Top 7 Construction Estimating Software

By: Saumya Srivastava on January 27, 2023
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Construction managers often struggle with estimating project costs due to a lack of information, inadequate risk assessment, market fluctuations, and various other factors. Construction estimation software can help overcome these challenges by providing the latest industry standard pricing and automating the material and labor costs. 

By using construction estimating software, you can accurately calculate the proposed construction project cost. The tool gives an overall picture of spending with details, including material, labor, tax rates, and more, hence optimizing the spending to match your budget. You can leverage this construction software solution to create financially viable and accurate estimates, increasing the chances of winning a project bid. 

We highlight the seven best construction estimating software products for construction and accounting professionals, in alphabetical order, based on verified software reviews. Read more.

Check out the complete list of construction estimating tools in Software Advice's software directory.

Top rated construction estimating software graphic

*Analysis accurate as of January 2023

1. Clear Estimates: Select from pre-loaded estimate templates

Clear Estimates is a construction management solution that offers over 130 templates with pre-loaded industry standard pricing. You can edit the selected template with your brand’s logo, marketing copy, font style, and other design elements. Furthermore, the tool lets you customize templates for specific areas of a construction site, such as the kitchen, bathroom, or garage. 

Product features of interest*:

  • Pre-loaded templates: Select from preloaded costing templates to create client proposals. 

  • Customization: The projects are customizable and downloadable based on your preferred branding style and format type.

  • Billing and invoicing: Generate payable invoices to share once your client approves the cost estimates.

Customer support options: FAQs, how-to videos, and an online ticketing system.

Clear Estimates

Clear Estimates

4.5 out of 5 stars

114 reviews
Project dashboard in Clear Estimates

Project dashboard in Clear Estimates (Source)

2. Esticom: Estimate costs with automatic construction takeoffs

Esticom construction cost estimating software lets you scan and upload paper-based floor plans and maps to automatically calculate the project cost. The tool uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) algorithms to create a virtual map or design and assess the requirements. You can optimize the plan or map using the tool’s editor and recalculate the project costing. Furthermore, the tool offers a cloud-based document repository for you to access project-related documents in real time and add to your cost estimation plan. All your created documents can be accessed from anywhere using any device.

Esticom has a mobile app for Android and iOS users.

Product features of interest*:

  • Quantity takeoff: Calculate detailed measurements of building and labor costs required in a construction project automatically. 

  • Bid management: Manage received construction project tenders and share proposals with clients.

  • Centralized document repository: Store and manage all project-related documents such as costing, floor plans, client details, and more in a centralized repository. 

Customer support options: FAQs, how-to videos, and an online ticketing system.

Procore Estimating

Procore Estimating

4.46 out of 5 stars

112 reviews
Material catalog in Esticom

Material catalog in Esticom (Source)

3. FastDUCT: Access cost database for industry standard pricing

FastDUCT is an HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air condition) construction estimate and takeoff software. The tool offers a database of pre-decided labor and material costs based on industry standards. You can change the units of measurement, such as feet or yards, to measure construction sites and estimate the material and labor costs. The catalog also mentions different cost codes for line items based on the HVAC job function in construction projects. 

Product features of interest*:

  • Custom cost codes: Group costs for individual jobs and elements based on their function in the construction project.

  • Export modules: Integrate the tool with other back-office construction software solutions such as accounting, bidding, and scheduling. 

  • Downloadable spreadsheet: Download pricing lists and cost estimates in Excel spreadsheets for external sharing.

Customer support options: Call, demo videos, and training. 

FastDUCT

FastDUCT

4.59 out of 5 stars

34 reviews
Cost estimate analyses in FastDUCT

Cost estimate analyses in FastDUCT (Source)

4. FastPIPE: Assess plumbing fixtures automatically to estimate costs

FastPIPE is a mechanical and plumbing estimating tool that lets you scan and upload paper-based plans for plumbing and mechanical jobs. You can use the auto-connect pipe feature to test if all plumbing fixtures are accurately connected. The tool will automatically estimate the material cost after completing the assessment. Furthermore, it will suggest better ways to assemble the fixtures to help save on costs. 

Product features of interest*:

  • Auto connect pipe: Automate testing and suggest cost-effective ways to assemble and connect plumbing fixtures. 

  • Drag and drop editor: Drag the pipe fitting in the digital plan and drop them to different locations to identify the best placement. 

  • Built-in Assemblies: Select and customize pre-designed plumbing and mechanical plans for different areas of a construction site.

Customer support options: Call, demo videos, and training. 

FastPIPE

FastPIPE

4.74 out of 5 stars

132 reviews
Plumbing plan in FastPIPE

Plumbing plan in FastPIPE (Source)

5. On-Screen Takeoff: Count objects and annotations with OCR

On-Screen Takeoff construction management software uses optical character recognition (OCR) technology to count objects of similar shapes and sizes within a digitized floor plan. You can group the selected objects and change their location to find the best placement within the same or a different plan. The tool lets you compare two versions of a plan with different object placements. 

Product features of interest*:

  • Style sheets and templates: Create custom takeoff conditions (known as “styles”) by combining different styles into sets.

  • Intelligent paste logic: Select takeoff objects and paste them into a similar layout, such as distance, space, and direction. 

  • Multi-condition takeoff: Select multiple takeoff conditions at once to estimate construction costs.

Customer support options: Call, demo videos, and knowledge hub. 

