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Navigating the Best Construction Estimating Software for Your Business

Last Updated on February 27, 2024 by Admin

In today’s fast-paced construction industry, the ability to deliver accurate and timely project estimates can set a business apart from the competition. This is where construction estimates software comes into play, offering a transformative solution for contractors and builders. These advanced software systems streamline the estimating process, allowing for quick, precise, and reliable project assessments.


By harnessing the power of construction estimates software, professionals can ensure that every bid reflects the true scope and cost of the project, avoiding the pitfalls of underquoting or overestimating. This not only enhances the credibility and trustworthiness of a construction firm but also maximizes its operational efficiency and profitability. This post delves into the world of construction estimating software, highlighting key features, benefits, and top software recommendations to help you make an informed decision for your business.

What is Construction Estimating Software?

Construction estimating software programs are integral tools that serve as the backbone for accurate and efficient project planning in the construction industry. These programs are designed to automate the estimation process, providing contractors, builders, and architects with the ability to quickly generate detailed cost assessments for labor, materials, equipment, and time.


The software typically includes databases of cost and labor information which can be adjusted for local conditions and specific project requirements.

Advanced features may include the ability to perform 3D takeoffs, integrate with other construction management software, and access real-time data for the most current pricing and materials availability. By utilizing these sophisticated tools, construction professionals can create competitive bids, manage budgets more effectively, and reduce the risk of costly overruns.

The ultimate goal of construction estimating software is to ensure that projects are financially feasible and completed within budget, thereby increasing profitability and efficiency for construction businesses.

Advantages of Using Construction Estimating Software

The transition from spreadsheets to dedicated estimating software brings numerous advantages:

  • Error Reduction: Automated calculations minimize the risk of spreadsheet errors, ensuring accurate estimates.
  • Professionalism: Digital, cloud-based solutions meet modern client expectations and enhance the professional image of your business.
  • Productivity: Software solutions significantly reduce the time required to create estimates, freeing up resources for other critical tasks.
  • Client Acquisition: Detailed and professional-looking bids can increase the likelihood of winning contracts and fostering repeat business.

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Top Construction Estimating Software Picks

After analyzing various sources, here are some of the best construction estimating software options available:

  1. FreshBooks: Known for its accounting prowess, FreshBooks also offers robust estimating features, making it a versatile tool for small businesses.
  2. STACK: Offers comprehensive takeoff and estimating features suitable for businesses of all sizes.
  3. ProEST: Focuses on project management and provides a wealth of resources to improve business strategies through better estimating.
  4. Esticom: A cloud-based platform that emphasizes real-time access to project bids and aims to eliminate the reliance on paper and spreadsheets.
  5. BuilderTrend: Tailored for home builders, renovators, and remodelers, offering a suite of pre-sales tools including estimating features.
  6. Contractor Foreman: An affordable option with a user-friendly interface and a comprehensive set of features.
  7. Projul: Designed for small businesses, allowing for quick and accurate proposal creation.
  8. Clear Estimates: Specializes in estimates and uses RemodelMAX data for accurate material costing based on location.
  9. Sage Estimating: Utilizes industry data and AI for precise pre-construction bids and offers a suite of additional features for project management.
  10. SimPRO: A cloud-based solution that provides reliable estimating features, particularly suitable for businesses with field staff.
  11. Archdesk: Integrates with spreadsheets and offers various export formats, automating repetitive processes and providing revisions to created estimates.
  12. Active Takeoff: Best for construction managers and design firms, offering standalone estimating and takeoff applications.
  13. PlanSwift: Supports cost, material, waste, and labor calculations, with single-click takeoff options and real-time Excel integration.
  14. Buildpartner: A collaborative pricing platform for builders, architects, and surveyors, assisting in generating quick benchmark costs and accurate work schedules.
  15. Procore: A cloud-based construction management software that supports estimating activities and includes standard construction functions.
  16. Expert Estimation: Allows the creation of customizable templates and automates estimation procedures, with integration for spreadsheet calculators.
  17. WenDuct and WenPipe: Aimed at HVAC businesses to streamline estimating procedures and manage projects faster with Excel integration.

