Relying on spreadsheets for material and labor cost estimates can open you up to the risk of input and equation errors, duplicate data entry, and amateur-looking proposals. Construction estimating software has been helping contractors to save time building estimates, increasing their accuracy, reducing errors, and protecting profit margins.
Construction estimating software is a vast market, however, so it requires some sifting to find the features and usability that’s the best fit for you. For example, some software must be downloaded, and some only work on Windows computers. Others are cloud-based and have apps for both Android and Apple users.
We chose ProEst as our best overall because for an industry average price model it offers a robust suite of features, the customer support training needed to help you learn it quickly, extra features like a built-in CRM module, and integrations with other programs.
|Best Construction Estimating Software|
|Company||Why We Picked It||Starting/Average Cost|
|ProEst||Best Overall||$5,000 annually|
|EasyEst||Easiest to Use||$329, one-time-purchase|
|Contractor Foreman||Best Value||$49 monthly|
|Projul||Best for Small Contractors||$49 monthly|
|CoConstruct||Best for Customer Support||$49 monthly|
|Sage Estimating||Best for Large Businesses||$3,500 annually|
|Buildertrend||Best Cloud-Based||$99 monthly|
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Construction Estimating Software
What Is Construction Estimating Software?
Contractors use construction estimating software to record and schedule material, labor, and other job costs to generate a proposal estimate that includes pricing and a timeline for their client.
Construction estimating software is designed to streamline the estimating process, save time, and reduce errors that have been proven to happen when using spreadsheets. As a functional improvement over spreadsheets, construction estimating software can also create reports and estimates with built-in templates, manage client information as a CRM, and integrate with other software that a contractor typically uses.
How Does Construction Estimating Software Work?
Many construction estimating software programs integrate with a supplier pricing database. When the software creates a materials list, either user-generated or digitally generated through what is called a “take-off,” the program grabs the cost of those materials from the database and assigns them to the contractor’s specific materials list for the job.
Many estimating software programs take it a step further and have bundled costs for assemblies. An assembly of bundled materials that create a more developed end-product can save the contractor time when reviewing plans and lists, and when communicating with the client or sub-contractors.
Who Should Use Construction Estimating Software?
Contractors from large commercial construction companies to small business home builders, and even specific trades professionals, will all benefit from the time-saving, error-reducing, and report-generating features that construction estimating software provides. The software creates clean, professional-looking proposals for bids and calendars to communicate key stages to clients. In short, it is a communication tool that helps contractors communicate job tasks to subcontractors as well as bigger picture progress to their clients.
What Does Construction Estimating Software Cost?
Construction estimating software is often priced to begin at $49 per month among the least expensive options. Be careful to ask how long that rate will last; some companies grab your attention with a $49 monthly rate only to raise the price by $200 or more per month after a two- or three-month introductory period.
On the higher end, feature-rich programs with a CRM, robust materials cost database, 2D and 3D building information management (BIM) tools for quicker take-offs, with multiple software integrations can cost between $3,500 and $5,000 annually.
How We Chose the Best Construction Estimating Software
After reviewing 20 construction estimating software programs, we found seven that are ideal for certain construction business needs. To make it to our shortlist, the software had to offer a lot of features for the money, preferably integrate with other programs contractors typically rely on, and be easy to use with enough online support and training to get you up to speed quickly.
We called out software that was a particularly good match for certain business sizes and, most importantly, we chose companies that had stellar customer testimonials and won quality awards from software evaluators.