Top 10 Construction Estimating Software in 2024

In the world of construction, precise estimates are the cornerstones of successful projects. They help you determine project feasibility, secure funding, and ultimately, turn a profit. But with complex material costs, labor rates, and ever-changing plans, creating accurate estimates can be a daunting task.

This is where construction estimating software comes in. These digital tools streamline the process, allowing you to generate detailed estimates quickly and efficiently. Packed with features like takeoff capabilities (calculating materials needed), cost databases, and reporting tools, these programs take the guesswork out of budgeting.

Top 10 Construction Estimating Software

But with a plethora of options available, choosing the right software can be overwhelming. To help you navigate the market, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 construction estimating software programs in 2024, catering to a variety of needs and budgets.

Top 10 Construction Estimating Software

1. Buildxact:

(Official Site: https://www.buildxact.com/us/)

Best Overall

Buildxact is a popular choice for contractors of all sizes, offering a comprehensive suite of features for accurate estimating, bidding, and project management. Its user-friendly interface and intuitive takeoff tools make it a breeze to learn, even for those new to estimating software.

Key Features:

  • Powerful takeoff tools with automatic scaling and real-time calculations.
  • Integrated cost databases with historical pricing data.
  • Streamlined bidding process with customizable proposals and electronic signatures.
  • Project management tools for tracking progress, budgets, and communication.

Pros:

  • Easy to learn and use.
  • Feature-rich for a wide range of estimating needs.
  • Integrates seamlessly with other construction management software.

Cons:

  • Pricing may be higher than some competitors.
  • Limited customization options for reports.

2. PlanSwift by ConstructConnect:

(Official Site: https://www.planswift.com/)

Best for Tradesman

PlanSwift focuses on the core functionality of takeoff and estimating, making it an excellent choice for subcontractors, remodelers, and smaller construction firms. Its intuitive interface allows users to quickly extract quantities from plans with minimal training.

Key Features:

  • Scalable takeoff tools for 2D and 3D drawings.
  • Cloud-based platform for easy access from any device.
  • Integration with popular cost databases for accurate pricing.
  • Customizable reports for clear communication of estimates.

Pros:

  • Affordable pricing plans.
  • Simple and user-friendly interface.
  • Efficient takeoff tools for faster estimates.

Cons:

  • Lacks some advanced features found in more comprehensive software.
  • Limited project management capabilities.

3. Contractor Foreman:

(Official Site: https://contractorforeman.com/)

Best for Low Price

Contractor Foreman is a budget-friendly option for contractors who need a basic estimating tool. This cloud-based software offers straightforward takeoff functionalities and basic cost estimating features at a competitive price point.

Key Features:

  • User-friendly takeoff tools for basic quantity calculations.
  • Integration with some popular cost databases.
  • Cloud-based access for on-the-go estimating.
  • Reporting tools for generating estimates and proposals.

Pros:

  • Very affordable pricing.
  • Simple and easy-to-use interface.
  • Cloud-based accessibility

Cons:

  • Lacks advanced features for complex projects.
  • Limited customization options.
  • May not be suitable for large-scale construction projects.

4. RedTeam:

(Official Site: https://redteam.com/)

Best for Customer Satisfaction

RedTeam consistently receives high ratings for customer satisfaction, thanks to its exceptional user support and training resources. While not the most feature-rich option, RedTeam focuses on a user-friendly experience and provides excellent ongoing assistance to its customers.

Key Features:

  • Easy-to-use interface for takeoff and estimating.
  • Integration with various cost databases.
  • Reporting tools for generating professional estimates.
  • Comprehensive customer support and training resources.

Pros:

  • Excellent customer support and training programs.
  • User-friendly interface with minimal learning curve.
  • Affordable pricing options.

Cons:

  • Lacks some advanced features for complex projects.
  • May not be ideal for large-scale construction companies with intricate needs.

5. UDA ConstructionOnline:

(Official Site: https://us.constructiononline.com/)

Best for Big Companies

UDA ConstructionOnline caters to large-scale construction projects and complex estimating needs. Its robust features and scalability make it ideal for managing big budgets and intricate projects.

Key Features:

  • Advanced takeoff tools for complex construction projects.
  • Extensive cost databases with historical pricing data.
  • Project management functionalities for comprehensive project control.
  • Customizable reporting and dashboards for

6. Procore:

(Official Site: https://www.procore.com/)

Construction Management Powerhouse

Procore is a comprehensive construction management platform that includes powerful estimating features. While not solely focused on estimating, Procore offers a robust suite of tools for takeoff, cost databases, and integrations with popular estimating software for a streamlined workflow.

Key Features:

  • Integrated estimating tools for takeoff and cost calculations.
  • Collaboration features for seamless communication with project stakeholders.
  • Project management functionalities for tracking budgets, schedules, and documents.
  • Integrations with various estimating software for enhanced functionality.

Pros:

  • Comprehensive construction management platform with integrated estimating.
  • Strong collaboration tools for improved project communication.
  • Scalable to accommodate projects of all sizes.

Cons:

  • Can be complex for users solely focused on estimating.
  • Higher pricing compared to dedicated estimating software.

7. Autodesk Construction Cloud:

(Official Site: [invalid URL removed])

BIM Integration Advantage

Autodesk Construction Cloud, formerly known as BIM 360, offers estimating functionalities within its construction management platform. It excels for projects utilizing Building Information Modeling (BIM), allowing for seamless integration of cost data with 3D models for more accurate estimates.

Key Features:

  • Integrated estimating tools with cloud-based accessibility.
  • BIM integration for cost estimation based on 3D models.
  • Project management functionalities for collaboration and document management.
  • Integrations with other Autodesk construction software for a connected workflow.

