Fifty percent of specialty contractors are looking to automate takeoff and estimating functions, according to data collected for our 2018 construction software buyer report.
These firms are investing in software because it's taking too long to put together bid proposals and they're losing jobs to their faster competition.
Depending on the job, it can take anywhere from four hours to three days to put together a bid using manual methods. But when using takeoff and estimating software, a bid can be put together in a fraction of that time—often an hour or less.
It's clear why so many speciality contractors are looking to automate these functions. However, most speciality contractors will want a solution geared toward their specific trade, e.g., electrical or HVAC, rather than general purpose.
In this guide, we cover the needs of flooring contractors and outline what they should look for—and look out for—as they compare flooring estimating software.
Here's what we'll cover:
Flooring estimating software helps contractors calculate the cost of materials and labor required for a job and then create a detailed bid proposal.
The amount, or quantity, of materials and labor comes from takeoff, which is why these applications are commonly bundled together or closely integrated.
Viewing a floor plan in PlanSwift
General estimating software can be used for flooring estimates, but most flooring contractors will want tools designed for their trade. This will save time because the software is already customized to their workflows and needs.
For example, trade-specific software will allow flooring contractors to account for doors, stairs and baseboards; define add-ons such as carpet pads, nail strips or adhesive; and create custom tile patterns.
The system then uses that information to create layout grids and add seams on carpet rolls or place cuts on hardwood flooring. Contractors can even rotate the grid to get a better view and ensure coverage if an area is curved or irregular. These capabilities help to minimize waste.
Additionally, using software to perform takeoff and estimating means that plans, material and labor counts, as well as corresponding costs, are centralized. If plans evolve or changes are requested during negotiations, flooring contractors can easily revise and recalculate costs on the spot, then give an accurate update to owners, thus improving communication between all parties.
Mobile estimating in FloorWizard (Source)
Look for some or all of the following capabilities as you evaluate flooring estimating solutions:
|Calculate cost estimate||Calculate total cost of the job and view itemized costs for material and labor. Include fees for takes, overhead and markup for profit (adjust markup to offer discounts, account for change orders etc. to ensure quote is both competitive and profitable).|
|Generate proposal||Create professional looking bid proposals. Quote with detailed data about job costs. Customize with your company logo and branding.|
|Trade-specific cost and material database||Access trade-specific databases of common materials and associated labor costs to auto-fill pricing for hardwood, carpet, tile etc. Access specialty material assemblies from the manufacturer.|
|Assembly library||Choose from prebuilt assemblies for standard jobs, or customize and save assemblies in a library for future projects.|
|Integration with takeoff||Automates labor and material costs based on calculations imported from takeoff. Import digital plans or use digitizer tools to draw the floor plan, select area for material and calculate labor.|
As mentioned throughout, there are many advantages to using flooring estimating software to create bid proposals. However, here is a recap of the most significant benefits:
The cost of estimating software can vary drastically, especially between subscription and perpetual licenses. Although, research has shown that the total cost of ownership does eventually converge between the two.
Total Cost of Ownership: On-premise vs. Cloud-based Systems
As we see in our 2018 construction software buyer report, 24 percent of specialty contractors are looking to purchase software for a single user, and 53 percent for two to five users.
Of those looking for cloud-based, subscription license software, the greatest percentage are budgeting $150 per user per month. This means that for two to five users, they're planning an annual spend ranging from $3,600 to $9,000 (not including costs associated with setup, maintenance, support etc.).
Of those looking for on-premise, perpetual license software, the greatest percentage combined are budgeting $5,000 or more per user license. This means that for two to five users, their upfront costs would range from $10,000 to $25,000.
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