In the construction sector, cost estimating is crucial when you take a project. The reason is simple; if you set the cost too high, the client might leave you and shift to a competitive player. Whereas, if you set the cost too low, you might not receive any profit.
Cost estimating is often done manually, which is not just painstaking and time-consuming but also prone to errors. With the help of a simple construction estimating software, both time and effort can be saved, making the whole process simple and accurate. Most SMBs think that getting the best construction estimating software might prove to be costly. However, that is far from the truth.
Some of the best online construction estimating software are either available free of cost or at nominal subscription charges.
What Is Construction Software?
Construction estimating software provides various tools for tasks such as cost calculation, project management, accounting and scheduling. It helps keep a track of finances and productivity by calculating the tasks assigned.
The various tasks managed and executed by employees such as design and construction engineers, architects, and production managers can all come under one umbrella. Integration will ensure that there is a seamless coordination between departments.
The best part is, there are numerous software such as residential construction estimating software, commercial construction estimating software and landscape construction estimating software, dedicated to specific construction sectors.
Advantages of Using Construction Software
Is it necessary for all construction SMBs to put their money in a construction estimating software or is it a pointless expense? If yes, what is the best construction estimating software available in the market?
To understand this, you must jot down your requirements and compare it with the features that a simple construction estimating software provides. In addition, you also need to be aware of the advantages of construction estimating software available in the market.
Given below are a few benefits of integrating a construction estimating software solution:
- Makes Organizing Simple
A good construction estimating software helps in organizing the whole project systematically. With the help of its multifaceted tools, project managers can perform cost calculation and a step-by-step analysis of progress of the project.
- Helps in Efficient Document Management
It is known that construction companies need a large-scale coordination system with plethora of paperwork. It is also important to keep the documentation safe.
Hence, the software helps in creating submittals, transmittals, directives and maintaining plans, blueprints, etc. It enables clients, contractors, consultants, architects and project managers to allocate and discuss nuances of the project and ideate the work accordingly.
Earlier, maintaining documents on paper was a task in itself. Apart from not being safe, it was also tedious to categorise, search and retrieve documents when needed. Construction software provides a single platform to manage all paperwork and documentation, while also keeping them safe.
- Service Delivery
A number of project managers keep construction estimating software as a guide to execute and complete their projects successfully while staying within budget. The reason is that the software is a one-stop solution for each stage in the project development. A comprehensive construction estimating software helps in uniting the workforce, augmenting efficiency, and increasing profits.
List of the Best Free Construction Estimating Software
- Zoho Projects
So, what is the best construction estimating software available in the market? Here is a list of the best free construction estimating software which can help streamline your project effectively.
Orangescrum is one of the best project estimating solutions in the market which helps calculate, manage and collaborate tasks in a project with other employees. It provides numerous features that can be customised depending on requirements such as time tracking and collaboration.
It also provides options for creating chats and alerts, file sharing options, user-specific dashboards, Gantt Charts bill calculator and more.
This tool is one of the best choices for SMBs as it has a free and open-source version, or one can opt for a free one-month trial for 3 users up to 3 projects.
It also provides different plans from Startup at $10 per month, Basic at $26 per month, and Standard at $44 per month, to Professional at $80 per month and Unlimited Users $99 per month.
Fieldwire is a well-designed construction estimating app available on all major platforms such as Google Play Store and Apple Store. The app is simple, user friendly and can be integrated with other software such as Primavera. It provides a number of brilliant features such as file tracking, photo sharing and checklists.
It provides a free trial with 250 sheets, for up to 5 users and 3 projects in its Basic Plan, Pro for $29 per user per month, Business at $49 per user per month, and Primer at $89 per user per month.
Zoho Projects offers a free online project management app that allows you to manage one project with up to 10 MB of storage. It provides a collection of precise project estimating tools which enables the users involved in the project to connect, ideate and collaborate for systematic implementation.
You can upgrade for an increase in project support. You can also integrate Zoho projects with Zoho CRM, Slack, Zapier and Github. It provides a 10-day free trial and 4 different plans; Standard, Express, Premium and Enterprise at $150, $480, $1,020 and $1,500 respectively.
iScope is another construction estimating software that provides its users access to several useful tools for material estimation and labour cost calculation. It is designed with the help of concise codes which make it really efficient and saves time.
It was initially designed to function as an insurance adjustment software to calculate the estimated loss. However due to similar functions such as estimating costs for remodelling, this has become a handy tool for commercial and residential contractors.
It provides 30-day free trial, after which users can purchase a product key for iScope’s annual lease subscription at $777 for 12 months.
Estimate is an open-source construction estimating software which comes with a variety of bonus features such as storage options, data recovery and maintenance. It is compatible with MySQL Database server and is recommended for medium SMBs as it need a dedicated IT team for the maintenance, installation and customisation.
It provides features for document management, report generation, controlled user access and tools for creating estimates, managing projects and much more. Estimate has been made free to use by the developers, however, they accept donations for the development of the software.
To sum up, getting a free or open-source software for your construction business isn’t tough. There are numerous brands that offer some of the most basic, yet vital construction estimating tools to manage, plan and execute individual projects.
However, it is really important to compare different brands and choose a construction estimating software that fulfils your requirements.