Is Your Software Made for You?

Tips on choosing the right estimating software for your remodeling business.

June 30, 1999

Estimating software can help boost profits and save time, but only if you choose the program that best fits your company. Mike Gorman, a building and remodeling consultant, and author o "If I Sell You I Have a Job, If I Serve You I Create a Career," offers tips for selecting the right package.

  • Managing the numbers. Unless you can afford a full-time data manager, estimating software is only as good as its database. For many remodelers, the software provider is the database manager and must have the proven capability of adjusting for many variables, keeping the software updated with scientifically determined, verifiable numbers.
  • Customizing the software. It must fit your unique business. Features to look for include the ability to add items to the database, adjust prices, modify specifications, choose specification and contract formats, and create assemblies.
  • Operating the software. It should be so easily learned that even those without a construction background can produce estimates. The remodeler who doesn’t know how to turn on the computer should be able to produce a list of components and quantities to be quickly processed by the computer operator who doesn’t know how to hold a hammer.
  • Linking the software. Integration with other business management software is essential. If not utilized in your business now, these systems may be soon.
  • Justifying the price. Money invested in the software should outperform any comparable expenditure for tools in your business.
  • Profiting from the software. Enjoy the power of having confidence in your proposals. Using the same numbers repeatedly creates consistency in your estimates. Proposals take less time to produce; you can see more prospects, create more sales.

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