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Estimating Software VS Spreadsheets - Which should you choose?

As technological advancements have transformed our everyday lives, so to have they been instrumental in changing the way...

A key element of any successful construction business is accurate estimating, allowing you to anticipate all of your costs and ensure profitability. The problem is that estimating is time consuming and often labor intensive, where errors can add up and have a big impact on your bottom line.

It’s no surprise then that construction professionals have turned to estimating software to help them with their work. The benefits offered by using software over manual methods are massive, with big time savings and increased accuracy being two of the major impacts.

Whether you’re looking for your first estimating software package or you’re considering upgrading to a new system, there’s a few things you need to consider during the evaluation process.

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1. Consider your unique needs, and try before you buy.

Not all software is created equal, and you should consider your unique needs when assessing whether a particular product is right for you. Do you only do light estimating, or do you have an entire estimating department and need some extra power under the hood? A good software provider will give you different options, and also allow you to compare them online with a detailed feature comparison table. After all, you don’t want to be paying for what you don’t need.

Cubit Estimating by MiTek comes in a range of options depending on your needs, including Professional and Enterprize (which features BIM takeoff and estimating functionality), so there’s an option to suit every estimator.

Nothing beats a test run. MiTek offers a free trial of their software, so you can assess whether the software suits your business. We also have a team of locally-based specialists on hand to assist you with your questions and getting started with the software.

You should also consider what use and installation options you need for your company. Some systems allow you to use them on a range of computers, where others lock you down to a single location. MiTek gives you the flexibility to use Cubit Estimating on multiple computers, whether you’re at work or at home, so you can get the job done when and where you need to.

 

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2. Check the Fine Print

Most people will have their preferred systems they like to use; Estimators and General Contractors are no different. Over time, you’ll get to know which software systems you like and suit your specific needs and workflows.

When working with a team of estimating professionals, there’s often a need for multiple solutions, whether it be due to preference and past use, or because a particular piece of software is more suited to delivering a certain project.

You should always be aware of the contractual obligations you take on when you sign up for a new solution. Though you might not read through every contract from start to finish, you should be aware that some companies hide clauses in lengthy and complicated customer agreements. Ask your provider if your contract includes exclusivity clauses, and if there are any hidden fees.

Such clauses can be detrimental to a business, especially if you are already running other solutions in tandem, and can also prevent you from successfully implementing change into your company.

Ideally your software provider is upfront, and gives you the freedom to be successful now and into the future. Check the fine print and make sure you don’t lock yourself and your company into a position that could hurt your business.

 

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3. Partner with an evolving software that champions innovation and enhancement

The construction industry is changing over time, with new advancements and technologies being introduced at an increasingly rapid rate. So too should your estimating software evolve and change over time. Continued product research and development are essential to ensuring that your needs continue to be met.

When evaluating which system is right for your business, consider the investment your potential provider makes in the ongoing development and enhancement of their software. Evolving technology is innovative and exciting, and investing in it can seem expensive. You should make sure you’re partnering with a proven provider that has a demonstrated history in research and development, and providing evolving improving systems.

MiTek have invested significantly in the development of their software solutions and research into new methodologies to provide you with a competitive edge. On top of that, our relationship to and backing of Berkshire Hathaway gives us further resources globally, so we can use the best minds and most talented developers to bring you the greatest solutions.

Major and minor updates and upgrades provided by evolving technologies not only give you innovative new features and functionality, but also improvements and upgrades that enhance usability and provide added protection and security.

In 2017 the world was rocked by a massive international cyberattack, which saw individuals and businesses infected by ransomware; with some serious and devastating repercussions. Having up-to-date software is a key preventative measure to ensure you are protected. The release of regular updates and upgrades in your software gives you the opportunity to benefit from the most up-to-date risk mitigating features that have been built into the software.

 

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4. Get by with a little help from your friends; and a great software support team

There is no substitute for good customer service. Whether you’re eating at your favorite restaurant, buying a new car, or seeking help with your estimating software, good old-fashioned customer service should always be delivered.

When choosing your software provider, consider the service and support offering available. You never know when you will need to call upon them for help, and you should have the confidence of knowing that they will be there for you when you need them; so your business can continue to run smoothly.

At MiTek, every facet of operations is driven around customers, incorporating their needs, supporting them when help is needed, and driving their successes. We’re committed to not only offering the right solutions, but also providing the best service and support possible. You can be sure each time you contact us we’ll always do the best to help you overcome your challenges.

 

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5. Focus on your Return On Investment, rather than the upfront cost

Running a business is not easy or cheap, so when it comes to selecting your systems, there is a temptation to be as frugal as possible. It’s important to look beyond the easy choice of picking the cheapest option, and look for the greatest benefit you can get back from your spend.

When it comes to estimating software, the return on your investment is easy to calculate. The ability to perform your work faster and more accurately means you can be producing more estimates, submitting more bids, and winning more work; so before you know it, the software has paid for itself.

We do realize however that sometimes costs can be prohibitive. You should investigate the options available to make it a viable choice for your business. That’s why MiTek has a team of specialists to help guide you through the options available, and help you make the best decision for your business.

 

To find out more about MiTek's estimating solutions and how they can help you achieve your estimating goals, get in touch with us today via the Contact Us page. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your needs in detail and recommend the best options to suit your circumstances, so you can create your fastest and most accurate estimates.

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