Why Should I Update from Excel to a Construction Estimating Software?

Jul 7, 2022 7:28:58 AM

There are many construction companies out there using Excel to calculate quotes, and many have been doing it for a very long time.

 

If you’re one of them, you’re probably very comfortable with your spreadsheets and your system. However, it still might be time to change, and there are a few very good reasons why.

 

Security

 

The first reason why you should upgrade from Excel to construction estimating software is security.

 

Not only is it very easy for anyone to access your Excel spreadsheets, but they are also vulnerable to things like ransomware attacks. If you store your Excel files locally and don’t back them up, you’re also only one failed hard drive away from disaster.

 

You can even lose Excel files accidentally if someone deletes them or corrupts them without realizing it.

 

Of course, there are some security measures you could use, like password protection and limiting access to the folders where you store these files, but none of them are even close to offering enterprise-level security – which is what you need when you’re dealing with complex financial information!

 

If you thought you were immune to cybercrime because you have a small business, think again. The FBI has confirmed that small businesses are the most frequent cybercrime target, and in 2020, this kind of crime cost $2.7 billion!

 

Accuracy

 

If you’ve ever worked in a spreadsheet that didn’t have “precision as displayed” turned on, you know that Excel doesn’t handle decimals very well. At least, not well enough to be an accurate estimating system.

 

Even if you’ve turned on features like precision as displayed, there’s always a chance that somewhere, somehow, a formula will become corrupted, and it will stop working as intended. Unless you’re manually checking every calculation, it could be a long time before you find the problem, and by then, you could have lost a lot of money!

 

Excel is a fantastic, flexible tool that can do incredible things. But there’s always the risk of human error. A price entered incorrectly or the wrong cell reference is all it takes to create a catastrophe.

 

Flexibility

 

Even if you have above-average Excel skills, there’s a good chance you have more than one spreadsheet that you use for different kinds of calculations. That’s fairly normal. It’s very hard to build a spreadsheet that can do everything you need.

 

Every time you want to do something new or different, you need to create a new spreadsheet, which takes time, and there are often teething problems.

 

Construction estimating software is designed to be flexible, and once it’s set up, it’s easy to create estimates for nearly any kind of job you want to price. Sometimes, estimates only take minutes!

 

When you use commercial estimating software, you never have to reinvent the wheel again, so you save time and effort.

excel construction estimate

 

Collaboration

 

Cloud-based construction estimating software makes it easy for different members of your team to collaborate on projects.

 

Estimators can easily create new quotes, customers can accept them in real-time, and you can send material lists and other information directly to your crews on site.

 

Instead of folders full of tattered printouts and obsolete versions of documents, construction estimating software ensures everyone is always on the same page.

 

Integration

 

If you’re like most companies these days, you probably use other types of software already. Maybe you have an accounting package like QuickBooks, and maybe you also use a CRM.

 

Unfortunately, if you are using Excel for estimating and billing, you’re going to have to re-enter everything more than once!

 

Good construction estimating software packages these days plug directly into your accounting package. This means your financial information will always be transferred automatically. Many accounting packages also connect directly to CRM systems, so you can push new customer information to your sales team, too – all without even clicking a button.

 

The simple fact is that the more human interaction there is with any data or information, the more chance there is someone will make a mistake. So, using construction estimating software that integrates automatically not only makes things easier but also helps to prevent mistakes too.

The best thing about modern software integration is that if you use the right kinds of software, it’s all done for you. Connecting the different platforms is as easy as clicking a button.

 

Professionalism

 

No matter what business you’re in, presentation matters. Some might even say that it matters more in the construction world because customers are going to assume that your quotes are a reflection of the work you do.

 

While Excel-based quotes are definitely a step up from handwritten ones, they’re still quite limited in terms of presentation. On the other hand, some construction estimating software packages include images, detailed descriptions and more. So prospective clients can not only read your quote but visualize what it will do to their home too.

 

Estimator Training

 

If your construction business is doing well, at some point, you will have to hire new estimators. Even if you’re hiring experienced and trained estimators, if you’re using a patchwork of homemade spreadsheets to do your estimating, there’s a good chance you will still struggle to train them.

 

Construction estimating software is easier to master, and there’s technical support and training when you need it. So, it’s quicker and easier to onboard new estimators on your team.

Since some recent estimates put the cost of onboarding new employees upward of $4,000, anything you can do to make the hiring process more successful will save you time and money.

 

Consistency

 

If you’re using prebuilt spreadsheets for your estimating needs, you probably have some kind of continuity to your estimates. However, some are not enough.

 

One of the most powerful tools in an estimator’s arsenal is a library of historical quotes and tenders. The ones you didn’t get will tell you when your prices were too high, and the ones that you did get (and the project data) will tell you whether that kind of job is profitable for your company.

 

Being able to access quote data quickly and view key information about your estimating history in detail is one of the best ways to increase your accepted quote rate. When you use construction estimating software, you can access that information quickly and easily without needing to search hundreds or even thousands of files.

 

A Fantastic Investment

 

The reality is the points we’ve mentioned here are just a few of the reasons why you should consider switching from Excel to a proper construction estimating software.

 

Think of it as a tool. Instead of using the old, broken-down tool that needs a break every half hour, you invest in a top-of-the-line version that gets the job done faster, better, and safer. Construction estimating software is the same. You could keep struggling with the old system you’ve been using, but it’s a lot harder to take your business to the next level.

 

In many cases, depending on where your business is located, specialist software like construction estimating software might even be a tax deduction. So, you can take it off your corporate tax bill every year.

 

If you’re still not convinced that it’s time to make the switch from Excel to construction estimating software, why not see for yourself? CostCertified offers free, no-obligation demos, so you can see our system in action, ask every question you might have, and see if it’s really worth all the hype.

 

We’re sure you will find that it is, but don’t take our word for it. Contact our team to book your demo now!