Read Time: Less than 6 Mins Last Modified: March 30th, 2024

There are plenty of ‘don’ts’ when shopping around for estimating software: you don’t want it to cost too much, you don’t want a restrictive usage agreement, and you don’t want a limited license.

Caught up in what they should avoid, estimators often forget some key elements that they do want in their new software package.

Here’s the thing, not every estimating software is created equal. Some software companies invest in their products: they provide training, are interested in continual development, and are hyper-aware of user experience. Other companies… just don’t.

UG to Estimating

To optimize their estimating process, estimators should select software that is supported by the company that created it. That way, if questions or problems arise, they can be confident they’ll receive the support they need.

There are three “areas of investment” that estimators in the market for estimating software should look for as they compare different product options. These are:

  1. Training
  2. Local Support
  3. Regular Updates

These elements may not be the first thing an estimator thinks to consider when purchasing software, but their availability will have a great impact on their experience. Below, we’ve outlined why they should be at the forefront of your mind when selecting software.

Construction Software Training

Construction projects are complex. Takeoff and estimating software must be able to handle the calculations that come with determining exactly how much material, labor, and time it will take to complete a given job.

Even though many of the software options created for the construction industry are marketed as “user-friendly,” proper training is almost always required in order to utilize these tools to their full potential. With this in mind, it is imperative to select a software company that offers comprehensive training and resources to its users. This not only enhances efficiency but also reduces the risk of costly errors in your project estimates.

Consider even a basic, generic estimating software, like spreadsheets. They’re simple, right? Digital spreadsheets are used by thousands of estimators for everything from project management and budgeting to resource allocation, data analysis, and modeling.

But that’s not all spreadsheets can do! In fact, some spreadsheet software programs have over 450 functions[1] — just imagine what estimators who don’t bother to expand their spreadsheet competencies could be missing out on!

The same can be said for construction takeoff and estimating software — until an estimator receives proper training, there’s no way for them to know what functionalities they’re overlooking.

A software company should provide a variety of training resources, including:

  • in-person classes
  • virtual workshops
  • video tutorials
  • webinars

Access to a variety of training materials helps to ensure your team is empowered to choose the method that best suits their learning style. Further, each medium provides different benefits to the user. For example, in-person classes provide users with access to the team members who created the software, and tutorials can be accessed at any time or when they’re needed most.

When everyone is properly trained on the software, the team can work cohesively, and the software can be used efficiently and effectively.

 Accessible, Locally Based Support for Construction Software

Even after your team is properly trained and adept at using the estimating software, questions will inevitably arise over time.

This is where dependable, accessible support becomes a lifeline. When you buy new software, you don’t know what troubles you’ll encounter until it’s implemented (think: trying to access the cloud for the first time, syncing data from your previous software, or your first time managing a bigger project).

There are several advantages to using regionally based support:

  1. Regionality: Consider this “home court advantage:” You’ll have a team that understands the intricacies and nuances of where you work. They’ll be well-versed in your area’s regulations, codes, and industry best practices.
  2. Accessibility: When your team encounters an issue or is left with a pressing question, you need quick, efficient support to keep the job moving. A support team based in your home country is more likely to have hours of operation within or near your time zone.
  3. Language: A support team based near you is more likely to be proficient in your country’s native language, reducing language barriers and increasing efficiency. Local support teams may even offer translators or have support members who are proficient in other languages that are common in your region. For example, a Texas-based support team may offer support in Spanish, as 28.78% of Texas’s population is Spanish-speaking.[2]

Remember, a reliable software company will provide not only phone and email support but also online chats, knowledge bases, and community forums. This variety helps to ensure you can obtain assistance in the manner that best supports you and your team.

Regular Construction Software Updates

The construction industry is ever-evolving. Estimators regularly see innovation in materials, building techniques, and code regulations. In order to stay ahead in this dynamic environment, your estimating software must adapt to these changes by receiving regular updates. With these consistent updates, you can be confident that your software will grow with the industry.

Another benefit to regular updates is that users can be assured any bugs will be worked out. Well-supported software also receives regular cyber updates to ensure data protection.

Standard updates might include things like new features, refined algorithms, greater integrations, and rectified compatibility issues.

New features may include updated labor and material databases. Refined algorithms can help estimators complete takeoff faster. With extra integrations, estimators can sync their estimating software with the other software they use to run their business — creating an efficient tech stack.

Updates can also include critical security enhancements. We are in a digital era of ever-present cyber threats, and a reliable software provider who releases new security updates is essential to protecting both your data and business.

Go Above And Beyond With Construction Estimating Software For Your Business

Your choice of estimating software can be your trusted partner in winning bids and working profitable jobs. Opting for estimating software that supports you through training, local support, and regular updates can be a crucial investment in your business’s future success.

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The EDGE® offers in-person training for deep dives into the product, live support from a team of experts, frequent updates for industry-leading features, and so much more! The EDGE is a cloud-based digital takeoff and estimating software for the acoustical, flooring, drywall, painting, EIFS, roofing, fireproofing, wall panels, and waterproofing trades.

Ready to learn more? Click Here to schedule a free demo with our construction estimating software experts to see how The EDGE can benefit your business.