Buying Your Best Construction Bidding Software
February 04, 2021
Construction estimates are one of those things that have to be as accurate as possible. And when assembling a bid for large infrastructure or public works projects, the stakes are even higher with more strict requirements to meet. Construction bidding software, also often known as construction estimating software, is a time-saving tool that helps streamline the often-complex process of producing project cost and schedule estimates with a high degree of accuracy, while ensuring no detail is overlooked.
Many bidding software options are available in the market, each with different sets of features and capabilities. If you’re considering investing in such technology, here are some features to look for that may help you make the best buying decision for your company and the projects you take on.
Databases to store historical and industry data. These allow you to leverage the goldmine of past project data you can use when logging per-unit costs, timelines and work hours. In the absence of prior numbers, accessing current industry costs — for craftspeople, suppliers and materials, for example — can help fill in the gap.
Integration with other software. Much of the construction data you use is found in commonly used programs, such as traditional computer spreadsheets and. Being able to import and export information with these programs saves valuable time re-entering data so you can produce bids more quickly. If you do use other software that you intend to share data with, ensure they are compatible with your chosen construction bidding software, so nothing is lost in transition.
Reporting. Do your clients like regular updates? Do you send progress reports on labor and materials costs more broadly? This is a must-have feature to help streamline producing and distributing reports to those who need it. You’ll be able to create more visually digestible information for quick analysis and data-driven decision-making.
Takeoff database or library. This will allow you to upload digital blueprints from which to pull data to calculate labor and materials needed to complete a project, as well as their associated costs. Once you save the resulting takeoffs into a database or library within your construction bidding software, they become an indispensable reference for future bids. Based on what is requested in the bid package, refer back to the library as a rich source from which to pull quantities and costs of materials. Importing these historical data sets can yield a highly informed bid without having to reinvent the wheel each time.
What-if scenario capabilities. Just as details can change during the course of a build, they can also change during the bid process as contractors come back with modifications in scope that will require re-examining their impact on costs and timelines. Running what-if analyses provides a way to easily and quickly compare the effects of these changes. So, for example, you can show what happens when you swap out materials, account for unexpected risks such as supply chain disruption, or simply want to proactively present options for the client to consider when submitting your bid.
Workflow management. Assembling a bid is a team effort, and requires careful coordination of the process, particularly if one person’s input is dependent on another entering theirs. With multiple people contributing to the construction bid, you might look for a solution with task alert and checkoff capabilities to keep the bid development process moving along smoothly and reduce bottlenecks that can slow down the workflow. Workflow management adds accountability to the process. This can make a big difference when you’re submitting a proposal for large-scale projects.
Timely support. Construction doesn’t adhere to a 9-5 schedule, so neither should your software providers. Having support — self-service and full-service — when you need it can come in handy if you run into any software questions or interface hiccups. Do you have projects that run late into the evening, overnight or on weekends? Then 24/7 customer service support by phone or live online chat is going to be invaluable if and when you most need them. Do you anticipate a higher learning curve for staff or craftspeople who may have been using computer-based spreadsheet programs exclusively? Remote or in-person training can most benefit those for whom the technology is new, especially if the software may seem a bit puzzling initially. Or, if most everyone is generally familiar with how construction bidding software works, then on-demand tutorials or webinars for self-paced learning or a content refresher could be just what you need.
Construction bidding software helps you create the accurate bid proposals so you can secure more wins. That’s what InEight Estimate does for you. Feature-rich and user-friendly, this software helps you assemble standardized, accurate bids with ease to make your job a whole lot simpler. And that can give you more confidence and certainty in your bids.