While advances in technology and software systems support better business practices, we question whether they also bring with them some downfalls.
Below we explore the pros and cons of using estimating software in construction. First, the pros:
Most, if not all, businesses today use some form of software and technology to streamline their processes. These are designed to boost efficiency, save time and money.
The construction industry is no different. Estimating software can reduce incidents of human error and alleviate manual entry of tasks.
The construction industry is a competitive market, and for builders to stay in the game, they need to be able to quote and estimate accurately. By using estimating software, the contractor can pinpoint labour costs, volume of materials needed, and most importantly, the overall selling price.
Assuring the accuracy of project bids, time and time again, is the best part of using estimating software.
Comparing similar projects, drawing up timeframes and cost-cutting measures based on past builds are other revolutionary features.
Estimating software also assists in measuring the delivery time of materials, and has allowed contractors to manage and schedule their labour more effectively. This information outlines what materials, equipment and labour resources will be needed, and prevents wasted energy resources. These savings translate positively for the client.
Project management is a huge part of any construction, and when not carried out professionally, the entire process becomes messy. When it's problematic, there can be significant labour delays and errors with materials.
Estimating software can smooth out the cracks, and prevent cracks from forming in the first place.
Estimating software also establishes a sense of professionalism on the job. The software maximises profits and ensures contractors are running a tight ship. Having software in place means contractors can utilise the information for sales documents and presentations. Contractors also have the flexibility to adjust labour and resources immediately.
So we've seen some of the great benefits of estimating software, now what about the cons?
Estimating software isn’t cheap, so you’ve got to be prepared to invest in the technology. The software can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars, to a few thousand dollars. While the investment will be worth it in the end, new customers will need to budget for it.
Like learning anything, getting up-to-speed with the ins and outs of your estimating software will take time. If you’re a busy business, this extra effort could be seen as a hindrance at first.
Getting your team on-board with the software will also take some time. You may have some very tech-savvy people among you, or those who may struggle. Again, this means you’ll have to spend more time working with the technology you adopt to ensure you capitalise on your investment.
Before you invest, check that your software provider offers technical support, as it can be a lifesaver in times of confusion.
Technology moves fast; so does the construction industry. Why this proves to be a problem is because not all providers push out regular updates to their software. While some will offer upgrades or updates, some may not, which means your software will become redundant over time.
By Jason Hook
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