Construction software is something that any construction business will consider. One of the most important aspects of any construction software package is its estimating component. Contractors looking to preserve money and tighten workflows often choose estimating first; its a central part of a construction business and is critical to a business owner’s success. The first question you should ask is how the construction software in question handles estimating.
Construction estimating software starts with the basic architecture of the estimate. Some software packages will use a multi-tiered system while others will use a single-tiered, list-style system. 3-tiered means the system consists of three types of groupings: Categories, Subcategories and Items. Within a tier there might be multiple columns that track various costs, producton rates, labor rates and more.
Construction software that is fast and easy to use should derive from a central costbook or database of pricing information. Whether this information is supplied by the contractor or by the construction software provider is up to you. This database acts as an eternal record of items and their prices, providing contractors with a baseline cost that allows valuable analysis to be performed after a project is finished and actual costs have been collected.
When building a construction project’s estimate, items are selected and pulled from this central database. Prices, item names and item descriptions can be changed on-the-fly in a project estimate without affecting the database (meaning no bouncing back between the database and the project estimate).
An important feature of the database is its customizability. The ideal software should provide users with a multi-category database, but also offer users with an option to customize it.The end result? After a little tailoring, users have a customized costbook built specifically for their company. This type of feature is a key component of many modern construction estimating software packages. One popular offering that has this feature is JetStream construction software.
One of the primary problems builders face with estimating is the double entry that often occurs between their estimates (normally spreadsheets) and their accounting system. This double entry is time consuming and opens builders up to costly mistakes. Good construction estimating software offers integration options for such accounting systems.
Contractors looking to run a tighter ship typically turn to construction estimating software first. Use these guidelines to choose the best construction software for your business.

Jake is a construction software specialist with 13 years of experience in software design and consulting.

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