Time taken to create estimates and the accuracy of the quotes produced remains two of the primary concerns for SME builders.
One of the main reasons for this is because an inordinate number of builders still produce their quotes based on their past experience and basic pen and paper methods.
But with 88 percent of spreadsheets known to contain errors according to the University of Hawaii, it highlights the need for builders to up their game to make sure the prices they quote are a true reflection of how much a project will actually cost.
If not, many will not only spend too long putting together their quotes but also find their profit margins are continually squeezed, resulting in some making a loss on jobs they were hoping would give them a clear margin.
It’s a problem Joanna Mulgrew, product director at HBXL, has come across time and time again, and is why she is alerting builders who insist on guesstimating or using a pen and paper method to produce quotes, to the fact they will get left behind as their competitors adapt to new technologies.
Joanna said: “The recession became a real leveller for the build sector. With money so tight, those who were able to demonstrate to clients where the money was being spent were the ones to pull through and are now reaping the rewards.”
Dan Bull of Bull and Son Ltd Building Contractors agrees and is why the Daventry based firm switched to using HBXL’s EstimatorXpress.
Dan said: “We used to do our estimating the old fashion way using just pen and paper but soon found that EstimatorXpress was not only much faster but much more detailed in the final quote.
“We did consider using a quantity surveyor for a time but they can be costly and we are not always certain exactly where they pull their prices from!
“With EstimatorXpress we have more control to tailor our material costs as well as adjust our overhead to meet our business needs.
“The software takes a lot of the guess work out of estimating and ensures that we have a better chance to win work and turn over a profit.
“We don’t regret changing over to the HBXL software and would recommend others do the same.”
Software Does Speed Up Estimating – Fact
Research carried out by HBXL in the Autumn of 2015 backs up the claim that by using EstimatorXpress not only speeds up significantly the time it takes to produce estimates but improves the win ratio and accuracy of the quotes.
With EstimatorXpress builders cut the time spent estimating by 39 percent, equating to a staggering 32 days a year!
Nearly 75 percent of EstimatorXpress users also reported an increase in profits once they had started using the software, the main reasons given being the accuracy of the estimate, plus the level of detail and professionalism of the reports.
And when asked if they would recommend using EstimatorXpress, a resounding 94% said that they would.
For those still unconvinced by the power and speed of EstimatorXpress, the HBXL team set a challenge to the company’s founder Adrian Wild. A builder with over 30 years’ experience, it was Adrian who developed the software, fed up by the amount of time he was spending producing estimates.
The challenge was to see how quickly he could put together a quote for a rear extension to a four-bedroom house using a number of different estimating methods.
This included a manual estimate, one using EstimatorXpress and a revolutionary method of HBXL’s 3D Visual Estimating (a combination of PlansXpress and EstimatorXpress).
For the manual method, Adrian used an existing plan from which he worked out his quantities and then called suppliers for costs. Once all these had come in, he inputted them into a spreadsheet adding labour costs, plant costs and his mark-up.
This took him a day and a half with less than guaranteed accuracy.
Moving onto EstimatorXpress and using the same plan, Adrian simply keyed in the dimensions into on-screen diagrams which represented the project such as the footings, walls and roof.
Once he’d finished inputting all the dimensions, the software got to work calculating the cost of all materials, plant and labour. Linking direct to thousands of live prices a detailed estimate was produced from start to finish in a staggering 47 minutes!
No need to pick up the phone to suppliers, and one other click of the button produced a professionally laid out quote for the customer. And because it linked directly to live price lists was 100% accurate right down to the last nail.
Finally, presented with existing plans for the extension, Adrian traced over the drawings using PlansXpress. Once complete he imported the drawings across to EstimatorXpress which calculated the cost from the date.
Total time to trace and estimate took 42 minutes.
Mulgrew added: “The figures speak for themselves and is conclusive evidence which demonstrates quite clearly that by using software like EstimatorXpress saves huge amounts of time while providing 100 percent accurate quotes.
“The feedback we constantly get is that builders can’t understand how they coped before they used the software.
“There is no need to be a busy fool and the sooner builders realise this, the better for their own business and their customers.”
For further information please visit www.hbxl.co.uk
Marketing & Product
HBXL Building Software
Tel: 0117 916 7898