Finding software can be overwhelming. We've helped dozens of contractors choose the right estimating software so they can calculate labor and material costs and produce accurate proposals.

Showing 1-20 of 74 products

Buildertrend

Buildertrend is a construction management system for home builders, remodelers, specialty contractors and general contractors. It combines project scheduling, project management, financial management, customer management and service... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 294 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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CoConstruct

CoConstruct is a project, financial, and client management system for custom home builders and remodelers. It is the only single-entry estimating system that allows each user to enter a piece of information once, and have that data... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 139 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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RSMeans Data OnlineFrontRunners 2019

RSMeans Data Online is cloud-based access to a comprehensive database of construction costs in North America. The application details costs for materials, equipment, labor and productivity at the unit, assembly and square foot level... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 137 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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Esticom

Esticom is a cloud-based construction takeoff and estimating platform that helps contractors manage construction projects with real-time access to labor, pricing, plans and material database. Primarily catering to trades such as electrical,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 133 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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STACK Takeoff & EstimatingFrontRunners 2019

STACK Estimating is a cloud-based on-screen takeoff and estimating tool for professional contractors of all business sizes and all trades. STACK users can quickly and easily upload digital plans and complete takeoffs using the software.... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 103 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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McCormick Estimating SoftwareFrontRunners 2019

McCormick Systems offers a comprehensive Windows-based electrical contracting estimating software for commercial, industrial and residential contractors. McCormick offers four levels of estimating programs - WIN 1000, WIN 3000, WIN... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 76 recommendations

Platforms: Win
Deployments: On premise
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BIM 360

BIM 360 is a cloud-based construction project management solution for businesses of all sizes. It offers collaboration and communication tools, task management and file sharing. Users can interact with models and drawings from a web... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 57 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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TurboBid Estimating

TurboBid is an on-premise estimating software solution for small and midsize contractors designed to help them complete project estimations, regardless of the type of work, whether it's new residential, light commercial, remodeling,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 42 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: On premise
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InEight Estimate

InEight Estimate is construction solution that enables multi-user collaboration throughout the estimating process. InEight Estimate can be used to estimate projects of any size, across all construction and capital projects markets... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 31 recommendations

Platforms: Win
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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FastPIPE & FastDUCT

FastEST, Inc. is the United States based developers of takeoff and estimating solution designed specifically for plumbing, mechanical, HVAC and sheet metal contractors. FastPIPE and FastDUCT are two of the company's comprehensive... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 27 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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Sage Estimating (formerly Sage Timberline Estimating)

Sage Estimating is an on-premise based construction estimating software designed specifically to serve contractors and sub-contractors in construction and real estate industries of all sizes. The solution provides interactive tools... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 24 recommendations

Platforms: Win
Deployments: On premise
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ProEst Estimating

ProEst is a cloud-based construction estimating solution that offers automated features for construction companies of all sizes. ProEst enables construction teams to monitor and manage centralized estimates, takeoffs, reports and... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 22 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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B2W Estimate - Estimating & Bidding

B2W Estimate from B2W Software (formerly BID2Win) is an application for heavy civil construction estimating and bidding. The system offers the ability to create and pre-populate detailed databases with costs, including default templates... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 18 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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HCSS HeavyBidFrontRunners 2019

HCSS HeavyBid estimating and bidding software is built specifically for the construction industry. Used by more than 50,000 estimators, HeavyBid helps users build estimates and manage daily bids.  The software helps automate repetitive... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 16 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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QuoteSoft Duct & QuoteSoft Pipe

QuoteSoft is a takeoff, estimating and bid management solution developed to meet the unique needs of piping, plumbing and ductwork contractors. QuoteSoft is an industry-specific solution that is used by more than 3,000 contractors... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 14 recommendations

Platforms: Win
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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SharpeSoft Estimator

SharpeSoft Estimator is an on-premise cost estimating software for contractors and sub-contractors in the construction industry. Offered on a best-of-breed basis, SharpeSoft provides integrated tools for labor and equipment costing,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 14 recommendations

Platforms: Win
Deployments: On premise
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www.costestimator.com

CostEstimator is an estimate creation tool for construction businesses that offers tools for building custom material and labor cost estimates, zip-code specific estimates, and more. It serves businesses within industries such as building,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 12 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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Estimating Link

Estimating Link is a construction estimating and bidding solution. It’s suitable for heavy highway, environmental, bridges, site-work and civil projects, and both state and private commercial work. Estimating Link allows users to... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 11 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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WinEst

WinEst is an on-premise database-driven estimating solution that helps estimators in businesses across various industries to manage and integrate project estimates using cost-knowledge management. Key features include construction... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 10 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: On premise
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Takeoffs

Takeoffs is a cloud-based construction management solution that provides builders and contractors with tools to estimate and calculate costs of projects. It comes with a centralized dashboard, which enables users to upload architectural... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 7 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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2020 Construction Estimating Software Pricing Guide

Learn about the key aspects of accurate software pricing before you make your purchase decision.

Includes:

  • Pricing models & ranges

  • Unexpected costs

  • Pricing of popular systems

Buyers guide


Last Updated: February 15, 2020

There are more than 50 construction estimating and takeoff software packages available. They range from Excel add-ons to enterprise-class, multi-user systems. Some cost as little as $99 while others are a six-figure investment. Meanwhile, there are unique systems designed for different industries, trades and divisions.

If you haven't been in the market for some time (or ever), there's a lot to figure out. We've written this guide to help you make sense of the market so you can choose the best construction estimating software. Here's what we’ll cover:

Common Features of Construction Estimating Software
Benefits of This Application
How Estimating and Takeoff Differ
Market Trends to Understand
The Vendor Landscape
Popular Construction Estimating Software

Common Features of Construction Estimating Software

Construction cost estimating software, also known as construction bidding software, helps estimators calculate material and labor costs as well as produce detailed, professional proposals from these estimates. While these systems have always been useful, the proliferation of fixed-bid work and intensifying competition for projects is making them an even more important tool. Below is a breakdown of the functionality included in a typical contractor estimating software package.

