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'On-Screen Takeoff' software

35669 Views 15 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  SeyCon
So I'm using the On-Screen Takeoff software trial downlaod for 15 days. This is the most amazing program ever. I got foundation wall takeoffs, exterior sidewalk take-offs, interior slab, and curb take-offs in about 7 minutes, and this was a concrete job worth over 100k! This would have taken me hours to take off by hand. Not to mention the human error possibility that would have taken a blow at the confidence of my numbers. I learned the gist of the program in about 10 minutes and I have the feeling I've only scratched the surface. Now that I've experienced such a program, I won't ever be able to go back! But I found out the price tag of this program new, $2900!!! There's no way I can afford that. Given yes it does include the online tutorial courses. But still, even if the program is only $1000 or so by itself, that's quite a chunk of change.

Is anyone aware of an alternative program that can perform as well for less than the price of this one? Sorry if I'm uninformed as to what else is out there. Thanks for any help.
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Some Other Software Options!!!

After stumbling through software and investing thousands of dollars. I found a program at a price that was better then the rest. It allowed me to take the methods I have been using for years by hand and simply apply it to the software without having to be tech savy. I have estimated projects from a basic residential home to very large commercial projects. The program I am talking about is PlanSwift and it runs $950 and if that is to much money off the start there is a lease program of $79 per month that is easy on the wallet. If you want to try it, there is a 14 days trial you can download by visiting or if you want just call them direct at 888-752-6794. If you like what you see please let me know thanks.
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Thanks Matt. When my trial period expires I will definitely be trying PlanSwift. As long as it can do everything On-Screen Take-off can do, I will stick with it. $79 a month seems much more do-able for me. I'll reply with my results and comparisons for anyone else curious in these programs.
You can use Brava! Reader for free its just for the dimensions not a full blown program. Its what i use for flooring and roofing prints from blue book
OST is expensive for a reason, and it will repay it's cost many times over once you've used it for a while. As you've seen, you save an incredible amount of time with the software, and will eliminate errors. Figure out what your time is worth, and you'll see how fast the software pays for itself. Or, think about how much one of those errors you avoided would have cost you, and then ask yourself if $3k is really that much money.

I've been using OST for over 5 years now, and I've also looked at Planswift numerous times over the past few years. Planswift is an OK program, but it's a little clunky, IMO, especially when compared with OST. Granted, it's 1/3 the cost, and it may work fine for what you need to do- only you can determine that.
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You mean you SELL a program, not FOUND a program

After stumbling through software and investing thousands of dollars. I found a program at a price that was better then the rest.
Hey Matt, good marketing with the initial set up post and then you immediately chiming in for the first time ... but it is OK to tell the readers that you work for the mentioned company up front. Trust me, the readers and moderators here are pretty sharp cookies. Best of luck. Brian
PS. Please privately reach out to me whenever you have a moment
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OST and Quick Bid have been the reason for my success in this terrible economy....
Paid for itself with 2 projects!!
The response i always get from clients is "how did you do the takeoff and bid so quick"

OST and QB are both incredible programs, IMO! :thumbsup:

any questions that i can help anyone with please ask.....

I own both Planswift and OST/QB
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To clarify I was a user of many other programs such as Activant/Luxwood, Proest and OST(which by the way I have nothing bad to say about them), before I made the switch to PlanSwift. The main reason I kept switching was that I found out that I keep hitting a brick wall on what I needed to achieve in accordance with my current business model. The 2 main reasons I switched to PlanSwift was that the Takeoff side of the software was exactly what I needed. I also like that the estimating capabilities were built into one module with the takeoff tool and functioned allot like Excel. As we all know Excel is very versatile and so is the estimating side. Not having to change my current business model to fit the software, but instead change my software to fit my model was my driving force for using it. But, to everyone that reads this post, no matter what you do make sure you try out all your options. Every software has something unique to offer. As we all know price is not much of a factor if the tool you choose does an exceptional job. Try them all and choose the one that fits your needs the best. By the way I do work for PlanSwift but I am not a salesman that is here to sell you on the software. I am just here to say once again try them all, find the one that fits and also to share with you my many years of experience as a user of many software’s.
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yeah, but Bob's not full of it (well, maybe sometimes)
Thats not what I intended J F. I am just saying try it all. Everyone likes different things. Like you may like to drive a Chevy I prefer Ford but in my eyes I think my truck is better because of options it offers and vise versa for you. I was not posting to pump PlanSwift just to offer my insight as a customer. Take it for what you want. Options are always good.
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Thats not what I intended J F. I am just saying try it all. Everyone likes different things. Like you may like to drive a Ford I prefer Chevy but in my eyes I think my truck is better because of options it offers and vise versa for you. I was not posting to pump PlanSwift just to offer my insight as a customer. Take it for what you want. Options are always good.
Wasn't Chevy the one that went belly up?

