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Reviews

Best Construction Estimating Software

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Without the speed and accuracy of construction estimating software, you could spend hours crunching numbers only to land on something close. But in such a competitive field, guessing isn’t good enough. After testing and researching the top estimating software tools on the market, Stack is our top pick. It offers all-inclusive packages for subcontractors, general contractors, and suppliers that play nicely together. All without sacrificing functionality and ease of use.

The Best Construction Estimating Software for Most

Stack Logo

Stack

Best for Most

Whether you're a general contractor, a subcontractor, or a supplier, Stack offers specialized solutions with all the features you need to match how you do business. All plans come with award-winning 24/7 customer support. Paid plans start at $1,999 per year for one full-access user.

Estimate too high and you’ll never win any bids. Swing too low and you’ll force yourself out of business with unprofitable projects or deliver low-quality work to squeeze everything in before it’s due. Thankfully there’s a better way. Stack revolutionizes the guessing game for general contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers. Stack doesn’t skimp out on any of the details and comes as a comprehensive package regardless of where your team falls in a project’s timeline.

From collaborating internally to managing dozens of subcontractors or supplying materials and parts, you get all the communication, document organization, and estimating tools you need to ensure profitability and on-time projects every time.

The 8 Best Construction Estimating Software Options to Consider 

  1. Stack – Best construction estimating software for most
  2. Clear Estimates – Best for residential remodeling contractors
  3. Home-Cost – Best for residential development projects
  4. Estimating Edge – Best for commercial construction subcontractors
  5. HeavyBid – Best for infrastructure and heavy civil projects
  6. ConEst – Best for electrical contractors and subcontractors
  7. QuoteSoft – Best for plumbing, piping, MEP, and HVAC 
  8. ProEst – Best free forever plan for nonprofit organizations

When It Makes Sense to Invest in Construction Estimating Software

There are thousands of things that can (and probably will) go wrong on a job. For the most part, they’re things you can’t control, like rain or snow, sick employees, and broken equipment. 

As much as we wish we could control the weather, it’s unpredictable and makes it impossible to provide perfect estimates. 

To make matters worse, material prices fluctuate every day. Labor is tough to estimate, especially for new jobs you’ve never done. And pulling everything together into a professional report you can send to potential clients is much easier said than done. 

Whether you’re a handyman, subcontractor, or enterprise construction firm, you need as much accuracy and foresight as possible to win bids and keep clients while ensuring you make money on the jobs you win.

With the right software, you don’t have to spend hours researching prices, finding suppliers, building spreadsheet after spreadsheet, or guesstimating how long a job’s going to take. 

Instead, you can automate processes, eliminate costly mistakes, and create bids in just a few clicks or taps resulting in more work and higher quality deliverables.

It’s a win-win for you, your team, and your clients. 

#1 – Stack — The Best Construction Estimating Software for Most

Stack Logo

Stack

Best for Most

Whether you're a general contractor, a subcontractor, or a supplier, Stack offers specialized solutions with all the features you need to match how you do business. All plans come with award-winning 24/7 customer support. Paid plans start at $1,999 per year for one full-access user.

Stack is an all-inclusive takeoff and estimation tool for construction companies spanning various industries, including specialty trades, landscaping, MEP, concrete, roofing, residential, and commercial. 

It’s an excellent choice for subcontractors, general contractors, and suppliers alike because there are unique solutions with specialized features for each use case.

So, regardless of where you fall in a project’s timeline, there’s a feature set specifically designed to match your needs.

If you’re a subcontractor, Stack offers dozens of industry-specific solutions to help you bid faster and win more work. It does so by helping you automate the takeoff process and aligning your entire team so everyone’s always on the same page.

You also get everything you need to keep your documents, drawings, and blueprints organized.

Team members can make markups, leave comments, and invite other users to collaborate on specific drawings to ensure everyone’s always working from the most up-to-date version. Plus, it’s cloud-based so your team can work from anywhere and ditch those insanely long email threads that never fail to get lost in the chaos.

