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 58 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: 391 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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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: 375 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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McCormick Estimating Software

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: 179 recommendations

Platforms: Win
Deployments: On premise
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STACK Takeoff & Estimating

STACK Estimating from STACK Construction Technologies is a cloud-based on-screen takeoff and estimating tool for professional contractors of all business sizes in most trades. With STACK Estimating, users are able to produce bids... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 165 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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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: 105 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: On 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: 41 recommendations

Platforms: Win
Deployments: On premise
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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: 30 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, 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: 27 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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HCSS HeavyBid

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: 24 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, 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: 24 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Roots

Roots is a cloud-based construction management solution designed for general contractors, government contractors and subcontractors of all sizes. It helps in estimating and work procurement, project management, accounting, progress... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 14 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On 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: 12 recommendations

Platforms: Win
Deployments: Cloud, On 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: 11 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Trimble AutoBid SheetMetal

Trimble® AutoBid® SheetMetal is an on-premise labor and material estimating solution for HVAC and sheet metal estimators. Using the solution's 'Automatic Fitting Generation', estimators can create takeoffs while keeping track of... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 10 recommendations

Platforms: Win
Deployments: On 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: 9 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: On 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: 6 recommendations

Platforms: Win
Deployments: On premise
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Trimble AutoBid Mechanical

Trimble AutoBid Mechanical is a labor and material estimating solution that was designed for mechanical, piping and plumbing contractors who specialize in commercial work. Autobid Mechanical allows contractors to create accurate bids;... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 5 recommendations

Platforms: Win
Deployments: On premise
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McCormick Estimating Software

McCormick Plumbing & Mechanical Estimating software was developed specifically to handle the needs of construction firms that operate in the plumbing and mechanical piping trades. The software’s strength lies in the estimating, takeoff,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 4 recommendations

Platforms: Win
Deployments: On premise
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Trimble Accubid Enterprise Mechanical

Accubid offers cost estimating and digital takeoff in their mechanical software package. The estimating system can be purchased by itself, but the takeoff application must be purchased together with cost estimating. Key features in... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

Platforms: Win
Deployments: On premise
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ConEst IntelliBid

ConEst IntelliBid is a job cost estimating system designed specifically for commercial, industrial and residential electrical contractors. At its core, IntelliBid is a bid management and cost estimating system that helps contractors... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

Platforms: Win
Deployments: Cloud, On premise
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Buyer's guide


Last Updated: March 14, 2019

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

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.

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® for Construction Estimating, November 2018

FrontRunners Vendors Defined

Take this short survey so we can help you identify the products that best fit your needs.


What Is the FrontRunners Quadrant?


A Graphic of the Top-Rated Construction Estimating Products

FrontRunners uses real reviews from real software users to highlight the top software products for North American small businesses.

Our goal is to help small businesses to make more informed decisions about what software is right for them. That’s why we engineered FrontRunners.

To create this report, we evaluated over 166 Construction Estimating products. Only those with the top scores for Usability and User Recommended made the cut as FrontRunners.

FrontRunners-Vendor-Collateral

Scores are based on reviews from real software users.

What’s the Difference Between the “Small Vendor” and “Enterprise Vendor” Views?


The Different Graphics Show Different Sizes of Vendors

Small and Enterprise refer to the size of the software vendor company—not necessarily the size of customers they serve.

We break vendors into two groups for two reasons: It’s a more equal comparison of products, and software buyers have told us it’s helpful.

To determine who’s Small and who’s Enterprise, we look at how many employees the vendors have. All products in FrontRunners, whether Enterprise or Small, are evaluated using the same process.

Each graphic shows the top 10-15 performers for each the Enterprise and Small vendor categories. You can switch views simply by clicking on the version you’d like to see (above the graphic). You can read more in the full FrontRunners methodology here.

How Are FrontRunners Products Selected?


Products Are Scored Based on User Reviews


The gist is that products are scored in two areas—Usability and User Recommended—based on actual user ratings.

To be considered at all, products must have at least 20 reviews published within the previous 18 months, and meet minimum user rating scores. They also have to offer a core set of functionality—for example: cost estimating, a cost database and a proposal generator.

From there, user reviews dictate the Usability and User Recommended scores. Usability is plotted on the x-axis and User Recommended on the y-axis.

You can download the full FrontRunners for Construction Estimating report here. It contains individual scorecards for each product on the Frontrunners quadrant.

Got It. But What if I Have More Questions?


Check Out Our Additional Resources!

Have questions about how to choose the right product for you? You’re in luck! Every day, our team of advisors provides (free) customized shortlists of products to hundreds of small businesses.

  • Simply take this short questionnaire to help us match you with products that meet your specific needs. 
  •  
  • Or, talk to one of our experienced software advisors about your needs by calling (844) 687-6771—it’s quick, free, and there’s no obligation.

For more information about FrontRunners, check out the following:

  • The “FrontRunners FAQs for Technology Providers,” linked at the top of this page, for detailed answers to commonly-asked questions. 
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  • The complete FrontRunners methodology to understand the scoring.
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  • For information on how to reference FrontRunners, check out the FrontRunners External Usage Guidelines. Except in digital media with character limitations, the following disclaimer MUST appear with any/all FrontRunners reference(s) and graphic use: 

FrontRunners constitute the subjective opinions of individual end-user reviews, ratings, and data applied against a documented methodology; they neither represent the views of, nor constitute an endorsement by, Software Advice or its affiliates.