On-Screen Takeoff

On-Screen Takeoff

4.34 out of 5 stars

157 reviews
Cost estimate spreadsheet in On-Screen Takeoff

Cost estimate spreadsheet in On-Screen Takeoff (Source)

6. PlanSwift: Drag and drop material and labor assemblies

PlanSwift construction estimating and takeoff software lets you drag and drop labor and material assemblies from the catalog onto the digitized plans and blueprints to estimate construction costs. You can also measure linear, unit count, pitches, and angles by hovering on the objects within the blueprint or plan. Once created, you can directly print the cost estimate or export it in different formats such as Microsoft Excel, PDF, or CSV files.

Product features of interest*:

  • Point and click: Scroll and select objects and elements from the list to add to your blueprint or map.

  • Drag and drop: Drag objects from the list onto the blueprint or take it off to modify the digital plan.

  • Print or export: Take a printout of the created blueprint or cost estimation. Export and download the documents in multiple formats as supported by the device. 

Customer support options: Calls, live chat, testimonials, and knowledge hub.

PlanSwift

PlanSwift

4.33 out of 5 stars

396 reviews
Digital floor plan in PlanSwift

Digital floor plan in PlanSwift (Source)

7. The EDGE: Calculate estimates with smart labor technology

The EDGE uses smart labor technology to assess a labors’ effort in the construction project and estimate costs accordingly. You simply scan and upload a paper-based blueprint of the construction site or enter the measurements of the site for the tool to analyze and estimate costs. The EDGE lets you add your products, labor rates, tax rates, overhead, and profit, and define rates for specific jobs within the project. 

Product features of interest*:

  • Smart edits: Track each element's availability and price to update the information in real time throughout the estimating process. 

  • Multiple bids: Create and compare multiple project estimates with material and labor pricing to give multiple options while pitching to the client. 

  • Smart labor technology: Auto calculate labor effort and pricing for a project based on the entered dimensions or a digital blueprint of the construction site.

Customer support options: YouTube support videos, webinars, training, and knowledge base. 

0 out of 5 stars

No reviews yet

Bidding dashboard in The EDGE

Bidding dashboard in The EDGE (Source)

How to choose the best construction estimating software for your business

Selecting the best construction estimating software for your business depends on multiple factors, which are explained below.  

  • Assess the automatic costing functionality: Check if your selected construction estimating software lets you automate calculating quantity and material costs using. You should be able to point and select elements and place them onto the digitized blueprints to estimate the job cost automatically. 

  • Opt for project templates: Look for a construction estimating software solution that offers pre-loaded estimating templates with standard material and labor cost. In addition, you should be able to customize the selected template with your company logo and fields specific to your job requirement at the construction site. 

  • Check integration with construction solutions: See if your selected construction estimating software allows you to integrate with other construction solutions such as schedule, project management, and accounting. Also, check if you can integrate with any third-party business application or some specific solutions offered by the software vendor.  

How much does construction estimating software cost?

Most products in the market are priced on a per month basis and can be broken down into three common pricing tiers based on their starting price.

Price ranges*:

  • $104 - $221

  • $222 - $369

  • $369+

*The pricing included is for the entry-level/lowest-priced offering found on vendor websites on January 04, 2023. These ranges correspond to the 25th, 75th, and 100th percentiles of pricing information gathered from vendor websites of sample products.

Hidden costs associated with construction estimating software

The above pricing list summarizes pricing for the base plans of most products. An enterprise or premium product that is priced higher may include additional features, for example, unlimited assemblies and templates, company branding, bid management and analytics, and priority support. However, even the free plan may have some hidden charges, such as training and implementation costs, customization costs, add-on charges, and integration and scalability costs. Before making a choice, ask the software vendor about any hidden charges to ensure full pricing transparency.

Frequently asked questions when selecting construction estimating software

Ask the following questions to the construction estimating software providers before making the purchase decision: 

  • Does the software allow customizing pre-loaded templates? Ask the software provider if you can customize the available templates and assemblies specific to your construction project. The customization includes adding the company logo, fonts, or other branding elements and modifying assemblies to the measurements of your construction site. 

  • Does the software allow creating payable invoices? Ask the software provider if you can create payable invoices to share with the clients using the construction estimating software. Some software solutions automatically create a dummy invoice based on the created estimates to save time. 

  • Is the costing database updated regularly? Ask the software provider about the costing database or the directory that lists the industry standard pricing of different construction functions. The directory should be updated regularly with the changing industry standard pricing. 


Methodology

To be included in this list, products must:

  • Have at least 20 unique product reviews published on Software Advice within the past two years, with an average rating of 3.0 or higher, as of January 04, 2023. We selected the top seven products from Software Advice’s FrontRunners report for construction estimating software, having the highest ratings to feature in this article.

  • Include proposal generation and costing database as core features along with customizable templates, collaboration tools, bid management, and analytics.

  • Meet our construction estimating software market definition: “Construction estimating software enables contractors and builders to accurately estimate project costs.”

*Product features have been highlighted based on the features available on the vendor website as of January 4, 2023.

We select and rank products based on an objective methodology developed by our research team. While some vendors may pay us when they receive web traffic or leads, this has no influence on our methodology.

Products evaluated for the pricing calculation were taken from Software Advice’s construction estimating software directory. The pricing ranges exclude freemium versions of the products. The features highlighted were identified based on their relevance and the percentage of products in the Software Advice directory that offer them.