alternatives. If they choose a different selection, the estimate will automatically adjust to reflect the price change. This gives clients the power to tweak their estimates and selection choices in real-time. This saves time for you and them, as it eliminates the need to go back and forth and make estimate edits. Giving clients a visual of their project and the ability to swap finishes in and out (and see the price change) puts them in the driver's seat. It also removes friction and increases the chance of estimate acceptance. This Amazon-like buying experience will also set you apart from competitor estimates by a mile. 

Vet For an Easy Interface

If your contractor estimating software isn't easy to use, you might struggle to get team members to adopt it. Or, you might spend hours trying to figure out the software, and dread having to open it each time you want to create an estimate. Therefore, always vet for an easy user interface.

Look For Convenient Profit Margin Setting

Profit margins are the financial lifeblood of your business. However, according to reports, the average profit margins for most general contractors is 1.4-2.4%. This is not nearly enough to run and grow a thriving business. One way to ensure you are making an adequate profit is by marking up all line items in every estimate. This is a lot of work if done manually. With contractor estimating software like Bolster however, you can preset profit margins across your entire account and all your line items. You can also adjust these on individual estimates. Lastly, if you give a client a discount, Bolster will notify you if this eats into your minimum profit margin. 

Save Time With Bolster’s Pre-Built Assembly Feature

If you sign up for Bolster, one of the ways you can maximize our contractor estimating software is by utilizing the product assemblies feature. Like we said above, in Bolster you can group line items into pre-built assemblies for common projects. Such as kitchen renos, bathroom renos, new pantries, etc. That way, when it comes time to create an estimate for a new project, you can generate one in just a few clicks. All you have to do is select your chosen assemblies and input the dimensions. 

Are You in Need of Intuitive Contractor Estimating Software?

Contractor estimating software can save you hours of time, give you a competitive edge, and help you make more profit. However, you have to choose the right solution to enjoy these benefits.

Bolster is intuitive to use, designed by contractors for contractors. Its interactive, visual estimates are revolutionary and will set your service apart in the eyes of clients. Ready to ramp up your estimate acceptance rate? Win back time and streamline your estimates and client management process? Book a free demo today

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