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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello. Does anyone out there know of a good software program to create bids and estimates. Ive been getting drawings on cds but am not able to read them off the computer to give accurate price. And with the way things are going, it is way too expensive to print these plans out.
Also whats the difference between estimating programs and takeoff programs? any one know?
 

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Structural Engineer
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513 Posts
There are systems and programs out there. Timberline, Corecon, TakeOffLive, etc. Have you performed takeoffs and estimates before? They are great for leveraging an estimator's experience (in other words, making the take off and estimate easier and less time consuming). For the person that hasn't done take offs or estimates, it adds more to the pile to learn.
 

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Certified Remodeler
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A take off is what you come up with, an estimate is the end result after plugging in what you need to make the job viable.
I was an estimator, and I did take offs, now I do estimates and have used a few software packages. Lots you need to consider.
What type of work you do.
Who your customers are, what are they expecting when you deliver a proposal.
Do you want the estimating program to tie into other programs, like accounting or invoicing.
How much volume, how big are your jobs.
Go surfing and google construction estimating software, you'll find a lot to look at.
 

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I like Blue Beam software for doing takeoffs from PDF. I don't have to print anything. It has scales to use and gives L.F., Sq.FT. Cubic Foot with a click of your mouse.

As for estimating, I like my Excel spread sheet. I have customized it with price lists, drop down lists, and "VLookup" which makes estimating very quick. It was time consuming to put together but now all I have to do is plug in quantities, and I have a proposal in about 10 minutes.

Excel is free...if you have Office Suite, and Blue Beam cost about 150 bucks (but free if you DL the trial version and uninstall and redownload when it expires)
 
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