7 Best construction estimating software programs

Accurate project estimates are crucial for successful bids. This article reviews the seven best construction estimating software programs, covering bid creation to cost analysis. Find the software that suits your needs, ensuring precise and winning proposals for every project.

7 Best construction estimating software programs

In construction, estimating is among the most important – and complicated – processes. Thankfully, computer applications exist to help companies ensure accurate estimates. This article will examine the best construction estimating software for general contractors and subcontractors.

7 Best Construction Estimating Software Programs

Here’s an overview of the best construction estimating software programs available today.

Software NameKey FeaturesIdeal For
ProEstCustomer relationship management, proposal creation, cost estimating, accountingGeneral contractors and subcontractors
Clear EstimatesUnlimited estimates, 10,000+ line item database, invoice creation, unlimited support, quarterly rate reporting, no contractSubcontractors
Sage EstimatingCost forecasting, project takeoff software compatibility, BIM integration, construction cost databasesCompanies needing robust software
Easy-Pro Builders EstimatorVariable tax rates, compatibility with Windows and Linux, trade worksheetsCompanies with in-house development teams
ESTIMATE by WarhiveWeb-based interface, extensive cost sheet support, subcontractor/vendor quote evaluation, simple backupCommunity-supported use
IntelliBidIndustry Smart Database, advanced estimating, Smart System™ Technology, design-build integrationContractors in electrical, security, fire alarm, solar sectors
ConwizeTenders pipeline management, bidding automation, advanced cost-estimating tools, indirect costs and profit-loading tools, estimation KPIs analysis, risk managementUsers managing tendering processes

1. ProEst

Pricing: Request a demo for more information

ProEst is generally considered the top construction estimating software program – for good reason. The company has been developing estimating software since 1976, making it one of the oldest players in the space.

This expertise is quite evident in the very intuitive design of ProEst’s software, which offers easy access to functionality such as:

  • customer relationship management

  • proposal creation

  • cost estimating

  • accounting

Crucially, ProEst also integrates with a number of other construction management software programs, including:

  • Procore

  • iSqft

  • Viewpoint

  • Jonas

  • Viewpoint

ProEst’s flexibility and ease of use make it the top construction estimating software for general contractors and subcontractors alike.

2. Clear Estimates

Pricing: $59-$249 per month

Subcontractors searching for simple construction estimating software need look no further than Clear Estimates, designed to facilitate the creation of proposals and estimates within minutes.

One key feature that helps Clear Estimates excel is its ability to tap into localized pricing information from RemodelMAX, which collects data from 400 regions in the United States.

What also makes Clear Estimates the best construction estimating software for subcontractors is its very competitive pricing structure, which starts at just $59 per month and includes:

  • unlimited estimates

  • a 10,000+ line item database

  • payable invoice creation

  • unlimited customer support

  • quarterly labor and material rate reporting

  • no contract

What’s also incredible at this price point is the inclusion of integrations with other programs like Buildertrend, Airtable, and Quickbooks, allowing users to pull Clear Estimates into their full accounting suite.

Clear Estimates can also be used remotely via laptops and mobile devices, rounding out a fantastic product offering.

3. Sage Estimating

Pricing: From $99 per month

For companies needing something more robust than the simple construction estimating software we just discussed, Sage Estimating is well worth considering.

The software provides estimating and quote evaluation tools for bidders and solicitors alike. Key features found in Sage Estimating include:

  • cost forecasting

  • compatibility with project takeoff software

  • building information modeling integration (Autodesk)

  • construction cost databases

Of course, Sage Estimating also integrates with other products in the Sage Business Cloud. As such, construction management professionals can integrate Sage Estimating into their processes for inventory and supply chain management along with payment processing.

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4. Easy-Pro Builders Estimator

Pricing: Free

Easy-Pro Builders Estimator is an open-source construction estimating software program based on Apache OpenOffice Calc.

The open-source nature of this program makes it ideal for companies with in-house development teams capable of tweaking it as needed. This is crucial since Easy-Pro Builders Estimator’s last stable release was in 2014. It’ll need some updating, yet it remains a viable option for companies capable of doing that.

Key features of Easy-Pro Builders Estimator include:

  • variable tax rates depending on where you live

  • compatibility with Windows and Linux

  • trade worksheets included

5. ESTIMATE by Warhive

Pricing: Free

ESTIMATE by Warhive is another open-source construction estimating software program worth considering. Released under the GNU Affero General Public License, Warhive is a community-supported program with substantially more developer involvement than you’d find with Easy-Pro Builders Estimator.

