Don’t Gamble with Estimating Tools Without Training

August 28, 2018

If you work in construction, you’re constantly playing a game of risk. Did you remember to calculate indirect or direct cost correctly? Does your bid include office overhead and rent or the accurate cost of portable toilet rentals, trailers, and fencing? These are a few examples of items that estimators may try to ballpark instead of digging into actual costs and their impact on the total project.

But some things are no-brainers. You would never allow anyone in the cab of an excavator without proper training, right? Still, many construction businesses think nothing of purchasing powerful takeoff and estimating tools without first investing in training. They assume estimators and project managers can plug and play. Instead, they end up with costly errors and low productivity.

In our white paper, Overcoming the Pitfalls of Estimating, we dig into how to balance technology with training. Here are three tips:

  1. Allow enough time for training based on your software provider’s recommendation. A 2014 survey showed that companies investing at least $1,500 annually in training per employee average a 24 percent higher profit margin than those spending less on training. Set hours aside for your construction staff and remember that training takes time so set realistic expectations.
  2. Make sure the knowledge is there before training. Even the greatest estimating technology cannot make up for a weak estimator. Someone with little field experience may try to use technology as a shortcut and will end up just doing bad work faster. Nobody wants to submit bids when they failed to calculate all costs correctly.
  3. Pair a junior estimator with an experienced one to flatten the learning curve. Experienced estimators will understand the intricacies of takeoff and apply their knowledge daily. The experienced cost estimator knows that technology can complement their skills but can never replace their ability to anticipate potential risks and problems.

No matter the size or trade of your construction business, investing in estimator training should be a critical part of your long-term success. As a result, you will end up using estimating tools to bid more effectively, reduce errors, and win more profitable projects.

Want to learn more great tips and tricks to win the most profitable work for your business? Download our white paper, Overcoming the Pitfalls of Estimating, now.


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