Contractors, builders, and residential salespeople all know how complicated and time-consuming the estimation process can be. From drawing up site plans to calculating costs to presenting the final estimate to the client, the process is very involved and can take up to multiple days and return trips to the potential customer. This is exactly why many companies are turning to technology in the form of residential estimating software.
What is Residential Estimating Software?
Residential estimating software has traditionally been a desktop-based software that is designed to make the process of creating estimates for residential construction projects more efficient and less time-consuming.
In recent years, companies have been transitioning away from desktop platforms towards cloud- and tablet-based solutions, as having a more mobile version of the software is more convenient and efficient.
There are a wide variety of residential estimating software solutions, from simple spreadsheets to complex enterprise software with online collaboration, and everywhere in-between. Some solutions have been developed with specific industries and niches in mind, while others are more general and applicable to more situations.
While some solutions strictly offer estimating capabilities, more sophisticated software offer advanced features such as floor plan creation, design, and takeoff functionalities in one package.
What are the benefits of using Residential Estimating Software?
There are a host of benefits that come along with introducing new technology into your business and residential estimating software is no different.
In the world of residential construction, the main constraint is time. By standardizing your estimating process and using residential estimation software, you are already going to streamline your process and save time.
Since residential estimating software can be used on tablets, your salespeople can be collecting information and creating an estimate during the initial walkthrough of the property. Once the walkthrough is complete and the problem has been diagnosed, the salesperson can automatically generate a priced proposal without ever leaving the job site.
Before tablet residential estimating software became the standard, the workflow around presenting the customer with a finished estimate was tedious and filled with duplicate work. The traditional estimating process consisted of sketching the job site on paper as you inspect, diagnosing the problem, driving back to the office to have the site plan drafted by your CAD team, creating a final cost estimate and proposal, and returning to the site to present the sales estimate to the customer.
Now, your salespeople can draw a professional site plan and present an accurately priced proposal without ever leaving the job site.
More Accurate Bids
Residential construction estimates can be complex with multiple factors, prices, and interactions that salespeople have to keep straight while creating the customer estimate.
Residential estimating software can automatically calculate and account for all costs associated with the job. The software can take material and labor costs into account, as well as administrative costs such as permits and overhead.
The estimates that are created by the software are much more representative of all actual costs associated with the projects, so your estimates are accurate and there is ultimate transparency between you and the client.
A residential estimating software is a program, which means its outputs are only as good as its inputs - garbage in, garbage out.
So, how do you make sure that your salespeople are collecting and inputting the correct information while they are on the job? You work with a residential estimating program that makes that data collection as easy and accurate as possible. Some residential estimating software provide better tools to increase the accuracy of the data.
There have been more advanced platforms to come onto the market that include drawing elements that allow you to accurately and easily recreate the floor plan. Once you have the area drawn, you can quickly have the program calculate all costs based on products or shapes that were inserted into the drawing.
With smarter residential estimating programs, there is no need for the salespeople to do calculations of any sort, and there are required data fields. This drastically reduces the chance that line items are forgotten or a customer is mischarged.
Many sales team leaders and managers have found that one of the greatest benefits that come with using residential estimating software is the training and onboarding experience of new employees.
The use of software and a standardized estimating and pricing practice makes it much less of a burden to train new hires. They no longer have to know every single option or pricing nuance that comes with each of your products.
They can simply plug in the solution to the customer's problem (or better yet, draw it) and the software does the rest of the work for them. Companies that have switched to residential estimating software have found a drastic reduction in their training and onboarding time.
Since the software also empowers the salespeople to make more sales and be more efficient, there is a lower chance of employee turnover while using these solutions.
How are your competitors using RES?
Increasing close rates
By using residential estimate software, your competitors are able to quickly present their customers with accurate, professional, and visually pleasing estimates.
The efficiency, speed, and transparency increase the trust from the customer and make it more likely that they will purchase their solution.
If your proposal and estimate process is too drawn out or worse, the customer doesn't understand what they are buying, then they will more than likely choose another company.
Increasing bids per day
Not only does residential estimating software increase the likelihood that customers will purchase, but it also allows your competitors to visit more homes every single day. The estimating time is usually cut in half by the use of software over traditional means, which lets you fit at least one more home visit per salesperson per day.
The typical residential salesperson sees somewhere between 3-5 clients per day, if you can fit one more visit per day it would increase your bids by 20-33% per salesperson. This can have a massive impact on your business and allow for more growth.
What can you do to stand out from the competition?
To stand out from the competition, you can't be using inferior tools. If you want to compete, you need to be using better residential estimating software and you need to provide a better purchasing experience.
As we discussed, residential estimating software can increase your efficiency by reducing double-work, increase sales through transparency and customer communication, and lead to better-trained salespeople.
These are going to be the industry standard practices, and you need to keep up or you will be left behind. The best way is to search out the best residential estimating software for your niche and one that fits best into your workflow. Once you find the right tool for your business, you can start reaping the benefits of this new technology.
If you're looking to truly stand apart from your competition, you need to take a look at our Ultimate Guide to Building Your Residential Sales Team.
A proven residential estimating solution
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