Can Electrical Takeoff Software Really Save My Company Time and Money?
The expression “time is money” seems to be especially true in electrical contracting. You spend a lot of time in the office working on estimates when you need to be working in the field, but if you don’t, you can’t be assured that you’ll have a new project once the current one is completed. It can become a vicious cycle. Fortunately, electrical takeoff software can help you not only save time, but save money as well. Here’s a quick look at the many ways this type of software can make your overall operation more efficient.
Reduce Time Spent in Takeoffs
Takeoffs can take forever, and because the time isn’t billable, it’s more overhead you need to price into your projects. Going back and forth from plans to lists or spreadsheets takes a lot of patience and time, especially when office distractions or contacts from clients make you lose your place. How much easier is it to just import or digitize your project plans, get your count and measurements done on the same page and not have to endlessly go back and forth between windows? What if you could work with a system that automatically contacts suppliers via email to request fresh prices? Do you have common assemblies that require counting every single piece? If so, takeoff software that allows you to create customized assemblies makes this process much easier, automatically adding related components with a single click.
Avoid Serious Mistakes
When your customers are counting pennies, a simple mistake can quickly turn your project from profitable to pitiful. Whether it’s an error or change in a formula, miscount on an item, working with an old price list or any number of other potential problems with your estimating process, mistakes cost you big bucks. When you use electrical takeoff software, those potential issues and the associated risk are reduced to a bare minimum. Same-window layouts allow you to quickly go back and forth from count to recording without losing your place. Price databases that are updated automatically give you accurate costs on the materials you need. High quality estimating software even gives you the option of checking your quote against national averages, giving you a sanity check on your numbers before you submit your estimate.
Collaborate on Your Timeframe
If you’ve been in the field for any length of time, you probably making emails, phone calls and even office stops to collaborate on points on the blueprints. Fortunately, those days can stay in the past. Imagine being able to assign specific tasks to your team members, posting notes on the estimate file or leaving questions on the blueprints where it’s easy to find the area that is in question. Notes and blueprints are available for easy reference wherever you’re at, so that you can ensure that tricky bit of electrical work is done correctly without having to spend a lot of time waiting on answers.
Reduce Back-Office Tasks
Of course, even after your estimate is complete, it’s still pretty common to have to spend some time on back office tasks, such as accounting, marketing or customer service. One mis-keyed price and suddenly you’re dealing with a customer service headache instead of getting the job done. When you use good electrical takeoff software, those potential mistakes are removed from possibility and you can greatly reduce the amount and cost of back office work. Once you’ve finished with your project estimate, you can export the file to a compatible accounting system like Quickbooks. This helps automate the process and reduce the amount of manual data entry required to get the job done.
Find Your Most Profitable Project
What jobs make your company the most money? If you knew, you could focus on bidding on those types of projects. Modern analytics incorporated into quality electrical takeoff software looks at your projects, including how much materials had cost, the amount of labor involved and similar data. It then analyzes this information and can turn it around so that you can see whether small residential structures, industrial complexes or office buildings are the best bet for your company’s skill set and experience.
Get Work Done Where You Are
Telecommuting used to mean having a second copy of everything – your blueprints, your computer programs, your tech assets. Fortunately, advances in digitization is making it easier than ever to work where you are, whether it’s across town waiting on a doctor’s appointment or around the world on an extended vacation in Japan. Cloud-based mobile technology makes it easy to tweak your numbers from your phone for a final estimate or to check that twitchy part of the plans on your ruggedized tablet while on a ladder at the job site.
Make Marketing Easy
With today’s customer-centric approach to business, marketing is essential to your company’s success. Without it, your company will miss out on a wide range of projects. But it can take time. Fortunately, the automation options available in good electrical takeoff software makes it easy to keep up with your customers without spending a lot of time on the process. You can pre-plan your marketing contacts for an initial contact, surveys after the project and follow-up emails to help them keep your business in mind when they need more work done or someone asks for a referral.
When you digitize your contracting business with high-quality electrical takeoff software, you can quickly gain time and improve profits without a big investment. As it ties your business together from the crew in the field to the accounting office, you can get more done and enjoy your free time without having to worry over the details. Esticom has developed a comprehensive package that provides virtually every tool and feature that you want to keep your business rolling successfully. Why not give our free electrical takeoff software trial a try to see where a quality estimating package takes you?
As a former Director of Sales & Estimating, Chris Lee has over 10 years of experience building high performance sales and estimating teams focused on increasing revenue and profit by winning large commercial projects