With so many factors to keep in mind, it can be difficult to choose the right estimating software. Luckily, Web-based CTS (www.ctsguides.com/construction.asp) has done the research, reviewing, and evaluating for you. Sheldon Needle, CTS president, gave us a list of the top four features to look for in estimating software.

  • User-friendliness — Estimating software should be user-friendly for the novice estimator and include plenty of ease-of-use features like quick copy for the creation of new job estimates based on existing bids. “The program should be Windows-based with intuitive navigation and easy-to-read screens,” Needle says.

  • Database flexibility — Having the ability to create a stable and comprehensive database is key when evaluating software packages, as it will save time in future estimates. “With a stable database, the bidding process and proposal format will be standardized because similar elements will be used in each estimate,” Needle says.

  • Security — The capability for one user to make a change without affecting the entire system is also a must-have. “It's important to be able to secure your database across all users so that alterations made by one estimator for a single job are not changed globally,” Needle says.

  • Good reporting — Estimating software should deliver comprehensive and flexible reporting. “Extension reports and bid summaries must be available to review for accuracy or be modified as needed before the final estimate is created,” Needle says.