The Case for Digital Construction Estimating
Updated: Dec 20, 2022
Making the switch from pen and paper estimating to digital estimating can seem daunting and unnecessary for contractors who are running their own businesses. In this blog post, we are going to discuss how imperative digital estimating actually is to set your contracting business up for long term success. At PataBid, we often refer to construction estimating as the tip of the construction arrow. In this analogy, the project management team is responsible for the longest part of the arrow: the execution. However, the effectiveness of the project management team is largely determined by the tip of the arrow: the project estimate. An accurate or inaccurate estimate has the ability to set a job up for success or failure.
We are firm advocates of contractors making the switch to digital estimating. Yes, this is partially due to the fact that we produce a mechanical and electrical estimating software platform. However, our advocacy for digital estimating extends past our own products for contractors. It stems from seeing the potential for the construction industry to be revolutionized through the adoption of digital estimating practices. Going digital is the future of construction estimating for large contracting companies, as well as small contracting companies. The benefits of making the switch to digital amount to an overall increase in professionalism for your contracting business.
Recently, PataBid's CTO and co-founder, Melvin Newman, wrote an article on the case for contractors going digital with their estimating practices. According to Melvin, "using a digital format completely removes the [cost to print drawings] and the associated time delay in waiting for the prints. Along with the cost savings, digital files are far easier to store for future reference then paper copies that take up much more space and are typically lost." (Newman, 2022, para. 5) Save money not printing paper drawings that easily get lost.
In addition to savings associated with not printing drawings, digital estimating offers contractors multiple ways to automate mundane tasks like takeoff and material pricing. Furthermore, Melvin notes that "the key advantage to a properly built estimating platform is that it will automate a lot of these manual estimating steps. These steps are simple to complete in theory but are prone to errors when pen and paper estimating methods are used. A well designed electrical estimating software platform will perform these basic calculations instantly as the estimate is being assembled." (Newman, 2022, para. 11) The process of takeoff in construction estimating usually takes 90% of the time to complete on an estimate, and only accounts for 10-20% of the total cost of the job. Automating takeoff increases productivity while estimating. Digital estimating platforms such as PataBid Quantify mitigate estimating risks with automated features that ensure your bids are quick and accurate.
A third reason to consider switching to digital estimating is to safeguard and centralize your estimating data. Rather than searching for bid documents and material quotes weeks or months after a job is awarded, a digital estimating software solution allows contractors to keep all bid documents in one primary location for easy reference. Melvin says that "a digital electrical estimating software like PataBid Quantify will also centralize and store all your information regarding your estimates. This ensures that a contractor will never lose their data. Estimating data is crucial to a contracting business’s future growth." (Newman, 2022, para. 13)
To conclude, there are numerous reasons to switch to digital estimating for your contracting business. A financial investment in a mechanical/electrical estimating software is a small sacrifice to make to ensure your jobs are always predictable and profitable. Whether you choose to use PataBid's innovative estimating software for electrical/mechanical contractors or another software solution, go digital. Research the available digital estimating software options and find the solution that fits with your contracting business. Ensure that your selected digital estimating platform has automated features, document storage and an intuitive workflow. Choose to utilize a digital estimating software platform rather than manual pen and paper methods for construction estimating. For more resources on digital estimating for contractors, check out PataBid's Youtube channel or recent podcast discussions on the topic. Or connect with us directly to see if PataBid's mechanical/electrical estimating software is the right fit for your business.
As a final thought, remember that the overarching goal of digital estimating adoption is to sharpen the tip of the construction arrow to set your jobs, and your contracting business, up for continued success.