Other Important Construction Estimating Software are;

  • Active Takeoff: User-friendly software for takeoff, estimating, and proposal generation, offering features like scaling tools and cost databases.
  • ArcSite: Cloud-based estimating software with integrated takeoff tools, 3D models, and cost databases.
  • Autodesk Construction Cloud: Suite of construction management tools, including estimating software with features like takeoff, bidding, and cost management.
  • Buildertrend: All-in-one construction management solution with features for estimating, including quantity takeoff, cost estimating, and reporting.
  • BuildPartner: Cloud-based software for estimating, project management, and scheduling, offering takeoff tools and cost databases.
  • Buildxact: Cloud-based estimating platform with features like takeoff, cost estimating, and proposal generation, catering to various construction trades.
  • Clear Estimates: Estimating software offering takeoff, cost estimating, and reporting features, with a focus on transparency and user-friendliness.
  • ClockShark: Time tracking and project management software with features like estimating and budgeting tools.
  • CoConstruct: Cloud platform for communication and collaboration, including features like basic estimating tools for homeowners and builders.
  • Conest: Comprehensive estimating software with advanced features for takeoff, cost estimating, and bid management.
  • ConstructionOnline: Cloud-based construction management platform with features for estimating, bidding, and project management.
  • Contractor: Suite of construction management tools, including estimating software focused on residential construction and remodeling.
  • Contractor Foreman: Mobile app for field data collection, with basic features for estimating and project management.
  • Estimating Link: Estimating software for electrical contractors, offering takeoff tools and specialized cost databases.
  • Estimator360: Cloud-based estimating software with features like takeoff, cost estimating, and reporting, targeting various construction trades.
  • HeavyBid: Comprehensive estimating software for heavy civil construction projects, offering specialized features and integrations.
  • Houzz Pro: Management platform for residential contractors with basic estimating tools and cost calculators.
  • JobNimbus: Project management platform with features like estimating, including takeoff tools and budgeting capabilities.
  • Knowify: Construction management platform with features for estimating, including quantity takeoff, cost estimating, and progress tracking.
  • Methvin: User-friendly estimating software for electrical contractors, offering takeoff tools and project management features.
  • PlanSwift: Software for 2D and 3D takeoff, offering features for quantity calculations, cost estimating, and collaboration.
  • Procore: Cloud-based construction management platform with comprehensive features, including estimating software for takeoff, cost estimating, and bidding.
  • ProEst: Feature-rich estimating software for various construction trades, offering takeoff tools, cost databases, and reporting capabilities.
  • Projul: Construction management platform offering features for estimating, including takeoff, cost estimating, and bidding functionalities.
  • QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise: Accounting software with advanced features for construction businesses, including estimating tools and job costing functionalities.
  • RSMeans Data Online: Cloud-based resource providing historical cost data, useful for construction estimating and cost control.
  • Sage Estimating: Estimating software offering takeoff, cost estimating, and reporting features, integrated with other Sage construction solutions.
  • Simpro: Project management platform for service businesses like plumbing and electrical, including basic estimating tools.
  • Stack: Cloud-based construction management platform with features for estimating, including takeoff, cost estimating, and collaboration tools.

This is a brief overview, and features may vary amongst different versions and plans of each software.

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Construction Cost Estimate Software

Construction cost estimate software has become an indispensable tool for professionals in the construction industry, enabling them to produce detailed and accurate cost assessments for their projects. These software solutions are designed to simplify the complex process of cost estimation by automating calculations, aggregating data, and providing up-to-date material and labor pricing. Here’s a look at some of the most important construction cost estimate software in the market:

Procore: Procore’s construction cost estimate software is renowned for its comprehensive approach to project management. It offers real-time cost data and the ability to track the financial health of projects, ensuring that estimates align closely with actual expenditures.

STACK: STACK provides cloud-based cost estimating and takeoff solutions for contractors. Its user-friendly interface and powerful features allow for quick and accurate bid preparation, making it a favorite among professionals looking to save time and reduce errors.

RSMeans Data Online: Offered by Gordian, this software gives estimators access to a vast database of construction costs, which is regularly updated to reflect current market conditions. It’s particularly useful for those who need reliable and detailed cost information for their estimates.


Clear Estimates: Clear Estimates is tailored for remodelers and contractors who need quick and reliable estimates. It uses RemodelMAX’s up-to-date pricing data and allows users to customize their proposals to suit individual project needs.

PlanSwift: PlanSwift is a versatile estimating software that is popular for its ease of use and powerful takeoff capabilities. It integrates with other software systems and allows users to quickly adjust project parameters to reflect changing costs.

