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Top Six Reasons to Use Cloud-Based Electrical Estimating Software

by Chris Lee | July 31st, 2019

You can click a button on your phone to order a product and track it every step of the way until the moment it shows up at your door. You can grocery shop online. You can see what millions of people are talking about at any second of the day. 

So why are you spending days bidding and estimating your projects using paper plans, spreadsheets and whiteboards? 

Enter —  electrical estimating software

Cloud-based estimating software solutions are revolutionizing the construction industry. Traditional estimation management systems, like McCormick or Conest or old paper-based processes won’t cut it anymore. Not if you want to beat out your competitors at least.  Because even companies like Procore are digitizing the project and plan management tools (and they’re cranking out bids twice as fast). 

With modern estimating solutions, an electrical estimator no longer has to wait in line at the local print shop just to get the plans for a project. An estimating program gives you access to real-time updates with a few clicks from the office, at home or while walking a job. It makes it unbelievably easy to share the project with fellow electrical estimators or other team members. The accessibility of takeoff software and collaborative estimating systems is significantly reducing the time it takes to estimate a project and arrive at a sales price.

Wrapped up into a few words — electrical estimating software helps subcontractors estimate and bid projects faster, and therefore get more jobs in less time

In this blog, we’ll talk about the benefits of using on-screen takeoff and electrical estimating software, including: improved team collaboration, real-time estimation management tools, increased bids per week, and improved accuracy with material prices (plus labor units), invoicing, and job management. This is your chance 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.

  1. Lower Total Cost of Ownership
  2. Team Collaboration
  3. Access Anywhere, Anytime, On Any Device
  4. Simple Implementation
  5. Low Operational Costs
  6. Cloud-Based

Let’s dig in!

A Quick Look at Free Estimating Software Packages

A Level Playing Field

With the explosive growth in cloud-based technology, applications are cheaper than ever, and are only getting more cost effective daily. Up until a few years ago, applications didn't have the ability to be built to scale on cloud infrastructure. This improvement in the technology of cloud-based applications 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.

Just look at the number of contractors walking into meetings armed with iPads and project management software like Procore or PlanGrid. And, unlike ever before, they can quickly review the latest drawings, annotate a change, plot pictures for punch lists and keep their entire team on the same page, all in real-time.

Decrease Operational Costs

With cloud-based electrical estimating software, all you need is to harness the internet connection and internet-ready devices you already own to access your estimating system. Without the additional hassle of traditional estimation methods, you're able to focus on estimating electrical projects, closing out jobs and being the best electrical contractor in your service area. 

The alternative? Spending operational funds on server hardware, annual maintenance and heavy upfront license fees for traditional project management software. And don’t forget the third-party databases that are required to run the software. 

Let’s face it! If you’re an electrical contractor, you would rather spend your time chasing projects, winning bids and successfully completing projects, not worrying about an expensive IT infrastructure and making sure it’s available to your team.

Greater Team Collaboration 

Modern technology has introduced new ways for electricians to collaborate with fellow electrical estimators, project managers, accounting and general contractors to streamline the estimating process

Imagine, after you've performed a quantity takeoff, being able to assign the project along with mark-ups and notes to another team member or project manager to double check your counts and ensure you have an accurate estimate while you work on material pricing or labor units. 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. 

What's better? Instead of having to email Microsoft Excel files back and forth with team members, and walk over a dusty set of printed paper plans, you can do it all in one place from anywhere. 

And that brings us to the next massive benefit.

Real-Time Access Anywhere, Anytime, On Any Device 

Today's electrical estimator can no longer afford to be confined to a desk or papers with their estimation management software. They need to access project information anytime, anywhere, and on any device. 

General Contractors and customers have information available at their fingertips, and they expect the same of the electrical contracting partners they work with. A cloud-based program offers user-friendly access to plans, electrical estimates, change orders, and pricing services 24/7 — 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?

Cloud Based Software for Simpler Implementation

You're an electrical contractor, not an IT specialist. You're concern concern should be getting your bids out the door, having the best bid, and winning the bid.

You don't have the time or resources to pull staff into a training room to spend weeks installing and learning how to use complicated on-premise estimating systems. Likely, you also 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 only require a simple login and a quick upload of 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. 

What many contractors would be pleasantly surprised to know, is that using cloud-based estimating systems not only saves time and money in the long-run, but is incredibly simple and easy to implement. 

Greater Accessibility to Cloud-Based Resources

Another often overlooked aspect of cloud applications is the sheer power they provide users in the form of computing hardware. 

Because SaaS providers leverage an almost unlimited number of powerful web and database servers, you have extensive access to computing resources that traditional server based software cannot compete with head to head. 

So what does this mean for you?

Powerful features like symbol recognition, auto-count, snappy on screen takeoffs, calculating labor units and profit margin are faster than their server-based counterparts. When a heavy query is executed, the cloud has the ability to automatically reallocate hardware resources for a more responsive, real-time experience. 

Esticom as Your All-In-One Bid Management and Estimation Software Solution

Times are changing in the construction industry for the better. You can have access to world-class electrical estimating software for a fraction of the cost of traditional server-based applications. Not to mention, you'll save time and have fewer headaches with the ease of use

Gone are the days of having to rely on paper plans, PDFs, and Excel spreadsheets. If you would like to test drive Esticom’s world-class electrical estimating software, you can sign-up for a 14-day evaluation here.

Chris Lee
Chris Lee has an extensive background in preconstruction management as a former specialty contractor and business owner. As the Chief Estimator at Esticom, he’s helped thousands of specialty contractors digitize their preconstruction process to increase revenue and profitability while decreasing unnecessary overhead.

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