When you’re ready to shoot over a proposal, you can quickly make adjustments and changes on the fly using the built-in proposal builder.

With it, you can easily adjust costs, add markups, and manage taxes in just a few clicks or taps for a completely branded (and accurate) proposal.

For general contracts, you get all the same features and more. With Stack, you can easily manage and attract the best subcontractors for each individual project.

The drawing and document management tools make collaboration across different teams of subcontractors easier than ever before.

Which means… no more confusion from one team to the next. Subcontractors can work together rather than in separate silos to ensure your projects move seamlessly from one phase to the next.

However, if you’re a supplier, you need a different set of tools. Which… is exactly what Stack delivers in its supplier-specific estimating solution.

It helps you and your team create quotes for contractors faster than ever by offering various tools you can use to build your own parts, labor, and materials database. You can either create items from scratch or edit existing items to match your catalog.

This means you can quickly respond to clients and contractors with accurate and transparent quotes, allowing them to submit (and win) bids using your exact materials, specifications, labor rates, and prices. 

On top of that, you also get numerous other features designed to speed up your response times and deliver unprecedented transparency to potential clients, including:

  • Document and quote request organization tools
  • The ability to import plans and blueprints from any source
  • Direct communication with customers within the software
  • Time-saving reusable takeoff templates
  • Advanced search capabilities to find what you need
  • Access from anywhere with an internet connection
  • Drag and drop bill of material and proposal creation

As a result of these powerful features, you become a trusted, reliable, and speedy supplier or manufacturer contractors feel comfortable and confident turning to over and over again.  

One of Stack’s standout features is the ability to monitor contractor actions using custom notifications. You can set these up in just a few clicks to alert you anytime someone in your network bids on something, so you never have to miss an ample opportunity again. 

The Stack team offers phone, chat, and email customer support to help you out when you need it. Beyond that, they also provide free 1:1 personalized training sessions. 

Other providers charge hundreds of dollars for this, so it’s a massive benefit for Stack users. 

Alternatively, you can leverage a 24/7 self-service help library packed full of tutorials, video training, how-to guides, and more. So, you never have to struggle through frustrating situations or learning how to use the software alone. 

Stack offers a free trial with seven days and ten takeoffs per project, letting you try it out before you invest. You can have up to two concurrent projects running at the same time. 

When you’re ready to upgrade, there are three plans to choose from, starting at $1,999 per year ($166.58 per month) with unlimited projects, one full-access user, and two view-only users. 

The Grow plan is $4,999 per year ($416.58 per month) with three full-access users and six view-only users. 

There’s also a custom enterprise-grade plan for teams that need additional users. 

Sign up for a free account to see if Stack is right for you and your team today!

#2 – Clear Estimates — The Best Construction Estimating Software for Residential Remodeling Contractors

Clear Estimates Logo

Clear Estimates

Best for Residential Remodeling

Clear Estimates is built for remodelers by remodelers with a focus on ease-of-use. Includes 60+ pre-designed job templates, automatic proposal creation, invoicing features, and a database with 10,000 pre-loaded parts, materials, and labor estimates ready to go. Month-to-month plans start at $59 per month with a 20% discount by paying annually.

Clear Estimates is a cloud-based estimating tool built by remodelers for remodelers. It actually started as an in-house tool for a remodeling company in Minneapolis in 1999. 

Since then, dozens of contractors and remodelers have played a role in the software’s development, turning it into the #1 solution for residential contractors across the country. So, they know a thing or two about how remodeling works and the tools you need to streamline your business.

With a focus on ease-of-use, the software empowers small contracting teams to spend more time on the job site rather than learning a new tool, creating thorough estimates, and designing professional proposals.

With remodeling work, there are typical jobs like kitchens, bathrooms, garages, and new additions. Because of that, Clear Estimates offers more than 60 reusable templates for standard jobs. 

The templates do most of the heavy lifting for you so you can get back to the job site… faster.

