Projecting future economic activity is never certain, but home construction contractors and builders should prepare for what’s expected to be a sluggish market for home remodels over the next six to eight months.

The continued high cost to borrow money for home projects and related fluctuations in the number of home builds and existing home sales will drag on the available remodeling projects into the first quarter of 2024, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

But successful home construction pros always have known their market is competitive, if not unpredictable. Although this seems truer now, there are ways builders like you can stay on top of the ‘quoting game’ to bring in your share of work as you face down a tough economy.

This starts with your initial estimate, because once your potential customers decide to renovate, they want to move quickly. So, for the residential construction pro, sharing estimates speedily can be the difference between winning the job and not.

But a speedy estimate relies on an equally fast and efficient takeoff, and doing takeoffs quickly is tricky to get right.

Troublesome takeoffs

Takeoff accuracy is important, and if you’re still using a pen and paper, you probably have that gut feeling that you are a step behind. Even if you’re using a spreadsheet to crunch the numbers, you’re still not being as efficient as you could be.

That’s because digital takeoff tools are dramatically reducing the amount of time it takes to bid customers. That’s a good thing. Customers already expect instantaneous results thanks to the high standards set by mobile phones and social media that stream a never-ending flow of content.

Many contractors and builders mistakenly stick with the familiar, thinking that is the fastest way to an accurate takeoff. Measuring by hand may feel reliable, but it is slow by today’s standards and is prone to human error.

One small miscalculation can throw off the entire bid, especially if you are doing multiple measurements for common tasks like door or window installations. Plus, doing it this way is really time-consuming when compared to digital takeoff tools. The next time you lose a job, it probably will be to a competitor who has taken the time to learn digital takeoff tools.

Let’s look at why the upfront investment in tech is warranted.

Taking Time for Tech

Many contractors are turning to construction management software to solve a lot of their issues because using technology for calculating takeoffs can significantly improve the accuracy and speed of your bids. With advanced cloud based software and computer software, you can generate material counts and cost estimates quickly and with precision. This means you can provide clients with more accurate and timely bids.

Plus, all your measurements are stored in one place so you can create templates to reuse time and again. Having an established place to start with a template makes light and speedy work of an initial bid of a similar project.

Digital takeoffs protect profits

Time it takes to learn construction management software is well worth it. For one thing, an inaccurate estimate can mess with your profit margin. If you underestimate materials needed, you end up spending extra to rush materials to your job site. If you overestimate, you’ve spent money you don’t need to be spending. Either way, it’s not good for your bottom line.

But it’s not just about the money – an inaccurate estimate also leads to scheduling headaches. If you don’t have the right materials on hand when your subcontractors need them, you might have to delay the project until contractors can return to your job site. And that can throw off your entire timeline, not to mention the added cost of materials.

Let’s look further at making the switch to construction management software:

The Why

Take the time to work out why you want to invest in cloud based construction management software. Sure, it can speed up takeoffs and budgeting, but the best digital takeoff software is just one part of an entire platform. There are still other benefits to using software.

Think about all the features that are important to you, including project management, resource management, budget tracking and scheduling. Make a list of the features that are most important to you and prioritize them based on your needs.

The What

A platform of construction management software tools allows project management in one place and also allows for online collaboration with subs and material dealers as well as your customers. Having everything in one package can make the whole process from start to finish easy to track and, let’s face it, the last thing you need is a bunch of separate tools.

When evaluating software, it’s also important to consider the level of customization available. Every business is different, so you want software that can be tailored to your specific needs.

Top tip: remember to ask what’s included in the standard package and what you may have to pay extra. You don’t want any surprises when it comes to billing.

The Who

The best construction management software is scalable. If you’re growing your business, remember to consider who you may want to access all your project details in the future, as well as right now.

And user experience shouldn’t be overlooked. You want software that is intuitive and easy to use. If the software is too complicated or difficult to navigate, it may actually hinder productivity rather than help it. Look for software with a clean and simple user interface that is easy to understand.

Think about training too, because even though you want intuitive software, you also want a provider that will give you free demos and provide you with the resources to train your team.

Anything else?

Pricing is, of course, an important consideration as well. You want software that is affordable and fits within your budget. Some software is priced per user, while others are priced per project or based on the number of features you use. Make sure to evaluate pricing options carefully and consider the long-term costs of using the software.

Try us out!

To see how construction management software can speed up takeoffs and build your estimates,  book a demo or try a free 14-day free trial with Buildxact. There’s nothing to download or install and no credit card needed.