Estimating Software

Written by Blaire Chandler-Wilcox
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Estimating software may be technology's greatest contribution to the small, independent contractor. Estimating software allows the user to create quick--and even more importantly, accurate--bids and estimates. Being able to accurately ascertain a job's cost is one of the greatest ways to protect one's own profit margin and build customer satisfaction. Supplying the lowest bid but not being able meet it does not help your business.

Estimating Software: Giving Smaller Shops an Edge

There are a wide variety of estimating software packages available. Most are very expensive, and are only typically affordable for large commercial shops. However, there are a few highly advanced, reliable, and affordable versions available for independent woodworkers, giving them the necessary tools to compete with larger shops.

Being able to create an accurate original bid, which is matched in the final bill presented to the client, is one of the surest ways to build customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction then builds positive word of mouth. And positive word of mouth builds business by creating a stronger client base--vitally important for smaller, independent shops.

Estimating software is available on its own, or as part of computer aided design software programs specific to construction. Many of these programs allow contractors to design cabinets, for instance, in clear, easy to understand 2D and 3D drawings. Automatic cutlists based on custom design specifications are automatically created, categorized by every type of material needed. These categories, and corresponding subcategories, include price points input by the user. Every saved design creates an automatic cutlist, with to-the-penny accurate cut lists and labor costs. By using time saving, (and face saving) software like this, smaller shops can provide financials as accurate as any big-boy shop with a full accounting staff.

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