This is a massive time saver because it auto-populates typical tasks and materials needed for the job. There’s no need to start a new estimate from scratch. All you have to do is select a template, add in your square footage, and customize it by removing or adding parts and updating pricing as required. 

Plus, it has a built-in library of more than 10,000 parts and materials, with region-specific pricing and labor costs updated for accuracy every three months. 

It’s a digital catalog that always has up-to-date pricing and availability at your fingertips. Forget looking up the price of every part. Simply click, add your markup, and shoot the estimate in a matter of minutes rather than days or weeks.

You can even turn estimates into professional proposals in just a few clicks. Each item in the library includes pre-written professional contract language so you don’t have to do much writing on your own. Clear Estimates seriously thought of everything possible to speed things up and get you back in the field.

The software even comes with an invoicing feature that lets you send invoices and get paid via ACH deposits or credit cards, so you don’t need yet another tool to finish the job. 

With Clear Estimates Pro, you can add numerous users to your account with different access levels. Administrators have full access, while sales teams can only create new customers and estimates. 

As such, your whole team can use the software and everyone’s on the same page. 

Month-to-month plans start at $59 per month with unlimited estimates and unlimited customer support. However, you can save 20% by paying annually, making it one of the most affordable options on this list. 

Sign up for a 30-day free trial to see if Clear Estimates is right for you today!

#3 – Home-Cost — The Best Construction Estimating Software for Residential Development Projects

Home-Cost Logo

Home-Cost

Best for Residential Development

Estimate new-construction development projects and what-if scenarios to make your clients’ dream homes a reality. Includes pricing and labor costing for dozens of design and construction options, a robust library of ready-to-use materials, regional pricing based on your zip code, and various levels of reporting based on what you want your clients to see. Pricing starts at $24.50 per project month with a one-time startup fee of $99.

Cost control is at the heart of successful residential construction firms. So, it’s no wonder that Home-Cost is one of the most popular estimating tools for residential development projects.

It’s easy to manage take-off estimates, subcontractor quotes, time, and labor all under one hood.

At its core, it’s a residential development tool designed to help new-build contractors prequalify clients, work more efficiently with them, and win more projects by reducing the time it takes to create accurate, professional estimates.

Home-Cost simplifies the process by delivering a robust database of materials to choose from, including excavation and structural options all the way down to appliances and interior finishes. 

The database also includes location-based pricing for more than 43,000 zip codes in the U.S. and Canada. 

So, you can rest easy knowing your parts, materials, and labor cost estimates are incredibly accurate down to the zip-code level. 

On top of that, you can update pricing and descriptions as required in just a few clicks. 

With Home-Cost, you can incorporate dozens of design and construction options in your home build estimates, including:

  • Design and structural characteristics
  • Site development, excavation, and preparation options
  • Room by room special interior finishes
  • Various foundation choices
  • Wall, floor, and roof framing materials
  • Plumbing and fire protection
  • HVAC and electrical options

Home-Cost gives you control over the level of information you share with potential customers and clients using three different cost reporting levels. You can choose from 15 lines of cost information or up to 350+ lines, depending on what your customers need to see. 

From there, you can easily export those reports to Excel for easy sharing. 

One of Home-Cost’s standout features is a “what-if?” calculator that lets you model quality, size, and cost variables in real-time. For example, if you know your project’s size and budget, the software delivers material quality guidance to stay within budget. 

Alternatively, if you know quality and size, you can estimate the cost based on those decisions. 

The software makes it easy to tweak your settings until you find the perfect balance to make your client’s dream home a reality.

Home-Cost charges a $99 mandatory one-time set-up fee to get your account ready to go. After that, you’ll pay $24.50 per month per project. You can easily cancel, add, or restore projects at any time within your online account. 

Try it free for five days to see if it’s right for you today!

