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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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Takeoff software is just that- it takes off material quantities. Estimating software generates pricing from a database of unit costs. Some programs do both.

For takeoff software, you can run the gamut from $1,000 for Planswift to almost $3,000 for On Center's OnScreen Takeoff package. Estimating software runs from using Excel to generate your own spreadsheets to paying $5,000+ for a program like Timberline.
 

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Takeoff software is just that- it takes off material quantities. Estimating software generates pricing from a database of unit costs. Some programs do both.

For takeoff software, you can run the gamut from $1,000 for Planswift to almost $3,000 for On Center's OnScreen Takeoff package. Estimating software runs from using Excel to generate your own spreadsheets to paying $5,000+ for a program like Timberline.
Takeoff software is just that, it takes off the quantities of the substrate you are estimating by either entering measurements or clicking points on your screen with your mouse. Takeoff software is the software used to measure digital blueprints that are on cd or online and that is all that takeoff software does. Material quantities are derived from these measurements and is a function of the estimating software.

Estimating software calculates material and labor requirements from measurements received from the takeoff software. It takes the total SF or LF of an item, divides by the coverage rate of a material and estimates material quantities. Material prices, coverages, waste factors,production rates and labor rates are used to calculate the required materials and labor for a job. That is the function of estimating software. It is also estimating software that will generate a unit price that is calculated using the same criteria. It takes the estimating software to calculate material quantities from these substrate quantities.

Some takeoff software will allow you to enter a length and a width to calculate a SF quantity to send to the estimating software that in turn uses this data to estimate material quantities and labor requirements. Other takeoff software will send the actual length and height to the estimating software to do the calculations to get the SF quantity and material and labor requirements. Regardless of which program calculates the quantities of the substrate in SF, LF or EA units of measure, it is ALWAYS the estimating software to calculate OR estimate material and labor requirements.
 

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Galacorp

There are many software programs for estimating and takeoff software. My question is why settle for just an estimating program when you can invest in an estimating program that can be used also as a sales tool and project management tool, all in one?

Using the KISS method – What is estimated and being built needs to get communicated to your vendors and internal staff. Since your building restaurants like Applebees this should be quite simple to accomplish.

The hospitality and food service companies that we've worked with in the past wanted more than your typical takeoff and estimating system. They wanted their estimating system to create a complete set of specifications that could be communicated to their customers, investors, vendors and employees. They wanted their estimating system to automatically create purchase orders, subcontract agreements and work orders directly from the estimate so they didn’t have to create these documents manually. They also wanted their estimating system to estimate and track the changes to the project and communicate those changes to everyone involved in the project.

Again, there are many estimating programs that can be used for just estimating but in this state of the economy why not invest in automation tools that can allow you to do more with less. :shifty:
 

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I don't agree with Paul - you need to do your own take offs - you are making the assumptions of how the project will be built.

Start off with a spread sheet first then , graduate to a Data base. There are a couple of low price templates out there in excel that might do the trick for you.

I built my own in a data base and it took a long time but - it is what I want.

Terry
 

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If you're a GC, I can see you getting by without doing a take off. Just rely on the subs.

But if you're a trade contractor working on a job bigger than just a couple day spot job, my god, you're behind the 8 ball if you can't do a take off (or have someone do it for you).

Also, Bluebeam is a great, inexpensive tool. It doesn't do everything for you, but it still rocks. I just did a takeoff this morning in Bluebeam at the kitchen table that would have been a headache doing it in the plan room at the shop.
 

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One of the best On Screen takeof software is Tally QuickMeasure on screen. This software is one of the easiest and simplist programs out there. We use it extensivily to do flooring takeoff. The best feature about it other than simplicity is the full integration with Excel. No program out there is capable of taking a full excel spreadsheet and transferring all the takeoff items to the PDF on screen takeoff software like Tally. It brings the spreadsheet inside the PDF file and then allows the user to measure the different items using Length, Area and Count commands. Once the takeoff is done, press a button and the whole spreadsheet is populated with the the items and their quantities, all in one shot. It is fast easy and accurate. If you need to see this software, I can refer you to where we aquired it.
 
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