7 Most Popular Construction Estimating Software

By: Pritam Tamang on June 1, 2020

Cost estimation as a function within the construction industry is supported by an ecosystem of estimating software tools. Their features, such as proposal generators and integrated cost databases, help standardize workflows, enhance collaboration, create highly accurate estimates, and win more bids for business.

The catch, however, is that so many options on the market make it tough to determine what will work for a particular organization and what won’t. The available options vary in terms of their features, pricing, targeted user, etc. and almost every vendor claims to be offering the best tool. Branding content and marketing efforts are now so effective that it’s hard to tell the right from the “best.”

That’s why we decided to research what’s buzzing inside the market and what are the people looking for. We tried to identify which among the high-rated tools our readers are most interested in.

Listed below are the seven construction estimating tools with the highest average monthly searches in our Construction Estimating FrontRunners.

The tools are listed in decreasing order based on search traffic.




4.33 out of 5 stars

396 reviews


Takeoff in PlanSwift (Source)

PlanSwift is a takeoff and estimating solution that allows users to upload construction blueprints and perform digital takeoffs to quickly calculate the quantity and cost of materials required to complete a project. Additionally, the tool offers integration with third-party tools such as QuickBooks and UDA ConstructionSuite.

Key feature: Its “Point and Click” functionality that automatically calculates lengths, volumes, and other measurements when a user points and clicks at items on a digital blueprint.

Who should use this software: Architects, cost estimators, and contractors that want a tool to improve the pre-construction processes of takeoff and estimation.




4.5 out of 5 stars

90 reviews


Job costing in Knowify (Source)

Knowify offers a job costing module that helps contractors and subcontractors create project cost estimates and generate proposals. Besides job cost estimation, the tool offers project management and document management features that help track team tasks and store project documentation in a centralized location.

Key feature: Its mobile functionalities that include GPS tracking of crew at job sites and the ability to file expenses, manage time cards, and upload photos.

Who should use this software: Small and midsize contractors for both residential and commercial construction projects.

Clear Estimates

Clear Estimates

Clear Estimates

4.5 out of 5 stars

114 reviews


Cost estimation in Clear Estimates (Source)

Clear Estimates offers features such as a proposal generator, automatic calculation of labor and materials, document management, and contact management. Additionally, the tool offers built-in proposal templates that make the process of creating and sending bids faster for contractors.

Key feature: Its automated proposal generator and integration with the cost data book RemodelMAX for localized pricing.

Who should use this software: Small and midsize contractors such as home remodelers.

HCSS HeavyBid



4.59 out of 5 stars

504 reviews


Repository of past cost estimates in HCSS HeavyBid (Source)

HCSS HeavyBid is a cost estimation and bidding solution that offers features such as cost estimation templates with automated calculations and a repository of past estimates and quotes for setting up quick bid approvals. The software offers some additional modules for managing other construction-related tasks such as tracking field crew and monitoring equipment installed at a construction site.

Key feature: Its repository of past cost estimates that can be used to quickly create new estimates by simply dragging and dropping bid items.

Who should use this software: Civil contractors working in heavy construction such as mining, earthwork, bridges, and highways.

Active Takeoff

Active Takeoff

Active Takeoff

4.63 out of 5 stars

95 reviews


Importing files and images into Active Takeoff (Source)

Active Takeoff is an estimating and takeoff software that offers features for document management, onscreen editing of digital blueprints, and automated calculation of labor, materials, equipment, and subcontractor fees required to complete a project.

Key feature: Its support for multiple kinds of file and image formats, including PDFs, scanned images, vector graphics, and bitmap images.

Who should use this software: Homebuilders and flooring, roofing, and finishing contractors that want an on-premise estimating and takeoff solution.




3.99 out of 5 stars

104 reviews


Creating a cost estimate in Builterra (Source)

Buliterra is a construction takeoff and estimating solution with features such as the ability to capture CAD images for digital takeoff, a repository of historical cost estimation reports, and an Excel-like tool for calculating the cost of materials and labor. The solution offers additional modules for bid management and project reporting.

Key feature: Its integrated bid management module that allows users to export cost estimation reports to automatically create bid proposals.

Who should use this software: Civil engineers and contractors who want a cost estimation tool that also helps in tracking project progress with detailed reports.

McCormick Estimating Software

Rating: 4.44 out of 5 stars

Reviews: 96


Performing digital takeoff in McCormick (Source)

McCormick offers features such as automated takeoff of AutoCAD drawings or images in different file formats (.pdf, .png., etc.), digital estimating dashboards with trade-specific cost database integrations, and documentation tools for change order management. Additionally, the tool supports third-party integrations with solutions such as QuickBooks and Sage 300 Construction.

Key feature: Its built-in integration with electrical equipment pricing databases such as NetPricer and Trade Service.

Who should use this software: Electrical contractors looking for an estimating solution that comes with built-in integration with trade-specific cost databases.

Ready to give one of these products a try?

Each of the seven tools mentioned in this report come highly rated by Software Advice users. However, if you’re finding it difficult to zero in on a particular product, don’t worry, we have you covered!

Just fill this short form to set up a no-obligation, free consultation call with a construction software expert at Software Advice. They can guide you in finding the tool that best suits your specific business needs.

We also recommend that you explore and compare different construction estimating software vendors that offer free trials of their software. For a curated list of popular construction estimating solutions click here.