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7 Ways to Connect Electrical Estimating and Takeoff and Improve Your Bidding Process

For MEP contractors to deliver successful building projects, the electrical estimator must provide accurate estimates. From mapping out detailed material and labor costs to determining the margin of error before those costs cut into profit, much relies on accurate electrical estimates.

But you still have to go fast. 

When relying on standalone software or paper, the electrical estimating and takeoff processes are often slow-moving, cumbersome and prone to errors, which is why a growing number of electrical contractors are making a change. If your takeoff and estimating workflows are bogged down by standalone software and manual processes, consider these seven reasons electrical estimators are moving to cloud-based, connected takeoff and estimating.

Here are 7 reasons your electrical estimator wants connected takeoff and estimating:

  1. More Accurate Estimates
  2. Takeoff and Estimates Are Always in Sync
  3. Real-time collaboration
  4. Shared access to managed content and up-to-date prices
  5. Simplified change management and review
  6. Automatic software and content library updates
  7. Reduced IT burden and expense

Read on to see why, and how, to secure your electrical estimates.

1. More Accurate Estimates

There was a time when single-purpose, independent software for graphical takeoff and estimating made sense, but continuing to use standalone software can decrease accuracy and productivity. Toggling between multiple platforms or copying and pasting formulas and other critical data from one system to another is not only inefficient but extremely risky. A forgotten line item, unintentional keystroke or missed decimal point can have a devastating impact on an estimate’s accuracy. 

With a cloud-based solution that integrates takeoff and estimating, electrical estimators can create accurate estimates. From estimating and graphical takeoff to material and pricing lists and submittal management, a single platform can provide all the resources you need to produce better resolutions in less time.

2. Takeoff and Estimates Are Always in Sync

When takeoff and estimating processes aren’t in sync, electrical estimators can spend hours checking and re-checking their work. A connected takeoff and estimating solution that provides bi-directional data synchronization will keep track of changes in real time. Your electrical estimator no longer needs to worry if changes to the takeoff are reflected in their estimates. Any changes are automatically re-calculated and reflected in the estimate. 

3. Real-time Collaboration

It’s common to have multiple estimators working together on a single estimate. While this should help get the job done faster, it can introduce more problems if estimators cannot work on a shared version of the estimate simultaneously. One estimator may have to wait for someone else to complete their work so another can start or end up with multiple versions in circulation, creating confusion about which is the most current.

Using a platform that allows multiple estimators to work in a single, shared file ensures that everyone works from the same data, assemblies, items and projects. When that database is hosted in the cloud, you can feel confident that the information is always current.  

4. Shared Access to Managed Content and Up-to-Date Prices

The lack of a single centralized and always-current content library can decrease productivity and lower confidence in the accuracy of your electrical estimates. Suppose the price of a component or service isn’t current or hasn’t been verified. In that case, estimators could spend hours trying to get updated pricing or unknowingly rely on incorrect information. A single pricing mistake hidden in an estimate could cause a ripple effect throughout the entire bid and erode already tight profit margins. 

A solution that offers a library of standard content and streaming price updates provides access to current product and pricing information from your favorite suppliers to save and give you the peace of mind that your estimates are consistent and accurate. 

5. Simplified Change Management and Review

Change orders and unending RFIs, coming in for various projects can be an obstacle to efficiency. The back and forth alone can feel like a full-time job. An connected solution can provide a summarized and consolidated view of all takeoffs included in the estimate, so estimators can review and make adjustments faster.  

6. Automatic Software and Content Library Updates

Working from current information and accessing the latest software updates without downtime are vital for efficient and accurate estimating and takeoff. With a cloud-based solution electrical estimators have always-on access to the latest versions of the tools and features they need, as well as the most current material lists and pricing. All they have to do is login and start working. 

7. Reduced IT burden and expense

When you have multiple standalone software programs, you increase the burden on resource-strapped IT teams, requiring that they stay on top of updates to multiple systems, work with several vendors, and deal with more support issues. With a cloud-based solution, you avoid the upfront costs and ongoing maintenance of rigid on-premises software in favor of flexible anywhere and anytime access to all your estimating tools. 

Click Here to Read a Free Ebook Guide to Electrical Takeoff and Estimating

When you’re spending hours, or even days, to ensure the accuracy of estimates, it’s worth exploring ways to work more efficiently. Given the volume of work estimators are expected to produce, saving time could mean the difference between a project won or lost. 

To learn more about how electrical estimators are delivering accurate, transparent and professional bids in less time with Trimble’s portfolio of estimating and takeoff solutions download this customer story or contact us.