Construction Estimating Software Functionality


In case you aren't familiar with these terms, here is a plain English description of the function of each module.

Module
What it does
Proposal Generator Takes your cost estimates and creates an accurate and professional-looking bid proposal.
Cost database Stores materials and labor costs to reference when creating an estimate.
Visual assemblies Displays a graphical view of a build assembly to visualize which portion of the project you're estimating.
Labor & materials Automates labor and materials cost estimates based on calculations from your project takeoff.
Historical database Stores all of your past projects with related materials and labor cost estimates in a database.
Pre-built templates Accelerates the process by providing a set of commonly required parts and labor for standard jobs, such as a bathroom remodel.
Project reporting Creates cost breakdown reports using charts and graphs to improve the analysis of project costs.
What-if analysis Models how your bid will change if assumptions (e.g., project completion date) change.

Many contractors require specialized construction estimate software to handle their trade-specific requirements. As such, specialty contractors should evaluate products designed for their unique needs. For example, a mechanical contractor who needs to estimate custom sheet metal work for HVAC ducts would benefit from a specialized application such as Wendes Systems WenDuct.

Or, a residential contractor who is performing his own project estimates might want a straightforward, affordable residential estimating solution where ease of use trumps depth of functionality and sophistication. Other contractors that we often find have unique needs include electrical, flooring and earthwork contractors.

Benefits of This Application

Last year, we surveyed contractors, estimators, building owners and other construction professionals about their estimating processes. In our survey, we asked industry professionals about their top priorities for 2013 and beyond, and the benefits of using technology to support these processes.

The top priorities of construction firms (improved process standardization, accuracy and speed) mapped closely to the benefits firms say they noticed after deploying construction estimator software.

Benefits of Construction Estimating Software


To gain more insights into industry benchmarks and best practices, check out our 2012 Benchmark Report.

How Estimating and Takeoff Differ

We find that buyers sometimes confuse estimating software with takeoff software. The confusion stems partly from the fact that these two programs are often deployed in conjunction, as both are critical to developing accurate bids. But they perform two distinct functions. To simplify it:

  • Takeoff systems help measure plans and blueprints to estimate the amount of materials and labor needed to complete a project.
  • Construction estimating systems determine how much the estimated materials and labor will cost, and then produces a complete bid in a professional format.

This table will help you determine if you need takeoff or construction estimating software (or both):

If you... Then You Need...
Spend too much time measuring plans and blueprints Takeoff
Often incorrectly estimate labor/materials quantities Takeoff
Spend too much time calculating labor/materials costs Estimating
Often incorrectly estimate labor/materials costs Estimating
Have trouble creating professional-looking bid proposals Estimating
Need one system to estimate labor/materials quantities & costs Both

If, after reviewing our table of common pain points, you realize that a takeoff program is what you need, head over to our takeoff systems buyer's guide to better understand this market.

Market Trends to Understand

These pre-construction application market trends should be considered when evaluating a new system and reading construction estimating software reviews.

Digital takeoff. Digital takeoff has matured and it provides many efficiencies. It reduces the cost, time and hassle of printing paper plans. It also costs less than a plotter or reprographic service. Most systems can measure .pdf, .tiff, .dwg, AutoCAD and other digital file formats. Buyers should strongly consider (and trial) digital takeoff before investing in another digitizer board.

Increased competition for jobs. The sluggish economy means that contractors are competing for fewer jobs. GCs and project sponsors are running more intense selection processes with shorter bid turnaround times. Contractors need to produce bids faster and more accurately to compete for more jobs, win and make a profit.

Geographic migration. Some companies are now bidding on jobs outside their traditional territory. The availability of electronic plan files via online plan rooms, as well as data from BIM files, makes it easier to identify projects and get the data necessary to produce a bid. To compete, contractors need an efficient infrastructure that will allow them to access these online plan rooms.

Multi-user estimation. Many contractors are seeing a need to involve more employees in the process. In some cases, this results from growth. In other cases it results from a reaction to turnover of seasoned estimators and the resulting skills gap. And other times it results from a desire to gain consensus on estimates. Regardless, demand for multi-user systems is growing and if this is an important consideration you should evaluate the best vendors that support many users.

Popular Construction Estimating Software Comparisons

The Vendor Landscape

The application landscape is highly fragmented and can be confusing. However, we can simplify the market by matching top-rated solutions to our four buyer types.

If you are a... Then you should evaluate...
Commercial Contractor ProEst, Maxwell ProContractorMX, OnCenter On-Screen Takeoff, Sage Timberline, QuickMeasure
Electrical Contractor Accubid, ConEst, McCormick, Electrical Bid Manager
Mechanical/HVAC Contractor Accubid, Wendes, QuoteExpress
Earthwork Contractor / Heavy Construction Contractor BID2WIN, Hard Dollar, HCSS, SharpeSoft, WinEx Master
Residential Contractor Clear Estimates, Contractor's Office, GiddyUp, My Project Estimator

 

FrontRunners

Your Guide to Top Construction Estimating Software, May 2019

Software Advice uses reviews from real software users to highlight the top-rated Construction Estimating Software products in North America.

Learn how products are chosen

Explore FrontRunners

One of our software selection advisors can help you find the right product for your business.
Software Advice
“Usability” includes user ratings for Functionality and Ease of Use.“Customer Satisfaction” includes user ratings for Customer Support, Likelihood to Recommend and Value for Money.Reviews analysis period: