The best mechanical estimating software features industry-specific labor tables for piping, plumbing and HVAC. It also offers a variety of quote management features, a specialized coding system for accounting, and is deployed within two to four days.
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Easy to use
If you’re a mechanical contractor looking to save time on the estimating process while increasing accuracy, you may need to look for a mechanical estimating software program. These solutions are designed to eliminate manual estimating tasks and help you create a more accurate estimate that is easier to review. These programs offer tools that can minimize estimating errors, automate back office processes, and allow you to access your estimates on any device. They also support collaboration between teammates and clients, helping both parties stay on the same page throughout the project.
These software packages are available from a variety of vendors. Some offer a combination of piping and sheet metal cost estimating software, while others provide standalone systems for piping and sheet metal pricing. The software typically uses item-specific labor tables published by the MCAA or PHCC to calculate unit labor values and match them with current labor rates. This will give you an estimate that is more precise than using a standard construction item database.
Some vendors have a dedicated training department that offers online and classroom instruction. These courses can teach users how to use the software, and can help them get the most out of it. They can also teach the estimating team how to use a spool pipe length calculator and other features that make the estimating process faster and more accurate.
Another benefit of mechanical estimating software is the ability to import data from other sources, such as state DOT websites and project blueprints. This is a huge time-saver and can improve your efficiency. The software also allows you to create a comprehensive takeoff list and compare it against national averages to make sure your estimate is accurate.
When choosing a mechanical estimating software, it’s important to consider your needs and the industry in which you work. Many programs offer specialized features for a particular industry, including spool pipe length calculations, HVAC ductwork pricing and more. They can also provide detailed material breakdowns and an equipment database.
Most of the estimating programs available today offer comprehensive training and support services, and can be purchased for a one-time fee or on a subscription basis. Subscriptions include unlimited phone and GoToMeeting support, training videos, and onboarding sessions. Some providers offer advanced training programs twice a year as well as classroom courses.
Simple to customize
Mechanical estimating involves taking measurements from technical documents and using them to determine the quantity of materials and labour required for a project. This process is complex and requires a thorough survey of the project to ensure accuracy. However, if done correctly, mechanical estimating can save contractors significant amounts of time and money by avoiding costly mistakes and unforeseen variations in project costs.
Purchasing the right mechanical estimating software can help you improve your business operations and streamline your processes. Most mechanical estimating tools offer customizable features that allow you to tailor the tool to your specific business needs. Some of these features include the ability to store assemblies, calculate linear feet of common MEP objects, and count objects such as outlets, switches, lights, and appliances. You can also customize the takeoff tool to recognize industry symbols that are easy to understand. Some tools even include a 3D rendering feature that allows you to walk around the model of the building and see how the MEP systems will fit inside.
In addition to customization features, a good mechanical estimating tool should have pre-built estimate templates. These can save you time by automatically populating the tasks and items needed to create a cost estimate. Some of these templates include pre-defined labor tables that are updated for your region. Others come with a library of thousands of parts and materials that you can use to create your own price estimates.
Additionally, a good mechanical estimating software should integrate with BIM modeling tools. This can help eliminate the need to manually enter detailed takeoff data. It can also minimize data-entry errors, miscommunications, and duplicate calculations. It should also provide a variety of reports that help you analyze your historical win rates, job costs, and actual versus estimated costs.
A good mechanical estimating system can also help you get your estimates approved faster. This allows you to begin the work as soon as possible. It can even generate an invoice for you once the work is completed. In addition, it can track the amount of material used, labor hours, and other important information.
Customizable for your business
Mechanical estimating is a process that requires a combination of accurate measurements and careful analysis. It also takes into account the availability of labour and materials, which can impact the cost of a project. It also involves predicting inflationary effects that may occur over the course of a project. This allows estimators to determine the most efficient way to use resources in order to avoid overspending.
The right software solution for your business can help you minimize errors and speed up the estimating process. Some options allow you to create customized parts and labor databases that will update automatically. This saves you time and ensures that your estimates are always accurate. You can even compare estimates against national averages to eliminate pricing problems.
Another option is to utilize open-source estimating software, which is free and highly customizable. However, you will need to hire a developer to help you implement the software and provide ongoing support. While this option is ideal for larger projects, it can be difficult to manage in a small business.
Using a mechanical estimating program is an essential part of the planning and bidding process for contractors. The program can help you calculate the costs of your project and ensure that the finished product will meet your client’s expectations. Moreover, it can help you avoid costly mistakes that can be made by manually counting plan symbols and calculating linear feet by hand. Using the AutoCount tool on the STACK estimating software can automate these processes and prevent costly errors.
Besides providing accurate estimates, mechanical estimating software can also streamline the entire bid proposal process. It can help you keep track of project budgets, schedules, and other important information. The software can also provide detailed reports and graphs that will help you analyze and predict future trends. It can even help you manage subcontractor and contractor information, allowing you to organize and compare bid item quantities.
Another feature of the estimating software is its ability to count plan objects and identify materials, including ductwork, conduit, and wires. It can also generate drawings and reports to simplify the estimating process. You can also add labor, overhead, and waste to the estimated material amounts to produce a complete bid proposal.
Easy to train
Getting up and running with the right mechanical estimating software requires some training and support. Most programs have free online videos, documentation and onboarding sessions to help you get started. However, it is important to choose a program that works with your computer and is optimized for it. Often, these programs use a lot of graphics and functionality, so make sure your computer can handle it.
A good mechanical estimating software can help you take measurements from architectural plans, conduct a site visit, and analyse risk factors such as fluctuations in labour and material costs. These features will help you create an estimate that is accurate and cost-effective. It will also help you maintain transparency with your clients. This will allow you to communicate effectively with them about the project’s progress and any changes that need to be made.
When selecting a mechanical estimating software, look for one that can easily import and digitize the plans you have and save your measurements as a list with quantities and descriptions. This will prevent human error and save you time. You can then easily convert this data into an estimate for the mechanical work required by the project. The best mechanical estimating software will also be compatible with your fabrication equipment and provide you with real-world data to make better estimates. Some programs will even let you import the estimating takeoff into your shop equipment for direct fabrication.
Another important aspect to consider when choosing a mechanical estimating software is whether it supports multiple users. It is important that all your estimators have access to the same information so that everyone can collaborate on the project. Some programs allow you to set permissions on a project-by-project basis so that you can grant different people edit or view-only privileges. This will ensure that all parties have the same information and can make decisions quickly.
Ask your potential mechanical estimating software vendor what materials and fittings are pre-setup in their database to get you up and running faster. For example, some systems will provide a hanger based on the hanger schedule and all of the components surrounding it (like an elbow, tee or joint) in just one step. This is much more efficient than having to take off every single component individually.