4 Ways to Reach Estimation Nirvana for Your Commercial Construction Business


First, what is Nirvana anyway? It's the state of perfect happiness. For your commercial construction business, nirvana means that you'll be free of worries over cost overruns, lost bids, and profit-shrinking errors to start. Your estimation process will go even smoother than they might have already been, so that you can achieve your business’s potential.

1. Escape the spreadsheets

According to JB Knowledge's 2018 ConTech survey of almost 3,000 contracting businesses, about 56% of contractors are using some form of software for estimation, but "software" included spreadsheets. The ConTech survey found that 70% of estimating departments still depend either partially or completely on Excel or similar spreadsheets.

Spreadsheets keep information but they don't integrate smoothly with accounting, cross-functional teams, or management to start. Someone has to type the information into the spreadsheet, and programs like Excel can create an openness for mistakes while they're trying to be helpful with "auto-correct." Most inefficient of all? Spreadsheets duplicate time and effort.

Estimating software saves time, reduces errors, and helps you streamline your estimation and sales processes. When information is not centralized and a specific Excel sheet is on someone's desktop, it creates a delay when someone else needs access to that spreadsheet. There are outdated forms of technology present in the construction world that do not create an easy-to-use feel or process for the estimator and those should be avoided.

2. Get speedier, accurate estimation when you integrate data

During the estimation process, you've got many separate lists for different parts of the job that need to be accomplished. Then you need to add the hours it will take to complete each task. After that, you get to list all of the materials for each job segment. Add in the equipment you're going to need to purchase or rent and then calculate your margins correctly with your team of estimators. Even if you might tackle each step properly, you will be bound to run into missing pieces of information during your process. Centralized information is key to getting stuff done, period.

Commercial construction businesses recommend that you can solve these problems by using cost-estimation software that offers a detailed project scope and its related costs across all the applicable dimensions, from labor and materials to your margin, equipment, and financing. When information is synced and able to be readily accessed by the appropriate personnel, you have a process recipe for success.

3. Use digital takeoffs to save estimation time

As technology develops and evolves, commercial construction businesses are going to be able to take advantage of more prominent, digital technology. Utilizing smart technology, such as a pre-construction estimation software will let you perform digital takeoffs. These digital takeoffs will reduce your time wasted or delayed and it will also cut your storage space of your harddrive, providing a seamless, truly "green" solution. If you can save time, space, paper, and money, why not?

4. Get quick reports for better estimation

Utilizing a pre-construction estimating software will help store information in a way that pen and paper methods of the past can’t rival and it allows you to work with key information to improve your estimation process and other parts of your construction business. You’ll never have to search for a past estimates again, and you can compare data-driven reports across different jobs and job dimensions. A pre-construction estimating softwares reporting function gives you management and planning control over your business. You can re-use or update estimates from job to job, and building drawings in the database.

In order to reach estimation nirvana for your commercial construction business, there needs to be a process in place that's efficient and effective. This is where a pre-construction software such as ProEst comes into play. By being proactive, instead of reactive, ProEst believes that commercial construction companies profitability starts with fully understanding all costs associated with a project and how the estimation process is tackled. When you’re able to fix the root of the issue within your commercial construction business, your process just got a lot more efficient.

To learn more about how your company’s estimation process can reach its full potential, feel free to reach out today and schedule a 1-on-1 walkthrough with one of our specialists!