Five Ways to Simplify Your Estimating


by Paul Wheaton
December 28, 2023

Read Time: Less than 4 Mins
Last Modified: April 27, 2024

Estimating directly impacts the bidding process by establishing an accurate budget, identifying all potential expenses, providing a detailed list of necessary materials, and evaluating all labor requirements for a job.

Because estimating touches every aspect of a project, it’s important to estimate accurately. But it can also be an extremely tedious and time-consuming process. Finding ways to streamline the estimating process can help improve efficiency and save time and money.

But where to begin? Below we have listed the five ways construction estimators can simplify their estimating processes.

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UG to Estimating

1. Standardize Templates

Standardized templates and processes make it easier for estimators to add the information from one project to the other. Repeatability can help reduce the amount of time spent on tedious tasks, streamline the data input process, and enable quicker, more accurate calculations. Standardized processes also make it easier to train new team members by establishing a common work method for each employee. Ensuring that everyone follows a cohesive approach to estimating not only simplifies the process but also enhances the reliability of an estimate.

2. Implement Historical Data Analysis

Estimators should always be collecting and analyzing project data. The lessons learned in past projects can be applied to improve future performance and outcomes. And by studying relevant metrics, patterns and trends can be identified and adjusted. Overall, estimators will better understand cost drivers, risks, and common challenges. Review cost data from completed projects to see what has been consistently over or underestimated so you can adjust the expenses for future projects.

3. Collaborate and Communicate Effectively

Simplifying construction estimating means establishing clear roles and responsibilities for each team member involved in the process. This can help to avoid confusion, reduce the duplication of items, and eliminate gaps in knowledge.

Fostering an environment where information flows seamlessly between project managers, engineers, and other stakeholders is the most effective way to increase networking. Singular correspondence highways help to keep people informed and keep crucial conversations accessible in a central location.

For example, when a last-minute change order is added to the estimate, having a central platform where you can track change orders, communicate the changes on a project, and delegate tasks to accomplish the work can improve your workflow.

Utilize collaborative tools, such as a chat hub or mobile communication app, and conduct regular meetings to ensure that everyone involved has a shared understanding of the project requirements and timeline. Clear communication not only reduces the likelihood of misunderstandings but also enables real-time feedback and insights.

4. Continuously Update and Review Processes

Implementing consistent methods and tools for collecting and analyzing data can help you improve the quality, accuracy, and reliability of your estimates. It can also help you to regularly review and update estimating processes to incorporate lessons learned from completed projects.

Some common areas that need consistent updating include material databases to ensure pricing matches industry rates and labor rates, as they are subject to competitive circumstances such as skilled labor availability and labor shortages.

It’s helpful to embrace feedback from team members and stakeholders to identify further areas for improvement. Continuous refinement ensures that your company remains responsive to changing market conditions, updating technologies and industry best practices.

5. Utilize Estimating Software

Construction estimating software can help streamline the estimating process. Software solutions can digitally measure and calculate quantities, instantly assign pricing, and automate costs.

Estimating software can help to significantly reduce errors and inaccuracies by creating detailed reports, offering data analysis, and determining comprehensive costs so estimators can see the overall picture more clearly. Estimating software also helps to adapt to any changes in a project and allows estimators to easily update quantities and expenses as the project evolves.

The best way to guarantee estimating is accurate is to utilize construction estimating software that is specific to your trade. Trade-specific estimating software will provide a comprehensive database that stays up to date on the current demands of specific materials, labor pricing, and building requirements related to your specialty.

For example, if you work in the electrical, plumbing, and mechanical trades, consider McCormick Systems. We offer trade-specific, customizable databases that have helped estimators create accurate bids for decades.


Simplify Your Estimating Process

There’s no one-size-fits-all way to estimate. However, applying these best practices will help you have confidence in the bids you’re building. By combining these strategies, you can simplify your estimating process, reduce errors, and enhance the overall efficiency of your company’s workflow.

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