Pros:

  • Ideal for projects using BIM for advanced cost estimation.
  • Strong collaboration and document management tools.
  • Familiarity for users of other Autodesk construction software.

Cons:

  • Estimating features may not be as comprehensive as dedicated software.
  • Requires BIM usage for full functionality.
  • Steeper learning curve for users unfamiliar with BIM.

8. HCSS (HeavyBid):

(Official Site: https://hcss.com/)

Specialty in Heavy Construction

HCSS, with its HeavyBid software, caters specifically to the needs of heavy construction contractors. It offers features tailored for estimating projects like roadwork, utilities, and excavation, ensuring precise cost calculations for complex and large-scale earthwork projects.

Key Features:

  • Advanced takeoff tools for heavy construction projects (earthwork, utilities).
  • Integration with specialized cost databases for heavy construction materials and equipment.
  • Bidding functionalities specifically designed for heavy construction bids.
  • Project management tools for tracking schedules, budgets, and resources.

Pros:

  • Feature-rich for heavy construction estimating and bidding.
  • Integration with relevant cost databases for accurate pricing.
  • Streamlined workflows for heavy construction projects.

Cons:

  • May not be suitable for general construction projects.
  • Steeper learning curve due to specialized features.

9. ConWize Estimating and Bid Management:

(Official Site: [invalid URL removed])

Mobile-Friendly Estimating

ConWize stands out for its mobile-friendly estimating app, allowing contractors to take measurements and generate estimates on-site. This is particularly beneficial for smaller projects and renovation work where quick estimates are needed.

Key Features:

  • User-friendly mobile app for takeoff and basic estimating.
  • Cloud-based platform for access from any device.
  • Integration with cost databases for material pricing.
  • Basic reporting tools for generating estimates and proposals.

Pros:

  • Convenient mobile app for on-site estimating.
  • Cloud-based access for real-time collaboration.
  • Affordable pricing for smaller contractors and renovation projects.

Cons:

  • Limited features compared to more comprehensive software.
  • May not be suitable for complex projects with intricate estimating needs.

10. JobTread:

(Official Site: https://www.jobtread.com/)

Free Estimating for Small Businesses

JobTread offers a free estimating software solution with basic takeoff and cost estimating functionalities. This makes it a valuable option for startups or small businesses with limited budgets who need a basic tool to get started with construction estimating.

Key Features:

  • Free basic plan with takeoff and cost estimating tools.
  • Cloud-based platform for access from any device.
  • Integration with some cost databases (may require paid subscriptions).
  • Simple reporting tools for generating basic estimates.

Pros:

  • Free plan for basic estimating needs.
  • Cloud-based accessibility for convenient use.

Cons:

  • Limited features compared to paid software options.
  • Free plan may have restrictions on project size or collaboration.
  • Limited customer support compared to paid plans.

Additional Tips for Choosing Construction Estimating Software:

  • Identify your needs: Make a list of the features most important to your projects, such as takeoff capabilities, cost database integrations, or project management functionalities.
  • Consider user-friendliness: Evaluate the software’s interface and learning curve. If your team is not tech-savvy, choose an intuitive and easy-to-use program.
  • Explore integrations: See if the software integrates with other construction management tools you use for streamlined workflows.
  • Budget realistically: While powerful software offers extensive features, it may come with a higher price tag. Choose an option that fits your budget without compromising essential functionalities.
  • Utilize free trials: Take advantage of free trial periods to test-drive the software and see if it meets your expectations.

By carefully considering your needs and exploring available options, you can select the construction estimating software that empowers you to create accurate estimates, streamline your workflow, and ultimately, secure profitable projects.

Beyond the Top 10: Finding the Niche Option

While the previous options represent some of the most popular choices, the construction estimating software market offers a wider selection catering to specific needs. Here are some additional options to consider:

  • Estimating Software for Specialty Trades: For contractors specializing in electrical, plumbing, HVAC, or other trades, software like Timberline Office or ESTIMATE Rocket may provide features and cost databases tailored to their specific materials and equipment.
  • Open-Source Estimating Software: If you’re comfortable with some technical expertise, free and open-source options like LibreOffice Calc with estimating add-ons can offer a customizable estimating solution. However, keep in mind these may require more setup and may lack the user support of commercial software.
  • Integration with Accounting Software: Some construction accounting software like QuickBooks or Sage offer basic estimating functionalities alongside their core accounting features. This can be a good option for smaller companies seeking an integrated solution for estimating and project financials.

The Importance of Ongoing Support and Training

No matter which software you choose, remember that ongoing support and training are crucial for maximizing its effectiveness.

  • Look for vendors with comprehensive support options: This could include phone support, online tutorials, and readily available user manuals.
  • Invest in user training: Many software vendors offer training programs to help your team get up to speed and leverage the software’s full potential. This can significantly reduce the learning curve and improve the accuracy and efficiency of your estimates.
  • Consider user communities: Online forums and user communities can be valuable resources for troubleshooting issues, sharing best practices, and learning from other users.

Conclusion

Choosing the right construction estimating software depends on your specific needs and budget. Consider the size and complexity of your projects, the features you require, and your team’s technical expertise.

For a well-rounded and user-friendly experience, Buildxact and PlanSwift are excellent options. If budget is a primary concern, Contractor Foreman and JobTread offer affordable solutions for basic estimating. For larger-scale or specialized construction, UDA ConstructionOnline, HCSS (HeavyBid), and Procore cater to complex projects with advanced features.

Ultimately, the best way to find the perfect fit is to take advantage of free trials offered by many vendors. This allows you to explore the software’s functionalities and determine if it aligns with your workflow and estimating requirements.