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Thread: Estimating Software

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2017
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    Willow Street PA
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    Estimating Software

    Hi,
    I am looking to purchase estimating software for mid size commercial projects. After some research I know I want on screen take off & some type of auto count feature. Any suggestions or pro's and con's from ones you are using? I have looked at demo's for Electrical Bid Manager & ConEst. Also what is the best way to import material pricing? How is there product support?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    767
    Quote Originally Posted by mikedsr View Post
    Hi,
    I am looking to purchase estimating software for mid size commercial projects. After some research I know I want on screen take off & some type of auto count feature. Any suggestions or pro's and con's from ones you are using? I have looked at demo's for Electrical Bid Manager & ConEst. Also what is the best way to import material pricing? How is there product support?

    Thanks!
    Both that you mentioned are excellent programs. I used EBM before I went to ConEst.
    I found EBM (at that time) had issues with it's audit trails.....they would become corrupted if you did a lot of cutting/pasting/copying. I'm sure they have cleaned that up by now.
    That's what I loved about ConEst...the ability to use the audit trail to quickly cut/paste/copy anything duplicate or repetitive, which is very powerful.
    I retired right when on-screen takeoff was taking off (pun intended)...but I have demonstrated both programs and their on-screen enough to know they are moving fast to perfect it.
    There are several ways to import material in both programs. We used to do it through EBM's updates (I'm drawing a blank on the name of their import program). It was always a pain
    and we would wind up changing our multipliers to fit pricing discounts based on our region and vendors. They were never even close to our costs, so we just quit using them.
    I set my multipliers for commodity items (conduit, ftgs, boxes, straps, pvc, etc...) manually based on commodity quotes from our vendors, just using an average.
    When I summarized jobs, I could quickly look at the big $ items (copper, aluminum, large conduit quantities, etc) and adjust right there in the summary.

  3. #3
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    Jul 2005
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    also...there's quite a price difference between those two programs.
    If you are a smaller company with a smaller budget, EBM is perfect.
    But if you are taking on larger projects, and planning to grow, you might want to invest in ConEst

  4. #4
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    May 2017
    Location
    Willow Street PA
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    mikedsr

    Thanks for your input. though cost matters it is not he most important part here. How well the auto count works seems to be a big part for me. If you can highlight a symbol and populate the count with in seconds is a great feature. Also how easy or difficult is the program to learn? How do the prebuilt assemblies look?

    Mike

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    A fellow estimator had used ConEst a his previous job, and he had me up and going really fast.

    There's a ton of assemblies to choose from that can be tweaked on the fly to fit any job condition. Branch, feeder, device, fixture, transformer, gear assemblies......

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    MA
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    2,021
    The auto count feature isn't all that accurate at times. It all depends on the quality of the PDF and how cluttered the drawing is. If symbols overlap they will be missed.

    I use Accubid and find it easier to navigate the database and create items and assemblies on the fly.
    Tim
    Master Electrician
    New England
    Yesterday's Technology at Tomorrow's Prices

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    92
    We have been using Conest Intellibid for the past 4 years. I love it. It has cut my estimating time by at least half. We are a 10 man shop and though it is pricey it is worth the $.

    We also have the Sure Count feature which has gotten better with the latest update but as said previously accuracy will depend on quality of the PDF.

    If purchased i would recommend taking the classroom training (I will be in Manchester, NH next week for additional training) as well as your online training that comes with the purchase.

    Overall taking into account product ease of use, vast database, huge assembly list, training and the tech service help line I would give this product/company an A+.

    Good luck with your choice.


    Kelley

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Bowmanville, Canada
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    We are a small company. Most of our work is small industrial (machine install/relocation, plant lighting ect)
    We use turbobid which works excellent for us.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Valdosta, GA
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    3,832
    Ee use ConEst. It has worked well enough for me but creating custom assemblies can be a real nightmare, especially when having to select a count formula. And that's probably my number one feature request at this point is being able to easily create my own assemblies.

    A friend of mine is an estimator/PM at a giant EC, and they use Accubid. I've been talking to him about some of the differences and I think I'm going to demo it soon. And that's what I would recommend you to do; call these companies mentioned here and have them do a live demo with you to see what fits your needs.


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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    MA
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    I have used both Conest and Accubid. They are both good estimating programs that have extensive data bases of items and assemblies. They both do basically the same thing.

    I prefer Accubid. Creating assemblies are very easy and there are only two factors to set instead of complicated formulas like in Conest.

    I find Accubid easier to navigate and work with.
    Tim
    Master Electrician
    New England
    Yesterday's Technology at Tomorrow's Prices

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