#4 – Estimating Edge — The Best for Commercial Construction Subcontractors

Estimating Edge Logo

Estimating Edge

Best for Commercial Subcontractors

Estimating Edge offers a wide range of hyper-targeted trade-specific solutions for commercial subcontractors, including fireproofing, drywall, waterproofing, and more. Includes Smart Labor Technology for estimating labor costs, the ability to pull dimensions directly from blueprints, pre-built trade-specific material and part databases, easy one-click database customization, and award winning customer support. Custom pricing only.

Estimating Edge is an estimating and takeoff software designed specifically for commercial construction projects of all shapes and sizes. 

From acoustical ceilings and flooring projects to fireproofing, waterproofing, and drywall, it delivers all the features you need to “bid smarter and build better.” Plus, you can choose from a wide variety of trade-specific solutions hyper-targeted to the type of work you do. 

Despite a bit of a learning curve, the software is easy to use once you know how to navigate the interface. And the amount of time you save is well worth the extra effort. 

Starting with a project blueprint, you can get precise measurements in just a few clicks. 

From there, you can automatically add and adjust costs for labor, materials, and parts from Estimating Edge’s in-depth, trade-specific manufacturer databases.

This means you can come in as the first and most economical bid, giving you a competitive advantage over other subcontractors for extremely lucrative and cutthroat commercial projects. 

From there, you can customize your database with your own products, labor costs, tax rates, and more to continuously speed up and improve the bidding process. 

The software’s smart editing features make automatic cost updates a breeze. If a part or material increases/decreases in price or is suddenly unavailable, the software automatically updates it across your entire estimate. 

Every plan also comes with Smart Labor technology that automatically adjusts time and costs associated with different jobs based on predetermined values.

This can be a huge time-saver and an easier way to get more accurate estimates. 

Example: You know your team can install 8-foot tall drywall at 10 feet per hour. But what happens when you’re dealing with walls taller than that?

The smart technology can automatically estimate how long it’ll take the same team to lay 12-foot walls that require additional equipment with more time spent managing that equipment, hoisting materials, inserting screws, and more. 

Edge Estimator also makes it easy to evaluate what-if scenarios by making a copy of existing estimates and adjusting material or labor rates to see what changes as a result. 

In addition to these powerful features, you also get award-winning customer support, including:

  • 1:1 remote and on-site training options
  • On-demand webinars
  • An extensive knowledge base
  • Tech support via screen share or chat
  • Online support requests

If you’re interested in extending your estimating software, Edge developed an on-site project management app that helps teams track production progress in real-time.

It can help identify and correct cost overruns as they happen, resulting in more accurate estimates in the future. It’s entirely free to download, but you do need to email the Edge team to get your license activated. 

Since each solution is custom-fit to match your business, pricing isn’t available online. 

However, you can schedule a free live demo to learn more and see if Estimating Edge is right for you and your team today!

#5 – HeavyBid — The Best for Infrastructure and Heavy Civil Construction Projects

HeavyBid Logo

HeavyBid

Best for Infrastructure and Heavy Civil

Built specifically for crew-based infrastructure projects like highways, dams, tunnels, bridges, and earthwork projects. With it, you can import data from state DOT websites in just a few clicks and merge it with your existing library. Includes quote management features, a specialized coding system for accounting purposes, and full deployment within two to four days. Paid plans start at $170 per month with unlimited users.

HeavyBid is an estimating and bidding software specifically for crew-based infrastructure projects, like earthwork, highways, bridges, wastewater treatment, dams, and tunnels. 

When working on infrastructure projects like these, interfacing with your state’s DOT is crucial. HeavyBid specializes in making it easy to build estimates compliant with these strict requirements, making it our top recommendation for municipal work. 

Failing to meet those requirements can cost you the job, whether you’re competitively priced or not. However, Heavybid makes it easy to import items and other information directly from DOT websites.

You don’t have to search, add, and edit existing library items like you would with other options on this list, thus reducing human error and saving you tons of time. 

All you have to do is start with a blank estimate, open up the “import from DOT” wizard, choose your state DOT entity, and import the file. You can quickly enter dozens of bid items you can use to form your estimate in just a few clicks, rather than entering them manually. 

