To every business ,there’s a lifecycle. For construction companies, your business lifecycle starts with the cost estimate. As the starting point for all construction jobs, the cost estimate has a direct impact on everything that will follow. An estimate that is clear, concise, accurate (as can be), and on time will have a direct effect on everything that follows or does not.
Construction projects can be quite complex and costly, depending on the size and nature of the build and they’re always difficult to calculate. However, it’s vital to be able to provide good estimates to clients as this will convey professionalism and put them at ease. The cost estimate is also the piece of paper upon which your relationship with the client is founded. An estimate that is, as stated above, clear, concise, accurate, and on time will set in motion a long term working relationship. Unless, you’re a subcontractor estimating for a commercial construction build. In that case, just make sure your estimate is the cheapest.
Remember that the key to cost estimation all starts with understanding all of the different costs and categories. For instance, the two most significant cost types are the direct and indirect costs. Direct costs typically include team wages, fuel for equipment, and so on. Whereas, indirect costs usually include security costs, utilities, and so on. What other categories do costs come from? There is labor, material, equipment, services, software, hardware, facilites, and contingency costs.All of the expenses we just listed, in addition to all of the direct and indirect costs, are collected to make a “basis of estimate” report.
What are construction cost estimating apps?
Put simply, construction cost estimating software is computer software designed specifically for contractors to predict how much a construction project will cost, what materials they need, and how much of it they need to order. There are certain differences between construction cost estimating software. Some are designed specifically for costs and measurements of various metals, while others are designed specifically to deal with the financial side of the business too. How do you know which one is right for you? We did the leg work for you and checked dozens of providers that can help you align costs and send out professional invoices.
Why do I need cost estimation apps (and why now)?
Welcome to 2019, where where customers want quotes and estimates – and they want it now. While you’re taking out your measuring tape, and fiddling with the calculations at the office on a spreadsheet ,some other carpenter, architect or builder has whipped out an app and given your client a quote on the spot. I know that it may seem like some unnecessary bells and whistles and “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” but don’t underestimate the importance of the Wow Factor. It could be what sets you apart and what helps you get stick out in a sea of hard hats. Not to mention, it will actually save you time and money. If you haven’t yet, it’s time to embrace technology and be able to provide accurate calculations and costs. Some apps are free, while others charge a monthly or yearly fee. It’s important to compare costs and functions to choose the one that’s best for you and your business.
How do you choose the construction estimating software that’s right for you?
Cost is not the only factor to consider when choosing the right app. It’s important to define what needs this system will serve and what functions it must perform to enable you to do your job. Every business has its own needs and requirements but here’s what you should factor in to narrow your decision:
Ease of use: Downloading a tool that you don’t understand or can’t use is no bueno. If you’re not the only one accessing it, make sure that your employees or other team members know how it functions.
Compatibility and integration: This app may need to integrate with other systems of your business. Consider what your app needs to gel with and plan accordingly.
Compliance and regulations: Think about your industry and what rules and regulations it needs to follow. Does this app accommodate for this or is it not suitable when it comes to your industry’s standards? Can it even help improve your regulatory compliance while reducing the costs you incur along the way?!
Security and reliability: Within the construction trade it’s vital that measurements are accurate and estimates need to be close to the final amount. You need an app that meets all of these needs. Then there’s also the app’s ability to store information safely and securely, particularly when it comes to your financials and invoices. The last thing you want is to lose precious data! So make sure you choose software that’s safe and secure with good reviews from those of your peers that also make use of them.
Here are the apps and solutions you should consider for invoicing and estimating costs:
Founded by a small business owner so it’s no surprise that this easy to use invoicing system is catering to small business owners. Access this software through your laptop or mobile device.
Who’s it for: Small business owners, owner-operators, freelancers and contractors.
Pricing: There’s a 13-day free trial to take advantage of to discover if this is a good fit for your business. Additionally, your first three invoices and Invoices are totally free. After that, it costs $2.99 a month.
Create an invoice, any time anywhere using this handy app. You can get as inventive and creative as you like using SpeedInvoice’s +500 background images when setting up your invoices and estimates. What’s more, you can print or share any bill or estimate via other apps such as Facebook, WhatsApp or SMS if your client prefers this route. To give the client the whole picture you can add documents for e.g. contractual terms, drawings, project plans in Word, Excel and PDFs.
Who’s it for: Big and small businesses. It’s ideal for workers on the go as you can work on the system offline (and send when you’ve got internet access again).
Pricing: It’s free to trial, but after that period is over your subscription will cost $7.90 per month. Get a 50% discount if you purchase an annual subscription.
Connecteam helps you create estimates, invoices, and work orders from an easy to use mobile app. You can then PDF it and share with clients, managers, accountants, or frame it on the wall if you like. What makes Connecteam different is you can do a whole lot more. In fact, with Connecteam, you can manage the entire process from quote to invoice while tracking time and adjusting costs along the way.
