The decision making process when buying new estimating software can take longer than actually implementing the new platform with your team. So, how do you start this daunting task? Gather up your list of contenders and follow the steps below to get to know each of them a little better — and narrow down the list until only your best fit is left standing.
Use software review websites to compare features, integrations, and user ratings. G2.com, Inc. is a great place to start. Read the positive and negative reviews, as well as any replies from the company’s support team. Every platform runs into the occasional glitch and receives the occasional negative review — that’s unavoidable. What matters is how the company addresses these issues and treats their customers. Read through some of the reviews and pay attention to the pros and cons that are mentioned the most, as well as the overall tone of the reviews.
Case studies are always positive customer success stories, so don’t expect to use them to learn about a software’s flaws as you would with user reviews. They’re very useful, however, for understanding how the software could potentially help your company. Take some time to read a few for each platform. If you have many case studies from which to choose, pick out the ones spotlighting construction companies that most resemble your own in size, subfield, or geographic area, and see how those companies have used the software to their advantage.
Selecting new software is a process, and one that isn’t going to happen overnight or even within the next week. While you’re weighing your options and doing your research, follow the companies on social media, read their blogs, and subscribe to their newsletters. Instead of doing all of your research at once, you’ll get a better idea of the company’s culture and personality as a whole if you get to know them over the course of time. How do they engage with users on social media? Are their articles and newsletters helpful? You don’t just want top-notch software; you also want a company you’d like to do business with.
Take a look at each platform’s video library or YouTube channel. ProEst, for example, routinely releases episodes in our CEO Tech Talk series, which outlines standard and newly-released features. We also have numerous videos on integrations, including instructional videos on how to complete the integrations. Does it seem a little early to watch how-to videos? Not at all. Take a look at each software’s videos to see what the interface looks like and get a better idea of how they work (and how easily you’ll be able to set up your integrations or complete estimates).
There’s only so much research you can do — in order to truly tell if software is a good fit, you need to see it in action. Narrow down the field a bit, then schedule a demo so you can experience each platform in real time. Before the demo, write up a list of any questions you want to ask that aren’t being answered by your online research. It’s also helpful to hear someone from the company describe their software in their own words — and to hear how passionate they are about their product.
The research process can be difficult and confusing, but it’s important to find the estimating software that’s the best fit for your company. For more helpful tips, check out our free Executive Report, 5 Things To Consider Before Spending A Dime On Estimating Software.