10 Steps on How to Finding the Best Civil Estimating Software for Your Needs
How to determine the best civil estimating software for your needs is easy.
Step 1: Determine what you need from the software. Do you need just a set of Excel templates, or a robust program able to handle more calculations?
Step 2: Think about where you will be in 1 year, and 5 years from now then determines what you need from the program again. You do not want to invest in software today that is not able to grow with you over the next couple of years.
Step 3: Determine why you want construction estimating software. Are you getting software because you understand it will save you time, or allow you to be more accurate. Alternatively, are you looking to purchase a program because it will allow you to save money on printing plans and driving to planrooms. Whatever the reason it is good to understand why you want the software, this way you can evaluate the program from an objective place.
“Since using Planswift, exporting my items to excel has been much easier than it was with other programs I have used in the past. Overall I truly enjoy using this software, and not only that it has been a tremendous help when it comes to saving time and money. Anytime I have encountered a problem, customer service has been there to answer all my questions. The tech and support guys have been great thus far, and I’m confident we will continue to see great customer service down the road. Thanks Planswift!”-Onshore Construction and Dev. / Ryan Kelly
Step 4: Calculate what investing in the program will cost you, and how quickly it will pay for itself. See what your time is worth to start, and then look at how many hours you will save in the first couple of months using the software. If your time is worth $100 / hour and you save yourself just ten hours of estimating in the first month you will have already made PlanSwift pay for itself. After that all the time you save in profit into your pocket.
This will help you to invest in the best estimating program available and see how little it really costs.
Step 5: Download the programs you think will work best for you. They should all have a free or low cost trial period. There is nothing like actually using a program to see if it works for you.
Step 6: Rerun some old construction estimates with the different programs. Take a night or two and run the same estimate through each program. This will let you see how the results differ and which ones are easier for you to use. By using an estimate you already completed you know the results, and if it is a job you have completed you can compare the actual numbers to the new estimates and see how accurate the programs are.
Step 7: If available take any free training you can. The professional companies know you will need a hand from time to time to learn the software and should provide it free as a part of their trial. You did not learn your trade without some help, why should you be expected to learn software without some.
Step 8: Write out a pro and con sheet for each software program you have tested. It works best to write this down, so you can be sure you have included everything and can see the amount of information you have gained about each program.
Step 9: Go get the program that best suits you needs.
Step 10: Continue to evaluate the program. Just because you have the program does not mean you should stop evaluating. Continue to look to see if the program is meeting your needs in the best possible way. If not look for plugins or add-on you can add to increase the usability of the program. These plugins allow you add special additional features to estimating software to handle specific tasks or to make your life easier. As you see areas you would like some add oomph do steps one to nine again but this time for the plugin.
“PlanSwift is one of the most versatile and user friendly estimating programs we have used to date. PlanSwift not only works well as an estimating software, but as a tool to help sell more product.”-ProBuild / John Huck