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Why a Construction Estimating Worksheet Creates Costly Problems

Construction estimators play an irreplaceable role in their teams, their firms, and the construction industry. So, why are they working with outdated tools like estimating worksheets?

The industry has seen many pitfalls in the last decade or so, especially when it comes to project management and budgeting. But commercial construction firms have an opportunity to rise above their competitors by investing in the right planning tools and preparing for the future.

That means avoiding and preventing common issues, many of which start in the pre-construction and bidding process.

Issue #1—Making Assumptions When It Comes to Cost Estimation

There are a few types of errors that arise when working with a construction estimating worksheet. One common mistake is making assumptions about cost, especially when it comes to materials.

The current economic climate is intense: there’s a high demand for construction and unpredictable politics are at play. Engineering News-Record reports that “commercial building starts increased 3% year-to-date, due to a rise in office, warehouse and parking lot construction.” But current trade policies have made cost estimation difficult for many of today’s construction firms. “The volatility around current trade policy has created headaches for cost estimators who are being forced into worst-case assumptions without any way to accurately predict future tariffs,” says Henry D’Esposito, senior real estate research analyst.

Construction estimators need access to the most current material and labor costs in order to scope out projects and make accurate bids. Without the latest numbers, your construction estimate could wind up being a risky guess that you’ll regret (and pay for) later.

Issue #2—Rushing through the Pre-construction Process

Bidding on a project comes with a few hurdles, sometimes in the form of human error. An expert at Building Advisor shares, “One contractor I know forgot to add sales tax to his entire materials estimate for a new house—ouch!”

An estimating spreadsheet might include everything needed to bid on a project, but manual methods (like planning out a bid in Excel) leaves cost estimators open to omissions and errors. If those aren’t corrected, that can cause messy mistakes. Experts suggest investing as much time as you can on a project up front, during your pre-construction process.

“Plan, plan, plan, and make as many decisions as possible before starting construction,” the Building Advisor expert recommends. “It’s much easier and cheaper to move a line on a drawing than to move a real wall or window.”

Issue #3—Unrealistic Expectations about Profitability

“Profitability at the time of completion can vary significantly from expectations at the time of the bid,” writes the team at MEC Contractors and Engineers. In other words, not all your projects will go according to plan.

But this is where cost estimators play the most significant role in supporting their company and its future. When placing a project bid, the estimator is ultimately predicting how successful that project is going to be.

Without the right resources and tools to support accurate construction estimates, however, the results can be devastating. According to MEC, “you are not only losing money on jobs, you are putting your business at risk”—at risk of going over budget, losing the client, or hurting your firm’s bottom line.

Luckily, today’s demand for construction projects has also made way for solutions to these inefficiencies in the industry.

Solutions for Accurate Cost Estimation (and Smoother Projects)

ProEst helps pre-construction leaders address all these issues by ensuring that project bids are more accurate and providing technology and tools that support the pre-construction process—no more manual methods like Excel or other estimating worksheets.

ProEst effectively serves commercial construction firms as a whole by ensuring that their projects run more smoothly. This cloud-based tool comes with multiple features and benefits:

Data Integration: ProEst keeps all your information in one platform and integrates with existing accounting and project management software.

Digital Takeoffs: Stop guessing on projects and go digital. ProEst helps estimators account for all materials and costs on a project with electronic plans.

Workflow Processes: Improve communication and productivity across all your teams with automated job setup features.

Budget-Friendly Software: ProEst comes with a low annual subscription for unlimited users, and you only pay for the jobs you’re awarded.

Ease-of-Implementation: ProEst has staff dedicated to making your business a success and will work with you to set up ProEst so you can start bidding on projects sooner.

According to Building Advisor, cost overruns can happen on any construction project and are “probably the most common cause of disputes in building and remodeling projects.”

But by putting more time and thought into your pre-construction process, you can stay ahead of the industry. Help your firm guarantee more accurate bids, successful takeoffs, and happier clients all around when you use the latest technology. ProEst could be a part of your firm’s future success: schedule a demo with us here.

ProEst helps commercial construction companies maximize profits by helping them streamline cost estimation, takeoffs, and more. We believe commercial construction companies grow at scale through visibility of data, cohesion among teams, and accurate estimating. To see how ProEst can streamline your commercial construction processes, contact one of our experts today!

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