Takeoff software makes the process of estimating materials easier, more professional, and more efficient. What used to take hours or days now takes just minutes with our new program. Choosing the best software to calculate your project depends on your budget, the features needed, and the scope of the jobs you bid.
With the great variety of programs out there, all that is needed to operate takeoff software is a computer with a fast processing capability and adequate RAM. The result is a presentation that features the most accurate estimates possible. And that reflects positively on your company.
Nearly any type of takeoff process can be interfaced with software to perform important parts of the cost estimating for construction supplies and even labor. They are:
- Manual takeoffs utilize measurements from hardcopy blueprints and field sketches. Those measurements can then be entered into the computer program.
- Digitizers, instruments that take measurements from paper plans, provide information that can be automated into a computer program.
- A variety of software programs allow information to be downloaded from a wide variety of files including any CAD file (DXF, DWF, DWG), a Plan File, PDF, JPG, TIF, or a simple scan.
Speed and Accuracy
Software takes calculations and measurements of various components and then adjusts them automatically. This offers a scalability and flexibility that has revolutionized the estimating field. It increases both accuracy and speed. It allows builders and contractors to plan ahead, establish budgets and create fast bids with confidence.
It also has the advantage of breaking down project parts into sub-tasks or sub-bills, therefore providing greater accuracy and detail at unprecedented speed.
Programs decrease the chance of delays due to quantitative errors and omissions. It can also create a material delivery timeline that is smooth and efficient. The savings in time and money is obvious.
Easier to Update
Alterations in size, dimension, cost and quantity can be made instantly based on new information, updated pricing and change orders. With many takeoff software programs, all it takes is pointing, dragging and clicking to alter numbers in an itemized bill of materials (BOM).
Most programs allow easy data storage, sharing, and delivery of information. All relevant files can be electronically stored and shared with others. The data can be put on a thumb drive and taken home or to a client's office. Files can also be notated to facilitate communication.
Takeoff Software Costs
Depending on the degree of complexity and required specialization, takeoff software can vary in cost. That is not to say the less expensive versions aren't accurate in their calculations.
More Affordable Options
A recent Construction Financial Management Association survey shows that larger construction-related companies tend to rely more on sophisticated takeoff software than smaller operations. However, the cost of high-end programs may be prohibitive for smaller firms with leaner budgets.
The good news is that the playing field is becoming more level as new software is developed at ever more competitive prices. Not everyone needs the same tools. The new Desktop Estimator, for example, is one such affordable program that is based on Microsoft Excel. It creates itemized bills of material lists for all construction trades such as concrete, masonry, drywall, lumber, roofing and millwork.
If you can navigate a web site, or use Excel, you can learn to use the newest digital industry tools. Some of the new cost-saving options can be used alone or with any other takeoff program such as Planswift and On-Screen Takeoff.
The most advanced generation of software allows businesses of all sizes to be both competitive and professional when it comes to bidding. A bid is produced more quickly and accurately than it would be using legacy materials like paper, rulers, calculators and highlighters. It appears polished and is understood to be more accurate and less risky. It enhances confidence in your efforts.
A Worthwhile Investment
While software is an investment in dollars, it is also an investment in your employees' productivity and your resources. However, it is not necessary to buy more than your particular company realistically needs. You need to do the research and comparison. In the end, it is the final numbers generated by the program that count.