On top of that, you can have HeavyBid compare and merge DOT bid items with other items in your database. What used to take hours or days now takes a few minutes. 

Setting up a complete estimate takes just a few thanks to various input options, including:

  • Creating activities and bid items on the fly
  • Copying items from past estimates
  • Pulling from a list of standardized activities
  • Setting up custom calculation routines
  • Grouping multiple items with assemblies

After pulling everything in, you can quickly analyze and make adjustments as required. You can also fill in any gaps using any of the methods outlined above. 

One of HeavyBid’s standout features is the ability to look up historical production costs from HeavyJob (HCSS’s field and project management software) and pull those into your new estimates. 

It’s an excellent and easy way to get more accurate estimates in just a few clicks if you’re already using HeavyJob. And according to HeavyBid, no other estimating software has the capability. 

The software also comes with various quote management features like pulling estimate information into folders to keep things organized. From there, you can compare current quotes against other subcontractors or against previous work you’ve already completed.  

Then, you can automatically update your estimate based on what you find to create a competitive advantage. 

HeavyBid uses a specialized coding system that makes standardization across your entire company a breeze. With it, you can store valuable crew, costing, productions, and materials against those codes for unified estimating business-wide. 

The coding system is excellent for accounting purposes, as well. 

For most teams, the software is easily implemented within two to four days by an estimating professional visiting your location. 

The good news is that you and your team will be comfortable and confident using the software by the time they leave. They’ll also help you import existing data, design new processes, and create a rollout plan for full deployment across your business. 

Alternatively, HeavyBid also offers online implementation training, as well. 

On top of that, you can also take advantage of various online courses, continuing education training programs, and 24/7/365 instant customer support (within three rings or less). 

There are three pricing tiers to choose from, all of which come with shareable licenses for everyone on your team. So, you don’t have to pay per user. Those plans include:

  • Basic – $170 per month for small projects typically up to $100,000
  • Advanced – $250 per month for mid-size projects from $100,000 to $900,000
  • Comprehensive – $295 per month for large projects of $1 billion+

Request a free live demo to learn more and see if it’s right for you and your team today!

#6 – ConEst — The Best Construction Estimating Software for Electrical Contractors and Subcontractors

ConEst Logo

ConEst

Best for Electrical Subcontractors

ConEst offers a suite of electrical-specific tools for takeoffs, estimating, and project management. The estimating tool comes with 138,000 items and 580,000 assemblies pre-loaded into its database, making it the most robust pricing and labor costing resource for electrical subcontractors available. Includes auto-updates for item pricing, automatic labor adjustments, and 200+ built-in reports with 1,000+ report variations. Custom pricing only.

ConEst offers a suite of construction tools specifically for electrical projects, including low-voltage, security systems, fire alarms, and solar. The suite includes software for takeoffs, estimating, formulas, and project management.

Combined, they deliver everything you need to bid, win, and tackle jobs of any size. However, the estimating software is powerful on its own. 

It’s designed to help you generate labor and material-efficient estimates that let you maximize profit and manage overhead costs at scale. 

One of its standout features is a robust item and assembly database curated specifically for electrical projects. 

It comes with over 138,000 items and 580,000 item assemblies, including things like:

  • Fiber-optic systems
  • Racks and enclosures
  • Fire alarm systems
  • Conduit and wire
  • Surge protection
  • Supports and fasteners
  • Coax and accessories
  • Terminals

This massive library outshines any other electrical estimating system. It ensures you don’t have to waste time or risk human error by manually building the assemblies you use every day. 

Aside from that, ConEst’s estimating tool includes an auto-labor feature that automatically adjusts labor estimates to match installation conditions by asking the right questions. It’s that simple. 

This helps give you a competitive advantage by offering more accurate (and typically lower) labor estimates than you would produce on your own, making you the most cost-effective bid. 