Esticom: This cloud-based estimating platform is designed to eliminate the need for paper plans and manual takeoffs, providing a streamlined process for preparing construction cost estimates. It’s a robust tool for contractors who want to improve accuracy and efficiency.

These construction cost estimate software options offer a range of functionalities to suit different needs within the industry. From real-time data tracking to comprehensive databases and integration capabilities, they provide the technological support necessary to create precise estimates, manage budgets effectively, and ensure the financial success of construction projects.

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Choosing the Right Software for Your Business

Selecting the ideal construction estimating software requires a clear understanding of your business needs. Consider the following:

  • Identify Pain Points: Understand where your current process could be improved.
  • Collaboration Tools: Ensure the software facilitates effective teamwork.
  • Cost: Balance the benefits with the cost to find a solution that provides value without overextending your budget.

For contractors seeking cost-effective solutions, free construction estimating software Excel templates, such as those offered by STACK and ProEst, can be a great starting point for managing project costs without a hefty investment.

Small construction firms can enhance their bidding process with construction estimating software for small businesses, such as Clear Estimates and Procore, which are designed to be affordable and user-friendly for smaller-scale operations.

Professionals using Apple’s ecosystem can leverage construction estimating software for Mac, such as PlanSwift and STACK, which offer compatible and robust solutions for accurate project forecasting on macOS platforms.

Civil engineers and professionals can streamline their project planning with civil estimate software such as HCSS HeavyBid and B2W Estimate, which are specifically tailored to handle the complex requirements of civil construction projects.

For those looking to enhance their project planning without initial investment, options for construction cost estimating software free download include the likes of Easy-Pro Builders Estimator and the free version of STACK, which offer basic functionalities at no cost.

To maintain profitability and manage project finances effectively, construction firms are increasingly turning to construction cost control software like Procore, Jonas Premier, and CoConstruct, which provide comprehensive tools for budgeting and financial oversight.


Final Takeaway

Identifying the best construction estimating software for your business, especially when seeking free options, is crucial for enhancing efficiency and accuracy in project planning and budgeting. Free construction estimating software provides an invaluable tool for small businesses by enabling them to streamline their estimating processes without incurring additional costs. Among the top 10 construction estimating software, several offer free versions or trials that cater to both residential and commercial construction projects, allowing businesses to test which software best fits their unique needs before committing financially.

The best free construction estimating software often includes features tailored to specific segments of the construction industry, such as electrical or civil construction, providing specialized tools that enhance the precision of estimates in these areas. For instance, the best electrical estimating software is designed to handle the unique requirements of electrical installations and wiring in construction projects, whereas civil construction estimating software focuses on the costs associated with infrastructure and public works projects.

Moreover, free construction estimating software that integrates with Excel allows for easy manipulation and analysis of data, making it a favored choice for businesses accustomed to Microsoft’s spreadsheet program. This capability ensures that small businesses can leverage powerful estimating tools without needing to invest in new software or training, thereby optimizing their operations for both residential and commercial projects. By selecting the appropriate construction estimating software, companies can significantly improve their project estimations, cost management, and ultimately, their profitability and competitive edge in the market.

The right construction estimating software can make a significant difference in how your business operates, competes, and thrives. By leveraging modern technology, you can produce more accurate estimates faster, impress potential clients, and secure more projects. To make an informed decision, one can read through construction estimating software reviews on platforms like Capterra, G2, and Software Advice, where users share their experiences and rate the functionality of various systems.

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What Software Do Construction Estimators Use?

Construction estimators typically use software that specializes in cost estimation and project bidding. Popular choices include ProEst, RSMeans, and CostX. These tools help estimators accurately predict project expenses, labor, and material costs.

Which Software Is Best for Estimation and Costing?

The best software for estimation and costing varies based on specific project needs and company preferences. However, ProEst and RSMeans are highly regarded for their comprehensive databases, ease of use, and accurate costing capabilities.

What Is ProEst Estimating Software?

ProEst is a cloud-based construction estimating software designed to help contractors and estimators create accurate estimates, manage bids, and streamline the preconstruction process. It features a user-friendly interface, integrated cost databases, and reporting tools.

What Is Digital Construction Estimating Software?

Digital construction estimating software refers to tools that automate the process of calculating project costs, including materials, labor, equipment, and overheads. These solutions offer precision, efficiency, and the ability to quickly adjust estimates based on changing variables or project scopes.

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