Features of ESTIMATE include:

  • a web-based interface

  • support for extensive cost sheet creation

  • subcontractor and vendor quote evaluation

  • simple backup functionality

6. IntelliBid

Pricing: Request a demo for more information

IntelliBid is the top construction estimating software built specifically for contractors in the electrical, security, fire alarm, and solar sectors.

IntelliBid’s most notable feature is its Industry Smart Database, which contains thousands of data points, including supplier pricing via NetPricer™ Service. The software goes one step further by offering location-specific vendor pricing, helping electrical contractors estimate prices based on where they purchase materials.

Other IntelliBid features worth highlighting include:

  • advanced estimating (easy search, alerts for missing items, etc)

  • Smart System™ Technology (integration of change orders)

  • design-build integration

7. ConWize

Conwize’s platform is the only cloud-based tendering platform that combines bidding and cost estimation solutions, enabling you to manage all your tendering processes in one spot. With our advanced analytical capabilities and anomaly detection, you can now analyze estimates, prevent human errors, save time and money, and get alerts always to be ahead of your deadlines and competitors.

Main Features:

  • Tenders pipeline management
  • Bidding automation with subcontractors
  • Advanced cost-estimating tools
  • Indirect costs and Profit-loading tools
  • Estimation KPIs Analysis
  • Risk Management

What is the best construction estimating software for you?

Given the many construction estimating software options, choosing just one can be hard. Here are some of the factors you need to consider.

Understand the software’s utility

While the line between estimating, takeoff, and bidding software is often blurred, major functionality differences exist between them.

Estimating software is designed to help construction companies forecast expenses (often line-by-line) for the purpose of more accurate bidding. It often relies on data from takeoff software, which pulls information from project documents.

Meanwhile, bidding software helps companies manage requests for proposals and aspects of the solicitation process.

While construction management professionals often use the term “construction estimating software” for all three programs, they differ. Ensure you know what you’re looking for to make the right purchasing decision.

Carefully consider the platforms being offered

As with most types of software these days, construction estimating programs typically come in both desktop and mobile versions. If you must have remote access to your estimating data, you’ll want to be sure the software you choose has a mobile version.

Also, pay attention to any desktop functionality that doesn’t carry over to mobile versions of the software. In a work environment increasingly characterized by remote operations due to COVID-19, it’d be a mistake to potentially limit your staff’s efficiency by relegating certain important tasks to the days (if there are any) they’re able to work in the office.

Figure out which key features you need

Essential construction software estimating features include integration with other programs (i.e., those meant for resource management and project takeoff) and the tools needed to create accurate estimates in your line of work.

Beyond this, you’ll also want to consider any features of importance to you. These may include features from other programs we discussed earlier (takeoff and bidding).

Keep future expansion in mind

While construction estimating software in and of itself doesn’t have to be exorbitantly expensive, don’t underestimate the cost of transferring data and training your team on the use of a new program.

Given how extensive these costs can be, you should aim to choose an estimating program that will support your company for years to come, even as it expands. Don’t try to save money now at the expense of going through the onboarding process for a whole new program in short order.

Pay careful attention to the software’s interface

Often, software programs look great on paper yet underwhelm when you start using them. A key culprit in this regard is bad user interface design. Don’t purchase any program until you and the members of your team who will be using it have received thorough demonstrations of it.

How much should construction estimating software cost?

Construction estimating software typically costs between $59 and $250 or more monthly. Even the costlier programs have negligible price tags relative to the money they’ll save you.

Remember, as discussed in this article, inaccurate estimates are a key cause of construction cost overruns, which can financially devastate companies. Don’t risk bankruptcy (which is a very real threat accompanying just two or three inaccurate estimates for 25% of one survey’s respondents) for the sake of saving a few hundred dollars every month by choosing construction estimating software that doesn’t fully meet your needs.

Construction estimating software is a key part of any industry professional’s toolkit. We hope this article has helped you identify the right estimating software. For more tips on construction management, visit our blog.

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Michel Richer

Michel Richer is the Manager of Content and Product Marketing at Bridgit. He started in the construction industry early on with a local restoration company. Michel is driven to propel the construction industry forward by helping to eliminate outdated, ineffective processes.

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