The software also ensures you have the most up-to-date pricing through a third-party subscription service called NetPricing. It automatically retrieves negotiated distributor prices and updates them on a job-by-job basis in a matter of seconds. 

It works with big-name brands and hundreds of local suppliers, including Rexell, Greybar, Crescent, CED, Gexpro, and Wesco. 

All you have to do is add your distributor login information to the system so it can automatically scan for and update new prices based on your distributor agreements. Then, you can click one button to update pricing across an entire job at once. 

From there, the software helps turn all the data you have into something you can share with potential clients and existing customers. 

ConEst offers more than 200 built-in reports and over 1,000 report variations you can access in just a few clicks. Some of those reports include assembly summaries, phase trees, quote analysis, takeoffs, drawing totals, and sales bids. 

Access to these on-click reports means you can quickly double-check bids for accuracy before sending them out, analyze your bids, and gain the insight you need to win even more. 

On top of that, the software also makes it easy to break bids and jobs by phase. 

You can even break things down into sub-phases, levels, sub-levels, and areas. For example, you can easily view costs and sell prices for each level or by room in a new construction home you’re bidding on. 

Want to see how much you’re spending on wiring the basement? No problem. Interested in finding out how much a kitchen job costs from one home to the next? It’s effortless. 

In just a few clicks, you can gain deep insight into phases and areas with the most impact.

The ConEst team offers phone, email, and remote login customer support for quick answers to technical questions. You can also easily schedule various training options like online or on-site live training, classroom courses, and on-demand webinar. 

Pricing isn’t available online, so request a free quote to learn more and see if ConEst is right for you and your team today!

#7 – QuoteSoft — The Best Construction Estimating Software for Plumbing, Piping, MEP, and HVAC

QuoteSoft Logo

QuoteSoft

Best for Plumbing, Piping, MEP, and HVAC

Duct 4.1 offers sheet metal and HVAC specific features to help accurately estimate duct fabrication and installation processes. Pipe 4.2 offers labor hours and material costs for pipes, fittings, and valves. Both come pre-built with thousands of industry-specific items, specs, and labor costs, as well as the ability to import images, PDFs, CAD drawings, and other BIM files. Custom pricing only.

If you’re a mechanical, piping, plumbing, ductwork, or HVAC subcontractor, QuoteSoft is our #1 recommendation. You can choose from various industry-specific solutions based on the type of work you do. 

You can rest easy knowing you’re getting a hyper-targeted system that includes the features you need without the hassle of sorting through (and paying for) the capabilities you don’t need.

QuoteSoft’s software is straightforward to use, with only four hours of training required to get you and your team up and running. 

And it plays well with PDF drawings and blueprints as well as paper or BIM files. 

You can easily import .DWG or .DXF files plus images and any other BIM file type. So, regardless of how you receive plans, you can start generating accurate estimates in a matter of minutes (rather than days). 

QuoteSoft is an excellent choice for businesses of all sizes. Plus, it helps eliminate the need to find, hire, and onboard new employees with specialized knowledge of materials, specs, and labor rates specific to your industry. 

Your senior estimators, combined with the power of QuoteSoft, can empower even the freshest employees with the tools and data they need to create quick and accurate takeoffs.

Pipe 4.2 is QuoteSoft’s piping, mechanical, and plumbing solution designed to help subcontractors estimate labor hours and material costs for pipes, fittings, and valves.

With it, you can do things like:

  • Spool pipe lengths automatically
  • Markup PDFs with fittings and specialty hardware
  • Automatically add pipe between fittings
  • Estimate material and labor totals on the fly
  • Import material lists from AutoCAD and Revit
  • Import items from your iPhone or iPad

Plus, it’s database contains 110,000 standard items from the major pipe, valve, and fitting manufacturers. 

You can then customize those items with markups and taxes for quick and easy estimating. 

Specification-driven takeoffs are also a breeze. All you have to do is select a size, and QuoteSoft automatically generates a list of appropriate pipes, valves, flanges, fittings, and hangers. 

Alternatively, you can modify existing parts for items not tied to specifications. 

