Top Six Reasons to Use Cloud-Based Electrical Estimating Software
Why Cloud-Based Electrical Estimating Software?
The construction industry is currently going through a digital revolution and transformation. Old paper based processes that have been used for the past hundred years are moving to a modern digitized workflow. Companies such as Procore, PlanGrid and BuildingConnected are digitizing the way project management, plan management and even the way general contractors are sending out bid requests to subcontractors. The collaborative power of the cloud and mobile devices is transforming construction management with ease of use and always available data, and now electrical and low voltage contractors big and small are replacing printed paper plans, highlighters, and scale masters with slick 27” dual monitors, iPads and smart phones. Takeoff software and collaborative estimating systems that are always accessible are creating significant reductions in the time it takes to estimate a project. The modern electrical estimator no longer has to wait in line at the local print shop or grab coffee while he waits on his office plotter to warm up to get a bid out. The best part, they can access their estimating program from the office, at home or while walking a job and easily share the project with a counterpart from their estimating team or manager. What is surprising is that you can do this for less than the cost to printing.
In this blog we’ll talk about the benefits of using a modern cloud-based on screen takeoff and electrical estimating software used to improve team collaboration, estimating speed, accuracy and to finally put those old paper based processes, clunky server based electrical estimating programs and free electrical estimating spreadsheets out to pasture where they belong.
- Lower Total Cost of Ownership
- Team Collaboration
- Access Anywhere, Anytime, Any Device
- Simple Implementation
- Low Operational Costs
Lower Total Cost of Ownership
With the explosive growth in cloud-computing and SaaS based applications it’s getting cheaper and cheaper for application providers to offer low cost service based solutions. This is because those applications are being built to scale on cloud infrastructure not available even a few years ago. This has leveled the playing field for small and medium sized electrical contractors allowing them to compete with larger electrical contractors because they can now afford the same set of estimating tools. This has made traditional software almost impractical in other industries and it’s now starting to show in the construction industry. Just look at the number of contractors walking into meetings armed with iPads that have popular project management software like Procore or PlanGrid installed and being able to quickly review the latest drawings, annotate a change, plot pictures for punch lists and keep their entire team on the same page
The cloud has introduced new ways to collaborate with fellow electrical estimators, project management, office managers, accounting and general contractors to streamline the estimating process. Imagine after you perform a quantity takeoff being able to assign the project along with mark-ups and notes to a counterpart to double check your counts to ensure you have an accurate estimate while you work on material pricing. Or once the project is awarded giving the project management and accounting teams access to create purchase orders, schedule resources and create any change orders that come up without emailing microsoft excel files back and forth and walking over a dusty set of printed paper plans.
Access Anywhere, Anytime, Any Device
Today’s electrical estimator can no longer afford to have limited access to estimating software when they aren’t in the office. General Contractors and customers have information available at their fingertips and they expect the same of the electrical contracting partners they work with regularly. The cloud gives user friendly access to plans, estimates, change orders, and pricing services 24 hours a day and 7 days a week from any internet connected device. Imagine the level of customer support you’ll provide just from this alone. Gone are the days of PC-only electrical estimating software. Electrical estimating software for the Mac, iPad, or PC is just a web-browser away. Did you know cloud based applications have a significant increase in uptime as compared to in house managed applications?
You’re an electrical contractor, not IT specialists and you do not have the resources to pull staff into a training room to spend weeks installing and learning how to use complicated on-premise estimating software. You don’t have the IT staff or budget to run servers, databases, and the infrastructure to make sure your estimating systems are operational and available to your electrical estimators, project management and other staff members. Cloud based estimating systems are already deployed and only require that you login and upload some plans to begin estimating a project. In many cases, you can try the product out before you purchase to make sure it’s a good fit.
Low Operational Costs
With cloud based electrical estimating software, all you need is an internet connection and internet ready devices you already own to access your estimating system. This allows you to focus on estimating electrical projects, closing out jobs and being the best electrical contractor in your service area, versus spending operational funds on server hardware, annual maintenance and heavy upfront license fees for traditional estimating software. And don’t forget the third party databases that are required to run the software. Let’s face it, you’re an electrical contractor and I’m sure you would rather spend your time chasing projects, winning bids and successfully completing projects versus worrying about an expensive IT infrastructure and making sure it’s available to your team.
Another often overlooked aspect of cloud applications is the sheer power that is provided to users in the form of computing hardware. Because SaaS providers leverage an almost unlimited number powerful web and database servers you have a large amount of computing resources at your fingertips that traditional server based software cannot compete with head to head. This makes powerful features like symbol recognition, auto-count, snappy on screen takeoffs and calculating labor units and profit margin faster than their server based counterparts. When a heavy query is executed the cloud automatically reallocates hardware resources to the task to make it happen much faster.
In conclusion, times are changing in construction and for the better. You can have access to world class electrical estimating software for a fraction of the cost of traditional server based applications with a lot less headaches. Gone are the days of having to rely on printer paper plans, excel spreadsheets and clunky old win 32 clients that look like they were built 40 years ago and never updated again. If you would like to test drive Esticom’s world class electrical estimating software you can sign-up for a 14-day evaluation here.
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