Has anyone heard anything about their future trucks? I hear about people stockpiling Suburbans. I always liked Ford for trucks and vans myself.
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I'm trying Planswift now and it's not bad. They set you up with a tech person who sits there for an hour or more and walks you through features and let you ask questions. That was pretty cool of them.

What about AutoDesk quantity takeoff, has anyone tried this one? It's got 3d capabilities and supposedly does costing/takeoffs etc. I was just wondeing if anyone has used it or if it's worth looking at. Thanks again for the posts.
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Well if it is an Autodesk product you can bet that it will be very powerful, hugely expensive and extremely buggy for the power user.

I say stick with PlanSwift. It does what you seam to want a program to do, the price is right.
I did alot of research into mid-grade options for cut/fill programs a few years ago.

My non-negotiables were:

1) must be under $5000cnd
2) must be easy to use as I wanted to be able to teach a couple of our guys on it so they could take on some of the estimating.
3) must work in metric and imperial as we get jobs in both
4) must be able to input boring logs
5) must have an okay interface that makes sense
6) must make a good 3d model not simple a wireframe mess that didn't have enough detail. I wanted to be able to move the model all over the place so I could see where the slopes went and make sure no elevations were entered in incorrectly.
7) must break down the import or export volumes into different materials. Simply telling me I should bank on exporting 20000 m3 of ??? doesn't help me. I wanted to know 3000m3 of clay, 4000m3 of topsoil stockpiled onsite and reused, etc.

then I had some things I wanted but wasn't fully stuck up on:

8) preferably no annual subscriptions. I just wanted to pay once and be done with it
9) preferably allow for overlaying plans as sometimes we get info on the landscape drawings that should have been on the civil, etc
10) preferably the software would calculate the weights of the material as well based on the densities I input so that I didn't have to calculate that out manually
11) preferably the software wouldn't gobble up tonnes of computer resources so that I could use it on my microsoft surface for when I go by the site or don't want to walk in the office.

I tested:

-Winex Master by Roctek (like using windows 3.0)
-Insite Sitework (didn't like the interface)
-Carlson Takeoff Suite (did an onscreen demo with a sales guy but didn't like it at all)
-HCSS Heavy Bid (also a demo copy but it seemed like over kill for what I wanted)
-I also tested a couple others in the low end like under $3k cnd and was really disappointed.

I did come across Bluebeam Revu which is the best thing since computers were invented. Its a super fast PDF reader that is extremely customizatable (you can create functions like excel so when you measure areas it will automatically calculate other variables like volume, weight, etc. We use BB for all of our pipe works because its so fast and easy.

But it doesn't do Cut and Fill

Then I stumbled across Mudshark from a company in Australia. Great guys actually because I talked to them for a while. Mudshark is INCREDIBLE.

-It's cheap (a new single licence is something like $3,000cnd)
-It runs on my surface 3 pro (albeit a little tiny when doing elevations but its fast!)
-The best 3d modelling out of any of the other ones I tried BY FAR
-You can overlay plans
-It does bore logs, separates cut and fill materials into the different types and actually does convert them to weights as well
-Its the easiest to use out of all of the ones we tried by a long shot because the user inteface makes sense and is very similar to windows in feeling.
-it also does trenching but I prefer to just use Bluebeam for that.

Anyhow its been great for us. I don't get commission but I do want to save you the 80+ hours I put into my search. Their website is below or you can google them.

I also have my copy of Mudshark which I'm willing to sell for $1500. We have pivotted out of excavation so we no longer need it.

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