Each pre-loaded item comes complete with associated standard MCAA labor hours you can modify to match your needs. 

Duct 4.1 is QuoteSoft’s ductwork and sheet metal solution for HVAC contractors and subcontractors. 

It includes pre-built items, SMACNA specs, and labor hours for rectangular, round, square, and oval ductwork fabrication, as well as up-to-date pricing for accessories and other HVAC equipment. 

The software can also automatically calculate metal pounds, square feet, linear feet, equipment costs, and shop or field labor with one click. 

Plus, you can easily override these values as required. 

QuoteSoft offers custom HVAC software for fab shops, BIM data migration, accounting cost codes, and an ammonia pipe refrigeration module. So, you can further customize your estimating solution and experience based on what you need. 

With your subscription, you get unlimited phone and GoToMeeting web support, training, and onboarding sessions to help you and your team get the most of your new software. 

There are also classroom training sessions once a month plus advanced training programs twice a year available as an add-on. 

Pricing isn’t available online since each solution is custom-fit to match your business. So, request a free live demo to ask questions, learn more, and see if it’s right for you today!

#8 – ProEst — The Best Free Forever Plan for Nonprofit Organizations

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ProEst

Best for Nonprofits

ProEst offers nonprofit organizations 100% free and unlimited use of its software, training programs for volunteers and staff, and technical assistance for life. Get everything you need to take your donations further and spend more time on project execution. Includes immediate access to a construction-cost database preloaded with hundreds of thousands of items and assemblies based on your location.

ProEst is a construction estimating company that places a massive value on making a difference and supporting the needs of nonprofit donors, volunteers, and program recipients. 

As such, it offers a nonprofit program with 100% free access to its software, training programs, and technical assistance for life. 

It’s a cloud-based estimating tool that helps users automate estimating tasks while producing accurate estimates in half the time it takes to do the same with manual processes and spreadsheets. 

For nonprofits, this means spending less time figuring out how much money you need to bring your life-changing initiatives to life and focusing more of your time on actually executing them. 

When you sign up, you get unlimited access with an unlimited number of users and 24/7 access from anywhere with an internet connection. So, you can view and update estimates on-site, at home, or in the office. 

Overall, the software presents a better way to manage costs, allocate resources, and optimize building materials, so you always come in under budget and on schedule. 

These are critical in a nonprofit environment with limited staff and unpaid volunteers with minimal (or no) construction experience. 

Plus, you can identify critical areas to reduce costs and accurately estimate labor hours required that may help extend your budget and donations further than you thought possible.  

Once accepted into the program, you get immediate access to a construction cost database that includes material, part, and labor costs based on your location. It also includes automatic updates, so you always have the most up-to-date information. 

It comes with hundreds of thousands of items and assemblies spanning every industry within the construction umbrella. 

Implementation is a six-step process comprising a kickoff meeting, data migration, system configurations, and dedicated training. So, you’ll walk away with a complete understanding of how to leverage your new estimating software. 

And in return for the unlimited free use of the software, nonprofits agree that ProEst can use their brand and other information in promotional materials and that they’ll promote ProEst via social media. 

Submit your application and request a free live demo to learn more about ProEst’s nonprofit program today!

Methodology For Choosing The Best Construction Estimating Software

Pre-construction processes set a precedent for construction projects moving forward. Without that solid foundation, you’ll have an unnecessarily challenging time winning projects, meeting your schedule, and staying under budget. 

Whether you’re a small team or a large international firm, choosing the right construction estimating software is critical. 

So, don’t forget to think about the following considerations as you make your final decision. 

Takeoff vs. Estimating vs. Bidding Tools

Pre-construction processes include takeoffs, official estimates, and turning that information into professional bids or proposals. 

With that said, there’s a lot of confusion and marketing fluff that blurs the line between what specific providers do and do not deliver with their construction estimating systems. 

Some solutions offer robust reporting and bid creation functionality, while others do not. Furthermore, some systems come with robust proposal tools but are lacking in the takeoff creation department. 

