PROS / This program allows you to interact with CAD designs, making it easier to create final estimates.
CONS / Some tools require you to purchase a higher-tiered product.
VERDICT / ProContractor Estimating is the best estimating program available, with all the important tools you need to create bids and track costs throughout the construction project.
ProContractor Estimating can stand alone as a powerful construction estimating software or can integrate with many of the other solutions available through Viewpoint, creating a powerful business suite specifically for construction companies. Even on its own, ProContractor Estimating includes all the estimating and job tracking tools we looked for and is the easiest solution to use on our review. This easily makes ProContractor our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award winner.
Estimate Generating Tools
Creating an estimate requires you to include a lot of information. If you miss a step or include inaccurate information, it could result in overpricing and losing the bid, or underpricing and losing money on the job. ProContractor Estimating has created a very good program that is easy to navigate through and includes all the important tools you need to create an accurate bid. These include the ability to import CAD designs, or blueprints, and interact with them. This includes clicking on one or more parts of the project and taking it off the bid all at once.
In addition to building blueprints, ProContractor uses 3D visuals so you can see everything from the foundation to the top, both inside and out. You can use these to determine labor and material needs and costs, and schedule out a time frame for when the job should begin and be completed. You can also use ProContractor for groundwork, such as excavating or laying plumbing and electrical items underground before moving to the aboveground construction.
Standard CAD design uses a 1 foot = 0.25-inch scale, but ProContractor Estimating allows you to change the scale to fit the project and design you are working with. You can create multiple bids for one project, addressing what-if scenarios. You are then able to combine aspects of each bid, merging them together to create the final estimate. This is also helpful for situations where you need to replace a subcontractor or when a vendor changes the pricing of its materials. The scope tools allow you to create a database of your vendors and suppliers so it is easy to keep track of their price changes and quickly incorporate them into your bids.
One important feature that ProContractor Estimating has that isn't included with many bidding software is its mobile capabilities. This means you can take your cell phone or tablet with you to the client or job site and enter updated information into your bid without having to wait until you return to the office. You can also send a completed estimate from your mobile device, which can save you a lot of time and help you meet any pending deadlines quickly.
After your bid has been created, presented and accepted, it is important to monitor both labor and costs throughout the construction project. ProContractor Estimating includes functions that help you see the actual cost of an item and compare it to the estimate. You can then either update the central cost list or create your own, custom price book. All of the new data can be quickly inserted into your scopes, too, so that you keep accurate pricing for each of your vendors, suppliers and subcontractors. Change order processing tools lets you update an existing estimate with new pricing so that the final bid reflects actual costs.
ProContractor Estimating doesn't have scheduling system tools included with it. However, for an additional cost, you can purchase one of Viewpoint's systems that includes these features. ProContractor integrates with this system, though it is also possible to connect with third-party scheduling software.
This estimating software is one of the few solutions we reviewed that can integrate with customer management programs, or CRM. This helps you keep track of client information and every interaction you, your staff, vendors and subcontractors have with your clients. CRM solutions also provide additional job tracking and sales tools that are not typically included in estimating solutions. In addition to integrating with third-party solutions, ProContractor includes several of these tools in its estimating solution.
ProContractor also integrates with QuickBooks and other accounting solutions as well as contract management programs. You have to spend a little more in order to have the ability to connect with project management software, including programs available through Viewpoint.
Help & Support
Viewpoint has several great support options available to you. The video tutorials and training are very in-depth and easy to understand. Traditional email and telephone support are also available, though they are only offered during standard business hours. When interacting with support personnel, we found them eager to help and quick to answer our questions or direct us to someone who could better help us.
ProContractor is the best estimating software that we reviewed. It includes all the important tools for estimating and tracking costs. It also has advanced tools, such as the ability to interact with CAD designs and 3D visual assemblies. Some of the features you may have to spend more to use, but overall, this construction bidding software is a good tool to have.