Connecteam also allows you to manage your employees and projects from the same place. You can actually have all your employees on the same page and your managers will be more productive and happy because all they need is a single app to do it all.
Who’s it for: Small to large businesses that have at least 40% of their workforce out of the office. Connecteam is best suited for companies in the Field Services, Construction, Hospitality, Healthcare, Transportation & Logistics, Retail, and Manufacturing industries. When you have a large majority of deskless employees, having one construction estimating software to do everything is the best option.
Pricing: Connecteam has a free 21 day trial. But it’s the only app to offer fixed monthly plans: starting at $29-$72 for up to 200 users. If you need more than 200 users, there is fixed monthly Enterprise plan available – simply chat with a representative.
Invoices & Estimates boasts more than 1,000 built-in services and materials to help create professional looking invoices and price estimates.
Who’s it for: It supports businesses that operate in a variety of sectors, including automotive, cleaning and construction.
Pricing: There is a free version but this is limited to 3 estimates, 3 invoices and two clients. So if you invoice and send estimates on a regular basis then the paid version ($2,99 a month or $29.99 a year) would be better suited.
Quilder lets you to send professional quotations and invoices to clients directly from your phone by text or email. If you have your own catalogue for parts, labour costs, etc., you can add it all to Quilder and add it straight to your invoice.
Who’s it for: Quilder says its services is aimed directly at tradesmen. Anyone in the construction industry really – from plumbers to joiners to electricians and beyond.
Pricing: This service is free, for now, but it does say that it may introduce a pricing model in the future as it continues to grow.
Estimations and invoices are the fuel that keeps your business running they are the oil in your gears. However, if you want your business running smoothly there’s more to it than just an oil change. Here are some equipment and materials estimations apps that will give you that edge over the competition:
Building Calculator is compatible with all mobile devices and helps calculate allotment of materials for house building or maintenance. You can use it offline too. One downside is that it only allows for metric measurements. This construction estimating software is also available in Russian.
Who’s it for: Anyone who has to regularly calculate values for materials and formulate budgets for house building tasks.
Price: The construction estimating software is available fore free.
Use this app to answer your everyday building questions like ‘How many do I need?’, ‘How much will it cost?’
Who’s it for: Anyone in the construction industry who needs something that can quickly provide material solutions for gravel, fences, blocks, flooring, tile, paint, decking and more.
Price: It costs $44.95.
Just like name suggests, this app is an ‘all in one calculator’ so there’s a range of people and uses that it has. It features 70+ calculators and unit converters categorized under finance, health, women, construction, lifestyle, and everyday math.
Who’s it for: It has a calculator catering to the construction industry which can estimate cement, sand, or gravel quantities for concrete blocks, wall plastering, and brick works. However, it can also do non-construction based calculations. For example, if you’re in of a health check it can calculate your BMI (body mass index) and pregnant women can use it to calculate when they are due to give birth.
Price: The construction estimating software is free. If you want in-app products, that comes at an additional cost – about $4 per item.
If you need to calculate the weight and length of different types of metal, then this app is for you. This handy app helps you calculate the weight simply by inputting details about its length, and it can also do the same calculation in reverse (i.e. input the weight to get the length). Measurements are available in the metric system and the U.S. measuring system.
Who’s it for: Civil engineers and others in the construction industry that deal in metal.
Price: Free, but if you want access without the adverts then you’d pay a small fee. Additionally any in-app products will cost about $1 per item.
For measurement estimation you can’t go wrong with this handy app. It can quickly and accurately calculate a construction problem while you’re standing there consulting with a client.
Who’s it for: It’s ideal for contractors, estimators, architects, carpenters, builders, draftspersons, engineers, framers and tradesmen.
Price: The construction estimating software costs $74.95.
Best practices in construction cost estimating:
So we know that construction cost estimating software has made things much easier, but it is still the responsibility of the cost estimator to ensure everything is okay. For instance, the cost estimator must always follow industry norms and standards for all measurement units. It is his job to also consistently fill out cost-related documents, like a quantity survey, and follow cost-recording procedures so that the work is verifiable and easy to handoff to another cost estimator. The job also involves identifying indirect costs and to examine contractual terms to know which will impact indirect costs. He or she is responsible for evaluating subcontractors’ bids, reviewing all construction drawings for constructibility and accuracy in terms of representing the project scope, assessing the client’s schedule requirements in terms of impact on the performance of the project, and analyzing completed estimates for accuracy. Actually, the list goes on! But it is important to know that when it comes to having a cost estimator, you need someone who is focused and experienced to ensure the job gets done right.
From estimation to paid invoices and everything in between
Construction, it is a changing. Software providers are becoming increasingly aware that the construction industry is not as technological as it can be. These handy apps are designed with the construction PM or business owner in mind. They can make the whole process of cost estimation frictionless and something that can be easily done from the job site. And, they’re not alone. Apps designed for the construction industry are becoming more popular like time tracking apps for out of office employees, project management apps, and all in one construction apps.