And even others may include separate solutions for each. 

So, you need to make sure you pinpoint what you need, whether you’re trying to fill gaps in your existing software stack or migrating from manual estimating processes. 

It may help to document your existing pre-construction procedures from start to finish. 

This can help you identify gaps and specific processes that have room for improvement while prioritizing features that’ll make the most impact on your business. 

The Type of Projects You Work On

In most situations, cookie-cutter solutions won’t do the trick, which is why most software providers offer highly specialized systems for different industries. 

Plus, different types of construction projects utilize varying materials, parts, and labor costing standards. And some providers even offer industry-specific features that exist to make quick and accurate estimates a breeze. 

For example, mechanical piping contractors can leverage QuoteSoft’s spool pipe length calculator to eliminate the manual process of measuring pipes from a 2-dimensional drawing. 

Other industries probably don’t need this capability, so it doesn’t make sense for a home remodeler or new construction developer to use that specific software. 

Whether you’re a solo electrical contractor, a small nonprofit building new communities, a local residential remodeler, or an international construction firm with thousands of employees, there’s a specialized and customizable solution to fit your needs. 

The Provider’s Existing Database

Every option on this list comes with a pre-built database of ready-to-use parts, assemblies, materials, and labor estimates. However, they’re not all created equal. 

Software built for electrical work will include electrical components, whereas commercial construction software may consist of drywall, flooring, and roofing materials. 

Electrical components won’t work for commercial construction projects and vice versa. 

Leveraging an existing library with items you actually use every day can save you tons of time. This is one of the reasons why choosing an industry-specific solution is so important. 

On top of that, regional costing information is a must-have, especially if you’re bidding on a municipal project. 

A three-bedroom home in LA costs a lot more than a similar home built in a small town in Oklahoma. Many factors come into play, but material and labor costing make a massive impact on those prices. 

Despite that, some providers still use national averages rather than regional data, which can cause huge issues when it comes time to execute. 

As such, you should make sure that the software you choose includes regional pricing data from relevant suppliers for materials, parts, and assemblies you use every day. 

Most libraries are easily customizable, but choosing the right software cuts down the amount of time you have to spend to customize your solution before a business-wide rollout. 

Implementation and Training

Construction estimating software deployment times vary depending on the solution you choose. Some are ready to go in just a few hours, while others may require weeks of configuring, onboarding, and training.

Plus, introducing new software to a team of highly skilled employees isn’t always easy. You may run into team members who are resistant to change (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it). 

So, it’s important to choose construction estimating software that’s easy for your team to deploy, learn, and use every day. 

You can also help ease the process by opting for customized onboarding training from the software provider. 

Some providers offer unlimited training and support for free while others charge for it, so make sure you have the resources to give your team the help and guidance they need for a smooth transition. 

Stack Logo

Stack

Best for Most

Whether you're a general contractor, a subcontractor, or a supplier, Stack offers specialized solutions with all the features you need to match how you do business. All plans come with award-winning 24/7 customer support. Paid plans start at $1,999 per year for one full-access user.

Summary

Estimating is one of the most critical parts of any construction project. Over or under-estimating creates a recipe for unhappy clients (or bosses), losing bids, and projects that run severely over budget. 

Thankfully the best construction estimating software can help alleviate those fears while minimizing manual errors and speeding up the process. 

To recap, our top recommendations are:

  1. Stack – Best for most businesses
  2. Clear Estimates – Best for residential remodeling contractors
  3. Home-Cost – Best for residential development projects
  4. Estimating Edge – Best for commercial construction subcontractors
  5. HeavyBid – Best for infrastructure and heavy civil projects
  6. ConEst – Best for electrical contractors and subcontractors
  7. QuoteSoft – Best for plumbing, piping, and HVAC contractors
  8. ProEst – Best free forever plan for nonprofit organizations

Don’t forget to use the methodology and criteria we talked about as you make your final decision. 


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